Children's author, Young adults' author
After dinner speaking
email "at" swordpublishing.co.ukAwards:
Imperial Assassin - Longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie award 2008.
The Devil's Triangle - Shortlisted for The Concorde Book Award 2013 & The Cheshire Schools Book Award 2012
Dragon Orb: Firestorm - Shortlisted for The Explore Book Award 2009Audiences:
Adults, 5-7 (Key stage 1), 8-11 (Key stage 2), 5-11 (Key stages 1 and 2), 11-13 (Key stage 3), 14-16 (Key stage 4), 11-16 (Key stages 3 and 4), 6th Form and college
Hello, and thanks for taking time to visit my page. I’m Mark, a former RAF pilot, recently turned full time writer of crossover, YA/adult, fantasy fiction. I started writing from a throwaway line whilst on detachment in the Falkland Islands back in the late 1990’s. Since then I’ve written 14 novels and 2 short books for younger readers.
I love visiting schools, and look to make my visits dynamic, informative and inspiring to young people of all ability levels. I generally work with Years 5 to 9, though I have started doing visits for Years 2 & 3 using the new Warrior Kids books. The emphasis of my ‘author talk’ is on personal motivation and setting goals. I recount how I overcame the odds of becoming a Royal Air Force pilot despite never achieving an ‘A’ in any of my school exams, and then move on to describe how I’ve broken into a second very competitive profession as a published author with a ‘B’ at ‘O’ level English as my only relevant qualification. This is a 'You can do it!' pep talk.
I also have a talk prepared about The Bermuda Triangle and the research I did for my Devil's Triangle series.
I like big audiences for my author talk – as many as you can pack into your biggest venue is ideal. I then look to fill the rest of my visit by conducting workshops, preferably to single class sized groups.
I have 30 NEO2 word processors, which I am happy to bring and set up in a classroom for use by students in my workshops. These can be wirelessly linked through my laptop to an interactive whiteboard, allowing me to demonstrate visually the process of editing on any individual student's work at any point during the workshop. It also allows all of the students' work to be saved onto a data stick at the end of the session for later printing, or to allow follow up work.
I've found that allowing students to work on word processors encourages the more reluctant writers to produce more than they normally would. The machines are writing tools only - no games, no internet, no distractions. I've found them a very effective tool for encouraging creative writing.
As I only have 30 machines, this limits the maximum class size to 30 for these sessions, but all of my workshops can also be run with a flipchart, pen and paper if this is a problem. Also, workshops using the NEO2s require a classroom with an interactive whiteboard. It is preferable for multiple sessions to be held in the same classroom to avoid losing time to transportation and setting up.
Some schools have mistakenly considered me solely as a ‘boys’ author’. All of my books have strong male and female characters, with Imperial Spy being one of the very few stories around featuring a girl spy as the lead character.
Current fees available on request.
This is what schools have said about my visits:
Having booked Mark for our finale to Book Week last Friday I wasn’t sure what to expect. We are a secondary boys school and our lads can be a tough audience but I was blown away by the impression Mark made on them. Even the toughest, most street wise Year 9 class sat enthralled whilst Mark was speaking. In the afternoon we gave Mark a tough task - to choose the winners out of a strong field of 28 in our ‘write the first pages of a novel competition’. Mark managed to give constructive criticism to all the boys whilst still praising their efforts. So impressed were we that we have already re - booked Mark for next month!
Mrs Beverley Humphrey, Librarian.
“Thank you very much for visiting K.E.S last Friday.
Our boys thoroughly enjoyed your talk, as you already know from the applause that you received at the end. Your career story is both inspiring and motivational for young people. Thank you also for involving the audience by asking them questions – this was a very successful approach. You developed an excellent rapport with the pupils from both schools and I have had very favourable feedback from the English Department and the other staff who were present.”
Librarian – http://www.kingedwardvi.warwickshire.sch.uk/
“Thank you so much for coming to Caldecott to tell us about your time as a pilot and your current career as an author.
The children really enjoyed the talk and many of them had more questions after school. It was great for them to have a positive male role model, as we’re always trying to find ways to raise boys’ attainment.
My literacy set was buzzing about the workshop, and have come away with lots of ideas on how to improve their writing.
You were inspirational!”
Literacy Co-ordinator – http://www.caldecott.oxon.sch.uk
Students from our school were in the audience at the Stafford County Showground, when you were one of the guest speakers at the Staffordshire Teenage Young Fiction Book Award, Celebration Day. We found your talk exciting and inspirational. I really want to book a visit, because there are so many areas where you could inspire young people. Where I feel it would really help all students, but particularly boys, is to help motivate them to plan their future careers. You told us about setting yourself short-term goals to help reach your final target of being an RAF pilot. I would love you to come and talk to Y9 students, when they are choosing study options, and also Y11 students to motivate again for careers and exams.
Mrs Lesley Harrison, School Librarian, http://www.ktconline.org.uk/default.asp Kingsmead Technology College, Hednesford, Cannock.
“We have had a phenomenal response to the day you spent with us last week. It has been amazing how many boys (and some girls) who normally never come anywhere near the library if they can avoid it, have been literally queuing up for your books. One parent I have spoken to said her son, who as far as she could remember has never admitted to willingly reading a book in his life, pestered her so much for a copy of ‘Imperial Spy’ when he arrived home from school after your talk that she felt she just had to go out and buy the book there and then.
Many of the staff at the school, myself included, wish to pass on their thanks for giving us a truly inspirational day and we look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.”
Librarian – http://www.grobycoll.leics.sch.uk BrookvaleHigh School.
I have also been a well received guest speaker for: School Prize Givings, Book Award Ceremonies, Writers’ Circles, Library Talks, Womens’ Groups (Cotswold Wives Society and Masonic Wives’ Society) and many other diverse occasions. Rates for talks to small groups are negotiable.
| ||Dragon Orb: Firestorm (isbn:1847380689)|
The closest description I can give of this is: 'Biggles meets dragons'! Dragons from a fantasy world entering our world during WWI.
View in Amazon
| ||Imperial Spy (isbn:141690185X)|
Action adventure, fantasy thriller with a female spy lead character.
View in Amazon
| ||Imperial Assassin (isbn:1416901868)|
Second in the Imperial trilogy.
View in Amazon
| ||Imperial Traitor (isbn:1847380352)|
Explosive final volume of the Imperial Trilogy
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| ||The Forging of the Sword (isbn:0953819000)|
The first in the Darkweaver Legacy quartet. Fast paced magical action adventure.
View in Amazon
| ||Trail of the Huntress (isbn:0953819019)|
Book 2 of the Darkweaver Legacy quartet.
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The Society of Authors
The Scattered Authors' Society
Other search criteria:Genres:
Crime/Thrillers, Sci-fi and Fantasy, Sport
Fiction for children (any age), Fiction 5-9, Fiction 8-13, Young Adult
Mystery, thriller, spy, murder, fantasy, action, adventure, swords, sorcery, magic, crime, magician, dragon, sport, martial arts, karate