Author’s Spotlight: Mark Towse and Chisto Healy Interview

Mark Towse and Chisto Healy, authors of The Bucket List

1. First, introduce yourselves a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?

M: Hi. I’m Mark. I’m an Englishman living in Australia.

C: And I’m Chisto, an American living in America.

2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?

M: Our book is called The Bucket List. We’ve done a lot of solo stuff but this is our first together. It’s a horror comedy, emphasis on the horror.

C: What he said.

3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?

M: Our main characters are Marge and Alby. They’re old, and off, and dangerous. Their strengths and weaknesses? Wow. Um.. I guess it’s their love and devotion to each other vs their recklessness.

C: Yeah. They’re strength is also their knowledge, I think. They’ve been doing this a long time. As for how they came about, they were destined for each other, soul mates, love brought them together.

M: Do you mean how did we come up with them? They just happened. I think they found us.

C: Yeah, this book was begging to be written. It all just came. None of it needed to be found.

4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?

M: None of it was hard to write. I mean I’m claustrophobic so some of that hit home but I enjoy exploring those things.

C: Same actually, though the early bit about Alby’s testicles brought back some childhood trauma for me.

M: As for us, we’re really in tune with each other. Writing together was seamless and easy.

C: He was dominant, and I was submissive. That’s why it was easy. Haha. No we really do work together well.

5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?

M: We definitely made plans and shopped it around. We were really excited to land with Evil Cookie Publishing.

C: It was a really cool thing because we had both been rejected by them on our own and together we made it. It was a testament to the fact that we bring out the best in each other.

6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?

M: The marketing. I’m an introvert. It’s really difficult to be a sales person and promoter.

C: Absolutely what Mark said. I have terrible anxiety and all the non-writing stuff that comes with writing is really overwhelming honestly.

7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

M: It’s pretty open. We wanted to make this a one shot but if people are into it we’ll give the people what they want.

C: We definitely fell in love with the characters so there could be a prequel in the works if people want it.

M: Really, there’s so much we could do if we wanted to continue it. We could do a book for every decade of Marge and Alby’s crazy marriage.

C: Like I said earlier, they’ve been doing this a long time. There’s bound to be a lot of stories to tell.

8. Who are some of your favourite authors, what are some of your favourite books, and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

M: The easy answer would be Stephen King but really it was my wife. She saw how stressed I was and said I needed an outlet and I should write. I did, and never looked back.

C: There are writers who inspired me when I was young and made me want to do this like Dean Koontz and Simon Clark. I’ve been writing since childhood, but it took a health scare and a pandemic for me to really apply myself to it. Sometimes good comes from bad I suppose.

9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?

M: Instagram is a really useful tool, and getting interviews. I think we’re still learning though. We’re both dinosaurs.

C: Seriously. Not tech savvy guys here. If we figure out the best way to market, we’ll let you know haha.

10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?

M: I’m really not into splatter but there’s definitely a place for it. People love it.

C: For me, I love the tropes and cliche’s and seeing what new spin people can put on them. I don’t like overly detailed writing styles. I want to know how the characters think and feel not read three paragraphs about the stain on the wall.

M: Oh, me too, actually. I agree with that one. Definitely.

11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?

M: We read all our reviews and share them with each other. Negative feedback? I don’t handle it well. Haha. No. I don’t know. If you get a one star review but you’ve had ten five stars before it then ten out of eleven people loved it so I think that’s what you need to focus on.

C: I only had an issue with negative feedback when it felt personal, but honestly, I know it wasn’t and it’s just my RSD, rejection sensitive dysphoria, but I didn’t know I had that at the time. Understanding that it’s my own brain sabotaging me actually makes it easier somehow.

12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?

M: We’re actually completely different in this. I like to breathe life into the characters and then see where that life takes them.

C: And I like to have the ending planned so I know the destination and then just wing the journey to get there so if it goes off course I know how to steer it back.

M: The listening to music part of the question is a no. I need to be in my head without distraction. I will actually play storm sounds and write to that.

C: I don’t listen to music as much as watch TV. I put on a movie that is on theme with what I’m writing to set an atmosphere and help create ambiance. It helps me get in the zone.

13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?

M: I don’t like advice. I want to figure this out on my own. The discovery and journey is part of the fun.

C: Simon Clark told me I was doing everything right and I need to account for the luck factor because it’s real. I think that’s great advice because it takes a lot of the pressure off and allows you to work on your craft and do what you love.

M: Advice I would give? I guess it would be that even if it takes you out of your comfort zone, you need to do the sales and promoting. You gotta do it.

C: Yeah, and write. Write, write, write. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write.

14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?

M: We’re both doing a lot. We’re workaholics and people call us prolific. I have 3 novellas and a novel on the way currently.

C: And I have two novels and more in the works and we both write creepy pastas for youtube shows. We’re always doing something.

M: Maybe if we get enough fans we’ll be writing Marge and Alby’s next story.

C: Let’s manifest that and change if to when

M: Deal.

15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:

Mark Towse:

Chisto Healy:

If you’d like to be featured in an interview, please check out the interview submissions page to submit your answers.

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