A terrorist threat, a sinister organisation, and a threat to the security of the free world. Renowned British lawyer and Sandhurst military academy dropout, Mark Lucas King is assigned the case of his career: to prosecute known terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi.
All King wants is justice and to do his job successfully. But his peaceful life is shattered when a team of merciless hitmen targets him and his family and the court case collapses. Framed for assault and suspected of his wife’s murder, King must leave his legal career behind and go back to his old career as a British Army sniper in order to catch those responsible and hold them to account. Mark King’s brand of justice doesn’t involve a court room.
Forced to battle against highly trained hitmen to clear his name, King discovers that a sinister organisation known as Invictus Advoca is operating behind the scenes. What is their connection to him and the Al-Azidid case?
As the hunt for those responsible takes him far across Europe, can Mark unravel the mysteries that shroud this secretive organisation and peel back the layers to discover why he and his family have found themselves the target of professional hitmen?
Time is not on Mark King’s side as he races to prevent a global terror threat, discover who killed his wife, and find out who wants him dead, and why.
Living in Hampshire, right on the edge of Southampton Water, P.S Bridge has spent over a decade working in the private financial and legal sector. Away from his professional life, he embraces his creative side and is often found writing stories whilst listening to music. An avid reader from a young age he counts author Scott Mariani as one of the many influences that finally encouraged him to put the finishing touches to the first in his Mark King thriller series.
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) I used to work in the financial and legal industry, working with a variety of clients from all across Europe as well as in the UK. After 13 years of long days and late nights, I decided to leave to pursue an idea for a TV series after watching the popular ‘Thirteen’ series with Stuart Townsend. After sending it to every producer and director I could, and them all saying no, my wife suggested I turn it into a book. After lots of discussion, I decided she was right and ‘Hit’ the novel was born.
Hit is about rebellious but renowned English Lawyer and ex-Sandhurst Military academy drop out & British Army sniper Mark King, who, after waiting his entire legal career for ‘THE case’, finally is selected to prosecute a terrorist named Azidi. With Downing Street and the entire country watching, it’s Mark King’s time to shine. However, there are other forces at work and after several threatening phone calls demanding he drop the case, Mark is framed for assault and then the murder of his wife. Knowing it was a professional ‘hit’, he swears vengeance, and, securing his two children in a safe location, embarks on a mission to bring those responsible for his wife’s murder, to justice.
However, as with all things Mark King, things are never simple, and he unearths a mysterious and sinister secret society Invictus Advoca, who works in the shadows with governments all across the world in their pocket. Not only is Mark battling professionally trained killers, he is also up against an organisation which doesn’t know the meaning of giving up, and to make matters worse, they have a terrifying connection to Mark himself, or rather, Mark’s past. With highly trained killers, a secret organisation hell bent on his downfall, and to make matters worse, a young and ambitious MI6 agent determined to put Mark in prison, to deal with, time is running out for Mark to find out who killed his wife and targeted him and his family, and why.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) I first had the idea for Hit while on my lunch break while working in Southampton. I had worked so closely with many legal figures and I was always fascinated by their loyalty to Justice. It made me wonder how far they would go to achieve it and what justice really meant to individuals. I asked around and the same general consensus was the same, but I also wondered what would happen if any one of them went to the complete opposite end of the spectrum, from advocate of truth and justice and the law, to professional killer. As I delved further into this kind of psychology, a character began to emerge, and a story line formed. Hit, was starting to almost create itself.
Initially, Hit was written as a TV series, but no TV production company wanted to take on the project. My wife suggested I turn it into a book and the work really began. My first job was to take each scene and elaborate on it from script, to chapter and this meant a lot of late nights and long days, (and coffee!). Once the manuscript was complete, I began to contact every single traditional publisher I could find online. Each one said no except Clink Street. After a long conversation with them around the idea, the character’s journey and the other 18 books planned,
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) I adore Tom Clancy, Brian Jacques who I was lucky enough to have met before he sadly died, and Scott Mariani, who, in my mind, is one of the most incredible and talented authors of our time. My current recommended reads are Rob Sinclair’s Enemy series. This author knows exactly how to draw you in, keep you on the edge then dazzle you, sometimes all at the same time. He has a massive career ahead of him and he came from a very similar background to mine. If I ever write as well as he does, I shall be happy.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) As a child, both my mum and I read Brian Jacques ‘Mossflower’ series of books about an Abbey of warrior mice and their figurehead ‘Martin The Warrior’. I think what inspired me to write, was how he based all the animal characters on real people and real areas around Liverpool, Bristol, Somerset and Ireland. I would take these books to Southampton Common during the summer holidays and sit in the woods with a picnic, and imagine the story coming to life before me. I was totally hooked.
I also adored the Fighting Fantasy Game Book series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. For anyone who loves table top gaming such as Warhammer, they would LOVE these books. Because you turn to different pages based on your decisions, you rarely read the same adventure in the same book twice! It was a genius concept and I still read them now if/when I get time.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) My favourite moment was having someone say they liked what I had written. Obviously I adore the writing process, but when I first put my manuscript out there, I was absolutely terrified in case everyone hated it. But once people started saying they liked it, it made me feel amazing. Although my most favourite part of being a published author hasn’t yet happened. I dream of walking past a Waterstones and seeing my novel in the window! One day, when this happens, I KNOW that will be the best moment so far.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) Initially, it was my late mum. Even when she was dying, and undergoing gruelling chemotherapy, she was still more interested in MY work, than her own suffering. She always wanted to hear about the story, my progress and we would write it almost together. But also my wife, Laura and 7 year old Jessica. Both these people have never once, not even after regular setbacks with refusals of other agencies, or TV producers, through the late nights and sudden moments of revelation at 3am when I leap up out of bed and rush to my notepad because I’ve had a fantastic idea for a plot, or character. When I gave up work to write full time, money was tight. In fact, we once attended a food bank when neither of us could find work for a while. Despite all of this, the both of them never once said ‘go out and get a proper job’. They both said, even when I insisted I give up writing and go back to work full time, ‘no, carry on writing. What you’ve got is good!’
Guest Post: The road to publication
Ever since I was young, I loved to write. I know that sounds cliché but for me it’s really true. Growing up I always wanted to be a journalist until a very wise and eagle eyed careers advisor recognised I lacked the qualities and, due to living on a rough council estate and being the victim of crime regularly, recommended I enter the legal profession. Fast forward to the age of 23 and I was busy working for a solicitors practice. I encountered a great variety of characters there, some of which made it into the book and Mark King was born.
During 2014 and after what seemed like years of mental arguments with a character in my imagination that flatly refused to go away, I decided to leave the legal profession and began writing the script for what I thought would make a great TV series. Long nights were spent furiously typing away my old and decrepit laptop as I composed line after line, scene after scene, sometimes filling 8 pages with scene description. My days would be spent between school runs, researching locations and inventing my own, working out camera angles, lighting, and background music, even choosing the actors I wanted to play each part until eventually, I completed seasons 1 and 2.
My partner and I discussed at great length, the issue with having what we both agreed was a really good script but no one ever reading it, and so I built up the courage to send my completed scripts out to TV production companies, producers, directors and anyone who would listen, starting with the producers of some of my favourite TV drama series. Each and every single one said they liked what I had done, but didn’t think it was ‘right for them’.
I felt low and disappointed, but yet prepared to write season 3. No sooner had I penned the season than my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer and would undergo treatment immediately. Her chemotherapy was gruelling and I sat by her bedside constantly. She would ask me to read scenes out to her and to distract her mind from the pain and sickness, would provide critique and improvements, frequently commenting ‘you can’t say that, he wouldn’t behave like that. Here you go look, write it like this….’
It was after one such 24 hour period of looking after mum, and a flurry of refusal emails from yet more production companies I had forgotten I had contacted, that my partner advised I should turn it into a book rather than a series. This meant changing the entire format and adding extra into each scene. Never one to turn down a challenge, but more concerned with my mum, I put it before mum who was adamant I should.
As the weeks went by, I worked on it next to mum’s bedside and she continued to critique it and offer suggestions, but silently, mum was deteriorating. Sadly, she never got to see the completed book as not long after this, the cancer was victorious and she passed away just after Christmas. In my grief, I first refused to ever touch the finished manuscript again. However, something told me to send it to every publisher I could find.
After the funeral, I did exactly that, and spent a week emailing the first 3 chapters and briefs to every single publisher Google provided. As was the case with the script, 99% said it was good, but it wasn’t something they felt was right for them. As I emailed, I worked on book 2, then 3, then 4. It was at this point that I got a call from Clink Street Publishing who thought the idea of a British Lawyer turning hitman was something they had never heard done before, and to tell them more. A call was set up and we spent nearly 2 hours discussing the book, the Mark King Series, and the direction I wanted to take the character and the series. Before long, I had achieved my first edit and I was excited. However, suddenly a wave of fear swept over me, what if no on liked it, I hadn’t thought of that? But Clink Street continued to encourage me as they talked me through what I considered the most daunting task, preparing the book for publication. I’d never done anything like this before and had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, Clink Street really talked me through each step and my edits were finally complete. The next task was approving the front cover.
Initially, I wanted to keep the cover design I had created, believing it to be more fitting for the type of story I had written, but once I had some cover designs provided, I was blown away, my favourite being the one which would eventually be used, and, to be perfectly honest, despite my over-complicated and preferred design, the current cover literally blew me away, it was amazing and really stood out more so than any cover I could design. I was still absolutely terrified because I was about to be thrust out there for the world to see and critique and the very thought of it filled me with fear.
All the fear I had felt, the disappointment I had shouldered and believed, despite reassurances from other authors, including an article by J.K Rowling about how many reviewers thought The Philosopher’s Stone wasn’t great, vanished when the front and back cover and completed edited version of my book finally appeared on the screen in front of me! I remember vising my parent’s grave to tell them about it and sitting there on the grass in the warm sunshine thinking ‘as long as they don’t crucify me publically if they don’t like my work, I’ll be fine’
Hit, the first in the Mark King Series, and my first works, is and always will be, dedicated to my mum who, in typical parental fashion, even when faced with that terrifying disease which claimed her life, thought MY work, was more important.