BackStory: Six Questions with Mark Cassidy

gibbet cage

BackStory: Six Questions with Mark Cassidy
Author of Gibbet

What inspired you to write ‘Gibbet’?

I grew up in Guisborough, North Yorks. At the end of the street on which I lived was a narrow lane called Northgate, which was part of an ancient pilgrimage route from the mouth of the Tees river south over the moors to York. For some reason I had it in my head that the corner there would have been a good spot for a gibbet.

Were there any interesting facts, details, or turns of phrase that didn’t quite make the final piece?

The early drafts included the boy tossing bones down on the heads of meek and gullible pilgrims making their way. The notion of connecting secular crimes with religious crimes appealed to me but I couldn’t make it work within the miniature frame.

Who are your favourite historical fiction writers?

Jim Crace for Harvest and Ian McGuire for North Water.

What is your favourite part of the writing process?

The moment when I realize that the idea I’ve had might actually work.

…Your least favourite?

The labour of love.

…And why?

Because I am beset with the most insidious cases of both procrastination and lack of confidence.

What, if anything, do you have in common with your main character?


What do you like most about writing flash?

The ideas which lend themselves to flash are often the most vivid and disturbing, and ephemeral.

Mark Cassidy was born in Glasgow and grew up in a market town close by Teesside. He emigrated to Canada at eighteen and worked all over the world from there. At present he lives and works in Texas.

Photo ‘Something Forgotten?’ by Dg-505 via Wikimedia Commons.