1/11/15

Interview with Christopher Clark

Please Welcome Christopher Clark Author of Pulling Strings
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What is the greatest joy of writing for you? 
I've been a freelance journalist for more than 20 years. Initially, the thrill was seeing my name on a story in a newspaper or magazine. Then, because I was freelancing, the biggest thrill was getting paid for something I wrote.
I just completed my first novel, an enormous commitment of time with no guarantees it would be read as widely as my journalism pieces are read. The thrill is having completed the novel, being happy with the outcome, and looking forward to writing another one. 
What do your fans mean to you? 
I've often received feedback from readers of my stories in newspapers and magazines, online etc. Since I've started blogging, same thing goes. Feedback is great.
When someone takes the time to read my novel, I am genuinely thankful. If they like it and leave a review to that effect, it's even more gratifying. 
What are you working on next? 
I've just published my first novel, so the honest answer is: I'm not sure. I continue to do my freelance journalism, but I know I want to write another novel in the coming year. It may include characters from my current novel, Pulling Strings, but I haven't decided about that. 
Who are your favorite authors? 
I read as much non-fiction as fiction, and I enjoy books about how things work by people like Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything) and Timothy Ferris (The Whole Shebang). I have a collection of Mike Royko columns that's terrific. In the world of fiction, I've always loved reading Dick Francis. 
What inspires you to get out of bed each day? 
Deadlines! Which is why writing a novel was a challenge. No real deadlines, just the desire to get it done. 
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time? 
I'm a tennis fanatic. I play five times a week in the summer and at least once a week indoors in the winter. I also play drums. Oh, I like to read too :-) 
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? 
I remember the first story I ever had published. I was working at the Canadian Statesman newspaper in Bowmanville, Ontario. It was a broadsheet, weekly community newspaper. My first day I went with the editor to the local Rotary Club meeting. The newspaper "covered" the weekly lunch and wrote a story about the speaker each time.
It wasn't exactly Woodward and Bernstein, but I learned a lot that day and the entire year I worked at the paper. 
What is your writing process? 
I write in spurts of an hour or so. I can't sit for much longer than that. When writing longer pieces or a novel, I try to walk away in the middle of a section or chapter. I find it much easier to get back into it that way. If I come back and am staring at the end of a chapter, it takes more effort to get started again. 
What is your e-reading device of choice? 
I am technologically non-demoninational. I use a Surface tablet for much of my work, especially teaching. I read Kindle and Kobo books on that. I also have a Google phone and read on that. At my desk, I use an iMac, and I read shorter e-books on that from time to time. 
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you? 
What, this interview isn't going to be enough??
I'm experimenting with lots of options, but so far word-of-mouth has been the best thing. I tell everyone I know my book is out. I do that in person, but also from my website (christopherclarkwriter.com) and on Twitter and LinkedIn. I'm a FB neophyte but have joined recently to let people know about my novel. 
Describe your desk 
It's a mess. But it's also a comfortable place to be. The desk itself is a really a dining room table my brother and father made about 15 years ago. It's gorgeous. I have papers all over the place. Every few months, I clean up to some degree but it's never what you'd call pristine. I don't subscribe to the messy desk/messy mind concept. A creative mind is a jumbled place. My desk certainly is. 
When did you first start writing? 
I was good at writing essays in university. When I graduated and started looking for a job, I wrote some sample columns and took them around to local newspapers. Being naive, I thought someone would hire me to write a column. Well, that didn't happen, but I did get a chance to work as a general reporter in Bowmanville, Ontario. That led to a bigger newspaper job near Vancouver, B.C. That led to getting a Masters degree in journalism from Western University in London, Ontario, after which I began freelance writing for all sorts of publications. I continue doing that today, along with teaching and writing novels. 
What's the story behind your latest book? 
I mentioned Dick Francis earlier. He wrote mysteries that always involved some aspect of horse racing. Different characters each time, but always related to the world of horse racing. Initially, I thought I'd do the same thing with baseball. I may still, but when I started writing 'Pulling Strings' I quickly moved into the world of politics as well.
So I wrote a story that starts with the murder of one of the owners of the Baltimore Orioles. That has an impact on the 2016 presidential race, in all sorts of subtle and sinister ways. As my blurb says, it's about politics, baseball, murder and sex -- not necessarily in that order. 
What motivated you to become an indie author? 
Without a deadline or any guarantee a traditional publisher would accept my manuscript, I could never get started for real. When I decided to publish it myself, I was motivated to get it done. Going the indie route is the main reason I finally wrote my novel.
_________________________ 
@cclarkwriter
See my new novel, Pulling Strings, at

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