I'm not a spiritual or religious person so I won't say that I'm blessed regarding the friends that I have, but some of them make you feel pretty good for knowing them. Naomi Clark is one of those. And since she's all the way across the pond, she's even more appreciated. She eschews writing vampires in favor of werewolves- particularly LGBT ones- and is an accomplished UF/PNR author currently signed with Ragnarok Publications and Evernight Publishing.
This is an interview I'd been bugging her to do forever... and then I got caught up in stuff. So I'll throw myself on her good graces and hope she doesn't sic any Elder Gods after me- they actually seem to like her. Must be the perfumes. But I could probably take her cat, Fergus, in a best of three. Megashark is not even worth considering and Human Centipede- we'll arm wrestle for it.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think there was ever a realization. I have just always, always written. I always wanted to write stories; if there was ever any kind of exercise at school I could turn into a story-writing project, I did. Outside of school, I’d buy notebooks and stickers and write stories about the pictures in the stickers. It’s the earliest thing I remember doing.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
Too long! I used to be a pretty speedy typist, but various injuries in my arms have slowed me down. Real life tends to get in the way as well – I have a full-time day job and run a busy Etsy shop in my spare time, so my production levels have really dropped, sadly. Luckily I write fairly clean first drafts, so my editing/revising time is much faster!
3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I sneak it in everywhere I can. I try to get to work early so I can write before I hit the office. I write on my lunch breaks. I sometimes can’t write at home because I’ll be in too much pain after a day at the day job (I’m a secretary, so heavily computer-based), but if I can, I’ll write in the evenings too. Basically whenever I can snatch a good chunk of time, I write. There’s no real set schedule.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Um. I guess my stuff is quite niche? I like unusual characters, prickly, hard-to-like, difficult people. I like writing about anti-heroes, bad romances, drug addiction, mental illness. You know, nice, wholesome stuff like that.
5. How do books get published?
Well, there are certainly more routes available now than there were a few years back. You can self-publish, you can find an agent who finds you a publisher, there are countless e-publishers…You can even do all three. But I guess the key things you need to do to get a book published is hone your craft and do your research.
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Hahaha, everywhere. Having ideas is not hard. Having good ideas is, and recognizing the bad ideas is tricky sometimes too. Mythology, real world news, dreams, other literature…it can all be inspiring. In terms of information, the internet is a godsend, but I also keep a reference library on poisons, monsters, occult practices…You know, nice wholesome stuff like that.
7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
First full-length novel? I was thirteen and I wrote it at night in bed in a really thick notepad. It was 300 written pages of terrible high fantasy. But before that I’d written countless short stories.
8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Make perfume, play Guild Wars 2, watch weird documentaries, and hang out with my cat and my fiancé.
9. What does your family think of your writing?
They’re really, really proud of me, but I know my tastes and their tastes don’t always mesh, so I don’t expect them to read my stuff if they don’t want to.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Whilst writing Undertow I learned a lot about Scandinavian sea monsters and how to banish them.
11. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve actually lost count. I’ve certainly written more than I’ve had published. And it’s hard to pick a favourite, because they all come from different places and mean different things to me. My latest release with Evernight Publishing for example, The Beast of Birch Hill, I love because it’s fun and light-hearted and covers some quirky stuff I’m really interested in (cryptozoology and alien big cats). My latest novel, Undertow, is dark, violent, probably quite depressing…but it stars my all-time favourite character, Ethan Banning, and I honestly think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. So there are different reasons to love all of them.
12. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read wide. Listen to critiques. Write stuff you’re passionate about.
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Well, I tend to get quite nice reviews, if that counts?
14. Do you like to create books for adults?
I just like to create books. I don’t really think about who they’re suitable for, to be honest. Kids aren’t stupid – they’re just as able to handle an “adult” story as an adult. And adults are just as able to enjoy a “kid’s” book as a kid is. I don’t think about audiences, I just write stuff that makes me happy to write.
15. What do you think makes a good story?
16. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Purchase her latest books, The Beast of Birch Hill and Undertow, at these sites:
Naomi also has a lovely perfume business going over on Etsy- Common Brimstone Fragrances. You really should check it out.