I can’t believe it’s almost a year since Mark Tilbury was last here on Linda’s Book Bag. On that occasion I was interviewing Mark about The Liar’s Promise in a post you can read here. Today Mark has agreed to stay in with me to tell me about another of his books.
Staying In With Mark Tilbury
Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag Mark and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
First off, thanks so much for asking me to stay in with you, Linda, and giving me the opportunity to talk about one of my books.
(My pleasure Mark.)
The one I’ve chosen is The Abattoir of Dreams. This was my third book, and a complete change in direction from my previous two, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. I wanted to add a supernatural edge to my writing that was set in the framework of a psychological thriller.
(Oo. You managed that all right Mark. Although reading The Abattoir of Dreams was way out of my comfort zone I thought it was brilliant and reviewed it here. It even made it onto my books of the year!)
The basic idea for The Abattoir of Dreams came from a dream. It was a bit muddled, as most dreams are, but I held on to the gist of it, put it down on paper and made sense of it. As with most of my story ideas, they seem to come in the form of clues and odd one-liners (usually from the antagonist).
I think the dream was inspired by news that a high-profile figure had been named by a man in his forties as his abuser in a children’s home. Subsequently, the man said he’d made a mistake – no one leaning on him there, then– and the whole case was dropped. This made my blood boil. This poor guy had obviously been through hell as a child, and all these years later, the authorities still slammed the door in his face.
The finished book bore no resemblance to the dream, or the story in the news, but it focused on the plight of those kids in children’s homes who have been abused. I wanted to give them a voice, and I’m satisfied that the Abattoir of Dreams did that. There was so much more I wanted to say in the book, but I ended up cutting about 50,000 words to make it a more readable length.
I was pleased with the positive response to the book. The mix of genres seemed to work well, and although it was a hard-hitting read, and quite gut-wrenching, I think I conveyed everything I wanted to. I have to say, although the book is not for the faint-hearted, I had to leave out a lot of what goes on in those so-called care homes. The systematic abuse of children is appalling. There is so much more I want to say on the subject, but for now I’ll let The Abattoir of Dreams do the talking.
(I think you did a magnificent job in conveying your message Mark.)
What can we expect from an evening in with The Abattoir of Dreams?
Here’s a small snippet from The Abattoir of Dreams. The protagonist, Michael Tate, is in hospital suffering from amnesia and paralysis after leaping from a block of flats. He is accused of murdering his girlfriend before trying to commit suicide:
DI Carver took a picture from the breast pocket of his suit. He handed it to me. ‘This is what you did Michael. Take a good look. See if it jogs your memory.’
I gawped at the mutilated corpse of a naked young girl lying on a blood soaked double bed. Her hands were bound to the brass headboard with a scarf. Blood covered her upper body, and her long blonde hair was streaked a murderous shade of red. One eye stared at the ceiling, as if searching for salvation, the other, a bloody unrecognisable pulp, bore no relation to its sightless counterpart.
‘Becky Marie Coombs. Twenty-one years of age. Do you recognise her, Michael?’
Of course I fucking well don’t. How many more times? ‘No.’
(I found the manipulation of Michael absolutely chilling.)
Here are a few reviews from authors and book bloggers. So many kind and generous people out there willing to help and share. I have to say this has been the thing which has surprised me most about writing. I don’t quite know what I expected, but the level of helpfulness and encouragement has given me a renewed faith in people. The bloggers, fellow authors and readers have been so kind, and I can’t thank them enough.
Wow, this book stirred up so emotions in me whilst reading it. Mark did a wonderful job of creating credible characters and a heartbreaking story.
5* review from author, Mel Comley,
Extremely well told from the first person so you feel this is happening to you. You feel the pain, despair and total vulnerability – not to mention confusion. I’ve had this on my reading list for a while and was in no way disappointed…An author to watch for sure!!
5* review from author, Sarah England.
This book stirred up many emotions – anger, sadness, disbelief, horror, distress, shame (for the human race) and the desire for revenge. I can honestly say I have never experienced so many emotions at once whilst reading a book. I don’t think an author could wish for a better result than to have that much of an impact on a reader.
5* review from author, Jane James.
Mark Tilbury has written a roller coaster of a thriller for sure, but this novel is also a rich and harrowing story of the psychology of evil and those who strive to stop it, this is certainly one read that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.
5* review from Lorraine @ The Book Review Café.
Mark Tilbury has taken on a very dark and almost taboo subject and deftly created a story that deals with these issues sensitively and with compassion and the end result is a book that I honestly can’t recommend highly enough.
5* review from Neats @ The Haphazardous Hippo
(I agree with every word of those reviews – which you must be thrilled with Mark. Again, readers can see my review here.)
What else have you brought along and why?
I’ve also brought along a photo of my mother who passed away twenty-two years ago. She came to me in a dream after finishing writing the first two books. I can’t remember all the detail, but it went something like saying I could do better. That I had to believe in myself. She was holding a hardback book with gold lettering embossed on the front. The letters were flashing. She held the book up and said,‘You can do this’. Of course, it was only a dream, but it was a defining moment that made me change direction and write The Abattoir of Dreams. I’m so glad I did, and proud that people are still talking about the book eighteen months after its publication. A special thank you to my mother, who was the only person to show enthusiasm all those years ago when Best magazine published one of my short stories. The Abattoir of Dreams is for her, and a massive thank you for all the unsung things she did for me.
Oh, that’s fabulous and actually, you just brought a tear to my eye. Thanks so much for coming back to the blog and staying in with me Mark. I can’t recommend The Abattoir of Dreams highly enough so thank you for sharing more about it.
The Abattoir of Dreams
The past is never far away.
Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael was sent to Woodside Children’s Home.
Now an adult, Michael wakes up in hospital from a coma suffering from amnesia and paralysis. Confused and terrified, he is charged with the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also learns he attempted to end his own life.
Detective Inspector John Carver is determined that Michael is sent to prison. With no way of defending himself, Michael is left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand.
But then strange things begin to happen and his childhood comes back to haunt him.
Can Michael ever escape the past?
Will he ever discover the truth about Becky’s murder? And why is DI Carver so eager to make him suffer?
The Abattoir of Dreams is a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse.
About Mark Tilbury
Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.
After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.
When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.