Today we have author Naomi Clark visiting. She's an urban fantasy and paranormal romance writer, werewolf aficionado, snake-charmer, Mega Shark fangirl.
So, Naomi, what inspired you to become a writer?
I honestly can't pinpoint one thing, because I've always written. As soon as I was old enough to write, I wrote stories. I used to buy stickers (mostly of ponies) and write stories about them! It's impossible for me to remember what triggered the desire to tell stories, but it's always been a part of me.
When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
I was very young – primary school age – and I wrote a book about stars. It was about five pages long and very badly illustrated (drawing has never been a skill of mine!), and my teacher made it into a proper little book for me, complete with starry wrapping paper as a cover. What happened to it? I have no idea! I wish I still had it.
How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
Countless short stories – I did creative writing as a degree and spent three years writing short stories – and nine novels. I sold my tenth novel in 2009, four years after graduating university. Of the previous nine, only one has been published since, after about five years of rewriting! The others are really not fit to see the light of day...
What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
Urban fantasy and, with the release of SHADOW CURSED, paranormal romance. I occasionally dip into horror and crime for short stories, but my novels so far have all been in these genres. I have a lifelong fascination with the supernatural, unexplained, and paranormal, so when I started writing seriously, these were the topics I wanted to explore. I love the idea of magic and fantasy in the real world, with all the complications and benefits it would bring!
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The best is “get it written, then get it right,” and I wish I could remember where I read that! I used to struggle to finish projects because I worried so much about making them perfect on the first draft. That piece of wisdom encouraged me to let go and just write.
*The worst, I think, was “write what you know.” On the surface it's good advice, but sometimes I think it can be stifling and move people away from writing what they want to. It's advice to be taken with a pinch of salt.
How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
For acceptances, the only way to celebrate is tell everyone you know, open the chocolate, and indulge! For rejection, I've learned to just keep moving. I used to take writing rejections very personally and assume they meant I was a terrible writer, but over the years I've learnt how subjective this business is, and that one person's “no way” is another person's “yes please!” And if you want to succeed as a writer, you need to have a thick enough skin to keep trying after a rejection.
In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
Ooh, that's a hard one! I think for Emmeline, SHADOW CURSED's heroine, I'd love to see someone like Emilie de Ravin – she's beautiful, ethereal, and spirited, just how I see Emmeline. For the hero, Rainart, maybe Christian Bale (not just because I have a massive crush on him, of course...). He's charming, sexy, and a bit dangerous, just like Rainart.
The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
SHADOW CURSED is the first in an interconnected series of novellas called The Brides of Darkness. They'll all be gothic, erotic romances, set in a fantasy-edged world. I'm working on the second at the moment. The inspiration came from two places – one call for submissions for an anthology about virgins, the other from an anthology looking for gothic flash fiction. I loved both concepts, but couldn't write anything that fit either! My flash fiction turned into a short story, the short story turned into a novella, and the novella became SHADOW CURSED. I've always enjoyed gothic fiction, but the kind I read is rarely romantic. I liked the idea of combining the romantic elements with the darkness and mystery of traditional gothic fiction.
*** Now for some fun info… ***
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
I'm a sucker for Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but really, in a pinch, any ice cream will do for me!
Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?
Both, although I only own a cat at the moment. He's lovely, but very noisy – especially in the early hours of the morning!
Would you/have you own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet?
I already do – I have two snakes, a four year old California king snake called Remic and a three year old corn snake called Ket. They make great pets – easy to care for, very inquisitive and lively.
*** About Naomi’s book… ***
SHADOW CURSED is released by Evernight Publishing on 17th February. (http://www.evernightpublishing.com/)
*Released from Ottevar Asylum after eight hard years, Lady Emmeline returns to Nachtholm Manor to reclaim her birthright. But she has a battle on her hands - Rainart Eckhard refuses to give up his position as lord of manor, and whilst his cold attitude enrages Emmeline, his smouldering kisses leave her weak at the knees. Who is this dangerous, enticing stranger, and what secrets does he hide? Caught in a web of desire, curses, and self-doubt, Emmeline is not only fighting Rainart for Nachtholm Manor, but for her own heart as well.
*Interesting fact – I wrote most of it at work whilst my boss was in meetings, sneaking in a few thousand words here and there and emailing it all back to myself. I'm sure if my boss knew, she'd be pretty unimpressed, so shush!
***Find Naomi here***
I'm all over the web. You can find me at the following places:
Blog - http://naomijay.blogspot.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/naomi_jay
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/naomijclark
I love to hear from people, so feel free to find me and say hello!
Thank you for joining us here today, Naomi! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.