Featured Author: Clark Roberts writes mostly short stories in the genres of horror and fantasy. His fiction has appeared in over twenty publications including Dark Recesses Press, Anotherealm, Nocturnal Ooze, Alienskin, and Peaks and Valleys. He is not a New York Times bestselling author, and for now, he’s okay with that. He spent much of his teenage years reading the novels of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Peter Straub. Mr. Roberts lives in Michigan with his wife and two children. Besides reading and writing he enjoys spending time in the outdoors hunting and fishing. He particularly enjoys fishing in the hours of dusk when trout streams whisper, and eyes open in the surrounding woods. Check out his facebook page and friend him; you’d be a lot cooler if you did. https://www.facebook.com/clark.roberts.39589
Featured Author: Clark Roberts Interview
- How long have you been writing?
- What/who inspired you to be a writer?
- What genre do you prefer to write in?
- Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
- What is your daily routine as a writer?
- What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
- Do you have a set number of words each day or a goal?
- How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
- Do you prefer short stories or full-length novels in your writing?
- Can you give some us some insight into your story?
- What advice can you give other writers?
LHP: How long have you been writing?
Clark Roberts: Fresh out of college I published ten or so short stories and poems. Then I landed a full-time teaching job, and my writing wasn’t just put in the backseat but was pushed somersaulting out of the car completely. About three years ago my wife and I had our first child, and it was then that the inspiration really hit to again begin writing.
LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Clark Roberts: I love horror. I always have and always will.
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LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?
Clark Roberts: Both my parents, each in their own way, encouraged me to read. Ever since reading Peter Straub’s and Stephen King’s The Talisman I’ve wanted to tell stories. When you’re young and write a story it seems you’re writing to impress your parents or a teacher, so the answer lies in both my favorite authors as well as real life role models from my childhood and adolescent years.
LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
Clark Roberts: Sometimes it is neither character or plot. For example, my inspiration for “The Devil’s Fingers” was a location. There are a lot of lighthouses on Michigan’s shorelines, and some of them are abandoned. Have you ever visited an abandoned lighthouse in the middle of the night? Do it. I guarantee it will get your creative juices flowing.
LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
Clark Roberts: I’d like to say I’m ambitious enough to have a routine, but I can’t. It varies. I write when I feel like it and when I can find the time. I might go three weeks without writing a word and then write every day for the next three weeks. I might begin a story tonight and then step away from it for five days. For me, writing is a hobby. Granted it’s a passionate hobby, but it is what it is.
LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
Clark Roberts: Nope.
LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
Clark Roberts: Instead of answering this question about a writing ‘career’ I will focus on the ‘craft’.
Physically describing characters is a chore for me, so I often avoid it. However, if I’m using a character whose looks or physical traits, either positive or negative, are integral to the plot I obviously must devote some words to it, and I just really struggle to come up with original phrases to describe characters. Also, I use the word and too much in my first few drafts of a story.
LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?
Clark Roberts: Nope. When I start a story I’ll write until I finish it or until I get stuck within the plot. If I do get bogged down, I typically won’t try writing on that particular story until a decent ‘fix’ for the story seemingly hits me out of the blue.
LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?
Clark Roberts: I would prefer novels, and #1 bestsellers if I’m being selfish. I don’t write for money, but I’d prefer to be good enough to make that happen. As it is, I’ve attempted three different novels and have yet to finish one. Maybe I should set up a daily routine.
LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
Clark Roberts: I really don’t know, but typically I will finish three to four stories and begin searching for their home. Usually I don’t start a new story until one or two of these stories gets accepted. The time devoted to the actual craft between these periods is spent editing or revising based upon editors comments or suggestions.
LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?
Clark Roberts: There are a lot of unused, abandoned lighthouses on the Michigan’s shoreline. They can be downright eerie to visit. Also, I read somewhere that Lake Superior is so cold that a dead body won’t float, which led to the famous phrase “she never gives up her dead.” I can recall swimming in the great lakes a few times as a kid, and particularly I remember the fear of being dragged out by the powerful draw of receding waves. All of these thoughts/memories combined, and I wrote the bulk of the story in a flurry of two nights. The last two or three pages were not completed until about a half year later after the story was rejected and the editor was kind enough to suggest it needed one more punch for the reader. I think it ended up being a damned fine story.
LHP: What advice can you give other writers?
Clark Roberts: My advice isn’t esoteric to writers. I would advise all people to do things they enjoy with their free time.
Clark Roberts recently authored “The Devil’s Fingers” for Terrors Unimagined on sale now.