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This week I'm sharing with you my exclusive author interview with the talented Clive Warner. Clive is the author of When Things Go Bang a historical fiction novel. My interview with Clive below- enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself...
I’m a UK expat, having left England back in 1990 when my business collapsed in the recession and I couldn’t find work. My wife, who’s Mexican, moved to her country and these days we live in the big northern city of Monterrey, together with our two adopted Springer spaniels. My wife still works full time. I’m supposedly retired, but I still teach English and four years ago I began Pear and Peach, a startup in personal care, which fits very well with my love of chemistry. I design skin care and hair care products. My most recent design is a shampoo made with coffee and licorice root. I love to write novels, I also love book doctor work and have edited a fair few. My last big edit was the book “Cast The First Stone” by Andrew Mowatt. This ended up as 570 pages; I had difficulty holding the several story lines in my head because it was so long to begin with. It helped that I love historicals!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
My dad taught me to read very early, so I’ve always been an avid reader. I began my first efforts to write my own fiction when I was a young teenager. Unfortunately I could find no guidance – this was pre-Internet, remember – and so I failed badly.
Can you share your journey to becoming a published author?
My first novel remains unpublished, which is just as well. I think this probably happens to the majority of novelists. After I finished it I began sending it to agents and got a lot of rejections without knowing why. Finally a London agent took pity on me and said, “Make me laugh, or make me cry. Preferably both. Your novel talks about emotion but doesn’t make me feel emotion because the characters don’t seem real.” It was then that I realised that my characters were just cardboard cut-outs that I had moved through my very elaborate plot. So I joined a critique group, Novels-L, where I spent some years learning how stories work and helping other writers in turn. Eventually I realised that I prefer (by far) first person narratives and began working in that. Stupidly I gave the book an almost-identical title as a famous novel of very different type. A small press in Florida published it.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge, as an author?
My biggest challenge is emotion. From my early mistakes I discovered that I need to write character-driven rather than plot-driven books. Characters are driven by their emotional needs as much or more than by their logical needs. Unfortunately for me, I’m a high-achieving Aspergers person, so I have a distinct lack of empathy. I have to constantly remind myself, “What is this character feeling right now? How can I convey that?”
What do you find most rewarding, as an author?
The most rewarding thing about writing, for me, is that it’s a form of therapy. Every writer puts their own self into their work – it’s unavoidable. I have found that while self-editing, I often get insights into my own nature that I never suspected. I suspect that I have to write, it’s not optional for me. I’ve just completed my memoir about the international radio business, and while editing it, I began to realise why some of my ex-colleagues apparently don’t want to get in touch again. Nearly dying of cerebral malaria in an African jungle, or being incarcerated by the secret police, probably doesn’t make for happy memories!
Share with us a daily habit of yours, that helps you reach your goals.
After I wake up, I try to immediately write down any peculiar dream sequence I recall. The odd ideas often lead to bursts of creativity. I’ve even tried to make dreams into stories but without success – they’re just too nonlinear and illogical.
What is one piece of advice you would share with an aspiring author?
An aspiring author needs a thick skin so as to avoid being destroyed by rejection. The big thing, I think, is to understand that things have changed so radically in the industry (and still are changing fast) that what was true just a few years ago, is true no longer. The traditional publishing model still exists and if you’re a celebrity or notorious or have special connections, well fine. However, for non-famous authors there is now a different path: peer recognition in the form of reviews, blogs, vlogs, and social media. These days authors need to use all the available tools and become expert in social media marketing, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest …
I am most grateful for... not having a life of suffering, like so many unfortunates these days.
If I could give my 18 year-old self one piece of advice it would be... to admire transistors and circuits less, and girls more.
My favorite thing about being a writer is... it allows me to exercise my creativity in an art form that I have a talent for, unlike (sadly) music, sculpture, or painting.
My least favorite thing about being a writer is... rejection!
My goals for the future are... to write in more genres, write my first screenplay, and grow my personal care company.
I love living a creative life because...not living a creative life would be insufferable.
The last book I read was... The Book Shop and the Junglest, by Robert Perrine.
My favorite book, ever, is... The book of changes (The I Ching)
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is... chemistry.
The most important thing to do if you want to achieve your goals is... stick at it!
Tell us about your books (genre, where we can find them, etc.)
My SF novel, Rebody, is still in print: https://www.amazon.com/Rebody-Clive-Warner-ebook/dp/B003PDN6YQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491856009&sr=1-1&keywords=rebody
and the new one, which is fiction, is recently out on Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Bang-Clive-Warner-ebook/dp/B01NC38XQH/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491856094&sr=1-1&keywords=when+things+go+bang
Where can readers find you (i.e. website, social media, etc.)?
My personal site is www.clivewarner.com and I have two Facebook pages, one personal: https://www.facebook.com/clive.warner and one for the new novel, When Things Go Bang: https://www.facebook.com/WTGBang/ - this page has quite a lot of extracts from the novel.
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