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Marcus Sedgwick - Author

About the Author

One of the World Book Day 2015 Authors  Marcus was our Guest Editor in July 2010. Click here to see all his selections.

Marcus began to write seriously in 1994, and his first book, Floodland, was published by Orion in 2000, and won the Branford-Boase award for best debut children's novel. Witch Hill followed in 2001, and was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

The Kiss of Death was published in paperback in April 2009, and picked up a thread from his highly acclaimed My Swordhand is Singing (winner of the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Book Award). In between came what Marcus calls “my big one - a project I've been working on for so long my head hurts.” – Blood Red Snow White, which was first published to considerable acclaim in 2007.

2009 saw Marcus turn his attention to books for younger readers with the launch of a humorous new series: The Raven Mysteries, narrated by a grumpy raven, Edgar. Titles are Flood and Fang, Ghosts and Gadgets and Lunatics and Luck. The sixth book in the series, Creepy Caves, will be published in paperback in February 2015.

Marcus Sedgwick won the Branford Boase Award in 2001 with his debut novel, FLOODLAND. In 2007 MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING won the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and in 2011 LUNATICS AND LUCK won a Blue Peter Book Award. Marcus has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal six times. Marcus lives in Taninges, France.

In his spare time, he is also a stone carver and wood engraver and illustrates all his novels!  Finally Marcus is also a drummer, and at the moment he plays in two bands: visit www.garrett-music.tv, and www.internationalbandofmystery.com to find out more.

Q&A with Marcus Sedgwick

Many of your novels are inspired by history and by myth and legend - have these areas always been a fascination of yours since childhood and if so how did this passion come about?
Yes, I always loved myths and legends - I used to read and re-read two books from the library - one a big illustrated edition of Greek Myths and the other Old Peter's Russian Tales. I don't know why I was fascinated by these stories, but maybe simply because I find them to be more glamorous than contemporary stories...
 
Apart from writing what are your passions?
I love music, both listening to it and playing it (I'm a drummer). A day without music is not a proper day... I also love travel and try to travel as much as I can manage.

Where did the idea come from for The Raven Mysteries?
It was a single line, the first line in the book in fact. I'd had it for ages but didn't know where I was going to use it until the character of Edgar came along: "I suspect I may have fleas again".

The Raven Mysteries are full of humour and mad-cap action, which is quite different from your novels for older readers.  Was this a conscious decision of yours when setting out to write this series?
Absolutely, and it was great fun. After writing a few hardcore goth books, it was great to let my hair down with these stories. And it gave me fresh impetus to go back to the next YA novel, Revolver, with renewed determination to be gloomy!
 
Where and when do you write?
I write at the weekends, and mostly in the study in my loft, but also sometimes I travel to write - eg much of Revolver was written on trips to Sweden.
 
What age did you first start writing and when did you think that one day you'd write a novel that would actually be published?
I started to write as a teenager a bit, but properly when I was in my mid-twenties. It took a few years to think it might actually happen!
 
With both your publisher and author hat on, what advice can you give would-be children's authors in getting published?
The most important thing is to know your market! Who do you think your book is going to be read by? What else is out there that's like it? Are you writing something that will sell?
 
The historical context of most of your novels must mean a huge amount of research prior to writing each book.  What does this involve and how long does it take?
It varies from book to book but it's not a chore as I love to do research. It's easier than actually writing the things! For Revolver, the research spanned about 16 months, of little trips here and there and lots and lots of reading!

What was your inspiration for Revolver ?

Finding an empty shell casing on the pavement in St Petersburg. It was a long way from there to the finished book but that was the start of it.

What was your favourite book as a teenager?

Without question, the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

If you got into Doctor Who’s tardis, where (or when) would you go?
Great question, impossible to answer. So many amazing things to go and see – the building of the pyramids, a Viking boat putting out to sea, Man Utd winning the European Championship in 1968…

Who would you choose to be if you could be a celebrity for the day?

Matt Bellamy on any day with a gig.

If you were invisible for a day what would you do?

I’m invisible most days, so nothing much would change.
 
 10 things you didn't know about Marcus Sedgwick
 
1 - I have an embarrassing middle name, but I'm not going to tell you what it is
2 - I am learning Swedish
3 - As well as playing the drums, I play bass guitar
4 - My grandfather invented the hydraulic tipper truck
5 - I have a pet raven called Edgar, though he doesn’t say much, eat much, or indeed, move much. There’s a possibility that he’s stuffed, I guess.
6 - I’m extraordinarily sleepy right now.
7 - I represented England (Juniors) at Fencing.
8 - I totally love football.
9 - I'm allergic to red peppers
10 - I believe there is only one radio or TV station worth listening to: Radio 3.

Author photo © Kate Christer

Books by Marcus Sedgwick

LoveReading
LoveReading4Kids
LoveReading4Schools