The Writing Life of: Owen Mullen
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Owen Mullen. Owen will be sharing with us details of his writing life, telling us all about his latest book ‘Deadly Harm‘, which was released on 8th October 2019 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year and best selling author.
Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal.
A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where Owen writes.
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
As a child – I’d be about 9 – I had a recurring daydream – I was on a hillside, overlooking the Mediterranean. There was a town (I think it was Naples), and I was writing a short story. Many years later, that all came true, because I live on the side of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean and I became a writer.
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
Robert Louis Stevenson, I read Kidnapped and Treasure Island. After that, Mark Twain’s The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn – loved all of them. Still do.
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
That would be the point when I arrived in the Mediterranean, with time on my hands for probably the first time in my life. I woke up one morning and announced to my wife that I was going to write a book. That first book was Out Of The Silence and it took ten years to get anyone to read it – if I’d known it was going to be such a long journey…
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
Good question, I’m always interested in the processes other people use. My working day varies, it can be anywhere from 6 to 10 hours and then of course there are all of the add on jobs you’re blissfully unaware of before you get into this business, like social media and marketing.
I have a studio (thought you’d rather see the view from my studio than a writing desk!) where I write but you can also find me scribbling away at the dinner table, in bed, or, if I’m waiting for my wife you will find me in the corner of a taverna tapping away. I don’t do word count, I tend to concentrate on scenes. If I believe I’ve captured what I wanted I’m happy.
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
I have seven published works with another 4 in various stages of completion.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a plotter, without it I would struggle. I don’t start a book till I have a clear vision of the beginning and ending. The pesky bit in the middle I plot the next piece of work at a time.
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – Bloodhound Books
Pages – 362
Released – 8th October 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1912986712
Format – ebook, paperback
It’s been five years since Mackenzie Darroch was abducted and held captive in a derelict house.
She thought she’d found her way out of the darkness. She was wrong.
When she witnesses a car crash and saves the driver’s life, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter both their futures.
The two women get involved in a high profile police case and draw the attention of a ruthless reporter. Gina Calvi is convinced Mackenzie is not what she appears and is prepared to do anything to prove it.
Meanwhile, across the city, Kirsty McBride, a young single mother, is persuaded to leave a violent relationship. Her partner, Malkie Boyle a Glasgow hardman, is due to be released from prison. Once back on the street and bent on revenge, Boyle is determined to find the people responsible for stealing his family from him.
Can Mackenzie save them or will Boyle get his revenge?
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
Research for Deadly Harm covered several elements of the story. Firstly there was location, I used the area around the Campsie Hills, 10 miles from Glasgow, Ayr and Clackmannanshire. I spent several days driving/walking the areas and of course Google Maps is a useful tool.
As usual I was assisted in the police procedural aspects by a CID detective. He kept me right as he always does.
For the story behind the story I had many long conversations and email exchanges with people on both sides of the problem of abuse. It was inspirational speaking to people who come through dark times and not only survive but flourish.
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
In terms of writing ‘the end’ it took about four and a half months, in terms of being ‘publication ready’ it was another 6 weeks.
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
It’s the follow up to In Harm’s Way and continues the story of Mackenzie so it had to compliment the original title.
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Mackenzie is someone who was pushed very close to breaking point but survived. Now she’s determined to make a difference.
Andrew Geddes is cynical Glasgow detective inspector with clear ideas of right and wrong.
Caitlin is a woman who would identify herself as weak, but in reality has incredible strength.
Sylvia is an older lady let down by her family who manages to find new purpose for her life.
Kirsty is a young girl who pays the price for poor choices.
Finally Malkie Boyle is a product of his background; someone you wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
Bloodhound Books had already published the first book and were keen to publish this one.
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
The third and final (maybe?) party of the In Harm’s Way trilogy, but I have already completed book one in a trilogy about two London gangster brothers which I’m very excited about – it’s tense, taut, violent and very dramatic!
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
I would love to be able to fly.
2) Do you have any pets?
We don’t have pets as we travel a lot but lot’s of these little guys pop in to see us.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
Me, Me, Me and Me.
4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?
I’d show up in New York Blue looking super cool!
5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?
India closely followed by Africa and Vietnam.
6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
“I still don’t get why Delaney couldn’t have a duck…I’m great at American accents!”
I would like to say a big thank you to Owen Mullen for sharing with us details of his writing life and for a wonderful interview.