This week I’m talking to my agency stablemate and all round good bloke – Danny Marshall! Born in Halifax, Danny is an award-winning writer of thrillers tinged with horror, exploring the impact of isolation and geography. His debut novel, Anthrax Island, was published in May 2021. The sequel, Black Run, is out on 5th December (and you can pre-order a lovely signed copy HERE). Danny lives with his partner and children in West Yorkshire
Take it away, Danny!
Where was your best holiday?
About seven years ago we did a three week road trip around Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, in a bright orange Dodge Challenger R/T. We got off the plane and drove 900 miles north, from San Francisco to where they filmed Twin Peaks, then meandered back nearly 1500 miles down the coast, stopping at filming locations – Kindergarten Cop, The Goonies, The Birds, the lighthouse from The Fog, Return of the Jedi, ET, The Lost Boys… the only real downside was we diverted hours to visit Aberdeen, to see where Kurt Cobain came from. I can see now where the teenage angst came from, the one-way system there sucks.
Who do you love?
In no particular order, My son, my daughter, Eva Mendes, and my partner.
What would you cook on come dine with me?
Mexagne. Like lasagne but a layer of chilli, a layer of pasta, a layer of Doritos, a layer of chilli, a layer of pasta, a layer of Doritos… continue until the topping, which is crunched up Doritos and cheese with BBQ sauce. I wouldn’t win the cash because my entertainment would suck. And you know that bit where the other guests go rooting round the host’s house and start dressing up in their outfits or whatever? I just know I’d go totally overboard hiding questionable things for them to find.
What are you having for lunch tomorrow?
You’ve touched a nerve, this is a sore point in our household. No-one in Halifax has lunch, we have dinner. Except my partner, who’s a southerner and says lunch. As such my kids say it too, instead of dinner and tea. And my son gets confused at school because literally all his classmates call it dinner, but when he’s at home his mum tells him that’s wrong. She also makes him pronounce his Hs and Ts. Anyway, probably crisps and tomatoes and cucumber, same as I’ve been having most days for over a year now!
Did you like school?
I absolutely loved it, I’m very lucky. I’m the only member of my family to get into a Grammar school, I was punching above my weight and consequently ended up in the bottom percentage of the class for most subjects except French and Geography. I was always in detention or on report, and spent a lot of breaks ‘standing on a square’ – a punishment where you had to stand on one square tile in the entrance foyer of school for the whole of dinner time, shitting it as you waited for the headmistress to appear and bollock you.
She hated me, she withheld my GCSE results because she thought I hadn’t handed a text book in at the end of term (I had). I had to travel the four miles to school, wait until everyone had their results, to be called into her office and be told to come back tomorrow with the book. I went back the next day to get my results and the teacher remembered I’d handed it in… Ah, the good old nineties.
I was once almost suspended for attending another school. My school finished earlier than the others in the area and I’d jump on the bus to my best mate’s school, remove my tie, borrow one from a girl at his school who I fancied, and go and attend my mate’s detention with him in his school. After doing this a few times it was discovered I wasn’t a pupil of their school. Unfortunately someone grassed and told them my real identity. Snitches get stitches, if I ever find out who it was…
I managed to briefly get suspended while on a school trip to the Alps and was confined to my room for the rest of the trip but I’m not putting why in writing.
Despite all this and many more instances of almost-suspension and trouble (or maybe because of it) I genuinely loved school.
Do you pair your socks?
Of course. I find it incredibly therapeutic, I pair all the socks for everyone in our house.
How many pairs of shoes do you have?
Not including winter boots etc, six – which is the correct number:
One formal pair of Oxfords, for black tie,
One informal pair of Derbys for work – never worn any more thanks to now-permanent home working, but they’re there for weddings and funerals,
One best pair of trainers,
One everyday pair of trainers (the relegated best pair when you buy a new pair),
One pair of trainers for mowing the lawn and walking the dog and stuff (the relegated everyday pair when you buy a new pair),
One pair of trainers for working on the cars. These should always be Converse Allstars, to double as driving shoes in the event you need to be a getaway driver at short notice.
Why are coconuts so hard to open?
Because if they were soft they wouldn’t be lethal, and we’d have no scale of ‘you’re more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than…’ (insert less risky activity here).
Would you rather have no forks or no plates
I mean, bowls exist, so…
But in the spirit of the question – probably no forks. I don’t mind using fingers. I actually get unduly worked up when people use a knife and fork to eat pizza just because they’re in a restaurant. Like, you don’t use a knife and fork to eat the bread they brought out just because you’re in a restaurant, do you? So why the pizza? It really shouldn’t annoy me as much as it does.
Who was your first crush?
I’m going to go with Juliette from Muskahounds, and now you’ll have the theme tune in your head all day. I actually really fancied M’Lady too, but she was evil so I remember consciously trying to fancy Juliette more.
As a child, clearly considering the questionable morality of fancying evil people, but not the fact that they are a cat and a dog.
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