Recently I attended the North Dakota Library Association’s Author Alley and I got to meet many talented local and regional authors. Karlene Tura Clark is one of them, and I was ever so glad she consented to be interviewed here.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a full time librarian with too many hobbies. Besides writing, I do many handcrafts and have a side business of painting and selling miniature figures for tabletop gaming. I’m married, no children, but with a very sassy African Grey Parrot that isn’t afraid to tell us what she wants.
How do you make time to write?
15-minute increments. I use at least my morning break at work to do writing. At some point on the weekends, I will block out an hour or two for editing purposes.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, but only in regards to the story being worked on. When that happens, I set the current project aside and just free write ideas for other stories, voices of other characters, or work on a “rap sheet” with information like you would give to the police if a character was reported missing.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Fantasy has always been a way for me to get away from things, whether that be what’s on the news, what’s happening around me, or simply for the sheer joy and magic of the story. My favorite author is Mercedes Lackey. Many of her creative ideas inspired me. She has books where elves are allergic to cold iron yet race cars, she’s done retellings of fairy tales, and she’s created the Heralds of Valdemar – Vanyel’s story was one of my favorite; I wore out three copies of the book when I was younger!
Fantasy always involves magic in some form, whether it’s low or high magic. In either case, there are rules and structure that consistently determine the use of abilities. High magic usually means there is a lot of magic with some world dependence on it, while low is just an element of the background of the story.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
I have a short story published with Edge, but otherwise, I have done everything independently. The world is becoming more accepting of self-publishing, and doing so gives you greater independence in choosing cover art, design, and royalties. There are also cases where I have known authors that have been “burned” by some of their smaller publishers, which makes me a little nervous. However, I’m still interested in eventually doing a book with someplace like Tor or Orbit!
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
I’m an introvert. Extroverts tend to be more interested in conversation, engaging others. Introverts like me are people watchers. We observe before we engage. This ability has given me great ideas for stories over the years.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth” (Marcus Aurelius).
It has encouraged me to always consider the other side of situations while I’m writing – what would others think? What might my character have understood incorrectly? What are the results of that misunderstanding?
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
BIC-HOK: Butt in chair; hands on keyboard. I’ve heard so many people say “I want to write a novel, but I just don’t have time.” What that really means is you are not serious (yet) about doing it. Think how many times in your life you rearrange things to make time for something. As I said earlier, I often only have 15 minutes a day to write. That means I write. I set a timer. If I get interrupted, I stop the timer until I come back to it. If I get stuck on the current story, I write something else, I journal, I free write. Just… write! No excuses.
EDIT. Your first draft is never good. It doesn’t matter how many of your friends are impressed – it will still need polish. It will still need details. It will still need to clean up. Do the spellchecks, grammar checks, do a check for words you use A LOT, and have someone check for inconsistencies.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From my latest book is Assassin’s Gift.
“At least he’s not dead, milord.” The voice was familiar, coming from someone sitting next to him.
“Bless the Lights for that, you idiot.” A man’s gruff voice barked. “What were you thinking leaving your mixtures about?” From the tone of the lord’s voice, the other had made a grave error in his judgment. “Remedial lessons, boy: he dies, and your life will be forfeit as well. You know the rules. Any errors are your sole responsibility.”
A violent tremor shook Aern as a coughing jag swept the entire frame of his eight-year-old body. He was turned to his side, just barely in time as everything in his stomach rushed out. He could barely catch a breath as wave after wave of retching emptied everything back out. It gurgled from his throat, bubbling as it left him to spray outward, running down his cheek, into his black hair.
Pulling his knees up, Aern tried to relieve the intense cramping in his stomach. As the fit finally passed, Aern opened his pale blue eyes and looked around. His vision was still hazy, but he could see the boy that had given him the treat.