Author Spotlight with Naomi Clark
Naomi Clark lives in Cambridge and is a mild-mannered office worker by day, but a slightly crazed writer by night. She has a perfectly healthy obsession with giant sea creatures and a preference for vodka-based cocktails. When she's not writing, Naomi is probably either reading or watching 80s cartoon shows, and sometimes she manages to do all three at once.
K.S. Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.
Naomi: I guess I’ll start with the standard stuff – I’m Naomi, I live in Cambridge, England, and I’m a writer! I’m also a massive fan of late 80s and early 90s cartoons, own far too much perfume, and spend my free time playing with my corn snake (that’s not a euphemism, however much it sounds like one. I do in fact own a corn snake).
K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
Naomi: Quirks? I don’t think I’m any quirker than the average writer, although I have my writerly habits. I need background noise to work best – usually the TV, and usually a cookery show – but I have been known to sneak in a good thousand words or so at work when nobody’s looking!
K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
Naomi: I’m not sure there was ever a realization. I’ve always written. When I was a child I used to make my own books out of folded paper and write stories about ponies. It was just what I did when other kids were out playing in the real world! I think the moment I moved from just writing to entertain myself and wanting to write for others was when I read Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series as a teenager. I fell in love with those books and suddenly it just seemed obvious that I should be doing that for a living.
K.S. What genre do you write?
Naomi: Urban fantasy, primarily. I also dabble in horror in my short fiction, and have been known to spin a romance tale from time to time, but urban fantasy is what I love and feel strongest in.
K.S. What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
Naomi: I’ve already mentioned Tamora Pierce, and I have to give credit to the early works of Laurell K Hamilton. She was the first urban fantasy author I stumbled across and the minute I found her books, I knew I’d found my path as a writer. I was also lucky enough to have numerous supportive teachers over the years who encouraged me to keep writing.
My favourite author is a tough call, but I always recommend Stacia Kane, Caitlin Kittredge, and Laura Bickle when asked, so I guess those are the top three!
K.S. What does your family think of your writing?
Naomi: They’re so supportive, it’s great! I’m not sure they always “get” what I write – I think they’d sometimes prefer it if I wrote things with fewer monsters – but they’re all very proud of me, and that counts for a lot if I’m ever doubting myself!
K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?
Naomi: Just where your characters can take you. I don’t plot my books, I’m definitely a pantser, but even so, it amazes me how differently a scene or whole novel can turn out compared to how I envisioned it. It’s a cliché, but these imaginary people really do take on a life of their own!
K.S. What inspires you?
Naomi: I draw on a lot of different sources for my work. I love mythology, folklore, and the paranormal, but I’m also fascinated by social issues like addiction and gang violence, and I tend to work those things into my writing.
K.S. Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?
Naomi: Well, there’re all urban fantasy, but I’d say that’s where the similarities end. I have one series focusing on a werewolf and her human girlfriend (the Urban Wolf books), and another about a wraith working as a ghost tour guide in a haunted city (the Shoregrave books). My first indie release is a novella called Night and Chaos that mixes Hindu mythology with bad science and fractured families.
My upcoming novel, Wild, is a YA werewolf tale. I’ve been working on it for five years - it’s been a real labour of love, and I’m nervous and excited about putting it out there for the world to see! There’s an excerpt here, but it probably needs a bad language warning…
“Lizzie closed her eyes as she swallowed the pill, blocking out the slam of music pounding against the toilet walls for a second. The cubicle stank of piss and sweat; the walls and floor were sticky with substances she didn’t really want to think about. She opened her eyes to stare at the crudely scrawled graffiti on the walls while she waited for the Ecstasy to kick in.
2 Slags Crew 4 eva. Pete S is a wanker. I fucked ur fella.
The words started running together, becoming one ugly blur of pen and lipstick under the weird bluish light of the toilets. Hannah told her once that the light was supposed to stop people shooting up, because you couldn’t find a vein in the light. Seriously though, who came to a club to do heroin?
Lizzie wet her lips and took a swig from her water bottle, listening to the shrill voices of girls out by the sinks blend with the music. Harris had pulled out the nu-metal tonight, much to Lizzie’s disgust. She hated that fucking fake-angst bollocks. If she was the DJ, it’d be good old-fashioned punk all the way, and fuck what those teeny Goths wanted.
Someone hammered on the door, shouting her name. “Lizzie, let me in, for God’s sake! What are you hiding in there for?”
Hannah. Lizzie unlocked the door and her friend scooted in, giggling as she pressed up against Lizzie in the small space. “I’m dying for a jack n’ jill, girl. Come on, hand them over.”
“I’ve only got a couple left,” Lizzie complained, digging in her jeans pocket for the tiny bag of pills. She slipped one into Hannah’s extended palm. “Harris is supposed to be getting more tonight.”
Hannah snatched Lizzie’s water and downed the pill. “Need this to make the fucking music tolerable.” Hannah was a raver at heart, offensively bright in her lime green tank top and hot pink mini-skirt. “You coming out, or you staying in here all night?”
“I’m coming.” Lizzie shoved her last pill back in her pocket, hoping Harris really would be getting more later. This was going to be a shitty night otherwise. The Krazy House was always full of posers and students on Saturday nights, filling up the dance floor and shrieking for Linkin Park or whatever shitty emo band was currently besieging the charts. Maybe on the middle floor there might be some Greenday or Good Charlotte, but that was as punk as it got.”
K.S. Where can we buy your novel?
Naomi: Wild will be available for the Kindle hopefully early in April. All my other works are available on Amazon, or you can check my blog for details.
K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
Naomi: Sure! I’m over at Blogger (http://naomijay.blogspot.com/) and Livejournal (http://naomi-jay.livejournal.com/) and I love meeting new readers and writers, so come on over!
K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
Naomi: Read a lot, write a lot, and be passionate about what you do. I think that’s the best thing any writer can do, and if you do that, you’ll equip yourself with all the tools you need to succeed.