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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dead Wood & Possession by Mark Bandey - Book Reviews, Interview, Manuscript Critique & Cover Consult Giveaway

Reviews by Anniek

Booksie Goodreads

The Jacksons have found their new home. The parents and their two children Tom and Elle can't wait to move in. In the backyard stands a large tree. The tree was on fire, but is still standing strong. It turns out that this tree has no intention of being removed from the ground its roots are in. When you stand closer to the tree a tree house appears. Will this tree house hold the secrets of this burned tree?

Dead Wood is a short story about a witch and a murdering curse. I always love creepy stories and Dead Wood certainly gave me the chills. Your home should be your safe haven and I found the idea of that not being the case very scary. Mark Bandey knows how to create the right atmosphere to match his covers and I think he's very talented. I already have several of Mark Bandey's books waiting for me on my Kindle and I can't wait to start reading more of his stories.

Booksie Goodreads

John and Sarah aren't in a good place when it comes to their relationship. They argue a lot and Sarah is convinced that John has a drinking problem. John leaves the house and picks up his friend Gary, so he can cool off at a local bar. They were supposed to drive by another friend as well, but they never made it to his house. Unfortunately a horrific car crash ends John and Gary's life. John is confused because of the fact that nobody talks to him, but he thinks that's because they blame him for the accident. John spots Sarah at a party. He tries to get her attention, but an older lady is preventing him from getting close to her. What's going on and why is Sarah acting like she can't see him?

Possession is a gripping short story about how love conquers all boundaries. Even after John loses his life, there's no doubt in his mind that he and Sarah belong together. The way he makes himself known at their house would really freak me out and I could perfectly visualize the horror on Sarah's face. Mark Bandey has a vivid imagination that he clearly shows in his stories. I love the way his mind works and how he makes his characters come to life.


If you're looking for a creepy story that you could easily read during a short break I think both Dead Wood and Possession would be a great choice.

About Mark Bandey

Mark was born in 1963, London and moved to Norfolk, England with his parents in 1975. After finishing a four-year course in Art and Design at Great Yarmouth Art College, Mark worked for ten years as a graphic designer for various publishers. In 2001 Mark moved to Aberdeen, Scotland and spent time as a bookseller for Ottakars bookshop before a change of career in the oil industry. Reading as always been Mark's first passion and he enjoys reading general fantasy for young and old adults alike. Mark is still in the North-East of Scotland, married to Carolyn.


Website // Twitter // Facebook // Amazon


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hi, my name is Mark, 54 but I still think like a teenager. I was originally born in London but moved to Norfolk, England with my family when I was 12 years old. In 1983, bored with the mundane some old routine of working in shops, I applied to go to Art College. I had been painting for a number of years in my spare time and felt a spell at college would help me re-focus my life and set me on a new direction. I was successful at interview and had a wonderful time and after four years graduated with a Higher Diploma in Graphic Design.

After leaving college I then spent 14 years working in various design studios in and around the counties of East Anglia. It was during this time I met my future wife, Carolyn, on a walking holiday we both attended in Norfolk. It was now July 1999. Neither of us was looking for a relationship, so it was nice that after the holiday Carolyn started to phone me. With Carolyn being from Scotland and me still in Norfolk, England we did our best to see each other whenever we could. After a year of phone calls and dashing 400 miles each way up and down the country, she accepted my proposal of marriage in 2001 and we have been living in the North-East of Scotland ever since. The graphic design industry I knew was changing at a pace that I found hard to keep up. So, after a spell working in a bookshop I moved into the oil industry where I currently work.

2) You've had several career switches. What did you like to do the most?

Actually, this answer could be split into two. I really did enjoy being a graphic designer; it was a lot of fun in the old days before computers came into the studios. You had to everything by hand, which took great skill. I also mixed with quite a diverse bunch of people and the creativity jumping around in the studios was amazing. However, with the popularity of computer people began doing their own designs at home, and the graphic work for studios started to dry up. This led me to my second job I loved, which was working in a bookshop. This time instead of mixing with visually creative people I was with those who were inspired by literature. It was during this time at the bookshop that my book buying escalated beyond the ridiculous, good old staff discount. My lust for reading also accelerated and I was becoming an avid reader in all genres.

3) The stories you've written are from various genres. Which genre comes the most natural to you?

I suppose it has to be horror and fantasy. It’s so much easier for me to think in the abstract. I can suspend reality in this realm; let my mind run free without restrictions. Basically, anything goes.

4) Do you have a favourite quote and what does it mean to you?

I want to say something deep and meaningful here, but sadly all my favourite quotes come from the movies or TV shows. The one I use a lot when things are going bad is from a British comedy show called, ‘Blackadder.’ It’s when Blackadder is asked his option on a particular piece of poetry that his man servant has written. “It started off badly, tailed off in the middle and the less said about the end the better.”

5) How did your writing career start?

It started in May 2017 with one story going around in my head about a library that could disappear and reappear. It was driving me nuts banged against the door in my mind like a small child wanting to go out and play. Eventually it ended up becoming my first book, ‘Curse of the Black Books’. Once I had it written down, I thought that was that. Unbeknown to me I had now opened a Pandora’s Box with idea after idea rushing out. I was possessed with words, they all got together to form sentences. These grew into chapters and needed to leave home. So, in quick succession I was wrote a number of short stories. Every piece of writing I create is my classroom, learning all the time about the craft, technically and creatively. I look to where I started to where I am now and the journey as been incredible in such a short space of time.

I have readjusted my focus on what is important to me about my writing. Initially I wanted to publish to generate an income for myself, but as an Independent author I was getting so bogged down in self-promotion that it was taking me away from my writing. So, I had a serious talk with myself and for me entertaining people with my writing and sharing it for free is more important than sales. That was when I joined the story sharing website, Now I get instant feedback from readers and I can see at a glance what is popular. I am now building a community of like-minded writers around me and the whole experience with Booksie has grown my confidence as a writer. I still put a few pieces on various online retail sites, but that’s only because I like to see what it looks like through and e-reader. I really am not bothered if they sell or not. I have five stories on the go at various levels of development which I’m jumping on and off with at the moment, plus a heap of scribbled plot lines.

6) As a former graphic designer, you create stunning covers; can you tell a bit more about the selection process?

Thank you for the compliment. You ask about the selection process. I normally have a general idea of what type of image I’m after before I trawl through my image bank. This can be the longest part of the process, an image has to be simple and uncluttered. Once I’m happy with the image I play around with the typography (copy on the book cover). I lot pf people underestimate this part of the design process, but your treatment with how you display your title is what is going to attract your reader far more than the image you have chosen. With book covers bold is best with type. Not necessary bold type but how you fill the cover. I often will break the title up into parts to bring emphasis to certain words. When I’m happy with the image and the typography, I choose the colours for the type picking colours from within the image. For example, if the image is of a woman’s face and the colours are all flesh tones, look for other colours in the image. If she is wearing lipstick, chose that colour for your type.

I recommend if you are designing your covers to become familiar with colour theory and get yourself a colour wheel to remind you of the complimentary colours. E.g. red is opposite green on the colour wheel, so green is the complimentary of red and visa versa. I have a free guide on, here is the link: if you would like to read further. Also if you have questions please PM me on twitter @bandey_mark I’m also hoping to start a blog sometime this year with the aim to help authors with their covers. This is, as you probably gathered, a passion of mine to help writers get the best out of their covers.

7) Where do you read and where do you write?

I read absolutely anywhere I can. I have a Paperwhite Kindle in my bag at all times plus a reading app on my phone. At home there is a small room full of my books with an old sofa where I do most of my reading and writing. For me I like to engage all my senses’ when writing. I burn my favourite scenting candles; have a view looking out to the garden while listening to classic music. This is where I love to sit on my old sofa with my laptop open giving my ideas their freedom to roam.

8) What do you like to do when you're not reading or writing?

Gardening and walking, both stimulate the brain for creative thinking.

We grow all our own flowers from seed, and each year we get quite excited when we see the first green shoots throw off their earthly duvet and poke their heads out into the open. During the summer I like to walk to the end of our village at just sit and stare at, what I have called, ‘My Thinking Tree.’ I just look at it for an hour with my notebook in my lap. You would be amazed what I come back home with.

9) What makes your heart beat faster?

Running for the bus! No, seriously when an idea starts to develop into a story. When total strangers says they like what I have written, that has got to be the biggest thrill.

10. What are your plans for the future?

Towards the end of the year, I’m hoping to start a free book cover design consultancy blog helping indie authors with their covers. I don’t want it to be ‘preachy’ more of a group discussion where people bring their ideas to the forum and we discuss how to get the best covers possible for them. If folk want to use me to design their covers from scratch, I’m equally happy with that.

Manuscript critique and cover consult giveaway

Covers by Mark Bandey

One very lucky (aspiring) writer will receive a full manuscript critique from Suze and a cover consult with Mark Bandey. After reading the story Suze will give productive feedback aimed at improving the story. Mark Bandey will help by creating a cover that will match your story and genre, inspired by your own ideas. One runner up will receive a cover consult from Mark Bandey. This will be for a previously published title that could use an upgrade or a new title that's been recently finished. This contest is for any genre.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. This is such a great opportunity and thank's so much for doing this! Thank you Mark for taking the time for the interview!

  2. Thank you so much for this chance!

  3. I havent heard of this author before now. Very exciting to find a new author and look forward to reading his book

  4. I've seen my name as the winner, but not been contacted yet?

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