Growing up in Clovelly, Mark was the fifth child in a family of eight. With so many other characters to write about, I did consider leaving Mark out of Barefoot on the Cobbles, yet I found that he needed to be there. Not only would his absence have left an unexplained gap in a run of evenly spaced children but what happened to Mark provided yet another strand that explained the subsequent behaviour of his mother, Polly.
Born in 1906, Mark resisted the lure of the sea and worked for the National Bus Company as a conductor and then a driver. In 1931, he was the conductor on a bus travelling through Horns Cross, when one of the passengers, Joseph Daniels, was killed as he alighted from the bus. No blame was attached to the driver, who was a distant cousin of Mark’s.
In 1935, Mark married Dorothy Good but he fell ill shortly afterwards and died in 1941. The couple had no children. Dorothy outlived him by over sixty years.
‘Polly pushed open the door to the bedroom where the boys slept. It always smelled musty, as only a boys’ room can. The clothes Mark had discarded the previous night were pooled on the floor next to the bed that he shared with Nelson. Polly passed her hand across the lad’s forehead. It felt clammy to the touch.’
Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.