Authors A to Z - Mark Chadbourn
Critics have praised Mark Chadbourn for the astonishing detail and realism he brings to his novels. The reason: the kind of research most people would go out of their way to avoid. For example, for his first novel Underground, set in an isolated mining community, he worked hundreds of feet beneath the earth, crawling along tunnels barely two feet high, experiencing the same kind of brutal lifestyle as his coal miner characters.
Other novels include Nocturne and Scissorman, and a non-fiction book Testimony, for which Mark experienced the terrors of a real haunted house...
His current fantasy trilogy, The Age of Misrule (World's End, Darkest Hour and Always Forever) has received acclaim for both its detail and its academic research.
An expert on British folklore, Mark studied volumes of research on prehistoric Britain, including the sites of Stonehenge, Avebury and Tintagel, as well as Celtic culture and neolithic life. He spent six months on the road touring Britain, mapping out a detailed path for his characters to follow, including not only famous historical sites, but also industrial estates, pubs, cafes, shopping centres and more. It's possible to use these three volumes as a travel guide to the UK.
His penchant for gritty research began when he was a journalist, working for British national newspapers, magazines and TV. On NATO manoeuvres inside the Arctic Circle, Mark slept in tents with the British soldiers in temperatures of -20°C, fired bazookas and drove tanks across the snowy wastes. He was also set on fire by an exploding lamp - and saved by a nearby snow drift.
Other work has seen Mark being locked in a shop and threatened by gangsters, being at the centre of a riot, being shot at in the California desert, accompanying a Formula 1 racer at 250 mph around Donington racetrack, and going undercover investigating criminal activity across Europe and America.
World's End and Nocturne were both nominated for the prestigious August Derleth Award for Best Novel, and Mark has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society’s Best New Talent award.
His career took off when he won Fear magazine’s Best New Author award for his first published short story, Six Dead Boys In A Very Dark World. His latest book is another novella, The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke, about the coming of age of a young man through the eponymous painting by Richard Dadd.
Mark has interviewed scores of celebrities - from Paul McCartney, Bob Geldof and Elton John to Tim Burton, Catherine Zeta Jones and George Michael - and has also worked in the media as a film and TV reviewer. Outside of journalism, he's cleaned toilets, driven vans, worked as a fitter's mate at a power station, and put Marmite jars on a conveyor belt.
During the early nineties, Mark's long-standing love of music saw him turn to managing bands - including one top five act - and running the independent record company, Faith.
Mark hails from the Midlands and a long line of miners. He now lives in the heart of a forest where he indulges his passions for environmental campaigning and magic.