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Marcus Sedgwick - Author

About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick 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 is published in paperback in April 2009, and picks 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.

In his spare time, he is also a stone carver and wood engraver and illustrates all his novels! Marcus lives in Sussex with his wife and his daughter, Alice. 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

Featured books by Marcus Sedgwick

Mister Memory

Mister Memory

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/01/2017

In Paris, in the year 1899, Marcel Despres is arrested for the murder of his wife and transferred to Salpetriere asylum. And so the story might have stopped. But the doctor there soon realises this is no ordinary patient: Marcel Despres, Mister Memory, is a man who cannot forget. And the policeman investigating his case feels sure something else is at stake: for why else would his superiors be so keen for the whole affair to be closed? The crime seems to be linked to the highest and lowest establishments in France, and the policeman and the doctor between them must unravel the mystery...but the answers lie inside Marcel's head. And how can he tell what is significant when he remembers every detail of every moment of his entire life?

ebook of the month
Mister Memory

Mister Memory

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/07/2016

In Paris in the year 1899, Marcel Despres is arrested for the murder of his wife and transferred to the famous Salpetriere asylum. And there the story might have stopped. But the doctor assigned to his care soon realises this is no ordinary patient: Marcel Despres, Mister Memory, is a man who cannot forget. And the policeman assigned to his case soon realises that something else is at stake: for why else would the criminal have been hurried off to hospital, and why are his superiors so keen for the whole affair to be closed? This crime involves something bigger and stranger than a lovers' fight - something with links to the highest and lowest establishments in France. The policeman and the doctor between them must unravel the mystery...but the answers lie inside Marcel's head. And how can he tell what is significant when he remembers every detail of every moment of his entire life?

ebook of the month
A Love Like Blood

A Love Like Blood

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/08/2014

If life has taught me one thing, it is this: that the worst monsters are entirely human. It began in a hole in the ground, in Paris, in the days after the liberation. What I saw there I saw only for the time it takes a match to burn down, and yet it decided the rest of my life. I tried to forget it at first, to ignore it, but I could not. It came back to me; he came back to me. He hurt people I loved...And so I took the first step on a journey from which there would be no return; a path that led me to fear, to hatred and to revenge - but, above all else, to blood.

ebook of the month
A Love Like Blood

A Love Like Blood

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/03/2014

I've chased him for over twenty years, and across countless miles, and though often I was running, there have been many times when I could do nothing but sit and wait. Now I am only desperate for it to be finished. In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterwards that worse things happen in wars. Seven years later he returns to the city - and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow...A LOVE LIKE BLOOD is a dark, compelling thriller about how a man's life can change in a moment; about where the desire for truth - and for revenge - can lead; about love and fear and hatred. And it is also about the question of blood.

Other books by Marcus Sedgwick

Snowflake, AZ

Snowflake, AZ

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/09/2019

A timely, contemporary novel challenging ideas around health - our own and our planet's - and the stigma that persists around illness, by Printz Medallist and internationally bestselling novelist, Marcus Sedgwick. Ash has lived in eight states in as many years. Mom has gone walkabout, but stepdad Jack is like a father, and stepbrother Bly the best anyone could wish for. When Bly goes missing too, Ash sets off to search for him - and finds something much bigger: the sickness of the world. Arriving in Snowflake, Arizona, Ash discovers Bly living with a community 6000 feet high in the wide red desert. They call themselves the Canaries and all suffer from some kind of environmental illness. They are ostracised by modern society, as it continues to ignore climate change, global warming and so much more of our self-inflicted poisoning of the planet. When Ash takes ill, the doctor's response is, 'it's all in your mind'. In a story spanning seven years with triumphs and tragedies, Ash learns how to live as the world is pushed to a point of no return. This humane and deeply thoughtful novel is about resilience, trust, family and love.

The Book of Dead Days

The Book of Dead Days

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/07/2019

Five days of glorious gothic alchemy and evil . . . An atmospheric, page-turning and powerful novel of sorcery and desperate magic by award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick. Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction prize and the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The days between 27 December and New Year's Eve are dead days - days when spirits roam and magic shifts restlessly just beneath the surface of our everyday lives. There is a man, Valerian, whose time is running out. He must pay the price for the pact he made with evil so many years ago. His servant is Boy, a child with no name and no past - a child he treats with contempt, but who serves his master well and finds solace in the company of his only friend, Willow. Unknown to any of them, it is Boy who holds the key to their destiny. Set in dark, threatening cities and the frozen countryside in a distant time, THE BOOK OF DEAD DAYS conjures a spell-binding story as Valerian, Boy and Willow battle to stop time and cling to life.

Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black

Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black

Author: Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2019

A lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London. Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry's mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Driven by visions of Ellis still alive and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry discharges himself from hospital and begins a search for his brother that will lead him deep into the city's Underworld...

The Monsters We Deserve

The Monsters We Deserve

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/04/2019

'Do monsters always stay in the book where they were born? Are they content to live out their lives on paper, and never step foot into the real world?' The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. Born by the twin brains of the Shelleys is Frankenstein, one of the most influential tales of horror of all time. In a remote mountain house, high in the French Alps, an author broods on Shelley's creation. Reality and perception merge, fuelled by poisoned thoughts. Humankind makes monsters; but who really creates who? This is a book about reason, the imagination, and the creative act of reading and writing. Marcus Sedgwick's ghostly, menacing novel celebrates the legacy of Mary Shelley's literary debut in its bicentenary year.

The Monsters We Deserve

The Monsters We Deserve

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/09/2018

'Do monsters always stay in the book where they were born? Are they content to live out their lives on paper, and never step foot into the real world?' The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. Born by the twin brains of the Shelleys is Frankenstein, one of the most influential tales of horror of all time. In a remote mountain house, high in the French Alps, an author broods on Shelley's creation. Reality and perception merge, fuelled by poisoned thoughts. Humankind makes monsters; but who really creates who? This is a book about reason, the imagination, and the creative act of reading and writing. Marcus Sedgwick's ghostly, menacing novel celebrates the legacy of Mary Shelley's literary debut in its bicentenary year.

Monsters We Deserve

Monsters We Deserve

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: eBook Release Date: 06/09/2018

'Do monsters always stay in the book where they were born? Are they content to live out their lives on paper, and never step foot into the real world?' The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. Born by the twin brains of the Shelleys is Frankenstein, one of the most influential tales of horror of all time. In a remote mountain house, high in the French Alps, an author broods on Shelley's creation. Reality and perception merge, fuelled by poisoned thoughts. Humankind makes monsters; but who really creates who? This is a book about reason, the imagination, and the creative act of reading and writing. Marcus Sedgwick's ghostly, menacing novel celebrates the legacy of Mary Shelley's literary debut in its bicentenary year.

The Monsters We Deserve

The Monsters We Deserve

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/09/2018

'Do monsters always stay in the book where they were born? Are they content to live out their lives on paper, and never step foot into the real world?' The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. Born by the twin brains of the Shelleys is Frankenstein, one of the most influential tales of horror of all time. In a remote mountain house, high in the French Alps, an author broods on Shelley's creation. Reality and perception merge, fuelled by poisoned thoughts. Humankind makes monsters; but who really creates who? This is a book about reason, the imagination, and the creative act of reading and writing. Marcus Sedgwick's ghostly, menacing novel celebrates the legacy of Mary Shelley's literary debut in its bicentenary year.

Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter

Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/04/2018

Scarlett Hart is the last of a long line of monster hunters, and this stubborn young orphan is determined to carry on her dead parents' work even if she's too young to be licensed by the monster hunters union. With the help of her loyal butler and a lot of awesome gadgets, Scarlett is out to slay monsters - and to take down the corrupt monster hunter who killed her parents! In a departure from the intense, literary teen fiction for which he is best known, Marcus Sedgwick has turned his pen to middle-grade adventure storytelling. Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter, with Thomas Taylor (known for his illustrations in the British editions of Harry Potter) on the art, is a joyous, goofy, and above-all sincere adventure in the tone of Tintin, Nancy Drew, and classic kids' adventure comics of the 1940s.

A Love Like Blood A Novel

A Love Like Blood A Novel

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/06/2017

A Love Like Blood - A Novel

A Love Like Blood - A Novel

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/06/2017

Saint Death

Saint Death

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/2017

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by PRINTZ MEDAL winning and CARNEGIE MEDAL, COSTA BOOK AWARD and GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S FICTION PRIZE shortlisted novelist, Marcus Sedgwick. Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez - twenty metres outside town lies a fence, and beyond it, America - the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he's been working for. He's dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he's on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they're as good as dead. Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) - she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.

Mister Memory

Mister Memory

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/01/2017

In Paris, in the year 1899, Marcel Despres is arrested for the murder of his wife and transferred to Salpetriere asylum. And so the story might have stopped. But the doctor there soon realises this is no ordinary patient: Marcel Despres, Mister Memory, is a man who cannot forget. And the policeman investigating his case feels sure something else is at stake: for why else would his superiors be so keen for the whole affair to be closed? The crime seems to be linked to the highest and lowest establishments in France, and the policeman and the doctor between them must unravel the mystery...but the answers lie inside Marcel's head. And how can he tell what is significant when he remembers every detail of every moment of his entire life?

ebook of the month
Snow

Snow

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/09/2016

Of all weathers, snow is the one that has always affected Marcus Sedgwick the most. While many people's idea of the perfect holiday involves sun, sea an sand, he instead makes trips to cold, snowy parts of the world: Russia, Scandinavia or the Arctic Circle. A few years ago he bought a mountain home, an old chalet d'alpage high in the Haute Savoie, and for the first time he began to understand what it is to live in an environment where extreme snowfall is frequent.Like the six sides of a snowflake, the book has six chapters, each exploring the art, literature and science of snow, as well as his own experiences and memories, asking whether it really did snow more during his boyhood in Kent and whether changing climate patterns might mean,that for some areas of the world, snow may become a thing of the past. He also wonders why snow is so powerful for our imagination, so transformative and as fundamental as our response to darkness, to sunlight.

Mister Memory

Mister Memory

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/07/2016

In Paris in the year 1899, Marcel Despres is arrested for the murder of his wife and transferred to the famous Salpetriere asylum. And there the story might have stopped. But the doctor assigned to his care soon realises this is no ordinary patient: Marcel Despres, Mister Memory, is a man who cannot forget. And the policeman assigned to his case soon realises that something else is at stake: for why else would the criminal have been hurried off to hospital, and why are his superiors so keen for the whole affair to be closed? This crime involves something bigger and stranger than a lovers' fight - something with links to the highest and lowest establishments in France. The policeman and the doctor between them must unravel the mystery... but the answers lie inside Marcel's head. And how can he tell what is significant when he remembers every detail of every moment of his entire life? For fans of Scarlett Thomas, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Patrick Suskind, this is a captivating literary mystery about memory, history and fate.

Mister Memory

Mister Memory

Author: Marcus Sedgwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/07/2016

In Paris in the year 1899, Marcel Despres is arrested for the murder of his wife and transferred to the famous Salpetriere asylum. And there the story might have stopped. But the doctor assigned to his care soon realises this is no ordinary patient: Marcel Despres, Mister Memory, is a man who cannot forget. And the policeman assigned to his case soon realises that something else is at stake: for why else would the criminal have been hurried off to hospital, and why are his superiors so keen for the whole affair to be closed? This crime involves something bigger and stranger than a lovers' fight - something with links to the highest and lowest establishments in France. The policeman and the doctor between them must unravel the mystery...but the answers lie inside Marcel's head. And how can he tell what is significant when he remembers every detail of every moment of his entire life?

ebook of the month