Name Clem Chambers
Where are you from
I’m originally from Kent between the Medway towns and Canterbury. After I left school I started a computer game company in London.
This is my history according to Wiki.
These days I live in Monaco.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My new book, The Shrine, just came out as a Kindle Single. A Kindle Single is a short form book, a format which I really enjoyed writing for.
I’ve discovered many people enjoy a book they can read in a single sitting, so I thought I‘d try to write a book like that. Amazon is very selective for the Kindle Single format but they took it onboard after some input.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing because I had a general creative urge and with a typewriter you can vent that urge by hammering on the keys with two fingers.
I learnt the typewriter as I wrote my first fiction. Here is the ‘e?’ ‘Ah there it is.’ Kerlack.
I don’t know how I managed, as writing errorless work in one pass, even with Tipex, is just torture.
I wrote my first published piece when I was 18, in 1982, for Practical Computing, which had a short story in every issue. It was called ‘OK Petrax you’re time is up.’ That’s what they renamed it. I’d called it ‘A question of definition.’ It was about a computer becoming sentient and running away by hacking itself to safety.
It was my first ever story and I had signed the submission C H Chambers just like a kid at school would sign an exam paper. The magazine apparently didn’t want to use my initials so they guessed my name and attributed the story to Charles Chambers. That was a bit gutting for a first published writer but the 85 pound was great. It seems ludicrous to me now… HG Wells, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, what was there problem with CH Chambers.
I wrote my first two book in the late 80s, Dial up for Murder and Log into Crime. They were published for the first time recently and have done particularly well in Australia where they charted.
They were kind of technically obsolete once I had written them because they were all about the online world as it developed. Then 25 years later, obsolete became retro. By the time they were published I had four installments of the Jim Evans series out. It was delightful to see them published and it was kind of cool to read them after so long.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I should but I don’t even now. I’ve written 12 books, so I’ve earned it. Google thinks I’m a journalist, so I probably should say I am, but I’m don’t, even though I’ve written more than a thousand articles in the last 10 years.
I’ve 14 albums on iTunes but I don’t think of myself as a musician either.
When they ask me at US immigration, I say “I run internet websites,” which sounds boring by comparison to author. ADVFN the financial website I founded in the dotcom boom is my greatest success, so I go with ‘internet nerd.’
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It seemed to me as a teenager that writing books was like a lottery ticket you could play simply by pounding the keyboard. There was an amazing jackpot to be had if you could come up with the right story. Author was a job that you could win and win big with. I think that was the impulse.
I found I enjoyed writing too. I enjoyed watching the story unfold as I wrote it and see the pages pile up into a body of work.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes and no. I think people often feel my writing is stream of consciousness, but for me it is not.
I’ve been told my style is ‘rollicking’ which is what I feel I’m aiming for.
One of my publishers complained I write ‘happy stories,’ which wasn’t meant to be a compliment but which I took as one.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I normally don’t. My titles are great, but no one likes them, so I let others decide.Kill -9 and Grep became Dial up for Murder and Log on for Crime.
Kill -9 and Grep are Unix commands, a twist on programming languages and the books’ themes.
However you wouldn’t be able to find those titles on Google because the names are generic technical coding terms. It is like trying to find the computer game author, “Rod Pike,” on Google. You get fishing gear instead of his details and he is lost to mankind, as far as the internet is concerned, forever.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not sending out messages to change the world. If anything I like the idea of people wanting to find out more about the things I write about and finding there is a hidden world the story is feeding off, which is real. That world can be amazing or shocking, but it is totally off the radar for most people until they stumble into it in one of my books.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All my stories are based on real things, people and events. I just stretch the situation a little or perhaps a great deal.
Also a lot of what I write seems to pops up a later in real life in a milder form. That can be really spooky.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe was one of the first books I read. Lord of the Rings amazed my 12 year old brain. Watership Down made a big impact. The few books I read between 10 and 12 probably left the biggest impact because the mind has all that space for great stories to leave their imprint. You haven’t been desensitized yet.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I find it hard to read many books; I can hear the writer typing and that can spoil it. Hilary Mantell’s Cromwell books have been a highlight, as has Winston Churchill’s ‘My Early Life.’
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I enjoyed “The Martian’ by Andy Weir
Although I’m not sure an author with a blockbuster movie of his book qualifies as ‘a new author’ but he has only been published a couple of years.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on reading my books in a Youtube video format. That’s tough but rewarding.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see writing as an adjunct to a career and a pleasure. To make a decent living from writing you have to be both skilled and lucky. It’s a typical media ‘1% of the talent gets all the money,’ so it is hard to have writing as a sole career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I never look back.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My latest book is about a real place, the Shrine of Zenkoji in Japan. It has the tunnel under the altar you can grope through in the dark and there is a key that sends you to paradise.
What I describe happens next when you find and turn the key might be narrative but the set up is real. A turned the key. Within 24 hours I nearly died.
The priceless Buddha statue is real. The seven enlightenments are real. You can go there and turn the key too, if you can find it.
I wouldn’t advise following the plot through though and you will understand why if you read the book.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I should really aim my writing at the average reader, but I don’t, I write what I’d like to read, something thrilling and up beat. Surprisingly to me, I find a lot of people want to read something dark and/or tragic. They want a serial killer on a sink estate, murdering innocent children in the run down suburb. I can’t write that kind of stuff. I think my vibe is Pop not Emo. I write techno-thrillers and near-future crime. If I wrote long serial killer torture scenes I’d sell much more, but that doesn’t move me to create. If I did, I think I’d go the way of Edgar Allen Poe and be driven into madness and misery by my own creations.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have to say I adored the first four Harry Potter books. The content and delivery created a kind of ‘age regression’ in me while I read them. That was magical feeling for a middle aged bloke.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Not killing the story by discussing it before hand. If you talk about a story, you may never write it.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Sit down, start writing. Don’t edit until you have finished. Write as fast as possible.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. Please leave 5 star reviews on Amazon.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“Sorry I’m late.” I thought that was original until I Googled it.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I play cricket. I’m an extremely dangerous slow loopy wrist spinner, the doom of many a good young batsman.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I haven’t had a TV for nearly 25 years. For me this is the secret of writing books. Better a producer than a consumer.
Fiona: Favorite foods
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Authors Amazon Page UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Clem-Chambers/e/B0034OKF36/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1