How was 2021 for you…Mark Stay

Author, scriptwriter, podcaster & more…Mark Stay gives us the lowdown on his year and plans for 2022, plus some music, film & book recommendations…

The highs & lows of 2021…
The highs… Going back to the movies has been great (even if we’re often the only people in the cinema wearing masks). We kicked it off by seeing the Lord of the Rings trilogy on the big screen, which our kids had never experienced before. Just magical.
Also managed to write more this year than any other. A couple of books, a few short stories, and a bunch of screenplays, and there’s also a TV thing happening that I can’t talk about. It’s been a productive year. I prefer to keep my head down and write rather than wail on social media these days. That’s where the lows are.

Read any good books lately…
The audiobook of Rutger Bregman’s Humankind kept me sane over the summer. Humanity is not as bad as we make ourselves out to be. I can also recommend the audiobook of Seth Rogen’s Yearbook, which is hilarious, though your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for stoner stories. I’m in the middle of a proof copy of Caimh McDonnell’s This Charming Man, the second in his Stranger Times series, which is joyful page-turning, gripping fun. Highly recommended.

For research, I’m listening to Get Tusked, which is about Fleetwood Mac making the album Tusk after Rumours became the biggest album in the world. Things get a wee bit strained as you can imagine. For film nerds, I loved My Life as a Mankiewicz, by the late, great screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz. One of the most gleefully gossipy books about movies you’ll ever read.

Films & TV series you’d recommend a watch over the Christmas & New Year break…
I know the Ted Lasso thing is in danger of being overblown, but it really is like a warm hug. I got into it during the second lockdown and it will help restore your faith in humanity. You can balance that with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia which we’re loving, though we can only watch one episode at a time as they’re such despicable people.

Only Murders in the Building is the best thing Steve Martin has done since Bowfinger, and as a whodunnit it really keeps you on the hook. I’m really looking forward to Peter Jackson’s Beatles three-part documentary Get Back. I suspect I’m going to be watching that on hard repeat.

In our house, Christmas officially starts when we all gather to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, and there’s a rumour that Disney might finally be releasing the full version with the song When Love Is Found.

Heard any good music recently…
Ocean to Ocean by Tori Amos is my favourite album of hers since Scarlett’s Walk. Some of the best stuff she’s ever done. Wet Leg are a cracking duo from the Isle of Wight. They’ve only released two songs — Chaise Longue and Wet Dream — and they’re both belters. I stumbled across the video for Rumors by Lizzo and Cardi B on Apple TV and it’s like an R-rated version of Disney’s Hercules. It has to be seen to be believed and the song is an instant classic. And as a longtime Floyd fan I was delighted to get the CD of the 2019 remix of A Momentary Lapse of Reason (MP3s just aren’t the same). To hear Nick and Rick on the album as they should always have been is a real treat.

What have you got planned for next year and beyond…
Busy year in 2022. My new film Unwelcome comes out on St Patrick’s Day in the UK and the USA. And the third of the Witches of Woodville books — The Ghost of Ivy Barn — is out in May. Hoping to do more festivals and book events and actually meet people!

Anything else to add…
Unwelcome Trailer: 

You can discover more about The Witches of Woodville books and even get some free short stories here: https://witchesofwoodville.com

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