In The Demon's Head #33: Interview With Roland Clarke
June 17, 2012
When I decided that I wanted to do this interview segment a couple months back I knew that I would get the chance to learn about people and what made them tick. Today I get the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Roland Clarke, an author who also deals with MS on a daily basis.
1. When did you write your first "Creative" piece of writing?
Although I have a few dim memories of trying to create stories as a child and inventing scenarios with my toys, the only distinct memory is writing my own tale when I was about 7, based on a book called ‘Old Mr Fox’ – I still have the book, not my story sadly. First original piece, excluding Composition at school, was a fantasy novella when aged 18 – The Unicorn & The Prophet. However the first creative writing teacher I ever had – the poet Roger Woddis – helped me learn how to curb my purple prose.
2. What made you realize being an author was what you wanted to do with your life?
That didn’t really happen until I was over 40 although I had brief forays into fiction writing when I might have thought it would be cool to become a full time writer. I even attempted writing my first novel aged 20 but lost the draft. By 1995 I was beginning to write short stories seriously although I was never published – left that up to my reports as an equestrian journalist. So didn’t seriously see myself as a writer until remarried in 2010.
3. How has living with MS affected your writing schedule and the amount of time you've spent writing in a single sitting?
When I was first diagnosed in 2000, the MS had very little effect and it was more the journalism that restricted the creative writing. However over time the MS has reduced the amount of time I can commit to writing. On good days I can probably get 4-5 hours of writing done – about 1,500 words. When the MS is giving me headaches, spasms and stiff fingers it’s the barest minimum if anything. Basically I have to pace myself and set realistic deadlines.
4. Who are some of your biggest writing influences?
In terms of other writers: J.R.R Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, Charles De Lint and Robin Hobb have influenced my fantasy writing, while Kathy Reichs and Linwood Barclay are the biggest influence for crime.
In terms of writing style I am always indebted to the late Roger Woddis for what he tried to teach me!!
5. Since you've started writing what would you say is your favorite piece that you've ever put together?
A poem called ‘Echoes’ which became the inspiration for a short story ‘Flight of the Sister Skein’ and then a key element in ‘Wyrm Bait’ the novel I am about to edit next. The first two are fantasy but the novel is cyber-crime set against gaming world and protagonist is a wannabe fantasy writer.
6. What type of Project are you working on now?
I have four crime novels at various stages although all are at least first draft. I am doing what I hope is the final edit on the first one – Spiral of Hooves. I will then do next draft on second (Wyrm Bait), then third and so on but fitting in another first draft of an idea that I am plotting – for NanOWriMo in November.
7. When is your expected finish time?
I expect to have Spiral of Hooves edited by the end of June.
8. What do you intend to do with it?
The intention is to obtain an agent rather than self-publish, which doesn’t fit with my restricted schedule. (Also tried self-publishing an SF/Fantasy fanzine in early 70’s unsuccessfully). Hopefully it will be sent to the first batch of agents by about July 8th then I wait for six or more weeks hoping that I won’t need to send out more copies.
9. Do you write just long/short fiction or are there other things that you've penned over the years that you realized you were pretty good at?
At the moment I just write novels although I have tried writing short stories and a few poems including a couple of haikus that might have been senyrus. Not yet convinced that the short stories work on their own but a couple of them will be fitted into novels as the work of my protagonist from ‘Wyrm Bait’ (and its proposed sequel ‘Wyrm Blood’).
10. Let's talk about your blog, (Writing Wings) What is unique about it that would attract an audience?
I created Writing Wings to offer other writers and readers some insight into a writer struggling as a fledgling in the profession. I felt that at this stage I was only able to speak about my experiences learning to write and the pitfalls that I hope others avoid. Hopefully there are a few gems in the blogs although I don’t profess to be an authority- The Link page should lead to more advice and inspiration. In many ways the Blog & website is a learning process and in time I will be able to advise more – when I’ve earned my writing wings.
11. Where can people find that blog?
12. To anyone reading this interview that may never have seen your work before, sell yourself in less this 10 words?
Appearances hide deadly truths in a Roland Clarke mystery.
13. Finally, is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
I want to thank you Kyle Robinson for giving me this opportunity to reveal some of my deadly truths and to thank your readers who take these words and may believe me. Or should they? But to answer that they might have to delve deeper.
I'd like to thank Mr. Clarke for taking time to sit down with me and have this interview. It's been a lot of fun to get to know the man behind the writing. As he said above for any and all of the Roland Clarke News you want just visit www.rolandclarke.com
If you'd like to be a part of the Interview process for In The Demon's Head, You can click here
Until next time you want to take a trip through the gates of hell and into the demon's Head I'm Kyle Robinson wishing you a safe trip back to the surface.