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Friday, January 01, 2010

Military Sci-Fi Author Jack McClure ~ Interviewed

Tell us a bit about your current project.

I am trying to introduce the real world of today to the possible world of “Puss & Boots in The 23rd Century”

We are all about journeys...unique ones at that. How convoluted was your path to your first published book? Share some highlights or lowlights from your path to publication.

My son was considering writing a “comick” with his artist friend, so I started writing scene descriptions for him. Then he and friend dropped the idea, but I liked what I had written – and the process of writing, so I kept on with the story. This is the first fiction writing I have ever done, and I had to learn a lot more about the English language than I thought I knew in order to do so.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work, or struggle in a particular area such as writers block or angst driven head-banging against walls? Please share some helpful overcoming hints that you’ve discovered.

I was trying to understand my protagonists after I had gotten really into doing the novel, but was not getting where I wanted to be, so I set it aside and wrote both of their histories (backstories). After I did that, they then started telling me what to write about them, and sometimes a whole page would appear on my monitor with me not being really aware of what it said until I stopped and read it. I would then ask myself “Where in blazes did that come from?” So I really didn’t have too much of a problem with writer’s block.

What mistakes have you made while seeking publication? Or to narrow it down further what’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

I wish I had known more about the publishing business, and how it has recently changed. One house kept my M/S for 14 months before rejecting it, and the only other one in the Mil Sci Fi field rejected it after only one week. So then I had to learn about self-publishing.

What is your favorite source for finding story ideas?

Watching people and news sources like the Drudge Report. I try to develop minor characters based on people I either know or see on the street. The New York subway is an excellent source of material BTW.

Have you ever had one of those awkward writer moments you’d like to share with us, the ones wherein you get “the look” from the normals? Example, you stand at a knife display at the sporting goods store and ask the clerk which would be the best to use to disembowel a six foot man…please do tell.

I get that look every time I walk into a wine shop wearing my military camouflage field jacket and ask for a burgundy, and “not some wimpy a**ed Bordeaux!”

With the clarity of experience what advice would you offer up to the wet-behind-the-ears you if beginning this writing journey today?

Dream your characters. Let them talk to you. They will tell you what their story is, and what to write.

What event/person has most changed you as a writer? How?

I went to a Sci Fi writers workshop put on by Orson Scott Card in Goldsboro, NC several years ago when I was still trying to learn how to write in the English language and create real words. I learned quite a bit from him and met my on-line writers group there as well. I also learned that I don’t think too much of him however, because he is needlessly cruel...

What piece of writing have you done that you’re particularly proud of and why?

I am trying to do a preliminary sketch of a screenplay I call “Brenda’s Story” but I am having trouble with it. I knew Brenda in college, dated her once just before she joined the Air Force, and then learned that she died several years in Turkey. She was shot in the back as she ran away from bandits. She was naked and died in a corn field – according to her Turkish lover who survived.

Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?

Authors present their work, and themselves as offerings on the altars of the publishers. It always has been this way until now, but maybe self –publishing and the internet can overcome their cruel monopoly. Perhaps we who self-publish can make these “gate-keepers” become redundant, and so live or die on our own merits.

Share a dream or something you'd love to accomplish through your writing career.

Send a message to people in today’s world about what might happen to them if they don’t pay attention to what their “leaders” are doing to them today...

What gives you the greatest writer buzz, makes the trip worth the hassles (besides coffee or other substances, or course )?

When someone says that they like my book!

What is one of the more unique or strange life experiences that has really given you an extra oomph in your writing?

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

Think of a first page hook, and then write the book to fit the hook!

Writing rituals. Do you have to sit somewhere specific, complete a certain number of words, leave something undone to trigger creativity for the next session? Some other quirk you’d like to share?

Nope. When it happens – it just happens. My muse is a fickle filly for damn sure! I have actually scribbled ideas on sheets of toilet tissue on my knee while in the john when they hit me.

What is the most difficult part of pulling together a book? Ex. Do you have saggy middles, soggy characters, soupy plots during your first drafts…if so, how do you shape it up?

Writing it is the easiest part, publishing and marketing the sucker is the hard part, OK! My real problem with my writing is being able to stop describing the scenes I see in my mind’s eye. I want my readers to see exactly what I see, rather than letting them take my hints and filling in the blanks themselves. I cut an awful lot of description out of P & B, and it still is over 600 pages!

Parting words? Anything you wish we would’ve asked because you’ve got the perfect answer?

Go to Amazon and buy my book! I guarantee that you will like it or I will refund your money!! Thanks for listening!


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