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The five questions that fire the imagination

For FEMALE FIRST, December 14 2015 They are the five questions that every budding journalist quickly learns, questions to get to the facts, to get to the story. I can see myself now – anxious and eager in my first week as a junior reporter, pristine notebook in hand – interviewing a woman in curlers on her doorstep after a fire at her neighbour’s house. ‘So, do you know who was in the house when it started?’ ‘And what exactly did you see?’ ‘And where was the smoke coming from? Where exactly?’ ‘And when was this? What time?’ ‘And do you know why the fire started? What caused it?’ A soft lad from the south in a strange northern town, my beginner’s shorthand wasn’t up to the job, my ear wasn’t yet attuned to the accent. But I kept plugging away at my questions and got there in the end. […]

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My Writing Day

Writing is novelist MARK HAYSOM’S fourth, and favourite, career he tells LYNNE HACKLES for Writing Magazine Writing is Mark Haysom’s fourth career. ‘I come to this writing business late,’ he told me. ‘Despite all the highs I’ve had in my other careers, this is the most enjoyable and is the fulfilment of a long-held dream. ‘I spent a few years trying to get published and building a dispiriting stack of rejection letters but I stuck with it and got there in the end. That’s something you need as a writer – perseverance. It was only at the age of 60 that I finally achieved my dream of being a published author. ‘I spent thirty years in newspapers, starting as a trainee journalist and ending up as MD of Mirror Group Newspapers. ‘After that, wanting something in the public sector, I became CEO of a large Government education agency. I had six […]

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Author Mark Haysom’s vivid childhood memory sparks his debut novel and a two-book deal

By Karen Price He penned Love, Love Me Do after spending a career as a newspaper boss, which including working at the Western Mail and Echo and managing Piers Morgan Author Mark Haysom with a copy of his novel, Love, Love Me Do Mark Haysom breaks into a smile as he recalls a recent trip to a printing firm in Suffolk. For someone who has spent most of his long career at the heart of the newspaper industry, the whirring sound of the giant presses is nothing new. But this particular visit was a milestone for him. After spending decades nurturing an ambition to write a book, his debut novel was finally coming to life in front of him. “It was almost too much, especially as an old newspaper man used to seeing newspapers rolling off the presses,” says Haysom, who was managing director of the Western Mail and South […]

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‘A book in your hand is like holding magic’

For The Irish Times, September 1 2014 What was the first book to make an impression on you? I think it must have been Under Milk Wood when I was 11 years old. I remember a teacher reading the opening passage about the ‘sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea’ and then encouraging us to make up our own words to describe a particular scene. One boy come up with ‘lumsy’ to describe cows in a field. Cows have been lumsy to me ever since. What was your favourite book as a child? I’m not sure I had one: ‘favourite’ implies some kind of ability to discriminate. I read everything, all the time, indiscriminately. And what is your favourite book or books now? Usually the last book I have read. I have just finished Linda Sparling’s The Purchase. What is your favourite quotation? I have many and one of my favourites […]

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Yes, of course, I would remember that

For Gransnet, July 31st 2014 I am walking home beside my sister and she is pushing her twisted bicycle, crying, limping. There is blood weeping from her red-raw, gravelled knee. I too am crying – even though it didn’t happen to me. She is six years old and I am five. It is, I think, my earliest memory. But why is that, I wonder? Why has this remained with me when all else has been lost? After all, there was nothing so very unusual here. There would have been countless other childhood scrapes, other falls; certainly there were plenty of other tears. I remember remarkably little of those growing-up years – perhaps because mine was something of a fractured childhood of eight house moves and seven schools – but this and the few other scraps of later memory that have somehow survived are sharp, vivid, precious. And they have retained […]

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It Began There, All This Book Business

For Novelicious, July 31st 2014 Mark Haysom had a 30-year career in newspapers ending up as managing director of Mirror Group. His first book ‘Love, Love Me Do’ is published today. Their voices wake me in the small hours: I know them so well, I carry them with me at all times. Once awake, I let them rehearse what they have to say, what they need to do. And sometimes they surprise me. Yes, of course, Truman would do that; Christie would react that way; Baxter would say that; Strachan would flex his shoulders at that point; but for Abby to do that? Then? They are the five principal characters of the book I’m currently working on – and four of them featured in my first book Love, Love Me Do. And they invariably wake me before dawn. One of the things I didn’t fully realise when I first started writing […]

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‘I packed up my dream, put it in a box in a corner of my mind. And there it stayed gathering dust’

Written for the Irish Times, July 31 2014: I believe reading is contagious and that I caught it from my mother. She was always the one who had her nose buried in this book or that as she juggled a baby on a hip, a full-time job and a pan on the hob. Or perhaps it was from the poet teacher of my schooldays, Vernon Scannell, who taught English with his fists but threw books and words at us dimwitted boys with a deadly aim. Or maybe it was from my grandmother, with her stories of home, of another life in the fantastical tumbledown villages of her youth around Macroom in Co Cork. Whoever it was, whatever it was, something lit a fire in me and by the age of 12, I was reading Hemingway, Forster, Forrester, Faulkner, The Beano, The Eagle, Agatha Christie, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, Austen, Dickens […]

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My Brighton

We Love Brighton, June 29 2014: Mark Haysom, Author of new Brighton based book Love, Love Me Do, gives us a poetic and personal piece on what Brighton means to him after he moved back from London with his wife four years ago and why he chose to set his latest novel in our City. “Brighton is a place of surprises. Every day we try to set off walking – for we have discovered that it is a city best understood on foot – and every walk we take seems to add some new vivid fragment to our kaleidoscope of shared Brighton memories. Now, each twist of that kaleidoscope brings a new sight, a new sound to mind. “There’s the clattering stamp late that July evening of two dozen Morris men, closing the road outside The Crescent, and dancing recklessly into the night; there’s that sun-filled day on Madeira Drive when two thousand […]

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