ANGELO MARCOS: MY NEXT NOVEL WILL BE FINISHED AROUND MID-2015
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Angelo Marcos’s thriller The Artist was very well received in the UK. The readers gave an average 4.7 stars from 25 Amazon reviews. Our next feature guest is a writer, comedian and actor. He graduated with law and psychology degrees. Sounds respecting! Enjoy our next chat.
– Angelo, what is your book The Artist about?
– It’s a crime thriller set in London, and is about a serial killer who preys on young actresses – filming the last minutes of their lives and then sending the recordings to the media. It’s a perversion of Andy Warhol’s quote about how in the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes. The killer gives the actresses this fame, but the trade-off is that it’ll be the last 15 minutes of their lives.
At the same time, we meet a young girl named Kaylin who lives in London with her mum, an out of work actress. Her mum’s relentless pursuit of fame has cost her pretty much everything including her marriage, and it is deeply affecting Kaylin, who just wants to be a normal fourteen year old.
Kaylin then finds out that a murderer is killing actresses in London, and the rest of the story is about the consequences this all has for all of the main characters. With a few twists and turns on the way, of course…!
– How did you decide to write the story?
– The book was mainly inspired by my own experiences in and around the different levels of the entertainment industry.
A lot of The Artist concerns the obsessive and potentially damaging pursuit of fame at the cost of all else. This came from the million auditions I’ve been to and people I’ve seen at them who will literally do anything to get famous. I’ve fallen victim to that myself too, especially when it’s a role I’ve felt really passionate about. You become blinkered, and all that matters is getting the role.
In The Artist, I take this all-encompassing pursuit of fame to an extreme, and examine the consequences.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– I think making time is the biggest challenge. I’m always working on something or another, so it can be difficult writing in and around all those other commitments.
I have developed the ability to work in short bursts for the first draft of a novel, although for the second draft onwards it’s better to devote much larger chunks of time, and over a shorter period too.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Thankfully, I haven’t met anybody like The Artist in real-life, which is definitely a good thing because of, well, all the murder and stuff…
In saying that, I think the character does embody elements of the disappointment and anger we all may feel when we get rejected. Anybody who has been in a relationship that’s broken down, or been unsuccessful at a job interview, or had experience of auditions, will be able to relate to this character. Although whether that’s a good or a bad thing is a whole other conversation.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I literally don’t know. I wrote the story on and off around other projects and commitments for a very long time. It wasn’t until I decided I wanted to get it published that I really started working on it seriously and began redrafting, editing, changing things here and there, having it proofread and edited, and so on.
– What the readers would find in your other novel Sleep No More?
– It’s about a woman who is plagued by horrific nightmares that slowly leech into her reality.It’s leaning more towards horror than crime, although there’s still a very strong psychological thriller element to it. There’s a question hanging over whether her experiences are the result of some kind of demonic possession or haunting, or whether she is essentially losing her mind.
The story came about from my own experiences of sleep paralysis, which is where you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t move. It’s pretty terrifying to experience, especially if, like me, you often wake up lying face down as it makes it very difficult to breathe! I actually wrote a blog post about sleep paralysis which you can find on my website. Although it’s probably best not to read it just before going to sleep…
– Give us some insight about The Walk: and other stories?
– The Walk is a collection of short stories which all explore the darker side of human nature. There are five stories in total, including one called Child’s Play about the death of a child at a playground. People keep mentioning that particular story to me as they find it so dark, although I suppose that’s a good thing. It means the book is working..!
– Who are you?
– Now you’re getting all philosophical on me… I suppose the answer to that question changes at any given time. Right now for instance, I’m a writer answering questions about myself, then later on today I’ll be a comedian trying to make people laugh. And even later than that, hopefully I’ll be asleep, so depending on my dreams I could well be a unicorn or something. And as long as it’s not a unicorn with sleep paralysis I’ll be quite happy.
– What are your writing habits?
– I always type – rather than handwrite – my first draft, but then I edit by hand. Then I make the changes on the computer, print everything, and start editing all over again. For some reason I find editing by hand most effective, it just doesn’t feel write to edit straight onto the computer. I have no idea where this came from or why I do things that way, but it seems to have worked so far so I guess I’ll just continue!
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– I am actually, and I’ve been quite surprised by the amount of sales I’ve had internationally too. I hadn’t expected to sell very much outside of the UK, especially as my first two novels are set in London and quite heavily reference the city. So I’ve been very satisfied with that.
Of course, it would be even more satisfying to have sold billions of copies and now be laughing and frolicking with JK Rowling, but in the meantime I’ll take the sales I’ve had as a win…!
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I’m doing a few author interviews like this one, and I’ve also done a giveaway for each of my books on Goodreads too. I quite like doing that, as I know the people who eventually get the book are likely to read it and give me their honest opinion on what they thought of it.
I am also on twitter and facebook quite a lot – although most of that is bad jokes rather than actual promoting…
I’m very wary of spamming people so the social media I use is just that – social – and every so often I might mention something I’m working on or something new that I’ve written on my blog, which hopefully gets people interested in my writing.
– When we will see your next novel?
– I’m around half way through my first draft, and am hoping it’ll be finished around mid-2015. It’s another psychological thriller – I’m nothing if not consistent…!
It is about an actor who interviews a notorious criminal as part of research for a role he is due to play. The short version of the story is that he gets much more than he bargained for from their conversations. And for the longer version of the story, you need to wait a few more months…!
– You graduated in law and psychology. It’s interesting combination. How much your education is helping to your creativity in literature?
– I think that both law and psychology do help in terms of training yourself to look at things quite analytically, which is a skill that is very important when writing and looking at relationships between characters. As I write psychological thrillers, it’s been incredibly helpful to have that base of psychology and law to tap into. Originally I planned to get into forensic psychology, which I suppose in a way I have, albeit not in the way I thought I would.
– Would you describe that is the most important part of being a stand-up comedian? Good script, improvisation skills, acting, talent?
– I once heard an interview with Jackie Mason where he said that comedy is about keeping on dancing even when everybody else in the world tells you to stop. For me, that pretty much sums it up.
– Why the British humor is so specific and sometimes is tough to be understood from other nations?
– There are always going to be cultural differences with humour, but I think a lot of British humour travels well really. If you look at Monty Python for instance, that has a huge following all over the world.
A lot of US comedies reference British humour too, for instance The Simpsons and Family Guy often include nods to Benny Hill and Monty Python, as well as British comedy actors like Ricky Gervais and Hugh Laurie. The Simpsons also had Tony Blair on once, and he’s one of the funniest British exports in a long time.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– Hmmm… I would ask myself why I write about such dark subject matter during the day and then at night go on stage and make people laugh, which surely are two things which are completely diametrically opposed to one another. I’d answer it by looking incredulously at myself (using a mirror, I guess) and explaining to myself that I must surely already know the answer given that I’m the one asking the question. Then I’d wonder what on earth I was doing and go make a sandwich.