* THE PUPPET SHOW WINS THE 2019 CWA GOLD DAGGER! *
This is official. You haven’t imagined it. This really is the website of M. W. Craven, author of, among others, the Washington Poe/Tilly Bradshaw series. I know it’s mine as I wrote the words myself.
Come on in . . .
Inside these pages you’ll hear about special offers before anyone else. You’ll get the occasional freebie. You’ll find out about any upcoming festival, library and bookshop appearances (so you can be elsewhere). You’ll also get the scoop on how I try and portray some of the awful things that humans do to each other and the stories and dark humour that surrounds the people who are charged with cleaning it all up. You’ll find out where the idea for Poe and Tilly came from, how I use my experiences as a former probation officer to impart dark realism in my writing, why giving your protagonist a dog is a terrible idea (it really is . . .). Some of it might make your stomach churn, some of it might make you despair at human nature and some of it should make you laugh out loud. I promise you one thing though: it won’t be boring . . .
Writing is a solitary business. Long hours staring at a blank screen, wondering why my imaginary friends aren’t talking to me anymore, cursing the day some pretentious arsehole said the worst thing you’ll ever write is better than the best thing you didn’t write. Typing the modern-day hieroglyphics that readers will one day convert into pictures inside their heads . . . So, speak up. Talk to me. Tell me what you think. I love hearing from readers and I try my best to answer every email. Rest assured, if I don’t, the fault is yours not mine . . .
Anyway, feel free to dive into the dark recesses of my imagination. I do hope you can stay a while.
ABOUT M. W. CRAVEN
I was, and remain, a happy person. I love to laugh and I’m forever on the lookout for new and innovative ways to do this. Other than my father dying when I was fourteen, I had a brilliant childhood. I was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. When I was sixteen I joined the army by accident (may that wily recruiting sergeant have a lifetime of TV programmes with incorrectly synced audio . . .). I spent the next decade travelling the world sweeping leaves. When every leaf was off every tree in every barrack in Germany, and safely in a bin liner, I dug a tunnel with a reconditioned mess-tin and escaped.
At a loose end, I considered becoming an expert in otters (sadly this is true). To further this aim I did a degree in social work. Thirty-one years after I’d left Cumbria as a babe-in-arms, heralded by the seven trumpets of the apocalypse, I returned to take up a probation officer role in Whitehaven. It was . . . boisterous.
Sixteen years later, and at the rank of assistant chief executive, I made the jump and became a full-time author. As one half of Mr and Mrs Craven, I am contractually obliged to say that getting married is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. With this in mind, a job you can do in your pyjamas comes a pretty decent second . . .
So here I am. Living in a beautiful and historic part of the country. Fells and mountains to pretend you’ve climbed. Forgotten villages to explore. Lakes to swim in and rivers to kayak down (I’ve done neither and I never will.). There are castles and mazes to get lost in, Roman ruins to scramble on (don’t do this, people will shout at you), and, as you’ll see in The Puppet Show, sixty-three Neolithic stone circles to run around naked (again, don’t do this; people really shout at you).
Also we have a lot of sheep.
So. Many. F*****g. Sheep . . .
I’m happily married to a beautiful woman (Jo) and, like Poe, I have a mischievous springer spaniel (Bracken – who once ate my cheese muffin when I wasn’t looking). When I’m not out with Bracken, or talking bollocks in the Kings Head, I can be found in the bar at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country. I’ve written several books now. One has been optioned for TV and translated into foreign languages. I really can’t complain. And I’m not. Really I’m not. Writing for a living is the best life I could have imagined for myself.
So, I’m happy. And I often think about where the darkness comes from. Put me in front of a blank screen and the laughter stops, immediately replaced by sinister thoughts.
It’s just as well someone pays me to write them down . . .
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