Thanks to the lovely Sam Missingham of Lounge Marketing I ‘met’ Mark Brownless online and am delighted to welcome him here to Linda’s Book Bag today to stay in with me and tell me about one of his books.
Staying in with Mark Brownless
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Mark. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Hi Linda, thanks very much for inviting me to stay in with you. I hope you don’t mind, but I thought I’d cook – love your kitchen by the way – so I will need to keep an eye on the risotto bubbling away on the stove. Do you fancy a glass of red?
(Sadly I’ll have to decline the red – me and ordinary wine don’t get on these days but I’ll have a glass of prosecco whilst I watch you cooking. I love a risotto so the kitchen is all yours.)
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I only have one novel to bring with me, although this weekend sees the second of my Robin Hood short story series available on Amazon. My debut novel, The Hand of an Angel, is a psychological medical thriller. It started life as a conversation about déjà vu between two strong-willed clinicians in a hospital and evolved from there.
(Ooo. I love a psychological thriller. Sounds a fascinating premise for a narrative Mark.)
What can we expect from an evening in with The Hand of an Angel?
I really want people to get immersed in the lives of my main characters, Cardiologist Tom Boy and and his wife Sarah, to feel part of their family, and to enjoy spending time with them. Reading James Herbert’s The Magic Cottage when I was a kid – must be about thirty years ago now, wow – I just loved reading about the daily lives of the main characters, and would have been quite happy to continue to read about that and not have the story evolve to pull the rug out from under them. This is what I want from The Hand of an Angel – you like the characters but know that it’s all about to go wrong. Hang on I need to stir the risotto…
(Eek – get a move on with that stirring – I want to know more!)
In the book, Tom has heard a lot of similar stories about patients having near-death experiences before he’s managed to bring them back to life, and he becomes obsessed with what happens to the body and mind on the brink of death. He designs a scientific experiment where his own heart will be stopped and his body monitored as he ‘dies’ and experiences the afterlife for himself before his team resuscitate him. The plan is unpopular with his hospital and the press, and the pressure mounts for him to abort the plan. Tom goes ahead with the experiment regardless and on experiment day sees things that nobody ever should and still come back to tell the tale. Tom’s heart is stopped for far too long, however, and he almost goes beyond the point of no return before his colleagues manage to bring him back.
(Wow. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to try that.)
Afterwards, Tom isn’t the same person. Maybe his experience has been so profound that it has changed him forever, but maybe the lack of oxygen to his brain has changed his personality. As for Tom, he starts seeing things – a shadow in the corner of his vision, a strange hooded figure that starts to appear to him, and he feels like he’s not alone.
Beyond that is spoiler territory, but all I’ll say is that the book is about perception and how we view reality – so everything may not be quite as it seems.
(What an introduction. I HAVE to add The Hand of an Angel to my TBR now. It sounds a cracker of a book.)
What else have you brought along and why?
Well, that’s very good timing, because the risotto’s ready! Hope you like it, and I hope you note I did leave some pans unused in the making of dinner!
(Thanks Mark. This is really tasty – though you are a bit of a messy cook aren’t you?)
Risotto is a staple of our house, and food is a significant part of The Hand of an Angel. I think it came from reading Patricia Cornwall’s Scarpetta books, where she cooks a lot, but usually when she’s upset or angry – it’s like therapy for her. I almost wanted to have this idealistic homely environment, where the family come together and cook. It’s where the grown-ups can actually get together and talk about their day, where they can have the chance to get together with the kids and do things as a family. Food is the glue that helps bring this family together for the reader.
(Don’t let my husband hear you say that. He does all the cooking these days and he might want me to help!)
I’ve said that the book does tend to question reality, and how you perceive things. So what I’ve also brought along, for a bit of fun, are some optical illusions. Have a look and tell me what you see. The first is an image of either a very old woman or a young lady.
(I always find this one a tricky image. My brain switches between the two pictures all the time.)
The second is surrealist, Igor Lysenko’s picture – what do you see here?
(Well initially I thought it was Oscar Wilde! I’ve never seen this one before.)
And finally, for a bit of fun, and just to see how people’s minds work, what do you see?
(It’s a notebook of course. What else could it be…)
Thanks so much for staying in with me Mark, doing all the cooking and telling me about The Hand of an Angel. I truly think it sounds fabulous.
Thank you so much for having me, and for not making me stay to do the washing up!
I’m only letting you off this once!
The Hand of An Angel
Devoted family man and respected cardiologist Tom Boyand is obsessed with the near-death experiences of his patients. An obsession that leaves him dead on a table with his colleagues battling desperately to resuscitate him.
But Tom has pushed the limits of the experiment too far and he’s gone for too long, seeing more of the other side than anyone before.
They get him back but he isn’t the same person. And he’s not alone.
The Hand of an Angel is a shattering medical thriller with a heart-stopping climax.
The Hand of an Angel is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
About Mark Brownless
Mark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales. He has been putting ideas on paper for some years now but only when the idea for The Hand of an Angel came to him in the autumn of 2015 did he know he might be able to write a book. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances, is fascinated by unexplained phenomena, and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction and horror.
Mark is also fascinated by myths and legends such as those of Robin Hood and King Arthur. This has culminated in the release of his short story series, Locksley, a Robin Hood story, which will have new volumes added each month.
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