Tonight’s interview is with a fellow PDMI author, Clay Gilbert. He writes science fiction. Thanks so much Clay for participating. Enjoy the interview everyone!
Genre: Science Fiction
Blog: Evohe (at above web address)
Social Media connections: Facebook
Release Date: February 18, 2013
Where to buy: amazon.com; barnesandnoble.com; booksamillion.com
Other Work: “Names”, a poem published in The Pagan’s Muse, ed. Jane Raeburn, Citadel Press, NY 1993; Annah, a novel coming from PDMI Publishing in 2013.
Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.
The black City slept.
“Towers and spires of glass stood silent, electric lights flickering and pulsing like sentry eyes in the night sky; their rhythm the heartbeat of a giant or a god. The great buildings of black stood like temples bereft of their worshippers—those worshippers who, citizens of the great glass midnight, came and went without a sound in the streets by day. Heads shaved smooth, bodies clothed in robes of granite-grey, the workers went about their sacred tasks, handed down to them by doctrine and by law since the black City’s history began. They kept the heart of the glass giant beating; the great Engine that the Providers had set into place long ago, and without which nothing that was now, would have been. In that, the City’s people could take pride, for they were the keepers of the gods. And from somewhere deep in the black City’s heart, the Providers’ voices echoed through every starlit corner of the urban labyrinth:
“The efforts of bands of rebel youths to sabotage our City’s government have continued tonight, and have been repulsed. The citizens who helped put down the attacks refused a reward and have requested anonymity, saying only that it was their duty in the sight of the Providers. May we all remember our duty. Good night, and live well!”
The glass wall hummed and crackled, then went silent. Jonathan, who was seventeen, stared at the screen which only moments before had been filled with the evening newsperson’s cheerful face. She’s always cheerful. I wonder if that’s her real face or a mask. He shook his head, wondering if the riot footage the screencrews showed every night was real; if the gangs were real. He hoped so. “
1 When did you first start writing? Pretty much the earliest thing I still have that I wrote is a short-story of about six or seven pages written when I was four (I know, because I apparently wrote ‘age four’ next to it). I was writing science fiction even then.
2 Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? I‘ve always wanted to be a writer.
3 What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up? In terms of fiction, I write science fiction, horror and fantasy. I also write poetry.
4 Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from? I truly believe that, whether one is writing literally about the present-day world or about a world that doesn’t exist, all good writing stems from human experience. In the case of Eternity, I began writing it at the age of seventeen, so the political and social rebellion in the novel, and the characters’ search for identity, came from my own struggle to find my foundations.
5 What has your publishing experience been like? Self-publishing Eternity through Amazon/CreateSpace was a good experience, and the whole avenue of self-publishing, especially through CreateSpace, is gaining respect in the literary marketplace, but it can be hard to get awareness out there, and I’m happy to have the assistance of PDMI Publishing with my second novel, Annah.
6 Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair? Yes, I always sit in the same chair, at the same desk. I listen to music while I write; so much so that eventually songs will attach themselves to characters and events, to the point that in the end, there will be an entire ‘soundtrack’ of songs for a given project. There are playlists for both Eternity and Annah on YouTube.
7 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
That’s a mysterious process. Sometimes it’s just a name that suits the character, or one that sounds good; sometimes it’s a name that has a particular meaning. Place names are much the same, but it’s more a process of inspiration than of conscious invention.
8 In your most recent work, who is your favorite character and why? Eternity himself is my favorite character in that novel. The reason? He’s basically me when I was seventeen, with a lot more responsibility on his shoulders than I had back then. He’s brash and idealistic, and probably not as shy as I was in those days. I hope I’ve done him justice, in the end.
9 Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it? The main point of Eternity is ‘you can be anything you want to be.’ Or, as Blue Oyster Cult sung once, “Behind closed eyes, realize your sight.” The only limitation of being is the imagination.
10 How did you/do you market your work? Posters, flyers, word of mouth, blogs, websites—as many platforms as possible to get the word out.
11 Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time? Fantastic, since it was something I’d dreamed out for years. It felt, though, not like the achievement of a goal, or like the end of something, but like the beginning.
12 Favorite authors? Stephen King, Herman Melville, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Walt Whitman, William Shakespeare, and on.
13 Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”? To me, writer’s block is a fallacy created by people who don’t write, which all too often gets foisted onto those of us who do—and some of us actually believe in it. I teach composition classes for Strayer University, and I’d give other writers the same answer I give my students—if you feel the well’s momentarily dry, get a blank sheet of paper, unconnected to your work in progress, think of the areas that are troubling you, and brainstorm on the page. Write about your characters, their conflicts, your setting—and don’t worry about how it comes out. Writing is magical, but it’s not magic. That creative ‘faucet’ from which we all draw can be turned on and off at will.
14 What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Don’t let idealism hold you back from doing the work. “What if it’s not perfect?” It’s not going to be. That’s what revisions are for. Even after revisions, it’s not going to be perfect. Write what YOU want, the best you can; write for yourself, and worry about the market later. If there’s a passion for the work in YOU, the passion will show through the work, to the readers. One other thing—if you’re writing fiction, let the characters lead. They know better than you do, every time.
15 Are you working on anything new? If so, can you tell me about it? I’m currently working on Annah’s Exile, the second book in my “Children of Evohe” series. I’m hoping to have it done around the same time PDMI publishes the first in the series, Annah. It’s a book about family, the search for understanding, and the journey of one young woman (who happens to be from a world far from Earth) to find her place in life, and on the way, teach people that being different does not make you wrong.