Good morning, all! Please extend a very warm welcome to Naomi Clark, author of the Urban Wolf series, including Silver Kiss and Dark Hunt, urban fantasy with a lesbian twist, from QueeredFiction Press.
Naomi lives in Cambridge and is a mild-mannered office worker by day, but a slightly crazed writer by night. She has a perfectly healthy obsession with giant sea creatures and a preference for vodka-based cocktails. When she's not writing, Naomi is probably either reading or watching 80s cartoon shows, and sometimes she manages to do all three at once.
Before we get into Naomi's interview, let's take a quick look at Dark Hunt, the newest installment in her Urban Wolf series:
Ayla Hammond is taking on Paris. Hoping for a romantic getaway in the City of Lights with her girlfriend, Shannon, she finds a city under the dark thrall of Le Monstre. Getting caught up in mystery and murder was the last thing Ayla and Shannon expected to find in the City of Love, but as the body count grows and tension rises between Parisian werewolves and humans they find themselves stalked by an unknown terror. What is Le Monstre and why does it make Ayla's wolf want to turn tail and run? Can it be stopped before they become its next victims?
And now, without further ado, please welcome Naomi Clark!
♥ Thanks for stopping by Naomi! For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out your latest release, please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an urban fantasy author with a passion for werewolves, based in the UK. I've been published by Damnation Books (my Shoregrave series about a ghost tour guide who hunts vampires at night) and QueeredFiction (my Urban Wolf series about a werewolf and her PI girlfriend), and have lots of short stories flying around the internet too!
♥ The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, even in the era of small presses and digital publishing. When did you begin writing, and how did you feel when you first saw your work in print?
I've always written! I really can't remember how old I was when I wrote my first story (which was probably about ponies), but I don't remember a time when I wasn't writing something. I was thirteen when I sent my first novel off to a publisher who, quite rightly, rejected it. It wasn't until I finished university in 2005 that I got really serious about getting published and making a career as an author, and in 2009 my first novel, AFTERLIFE, was released. It was a completely surreal feeling – scary, exhilarating, and very motivational!
♥ Did you deliberately choose a genre because there's something specific that draws you to it, something you feel it offers that other genres don't, or was it just 'right' for the story you wanted to tell?
I've always been geared towards the supernatural and mystical, and when I was first writing, I wrote high fantasy. I discovered Anita Blake in my teens and realised this was what I wanted to do – bring the supernatural into the real world. So I almost feel like the genre chose me, rather than the other way round. The stories in my head were already right for urban fantasy.
♥ How does your past influence your writing? Are you conscious of relating the story to your own experiences?
I travelled a lot as a kid, because my dad was in the army, and I love setting stories in places foreign to me. I think subconsciously a part of you always leaks through into the writing, but I try to keep myself out of my characters as much as possible – I don't want to share my thoughts and feelings with readers; I want them to hear my characters'.
♥ Do you have a schedule or a routine to your writing? Is there a time and place that you must write, or do you let the words flow as they demand?
I work a full-time day job, so most of my writing is done in the evenings and at the weekends. Beyond that, there's no set routine. Most nights I get about 1-2k written, and if I can sneak in any extra writing at work, I do! I try not to work on more than one thing at once, but sometimes a new idea will hit me in the middle of a current project and I get distracted, so at times like that I will just go with the flow and work on what appeals to my imagination most!
♥ Do you have a soundtrack to your writing, a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you in the mood, or do you require quiet solitude?
Mostly I have the TV on in the background, as I write in my living room and my other half is usually watching something or playing a computer game. If I'm alone, I listen to music – Tori Amos, AFI, and Blaqk Audio are my favourites to write to at the moment, although sometimes I'll make up a soundtrack for a particular book.
♥ For some authors, it's coming up with a title, and for others it's writing that first paragraph ♥ what do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing?
Editing! I could tinker with a book forever and still think of things I wanted to change, so editing can be quite painful for me. My record is eleven rewrites...and I'd probably still be rewriting that book if I hadn't decided to bite the bullet and just self-publish it so it wasn't haunting me anymore!
♥ Sometimes, characters can take on a life of their own, pulling the story in directions you hadn't originally anticipated. Has a twist or turn in your writing ever surprised you, or really challenged your original plans?
I finished the first draft of the third Urban Wolf book in September, and that turned out completely differently to how I imagined – a lot more politics, a lot less inter-personal stuff. When I do the rewrite, I'll try to balance it out and get in the personal scenes I originally planned to include, as it will all contribute to the next book.
♥ When you're not writing (or reading), what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you happy?
I got introduced to D&D this year, which has become a surprisingly big part of my life. I never imagined I'd get quite so into it as I have! I also have two snakes, who can be quite demanding, and I'd love to add to the collection and get some geckos in the future.
♥ Just for fun, who would you single out as your number one celebrity crush, and what would you like most to do with/to them?
Right now it's Chris Hemsworth. I'm not sure what I'd do with him...Probably just stare like an idiot...
♥ If you could live a day in the world of someone else's story, whose would you choose, and why?
I always, always, always wanted a dragon, so I'd pick Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. Spending a day flying around on a dragon sounds perfect to me.
♥ What can we look forward to from you next? Is there a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?
I'm currently working on a new Shoregrave book, which has me excited as I get to revisit one of my favourite characters, Ethan Banning, a demon-possessed PI. After that, I'll be redrafting the third Urban Wolf book, which will be a big challenge, but I think it'll be worth it if I can make the book into what I want it to be.
Thanks so much to Naomi for stopping by! If you'd like to check out more of her work, please do visit her at http://naomijay.blogspot.com/, on Facebook, or on Twitter.