Rachel Marks studied English at Exeter University before becoming a primary school teacher. Despite always loving to write, it wasn't until she gained a place on the 2016 Curtis Brown Creative online novel writing course that she started to believe it could be anything more than a much-loved hobby.
Her inspiration for her first book, Saturdays at Noon, came from the challenges she faced with her eldest son, testing and fascinating in equal measure, and the research she did to try to understand him better.
Until Next Weekend is her second novel which was published by Penguin on 29 April and is also available through Suffolk Libraries.
- Who were your literary heroes as you were growing up and when did you first realise that you wanted to write?
In my year 6 leavers video from Primary School, the interviewer asks what I want to be when I grow up and I say ‘author’ so from a very young age! It wasn’t until I discovered Nick Hornby and David Nicholls that I knew what I wanted to write. They are my literary heroes!
- What is your writing routine? Do you have a desk with a view, do you set targets for each day?
Before lockdown (and the arrival of my new baby) I used to drop my boys off at school, come home, make a cup of tea and then settle down to write until pick up. I did make myself a writing room and bought a desk but to be honest I usually end up on the sofa with my laptop on my knee or out in the garden when the sun shines.
- Your first book Saturdays at Noon was one of our featured Suffolk Loves books. How was it to write and why did you decide to set it in an anger management class?
It took me quite a while to write due to a lack of confidence but then I got accepted onto a Curtis Brown novel writing course and that spurred me on to finish it. The anger management setting I just thought would be interesting as it brings together diverse people and also I thought it would be good for some humour.
- Your new book Until Next Weekend is published on 29th April. Can you give us a flavour of that?
It’s about a divorced dad called Noah, who is still desperately in love with his ex-wife and struggling with only seeing his two boys every other weekend. He’s a bit of a mess, but with the help of barmaid, Mimi, he sets out on an ‘improvement’ project to try to win his ex-wife back.
- Is there anything you can share with us about your latest project?
It’s a love story that starts with the couple splitting up! Doesn’t sound like much of a love story, does it?! I’m still in the editing process at the moment but I’m hoping people are really going to enjoy it.
- We are always looking for good book recommendations. Is there anything you have read recently that you would recommend to Suffolk readers?
I read all the time and then forget what I’ve read! I’ve really enjoyed Three Hours recently. It had me gripped throughout. Oh and Bear Town is another of my recent favourites. Just such amazing characterisation.
- How have you coped with lockdown? Has it presented particular problems for you as a writer?
It’s presented me with the problem of much less time, as I am homeschooling two boys whilst also looking after a baby! It means I really have to make the most of the tiny windows I can find to work. But truth be told, I love having the children home so I don’t resent it.
- Can you tell us one thing about yourself that your readers may not know?
I’m a secret sucker for all things ‘trash TV’! Love Island, Married at First Sight, Temptation Island…anything I can just get lost in for a while and that I don’t have to think too hard about.