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No Shelter From Darkness by Mark D. Evans‏

MARK D. EVANS was born near London, England. He graduated university with a degree in something not even remotely connected with writing and went on to become a successful consultant. Then he threw it all away to chase his dream of being an author, via a considerable amount of travelling. Today, his life largely resembles that of a nomad, and he can currently be found typing away in a tiny flat in north London, sustained by coffee.

He is the author of two short stories, one of which made it into a Kindle Top Ten.

His latest work is his debut novel, No Shelter from Darkness, which is the first book in his series, The Cruentus Saga.

Visit Mark online:
Twitter: @TheMarkDEvan

“Her hands began to shake as she looked down wide-eyed at the blood-soaked cotton that covered her.” 

London emerges from the Blitz, and every corner of the city bears the scars. In the East End—a corner fairing worse than most—thirteen year-old Beth Wade endures this new way of life with her adoptive family. She also suffers the prejudice against her appearance, an abiding loneliness and now the trials of adolescence. But with this new burden comes a persisting fatigue and an unquenchable thirst that ultimately steals her into unconsciousness . . .

What happens next is the start of something Beth will fear more than the war itself. She begins to change in ways that can’t be explained by her coming-of-age, none more frightening than her need to consume blood. The family who took her in and the former best friend who’s taken refuge in their house can never know. Aware of the danger she poses to everyone around her, Beth has never felt more alone. But someone else knows Beth’s secret . . . someone who understands just how different she really is. He alone can decrypt her past and explain her future. But he’s been sworn to destroy her kind, and as Beth grows ever more dangerous, he’s forced to take sides.

Can Beth keep all of the secrets? Can she trust a man sworn to kill her? And can she stop the vampire within from taking her humanity?

What inspired you to write this story?
I love vampires. But I always have, I’m not jumping on a bandwagon, here. Since as long as I can remember, way before Stephanie Meyer even had the idea to make monsters sparkle in sunlight, I was intrigued by these creatures of the night. I saw them not as a romantic ideal or dangerous love, but as an absorbingly fascinating subject.

I consumed vampire literature and media in general, but one thing that always struck me was the reliance on the supernatural. “But, Mark, vampires are supernatural,” I hear you say.

Yes, but what if they weren’t?

How long did it take you to write?
As testament to my earlier statement of not jumping on the bandwagon, I first had the idea that would eventually become “No Shelter from Darkness” somewhere around the year 2000, or just prior.

For the decade that followed, the project was firmly in development. My idea was such that I couldn’t just dive headfirst into writing a story about vampires that were real. I had to “create” the vampires. I did extensive research, in the first instance, on science and biology, anatomy in particular, in order to develop a vampire that could plausibly exist in our world.

On top of that, I then had to create a history for the vampires, and that was before I realised the story necessitated the first book being set during World War 2 in London, requiring its own, extensive research.

By the time I put pen to paper (literally), it was circa 2009–2010. From that first word to the last edited draft, it took roughly three years to write.

I’m aiming for half that for book two.

What is your favorite thing about writing?
There are two things that spring to mind, here. The first is the research. Even if the thought of doing research initially makes me groan, once I get stuck in I love it, discovering things I would never normally learn.

The second thing is working out the kinks. When I come up against a plot or continuity problem, I love figuring out how I can get around it but still keep the story intact and of good quality. Often it requires leaps of the imagination, and there’s a few major (and awesome) plot twists and turns that have come about due to that necessity to think out of the box. Entire characters have been formed through this process, and I think it’s amazing and never ceases to amaze me when a character or part of the story organically evolves, feeling like I’m not making it up, but it’s making itself up. It goes back to that old cliche; a story writes itself.

What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Quite simply, the fear that my writing isn’t good enough. And that fear is greater than that of my story not being liked.

I received a 2-star review for a short story once, but I was okay with it because the reviewer said that the story was well-written.

I’m so afraid that my writing will be seen as amateurish or such, that the fear stays with me with every word I write.

Writing is also dependant, at least in my case, on mood. I can have a day off planned to do nothing but write, but then I can wake up on that day in the wrong mood, and know that it will either be a slow-writing day or that there’s not even a point in sitting down in front of the screen.

If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
To be honest, there’s no one I’d particularly like to be for one day. There are people I admire and would like to be like, for example Bear Grylls. To have done and seen the things he has, and to know what to do to survive no matter what scenario you find yourself in.

But to be someone for just one day? It would be far too easy to say someone like Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt, plus what would the point be? So I guess for one day I’d like to be someone like Professor Brian Cox or Stephen Hawking. To be able to contemplate what people like that contemplate—to be that intelligent and to have that wealth of knowledge. Yeah, that’s who I’d be.

What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
The ice in the cool box. Five months, for that is how long I have lived here. What’s really annoying, though, is that although the cool box is clearly cold enough for ice to form, it can’t keep ice-cream frozen.

Go figure.

What can readers expect from you in the future?
My desire is to go beyond convention. NSFD is about vampires, but I intended it to be different than any other vampire story. I try to bring some form of originality to everything I do. The saga of which NSFD is only the first book, is set over hundreds of thousands of years and hopefully it will challenge perception and, with any luck, bring a few shocks and surprises.

And along with the follow-ups to “No Shelter from Darkness”, I also have numerous ideas in gestation that I would like to develop into novels in the future. And as much as I love vampires, they don’t feature in any of them.