Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Mary Clark. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.
Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing brings my energy to a new level, as I’m coordinating various thoughts, emotions, memories, points of view, and attention to detail as well as a feeling for authenticity. There’s an emotional background music playing all the time I’m writing. In other words, writing isn’t only a mental exercise, it’s a visceral experience. I’m not fully conscious of the emotional background while I’m writing, but those emotions and feelings act as a sounding board for being as accurate and honest as possible in what I’m trying to convey with my words. Because these emotions affect the human body, sending hormones and neurochemicals racing through the blood, after writing I’ll often feel tired. Again, I’m not usually aware of this until I try to take on another task. Then, phew! Besides the physical effect, I believe there’s a depletion of mental energy as well. At the same time, sometimes this calmer state leads to new ideas. So I guess the answer to your question is both.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
I have written under the pseudonym of Erin Yes. It’s a play on the name of the Greek Furies: erinyes. Others have thought of this as well but I don’t know if any used it as a pseudonym. I was beguiled by the idea of Nemesis at the time. I don’t believe in predestination, but I have experienced forces in my life bringing me back when I’ve gone too far off the path, and this path is both chosen for me by my few talents and skills, and by my own willful choices. But there are always sirens to call one away for a while. I used the name in my book Tally: An Intuitive Life. My twitter handle today reflects this name: @mceyes. And my blog as well which is called Literary Eyes.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
A big ego is necessary to even consider pulling everything together to create what amounts to a world defined and described by oneself. On the other side of that, a writer has to keep in mind the readers and endeavor to communicate with them as equals. A writer has to intrude into others’ lives without being too overbearing. But I’d rather err on the side of being too intrusive rather than timid and lacking conviction. A writer has to have self-confidence. The psychological definition of ego is of a mediator between the self and the world, a reality tester, which plays a vital role in self-identity. So a healthy ego makes sense for an artist of any sort. Being an egotist is a different matter, one of dominance and self-aggrandizement. I doubt that egotism would be helpful to a writer.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I’d say probably my most recent purchase of print copies of Racing The Sun from CreateSpace. I was amazed at how inexpensive the copies were. The quality was good too. Amazon can do this at such a large volume I’m afraid it will put many traditional printers out of business. I haven’t spent much on promotion.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
Success would be having readers respond to my work in person or online. I welcome discussion and exchanging thoughts, in a positive and unprejudiced way. I’m still working on how to open up that dialogue. Reviews are a good way for readers to engage with authors – because we do read them!
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
I research names, places, songs, historical events, anything that is relevant to the story. When I feel I know something well, I only check details I think I might have misremembered or misunderstood. Great sources I’ve found are online videos and personal blogs, along with Google Earth and Pinterest. A Youtube video of a cabdriver going through Soweto gave me a great feel for that area. Personal blogs contain interesting bits of information. Official websites have maps and data that can be important for improving my understanding of a town, park, or event. Wikipedia is also helpful as a starting point. For flora and fauna of a region I check botany and geography sites. Local towns have websites too. I follow blogs by authors, artists, travelers, and photographers as these have added to my understanding of places I know and don’t know. I do most of my research during the writing process when that subject and its role in the book are fresh in my mind.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
I admit to trying to find names with hidden or obvious meanings. When choosing a foreign name, I research until I find one whose meaning fits my character. I like them to have some musicality as well. Another way I choose names is to use ones similar to people I know, even to use middle names. One name, Dov, is the middle name of a friend’s pseudonym. I’m pretty happy with the names I’ve chosen.
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
I think ones that are about people misunderstanding one another, accidentally or on purpose, and the resulting pain and violence that almost comes afterward. The separations and betrayals and cruelty.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
Colette, Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Anais Nin, and Violette LeDuc. I’d ask them if they could put me up at their homes or pay for a hotel room for three days and nights so I could afford to visit Paris for twelve days. Then after that mostly chit-chat. No, seriously, we’d talk about writing and what it takes to be an open-minded, open-hearted human being in this world. Nothing less. Hopefully, Emily Dickinson would drop by.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
I’d have to say my blog, followed by Twitter. Facebook has been a disappointment. I’ve paid for boosted posts and the results are a lot of views but no click throughs. ASMSG and IAN haven’t helped much. I looked at BookDaily but was put off by the cost. Other sites require a lot of work for which I don’t have the time.
My latest book is Racing The Sun, Volume 2 of the Leila Payson Series.
Accidents, intersections, collisions, mixed signals of modern life. Did Cran do something that caused the accident that left him paralyzed? Is Dov chasing an illusion of love – all the way to Cuba? What impelled Maria to leave a good job in the city to work as a volunteer at an organic farm? And why is Mrs. Grisjun on Leila’s case, what makes her so angry? Secret lives, self-aggrandizement, throwing stones. Family disruption and a friend’s unexplained absence. Lies and loss. Big tent meetings, bringing people of varying abilities together, bridging gaps. Is there hope we can find ways to constructively live together?
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Racing-Sun-Leila-Payson-2/dp/1974440435/
Smashwords buy link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/741961
Connect with Mary:
My blog: http://literaryeyes.wordpress.com
Facebook Author Page: http://facebook.com/maryclarkbooks