And that’s exactly what happened with one of the key scenes in her new book, No Place To Run.
“I just had a vision of a woman being chased through a forest and someone witnessing it from a train,” says the best-selling Wolverhampton author. ” I do not know where it comes from. This happens often, things come to mind. It was such an intriguing scene. I didn’t know who she was or what the story would be, but I thought it was a good opening for a book.
No Place to Run, which is published June 21, is Mark’s third consecutive novel to be set in America and parts of the story were inspired by a train and road trip he took in California in 2019.
“He’s a Brit named Aidan Faith who lives in Seattle and works in the tech industry. His 15-year-old sister, Scarlett, is going to stay with him and a few days into the trip she disappears.
“Aidan wakes up one morning and she’s not there. He can’t find her and she doesn’t answer her phone. There’s a huge manhunt going on but she’s never been found. Two years later , an elderly woman travels by train from Los Angeles to Seattle.
“As dawn breaks and the train passes through a forest, the woman looks out the window and sees a young woman being chased by a man through a clearing. The woman is convinced that a girl, Scarlett, is missing. because it was a big story in Seattle at the time, his face was on posters and it was all over the news.
“She contacts Aidan, who is skeptical if the woman she saw is Scarlett, but he has nothing to lose. He goes to Northern California and starts looking for her,” says Mark, who has sold over four million copies of his books.
The book also has a strong environmental theme, partly inspired by Mark’s own trip to California where he witnessed devastating wildfires firsthand. Readers of No Place To Run will learn that Scarlett is a passionate environmentalist and vegan and they will also be introduced to a group of green activists.
“Large parts of the state were burning. We saw areas of forest burned and homes and businesses that had been destroyed. The ground was still smoking in places and we had to change part of our trip because there were still fires,” he told Weekend.
“Around the same time, Extinction Rebellion protests were unfolding in London and Greta Thunberg was leading the school strike. Part of the book was inspired by this and my own interest in green issues and politics – I smuggled some green issues into the Trojan Horse-like book,” says Mark, who recently signed another three-year contract. books with the publisher Thomas & Mercier.
Although America has been the focus of her last three books, her next novel will be set in the UK.
“The one I’m writing is set in England – and I think a lot of people will be delighted to hear it. I decided to write these three books in America because I wanted to expand the world I was writing about. America gives me this huge canvas to play with. It gives me a new challenge and makes it interesting. If it’s not interesting for the writer, it’s going to be very boring for the reader.
“But a lot of my UK readers have asked me when I’m going back to the UK. The next and those in the foreseeable future will be set in the UK. The next one is a national thriller, like Here To Stay and The Magpies, and it will be released in the spring of 2023,” says Mark.
He will also publish a short story, set in North Wales, later this year. “It’s a horror story about a creature that steals children and will come out around Halloween,” says Mark.
To celebrate the release of No Place To Run, he will be hosting an online launch party on his Facebook page for his readers on June 21.
Appearances at the Capital Crime Writing Festival in London and Bloody Scotland in Falkirk are planned for later in the year. But for now Mark, whose latest book, The Hollows, was published in July 2021, has his fingers crossed for publication day.
“It never gets less exciting and it never gets less annoying. You just don’t know how each book is going to be received and how it will perform. I think it’s a very good book – it’s very quick and exciting – it’s a page-turner. It’s more of an action thriller than my other books and less of a psychological thriller. If people haven’t read any of my books before, that’s a good start,” says Mark.
No Place To Run will be published by Thomas & Mercer on June 21