Monday, February 17, 2014

Interview with 'The Black Song Inside' Carlyle Clark

 Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.

He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.
His latest book is the mystery thriller, The Black Song Inside.

Visit his website at

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

My wife, Suki Michelle, is also an author and we both love to watch movies and television shows with continuing storylines and we do CrossFit. Otherwise, I’m reading or writing or playing with my dog and cats.

When did you start writing?

I started seriously about nine years ago and have been plugging away ever since. To think when I first started, like most beginners, I thought I would just spend about six months or so dashing off a bestseller and then watch the money come pouring in. Needless to say, it was more like six years before I even got published. So that was my welcome to the real world of writing.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

When Suki and I attended Jerry Cleaver’s Writer’s Loft Workshop. That was immensely valuable to us in really nailing how to present a story to a reader in a way that’s compelling. He gave the best working definition of what dramatic conflict is and isn’t and how to “show” instead of “tell.” He really knows how to provide you with information in a way that makes it easy to take it directly to the page.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Seeing as how we are trapped here in the frozen wasteland called the Midwest, I’d love to go bask in the warmth of my hometown of San Diego, which is also where The Black Song Inside is set.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I would write for three hours and squeeze in an extra hour of sleep for the fourth hour.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I’d like to set a story here in Chicagoland—which is what the greater Chicago area is called. There is so much rich history, especially with the rampant corruption the state is famous for that I think I could write a really layered story with complex characters.

Back to your present book, The Black Song Inside, how did you publish it?

I started out by self-publishing it because there was only one publisher I was interested in working with and I had no agent and no way to contact them. A few months after my novel was published, an editor from the very publisher I wanted to work with, Thomas & Mercer, discovered it on Amazon and offered me a contract which I happily accepted.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

No, I actually picked all the locations in my novel because I have lived in them and felt very confident I could provide authentic color to the story from my memory along with a little refreshing from Google Street View.

Why was writing The Black Song Inside so important to you?

Because I became obsessed with the story and kept playing it over and over in my head and I wanted to see how it ends. I knew in theory, but when I actually write a story things always change—hopefully for the better—so I wanted to see what really happened with, and to, my characters.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I normally get them when I’m reading. It’s really slowed down how fast I read books because I’m constantly analyzing what the author did and why and then I think about what I would have done. It spirals from there into something completely different from what I read. I’m talking going all the way from Literary Fiction to Sword & Sorcery sometimes.

Any final words?

Yes, thank you very much for hosting me and thanks to anyone who made it through my rambling to the end of this interview. For anyone who likes FREE there’s prequel short story to The Black Song Inside available on Amazon called He’s Faster.

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