Interview With Author Graeme Clarke
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
By day I’m a public speaker for a big technology company and have written tons of articles and blogs on Boring Work Subjects. I’m a big fan of fantasy and science fiction and even own every one of the Discworld books, (and also a massive bookshelf). I have 3 little children and started to write books to keep them amused and stop them fighting for more than five minutes (which seems to have worked).
However, by night, I’m constantly getting into trouble by being involved in all sorts of bizarre and wonderful projects from writing mobile computer games to designing satellites that explore Outer Space. My favourite character is R2D2 and I’ve actually really got a signed photo from Kenny Baker himself!!
I started getting into writing books just over a year ago when on holiday. The TV had broken, the kids were bored and it was too wet to go to the beach. Since then I’ve written 3 books in my main series plus 2 supporting free giveaways.
Takes deep breath, …., I also dabble in poetry, there I’ve said it, but don’t worry I’m getting treatment.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My main series of books is called the ‘Tragedy of Charlie Bluster’. It’s about a little boy called Charlie who discovers he has magic powers but evil people like the mafia try and exploit him for ill-gotten gains! He is rescued by the gods of Olympus who have all seen Star Wars on TV and know what happens to good little boys with magic powers and how that turns out!
The third book has just been released and is called Charlie Bluster becomes Prime Minister. Charlie returns home to Britain and decides to put his powers to good effect by running for public office on a ticket of providing free chips to the whole nation.
The story has of course been inspired by the UK swapping PMs a bit like the way you or I would swap pairs of underpants. I sent a copy to former British prime minister Boris Johnson in the hope he reads it and might send a nice comment back, (I’ve also barricaded the door to the toilet just in case he sends the bailiffs instead).
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write everywhere. As soon as the words arrive in my brain I need to get them onto paper as quickly as possible before my head melts. The shed, cloakrooms and all the bathrooms in my house are stocked with plenty of pens and paper in case I don’t have my phone or laptop to hand.
The other essential ingredient for writing is Stroopwafels. If you don’t know what these are then finish reading this and go immediately buy some and find out for yourself!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
In fact, I’ve been heavily influenced by both print and TV. My entire youth was totally wasted over-binging on Blackadder, Red Dwarf and the New Statesman on the screen while I was never without my nose shoved into a Terry Pratchett or JRR Tolkien. Re-reading my work to my children I can see the great soup strainer of imagination has indeed filtered these influences into my own books.
What are you working on now?
A new series of blogs in work on green computing is taking up a lot of my frontal lobe capacity however when I don my cape and cowl in the small hours I’m working on Charlie Bluster book 4.
This incredible new addition to the saga will be the biggest yet with epic battles, the rise of a new super criminal that would make Darth Vader look wussier than Weasley Crusher, an incredible love story and enough side-splitting, snot-firing, belly-bouncing laughter to even get a snigger out of Scrooge McDuck.
Join the Charlie Bluster email list by downloading my free book and keep tabs on this amazing project. Over the next few months, I’ll be sending out teasers and polling everyone concerning their thoughts on characters, jokes and plot lines.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
In a fit of madness, I splashed out on a stall at ComicCon! I honestly expected to sell nothing and to be drummed out of the hall in humiliation by a platoon of lightsabre-wielding Jedi vampires.
But what an incredible experience, I turned up with roller banners, fliers, signs, promo videos, free bookmarks and over a hundred books. Punters were queueing up to find out more and the compliments were out of this world. People who bought book 1 on the first day actually came back to buy books 2 and 3 the next day. By the end of the event, every Force User and Ghostbuster there had a copy of the Un-god of Fate and I even sold the ARC copies I’d stashed in the back of the car.
Check out the Charlie bluster Facebook page, (link below), if you’d like to see the photos!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t run with scissors! Those sorts of injuries will really cut your writing career short.
Get something down on paper, it doesn’t matter what it is you can always improve it later. It also doesn’t matter if it’s just one sentence because it won’t be long before that turns into a paragraph, then a page and then a whole book.
Also read your books out loud, preferably to someone else, and get feedback early.
And if you get writer’s block I find that eating plenty of chocolate cake helps even if it does get crumbs all over the page.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Never give up, never surrender!
This critical advice comes from the captain and crew of the NSEA Protector from Galaxy Quest and is surely one of the most important nuggets of wisdom that anyone could have. Following this mantra, the intrepid crew were able to defeat evil, save the entire universe and get back in time for tea.
Oh, and before I get into trouble I understand that Winston Churchill might also have said this and to be fair he also helped save the universe too.
What are you reading now?
At least one of my books is owned by someone in Hollywood USA, (as opposed to Hollywood near Belfast where there are loads of copies), so I’m still waiting for them to call with the big-money movie rights deal. It’s therefore wise to keep current on popular films so I can take up that executive director post when the time comes.
This is why I’m reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas right now. I was bowled over by the movie which uses all the magic of modern cinema to bring the story to a new level and I want to understand if the same depth and excitement is there in the book. Normally what happens is that the file stomps all over the book and re-writes half the plot but it doesn’t seem to have happened so far and the book is a gripping read.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Once Charlie Bluster is finished I’m planning to fall totally to the dark side, change my name to Darth Keats and move into poetry! I’ve been mucking around with these evil powers for some time now and I’ve been impressed listening to professional poets speaking and the way they can completely captivate a live audience through the magic of words. Move over Palpatine, this stuff is way more powerful than even you could possibly imagine!
I’ve actually already written a couple of poems, (you can find an example on my personal website gc.charliebluster.com), and my next project will be to try and publish an entire book.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
My kid’s collection of large geography textbooks from school would be top of the list. They all have waterproof covers and could potentially be lashed together to form some sort of raft.
A hardback copy of Pilgrim’s Progress could also be handy to beat wild animals to death and if I needed paper to burn for fuel then I would gladly have Tolstoy’s War and Peace which should keep the fire going all through the night!
But if I had to have something to read then it would be Tolkien’s Lost Tales, surely one of the greatest works in the English language or potentially Jack Vance’s Lyonnesse, both epic tales of unimaginable proportion and enough to keep reading until the rescue boat arrived.
Author Websites and Profiles
Graeme Clarke’s Social Media Links