Service Interview with Mark Iles

Today we're doing a different type of interview, and it should be enlightening to both writers and readers following the blog. 
My guest today is Mark Iles.  Hello! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here. 

Hi, Marie, and fellow readers and writers! Thank you for letting me visit.
Of course! 
Can you tell us a little bit about your company, and how Writing in the Modern Age readers can benefit from it?

I set up The Scribe a year or so ago. It’s designed to help serving members, veterans, dependents, and members of associated charities with any form of creative writing.

Wow, that's great! 
Mark, are you also a writer? What genre or genres should we expect to see you in? Do you use a pseudonym?

I’ve been writing under my own name since ’82. I’ve written features for various magazines, poetry, short stories, full-length fiction (I have three novels, 4 novellas, and a short story collection published and have appeared in anthologies).

To date my full-length non-fiction includes one book and an app.

As qualified Copywriter and Proofreader, I’ve written prolifically in this field and I’m now training as a technical author. My fiction is generally science fiction, fantasy, SFF, and associated genres. That said, when I finish this current novel (and 2nd short story collection…), I’ve been asked to co-author a thriller and I’m very excited about that. We’re already four chapters into this new project.

How did The Scribe get launched, or what spurred the idea? And can you tell us what sets your company apart from other services? Also, what is the one thing that you truly love about your job?

As a war veteran myself I obviously move in those circles, and I came to notice that there was very little support in this area. Having spoken to a member of The Royal British Legion I set up our group, hoping to use the skills that I’ve learned over the years to help others. I know that a great many veterans are alone, many with illnesses and issues caused through their service and dedication to their country. This is my way of giving something back. 

I’ve run novel and short story critique groups for the British Science Fiction Association for many years and envisaged The Scribe offering similar services to veterans. We also offer advice on social media, web building and self-publishing, and how to avoid the many scams that are out there. In addition to The RBL, we currently enjoy support from both Combat Stress and Help for Heroes.

How do you intend to expand your services or company in the future?

It’s hoped that we can get enough people onboard so that we can have groups dedicated to different genres. The whole premise is that what we offer is completely free of charge, and the Scribe is run totally by volunteers. This allows our members, who might have a low income and few friends or relatives, to have a circle of people they can chat to online; others with whom they can share their passion of the written word. It also enables them to share their stories with people.

Let's try some general questions.  
Do you have any favorite authors?

Many: Kevin J. Anderson, John Wyndham, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Lumley, Wilbur Smith, Stephen King…I could go on all night.

Me too! ;)
So, how about a different question?
When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks? And why?

I prefer hard copy. Like many of my peers I enjoy the feel of a book, the smell of the pages as you turn them. I can’t sit and do nothing, which means I’m always reading – be it novels, magazines, papers, ebooks. I even read the advertising on packets, wondering how I’d have written the advertising and product description, which is again Copywriting.

When I’m at home I try to spend as much time as I can writing, so I play catch up with audio books as I drive or burn breakfast. I’m currently listening to Stephen King’s On Writing, a memoir of the Craft, for about the eighth time.

Oh, I love physical books too!
Can you tell us what else you're reading for fun now?

Ebook wise, I’m reading Joanne Penn’s How to Market a Book, and in paperback I have Brian Lumley’s Necroscope on the go - again for the nth time. I read when I’m in bed, before going to sleep. It’s my way of clearing and calming my mind.

Sounds like a plan! wrap this up, here's my last question, or questions, I suppose.
Are there any words you'd like to impart to writers? Any advice you can give us? 
Also, how can writers find out about signing up for The Scribe?  
What is the best way for veterans, and potential readers, to follow you?

Yes, I’d ask your readers to please support our veterans, be it through any charity or consideration. You can find The Scribe here, at

We’re trying to promote creative writing by interviewing authors, and with blogs about writing in general. We are actively looking for material and we generally post bi-weekly. We ask, though, that authors contact us first, to ensure that what they’d like to write has not been done before or is currently being written. 

By reading the posts on our site it shows to our members that their work is getting out there, and perhaps those traumatic life experiences aren’t being lost. Writers can contact me in the first instance, at:

Great! And I assume book readers can find you on your official author site too.
Mark has a really inspiring job and he's quite the author!
The Scribe looks like a great place for writers and readers to check out, which is just about perfect for Writing in the Modern Age, isn't it?
Thank you for stopping by the blog to tell us all about what you offer to veterans, Mark!
Thank you so much for having me on Writing in the Modern Age! 
Our pleasure!

About Mark Iles

Born in Slough, Mark Iles began writing short fiction and features for various magazines in 1982 while serving in the Royal Navy. His first novel, A Pride of Lions was released by Solstice Shadows in 2013. His second book The Cull of Lions was published in 2014 and Roar of Lions in 2017. A collection of short stories, Falling From Grace & Others, along with several novellas, have also been published. Currently Mark's working on a further collection of short tales and two new novels.

While his fiction tends to vary occasionally, it generally remains entrenched in SF, Fantasy and Horror. His tales have appeared in the pages of BBR, Dream, New Moon, Auguries, Haunts,, Screaming Dreams, Write to Fight, Escape Velocity and Monk Punk.

Mark's non-fiction work includes copywriting and features, such as interviews and 'how to' articles. These have been published in Combat, Fighters, Taekwondo Times, Martial Arts Illustrated, Taekwondo & Korean Martial arts, Junk (Hong Kong), Totally Taekwondo, and

Always happy to help other authors Mark runs a novel-writing group for the British Science Fiction Association, and The Scribe – a group dedicated to promoting creative writing in members of HM Armed Forces, dependents, and veterans.

Service Bio
Having heard that communications operators would leave me well trained for a profession when I left, I joined the RN in 1974. I was 17 at the time and am proud that I went through basic training at HMS Ganges, now only a legend. In those days we had to climb to the top of a ship's mast and there was no such thing as safety harnesses. Anyone who’s been through the navy knows that basic training is hard but it sets you up for life. Following that I went all around the world, thoroughly enjoying myself and made many good friends. I left the RN sometime after the Falklands War but rejoined for Gulf War 1. 

My fondest memory is sitting in Tsarvo, Kenya, having a beer with my good friend Taff Davies, while some guy dressed up as Indiana Jones was trying to convince us that he could talk to lions. I’m heavily into Taekwondo and have been involved in martial arts for 45 years, and courtesy of the RN managed to train in clubs in all over the world. I finally left the RN in 1997. Many people ask if I miss it, and the answer is both yes and no. I don’t miss the rough weather and times of strife, but I do the camaraderie and good will. The irony is that when I left the comms skills I learned were outdated. Morse code had long since disappeared, cryptography jobs were rare, and these days people send emails instead of telegrams. Even given that, I wouldn’t change a minute of it. With an MA in Professional writing and diplomas in both copywriting and proofreading, my aim is to promote creative writing for veterans through The Scribe.


I joined the RN as a Radio Operator at HMS Ganges at Ipswich, in 1974. I served at the shore bases (commonly known as stone frigates): HMS Mercury, HMS Nelson, HMS Osprey, HMS Tamar (Hong Kong), HMS Collingwood, and HMS Dolphin. My ships include:  the destroyers HMS Fife, HMS Glasgow, HMS Manchester; the aircraft Carrier HMS Invincible; the Mine Hunter HMS Dulverton; patrol ships HMS Plover and HMS Alderney. Areas of conflict: Falklands Islands (HMS Invincible), Gulf War 1 (HMS Dulverton).

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