An Interview with Simon Marshland

Simon Marshland has travelled widely, living and working in places as diverse as East Africa and South America. His recent occupations have ranged from yacht chartering in the Mediterranean to fish farming in France. He currently lives in the West of England, but admits to itchy feet.


Dark Destiny
Simon Marshland
Virtual Publications

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself, your background, how long you have been writing, etc?

I suppose in a sense I’ve been writing most of my life. Even as a child I would get bursts of literary energy that might last a week to a month before spluttering away to doze somewhere at the back of my mind. Then for no particular reason some subject or event would set me thinking, causing the urge to awake and surface once more for another brief period of consciousness. As I grew older the periods grew longer and I wrote an increasing number of articles, commentaries, odes and short stories. But it wasn’t until six years ago that I sat down to try my hand at writing a book.

2. You have a book published in print in the US ‘Dark Destiny’ – can you give us some idea of what the book is about and tell us a little about your publisher?

There are many plot twist throughout the book, so I wouldn’t want to spoil things for possible readers by giving too much away. The following is the book description…

Promiscuous, ever in debt food critic Harry Black is offered an enormous bribe by tycoon Josh Cottismore to elope with his daughter to produce an heir. From London, to Las Vegas, to the Caribbean and Rangoon, Harry finds himself embroiled in a vast international drug cartel in which his ruthless, and decidedly unstable father-in-law is an active participant. Still worse, his new wife seems incapable of conception. Aware now of the very permanent solutions favoured by Josh when faced with failure, Harry has no option but to employ the dubious Dr Bargee to rectify the situation — but finds his troubles have only just begun. Amusing and exciting.

3. How long did it take you to get the book published? Did you submit through an agent or on spec?

It seemed like forever, but in reality from finishing the book to seeing it in print took about 18 months. I wasted a lot of time trying the accepted agent route. Working my way through The Artist’s Year Book and the Writer’s Handbook, but although the rejections were couched in kind, even enthusiastic terms, they remained rejections. The final straw was a letter from a top agent saying how much they liked the book and would have been happy to accept it. However on average they received over 100,000 manuscripts a year and seldom selected more than two. So in the circumstances…I began to think my chances might be better served by the lottery. If one wasn’t a pop singer, retiring Prime Minister, TV chef or serial killer, the odds of being published seemed slim. So I turned to the Internet, search engines, and finally elected to try my luck with Virtual Publications.

4. Have you written any other books and are they going to be published, or are you currently working on a new book?

My first book, The Quest for the Eerie Glow, was written for children. But after it was finished I read it through and discovered parts of it even scared the hell out of me. What effect it might have on a small nightmare prone child I dreaded to think. As a result I have never attempted publication, holding it reserve in the hopes that one day I might come across a cartoon producer prepared to turn it into another of those terrifying children’s films that are consumed on TV each day along with the fish fingers. I then wrote Dark Destiny, and I have just finished my new book Mr Christopher, a love story with a difference played out against the back drop of global warming.

5. What advice would you offer a first time author trying to break into publishing?

I don’t think I’ve been around publishing long enough to offer advice. But for what it’s worth I would recommend going down the standard agent route if you can. If all goes well and you’re lucky enough to be accepted by a good publisher, at least they will know where to place your book to the best advantage and there is always the chance they will invest a fair bit of money on promoting it as well. Failing which I suggest the Internet route, if you take a little time to look around you’ll find more help and advice than you can possibly use.

6. Have you ever considered epublishing, if so, why and if not, why not?

Yes I have, e-publishing several bits and pieces on my own page,( not too good I’m afraid, even with the aid of Frontpage) and a short story called Soulmates available on . Dark Destiny is also available as an e-book at

7. You have written a comedy thriller, are there any particular problems combining comedy with the thriller genre?

Having only written the one I am hardly a seasoned judge. But I found no problems in merging the two genres, largely because I never attempted to create a comic character. All my characters take themselves extremely seriously, it is the situations in which they continually find themselves that I hope will prove amusing to the reader. Though even here I don’t think I can claim much credit. Once the two main characters had taken shape they pretty well wrote the book themselves.

8. Finally, can you tell us what inspired you to become a writer?

Observation, imagination and a natural talent to daydream. I only have to see someone running down the street, a couple arguing vehemently yet silently in a closed car with misted window, or a man loading a heavy sack into a sailboat, and the daydream kicks in with lavish toppings of imagination. After that writing down what happens next becomes almost an obsession.

Read an extract:


Harry opened an eye and checked the bedside clock. The quartz face blinked 5:17. Christ! Only four minutes since he had looked last time. Somehow he had to get some sleep. Desperately he punched another hole in the crumpled pillow and buried his head to try again. Beside him Candy’s large full breasts remained motionless as she fought for breath with unconscious desperation until a gasping explosion from despairing lungs blew a passage to the air outside. Harry called it the vodka cycle and it was driving him mad. But then nowadays just about everything Candy did seemed to drive him mad and had done for quite a while.

Long after their initial insatiable desire had waned, Harry had continued to make passionate love to her every night in his determined quest for conception. Even when Candy developed a taste for the vodka bottle, loosing her sparkle and adding the extra pounds that blurred her former beauty, Harry had never given up. Over sexed by nature he had solved the problem by dismissing her personality and using her solely as a sex object. Leaping on her the moment they got into bed, fucking her deep and hard, thrusting savagely, listening as her whimpering protests turned to panting screams of encouragement, gripping her wrists and holding himself back until with a shuddering shriek she turned to jelly beneath him, and only then allowing his own release to flood in a final orgy of battering thrusts before collapsing limp on top of her. Lying there momentarily exhausted before rolling off to be engulfed by instant unconsciousness. Harry didn’t know how Candy felt about this new form of love making, and frankly didn’t care. If nothing else it was a proven sleeping draught for the pair of them, and over the last few months sleep had increasingly become the time they got on best. But on vodka nights even that was denied him.

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