Thursday, April 8, 2010
Interview with author, Naomi Clark
Today, my guest is Naomi Clark, author of Afterlife. Naomi has agreed to talk about her writing with me.
1. Naomi, how long have you been writing, and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing stories ever since I learned how to write, so I suppose there was never a conscious decision to be a writer – I just always was one. I don’t think I realized I wanted to make a living out of it until I was in my teens. I read Tamora Pierce’s Immortal Quartet, and fell in love with it. Those books took me from simply enjoying writing to wanting to be a published writer.
2. Are you a full-time or part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?
Part-time, although hopefully full-time one day! I do most of my writing in the evenings and weekends, but if I have a tight deadline then I take my laptop to work and write through my lunch breaks. Basically every second where I’m not sleeping, eating, or at my day job, I’m probably writing!
3. What draws you to urban fantasy and the paranormal?
I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal – ghosts, the occult, magic, etc. I didn’t discover urban fantasy until my late teens though; before that I read mostly high fantasy. I’m a big fan of anything with dragons in! But then one day I picked up Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton in a used bookshop, and I was hooked. I loved the idea of all these fantasy creatures in our mundane world, and I went out and hunted down every urban fantasy novel I could find.
4. Who are your favorite paranormal authors?
I adore Caitlin Kittredge, Stacia Kane, and Rachel Vincent. I’m also a big fan of Richelle Mead, Jackie Kessler and Jennifer Armintrout. She writes amazing vampires!
5. Do you write in other genres? Which do you prefer and why?
I’ve tried my hand at other genres, but I always come back to the paranormal. I’m experimenting with paranormal romance, and I’d love to write a good old noir crime novel like James Ellroy’s Black Dahlia.
6. Afterlife is written in the first person. Do you always write in the first person, and how did you choose this style?
Not always: I tend to switch between first and third. My early work was all third person, but as I started to read more urban fantasy, I tried more first person since that seemed more common in the genre. I’m comfortable with either style now, but it did take me a while to really settle in with first person – I was always worried the narrator would just sound like me!
7. What type of research did you do for Afterlife?
I spent a lot of time researching European folklore – particularly for the lich lords and mylings. A lot of their characteristics are rooted in old tales from countries like Romania and Scandinavia. I also looked at cults and movements like the Hellfire Club to help make Alex’s book sound plausible! It was lots of fun, and gave me plenty of ideas for the sequel.
8. What is your process for world building?
I’m a bit of a pantser – I usually have a few key ideas in my head, but I make a lot of it up as I go along. Admittedly that makes it harder to keep track of things, so I make lots of notes as I write too, so I can double-check myself later.
9. What is your process for creating your characters and keeping track of them?
Characters tend to pop into my head fully-formed, which is very convenient. If I’m writing a series I make up a character bible as I go along – details like date of birth, eye colour, etc, so I don’t get anything wrong in subsequent books.
10. What are your marketing plans for Afterlife?
When Afterlife was initially released I had a series of guest blogs from other writers, and gave away a big bag of swag when that was finished. That was loads of fun, and let me meet a lot of new people. I’ve been lucky enough to have some lovely reviews, too, which always helps! The plan from here is to keep the attention going via my website, reviews, and so on – at least until the sequel is out!
11. How did you find Damnation Books, and how long did it take from the time you submitted until your book was published?
I found Damnation Books via a recommendation really. One of their other authors announced she’d signed a contract with them on her Livejournal, so I checked out the site. I was impressed with what I saw, so I contact this author to ask her how her experience with them was going. She was absolutely full of praise, and that convinced me to submit. I submitted Afterlife in August 2009, I think, and had it accepted in September. The release date was set for December, so it all happened very quickly!
12. Do you have an agent, and what are your thoughts about having or not having one?
I do! I signed with a new agent last winter, having left my previous one at the start of 2009. Obviously I really believe having a good literary agent on your side is a great boost for a writer – they have contacts and knowledge you might not, for one thing. It can open a lot of doors. That said, I know plenty of writers who are enjoying great success without agents, so people shouldn’t be afraid to strike out on their own either.
13. Where can readers learn more about Naomi Clark?
I’m all over the place! My website is http://www.naomiclark.net/ and I’m also on Livejournal at http://naomi-jay.livejournal.com/ and Twitter at http://twitter.com/
14. Do you have any tips for writers wanting to break into urban fantasy and the paranormal genre?
Write what you love. If you don’t love your story, why would someone else? And don’t worry if it looks bad or you get rejected – you have to keep going. If you want it badly enough, put the time and effort in, and it’ll pay off. Read around your genre – it’ll help you learn. And read outside your genre too! It’s important to read voraciously whatever you’re planning to write.
Naomi, thank you for being my guest today. It's been a pleasure working with you.