Thomas Andrew Clark is a young writer who achieves very easily. He wanted to write a book and so he sat down. The ideas flowed, and suddenly he found himself the owner of a very commercial manuscript, written with his writing partner. Rogue’s Phoenix Chronicles Book 1: Thieves and Kings became a book and the book became a strong seller… He just followed that road and now he finds himself sitting at a pinnacle looking at the trail he has already trod. What’s next? I don’t know! Let’s ask him!
Q) Okay, Tommy, here we go! How does it feel to be a writer?
A) Humbling. I never knew just how much work it would take when it all started.
Q) I bet! So, how did you start? What caused you to write a book?
A) At the risk of sounding cliché, it was residual thought from my D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) days.
Q) Really? Dungeons and Dragons got you into the crazy world of writing?
A) Well, it was the idea of fantasy fiction. I loved the game mostly because of the time I had with my friends. As it progressed, I started thinking about storylines at work, in the shower, driving or any time my mind could wander. When I realized that it was all I thought about, I decided (with the help of my now wife) it was time to move on and let go. I quit cold turkey. The storyline I had planned out started to form more and more until finally I decided it was time to write it down.
Q) How did you find the actual process of writing a book? Did it come easily to you or was it a hard, long road of morose obligation and hard line procrastination?
A) For starters, I wrote the first draft by simply going through the story and laying out the bullets. Then I would go back and add to it with content. I had a lot of help with this from my friend Robert Jennings. His way with words slowly inspired me and I could see his traits in my own writing. The hardest part with this was the distance between us and how life somehow takes precedence. Each step was its own challenge; but much like everything else, I had to focus on the step I was on and it sort of worked out. The hardest part was when I started working on book two in the idea (or “bullet phase” as I call it) while still working on book one.
Q) Of course, you write with your partner these days, but do you think you could make the magic happen solo, too?
A) I wrote solo on my first release. Mental Health Day was a script I wrote when I thought I could be a screenwriter. I converted it to book as a practice for the process before the release of Thieves and Kings. It went over really well with my family and friends. It was a real life story, though. I still get tripped up on the terminology (the flavor).
I should clarify– the “flavor” of a fantasy fiction novel is terminology that describes the environment. I still find myself using modern dialect and during rewrites it takes some time to make those adjustments.
Q) Are you a writer who finds writing easy? Just a matter of sitting down and doing it with ideas flowing out of your fingers?
A) I quite enjoy it. I find times where I write myself into a corner and then it’s not writing. Then it’s problem solving. I like to have fun with words, and writing allows me to do that. I wrote some in high school and thought I was a poet for a while. I just had fun rhyming. Then as things progressed, I found that I enjoyed the story element. I think it is fun to think of humorous situations to place characters in or find ways to get them out of situations. I like to think of how they can get out of certain situations and then find ways to place the characters there. I have a list of situations and ideas so if I get stuck I can use them to guide me in a specific direction. My mind is always thinking about this, and so when I decide to start writing, I usually have an idea. That is not to say that I don’t work at it. The industry is very interesting. I have had several headaches just reading the vast amount of advice and guides and tricks of the trade.
Q) What is your favourite part of the writing industry?
A) I think the creativity. The stories and characters are where my passion is. The industry is that element that you have to take on so that you can enjoy the rest. I say that, but then thinking about it I don’t mind it. I get to have fun with it as well. On Facebook, I try to keep my followers interested in my newest post on the book’s progression. I haven’t done too much or had a lot of exposure to the industry itself, but I am sure it is coming quickly.
Q) Looking back, what do you think about the journey to become a published writer?
A) OH MY GOODNESS! The words are hard to find. It is amazing to think. This book was such a long journey. It feels good to be seeing it come to life. I had such a hard time when I was starting to imagine it being at this point.
Q) Can you tell me about Thieves and Kings? What is it actually about?
A) Now there is the question. A God created Rogue’s Phoenix as a test. The book takes place somewhere in the middle of the allotted time available. Things are starting to go wrong with the trade routes and, upon further investigation, Dylen, a squire aspiring to be knight, and his friends find that the trade routes are just a scratch in the surface. The book unwinds to open a much larger problem.
Q) It has been described as a thrilling read! Let me ask you, as a reader, what would attract you to this book?
A) I am drawn immediately to Fantasy Fiction. Beyond that, I would say the sheer epic-ness of it. I love that stories continue. One of my favorite series is written by R.A. Salvatore because once I fall for a character I want to follow them. With my books I have a planned trilogy with a chance for a quintet. Beyond that it should lead into a second trilogy. I love epics and don’t want to quit the story. I use fun characters to tell a deep story. I think that would be what would draw me as a reader.
Q) As a writer, what are your big goals? What are you really heading for at the moment?
A) To tell stories. I love stories. I love movies. If I can tell fun stories and my readers can enjoy them I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Q) I have been hearing about you a lot lately and nothing bad. How are your readers taking to your work from your vantage point?
A) I have a blog at TommyClarkAuthor.com. It is a way for me to strengthen my creativity in the fantasy fiction environment. In the blog, I tell normal stories with a fantasy fiction twist. People seem to really enjoy that. My first book release was well-received. It is an adult comedy and people thought it was humorous. I don’t cuss but my characters did. A co-worker and friend said, “I had to keep reminding myself who wrote it.” I thought that was fun. Sometimes I have to ask for more feedback. “It was good” just isn’t enough. I would constantly beg people to go to Amazon and rate the book.
Q) Many writers find it difficult to get reviews. Is it easier for you?
A) Not at all. Everyone wants to read it. Most would pay for it. Several will give me honest feedback. Few will review where others can read.
Q) Do you think promoting a book takes money, time, or a mixture of both?
A) I would say it is a delicate balance. I have spent hours and hours working Facebook and for a while I invested time in LinkedIn and other sites. I haven’t pinned up flyers yet. I am actually going to try that on my next release.
Q) Regarding self-publishing– is it THE thing or is it going to die out?
A) The jury is out on that one. I was able to get my stories out with self-publishing, but I haven’t experienced having a publisher. I suppose this way I can release the books at my own leisure and control my own designs and image. I believe it has its place. The publisher could help with the push of a book though, so if a person could get into that environment it would definitely get the book in front of more people.
Q) How do you rate yourself as an author?
A) Am I in the same rankings as Margarete Weis, Tracy Hickman, Terry Goodkind? No. But in time, I think that I could attract the same fan base.
Q) Thank you for your time, Thomas! It has been a wonderful experience interviewing you.
A) Thank you and come again!