Name Chad Clark
Where are you from?
My name is Chad Clark, I’m 39 Years Old. I was originally born in Peoria, Illinois but we moved to Quincy, Illinois shortly after I was born. We lived there for quite some time before moving to Iowa City, Iowa. This would be my home for the majority of my life until I met my future wife. Ours was a long distance relationship at first while we both looked for work in the other’s town and we both ended up moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I live to this day.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was heavily into social studies and liberal arts growing up. I was a debater in high school and would become a coach after I moved on to college. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. I also studied some Political Science as well as English and some Literature. I have worked for twenty years for our local food co-op, in almost every capacity and department at one time or another but for the last six years or so, I have worked as a baker. First, in our bread department and most recently as an early morning pastry baker. I am married, with two sons. The older is three years old and the youngest is just about to turn one.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I don’t have anything super exciting to share, but I do have several projects that are either newly completed or close to being completed. I have just finished a novella, titled Down The Beaten Path, which is about a tightly knit religious community which disappears under mysterious circumstances. This book has been submitted to a publisher and hopefully within a few months, I will get some good new from them. I am also nearing the end of writing my first full length novel, Behind Our Walls. This is a post-apocalyptic story of survival and the attempt to find community and hope in the midst of death and violence. It is a book that I’m very proud of and will be excited to share it when that day comes.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been creating art for longer than I can remember. I have come across drawings and poems written before I even started going to school but I sort of identify the third grade as the point where my interest in creative writing really started. At least, that was when I realized that my love of movies and books could lead me to the point of creating stories of my own design.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
While I have been passionate about writing for most of my life, it has only been within the last five years or so, when I have really devoted myself to my craft that I have been comfortable to call myself a writer, not just someone who likes to write. The difference, in my mind, is between the person who likes to noodle on their guitar and someone who hears music in a silent room.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My preference is definitely for horror and science fiction, mostly it’s what I grew up on and what I was passionate about as a young reader. It’s only natural that the movies and books I loved would drive my own creative expression. Beyond that, I tend towards the darker side with my stories. I love monsters, I love the paranormal.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No, I wouldn’t say that. There are plenty of authors who have the ability to masterfully weave a message into their writing but I’m just not one of them. I have always been a fan of the Frank Capra line, that if you want to send a message, use Western Union. Basically, if someone reads my book and takes something specific from it, that thrills and excites me. But I don’t believe in pre-loading my work with an intentional point that I expect readers to get.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Thankfully, not very much, considering what I write about. I use real life experiences to help lend some credibility to my stories but that’s about the extent of it.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Clive Barker, Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov – all authors who have inspired me to rise to greater heights. They are all an example of what I have always aspired to.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Social media has been a great tool for connecting with other authors who really understand the struggle and the challenge. It is nice for us to be able to support each other and provide necessary encouragement as writing can be a long and lonely endeavor.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No, and I don’t have any realistic expectations of that any time soon. It is extremely difficult anymore to make enough money off of just writing, enough that would allow paying the bills and maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. I would consider myself to be a professional writer but my earnings have definitely not been enough to live off of.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The following is an excerpt from a currently unpublished novella, titled Down The Beaten Path.
His mind wandered to the thought of the people of the town, and how often they must have sat here. He could almost hear the shifting of body weight as everyone stayed as silent as possible, respectful to the minister or priest or whoever. The physical weight of the history of this town came down on him, and he couldn’t help but imagine the track that all these people had been on, and how it had all ended in tragedy.
Everything happened here, it was the hub of every aspect of the town’s existence. Town meetings would have been here, whatever passed as governmental affairs, it all flowed through the essential spiritual spillway of this place. It had been so essentially the spirit of the town, that even though he was the only person here, he felt out of place. He felt like he didn’t belong. It had been nearly twenty years since he had set foot inside a church, and this place made him want to go another twenty years before doing it again. There was something wrong about it, as if the typical Christian symbology he saw around him was merely a cloak for something else, just under the surface. Had this really been only a church or was it a prison for the free will of these people, and their ability to find true fulfillment?
The floorboards groaned all around him, and in a moment, his stomach lurched at the sensation of instantly being ten years old, watching as the entire congregation stood, en masse. It was that sound he now heard in the empty space around him, as if a weight applied to the pews was suddenly gone, and everyone around him was now standing erect, paying respect to the altar of the church, and in that moment, from the corner of the room, he could have sworn he heard the echo of a repressed cough.
Gale bolted up, out of his seat and ran for the door. He turned too soon, and his foot hooked around something. He flailed forward, smacking his head against one of the other benches as he rolled across the aisle, briefly blinded from the pain. Even in his disoriented state however, he still heard somehow, a collective intake of breath around him from the unseen, gathered dead, shocked at his apparent disrespect in such a hallowed place as this.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Just about everything relating to writing can be a challenge. So many people have the misconception that writing stories is just a matter of sitting around the house and making things up. The reality of how much more actually goes into it can be a daily and regular grind that requires total dedication. Getting up the motivation every day to sit down and write can sometimes be easy and sometimes torture. For me, getting more comfortable in my skin as a writer has been the key to making sure that on any given day, my feelings about the work are more of the former.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
At the risk of sounding like a cliche, you have to have the attitude that there is always something to be learned from a project, regardless of how short or long. I feel like I get a little bit better, every time I write and more than anything, I never want to find myself with the attitude that I think I have acquired all there is to know.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If writing is something you are passionate about, make sure that you are keeping it about the writing, as much as possible. Don’t focus too much on your online profile, or creating your platform or molding your social media personality. Don’t treat other writers and people out there like they are just there to help further your career. Be passionate about your words and the quality of your writing will speak for itself. Show interest in others and learn as much as you can from those around you. Other writers are not competition. There are plenty of readers out there for all of us. Celebrate other people’s achievements and devote yourself to your love for story, not just to selling books. If you have any expectation that anyone will spend money to read your writing, you have to take it seriously. Hone your craft, as often as you can. Publish with fear, publish with humility and publish with gratitude.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Mostly thank you. Thank you for the interest in my work and for all the support. The last thing any writer wants to end up being the guy singing by himself in the shower. The audience is the most important part of all so I am always grateful to know when there are other people at the end of this wordy connection.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading The Tommyknockers, by Stephen King as well as Crossroads Of Twilight, by Robert Jordan.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I have no idea. My earliest reading memories generally involve Peanuts, Archie comics, Doctor Seuss and Garfield but we all know how reliable memory can be.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Stephen King. As I think much of my love for writing came from my love of his books, I would love to be able to sit down at a table with him and have a good discussion about craft.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Just spell my name correctly. That’s all I ask.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to cook. I am a pastry baker by trade and I have been teaching pizza making classes for over ten years. If anyone is interested, you can check out the other side of my creative expression at www.blinddogpizza.com
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
With two young children, my TV watching has pretty much been relegated to Disney and the Food Network but in terms of shows I have loved over the years, in no particular order, I would say The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Law & Order, Smallville, The West Wing, The X-Files, 24, House, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Shield, Star Trek (films and TV shows). I love Star Wars and I love horror films
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pizza, blues, rock & roll and jazz
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have liked to have been in a regular touring band. Not in terms of fame and fortune but playing music is something that I loved a lot and would have liked to have done more.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My blog can be found at www.bakedscribe.net. I publish a new short story every week. New stories post on Wednesdays and then on the weekends, I repost older stories that are no longer live on the site. I also have several ongoing series of essays, on the craft of writing as well as blogging about reading Stephen King’s books in order of publication. I have also added a new section, focused on some of my favorite books I have read over the past year.
You can also find info on me at my official site, http://www.cclarkfiction.net/
My Amazon author page can be found at : http://www.amazon.com/Chad-A.-Clark/e/B00LV768ZC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
And my books themselves :
A Shade For Every Season : http://www.amazon.com/Shade-Every-Season-Chad-Clark-ebook/dp/B00V5EZYV0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8