Interview with Aaron J Clarke

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in North Queensland whose congenial people and climate shaped me as a person and most importantly as a writer. For instance, during the protracted wet season, which occurs between December and January, I spend my days voraciously reading novels by writers such as Henry James, Edith Wharton and Charles Dickens.
When did you first start writing?
At the age of twelve, I started writing a sci-fi short story inspired by the American television series ‘V’; however, it was a pale imitation, and so I stopped.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I always wanted to emulate the American novelist Henry James. I love his sophisticated style and the erudite nature of his novels. As a consequence, I was inspired to write a queer version of James’ ‘The Golden Bowl’ in which a rich mother and daughter are seduced and manipulated by gay men. Therefore, I started writing ‘Before the Fall’, and in a way I felt as though James was speaking to me, guiding and helping me in the process of writing.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Disheartened by the numerous rejection letters from traditional publishers, I decided to become an independent author with a means in which to establish an audience for my work. Moreover, ‘Smashwords’ has enabled me to connect with readers whereas previously that would have been impossible without a contract with an established publisher.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords’ distribution network and multiple eBook formats are an ingenious way in which to promote and sell my work.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy is when I write something, which is elegant and sophisticated and not shit. Writing is an obsession to which I’m happily addicted.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean everything to me. Without them, I have no one to give me an honest opinion on my work and how best to improve it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing I read, listen to classical music and watch classic movies. Also I go on long walks in order to keep fit.
What is your writing process?
I start writing late at night when no one can disturb me, and I try to jot down a couple of hundred words. Then I reread what I’ve written and correct any mistakes.
How has your mental illness affected you as a writer?
Being Schizophrenic is a mixed blessing as it has helped my creativity yet, at the same time, my imagination is all consuming thereby hindering my ability to relate to real people.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That’s a hard question to answer as there are many books that I absolutely love. Anyway here are some of my favourites:
1.‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens because the guy whom I liked was similar in nature to the cruel Estella in Dicken’s novel.
2.‘The Portrait of a Lady’ by Henry James because the heroine is mistreated in a similar way to how I was treated by the guy I liked.
3.‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ by Oscar Wilde because of the subtle homoeroticism employed throughout the novel and price one must pay for living a hedonistic existence.
4.‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez because he blends reality with fantasy in the South American tradition of magic realism.
5.‘Orlando’ by Virginia Woolf because this novel is unique in that the protagonist lives for hundreds of years and transforms into a woman.
Published 2013-08-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Death in Xanadu
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,830. Language: American English. Published: October 18, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
'Death in Xanadu' is a savage indictment against the movie industry, and in this world of celluloid fantasy, the ultimate power belongs to the studio mogul Carlton Hislop, who can either destroy careers or create them – on the condition that they submit themselves to him.
La Victime anonyme et autres poèmes
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 4,000. Language: French. Published: May 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » French Poetry
Dans ce nouveau recueil de poèmes, Clarke aborde de nombreux thèmes, dont le racisme, l’amour homosexuel, la mort, ses réflexions sur la vie, le caractère transitoire de la jeunesse et de la beauté ou encore l’immoralité de la guerre.
The Voices of Discontent
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,540. Language: Australian English. Published: April 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
On the verge of committing suicide, Cécile, a middle-aged woman, suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, contemplates her life in Townsville, and with that of her husband, Alain – whom in hindsight she believes to have made a mistake in marrying. Cécile believes her marriage to be flawed because Alain is unsupportive of her artistic ambitions and her dreams of travelling.
Le baiser du pécheur
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 96,570. Language: French. Published: December 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Victorian
Dans 'Le baiser du pécheur', Clarke raconte une histoire de trahison et de revanche se déroulant dans le France et le Maroc de la fin du dix-neuvième siècle.
Selected Short Stories
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,470. Language: Australian English. Published: July 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
The seven stories in this selection span Clarke’s early career...
The Road To Ignominy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 52,420. Language: British English. Published: January 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Inspired by a real-life 19th century scandal, Clarke deftly writes about the privileged world of the Victorian upper-class, where Hugh is forced by his overbearing mother, Lady Lillian, to conform to society’s views concerning sex.
Les fleurs du printemps
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 23,160. Language: French. Published: January 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
Dans ce court roman finement écrit, Clarke peint le portrait de Sonia, éprise de liberté, qui sacrifie ses scrupules et, plus encore, son premier amour, le séduisant jardinier, en faveur de John, le millionnaire revêche.
Avant La Chute
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,620. Language: French. Published: October 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
'Avant La Chute'est un roman basé sur l’histoire de 'The Golden Bowl' (La Coupe d’or) d’Henry James, mais avec un tournant inattendu, car celui-ci y implique des amants homosexuels, Marty Townsend et Carlton Aspern, qui séduisent et manipulent la richissime veuve australienne, Clara de Veer, et sa fille Maggie.
Selected Poems
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 4,520. Language: English. Published: June 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Australian & Oceanian
Drawing upon personal events, Clarke invites readers of his poetry to meet a romantic and sensitive soul.
The Lover's Lament
Price: Free! Words: 1,540. Language: Australian English. Published: July 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Dissatisfied with her life with her boyfriend, Tobey, Patricia resorts to read sentimental novels in order to fulfil her desires; however, she soon realises that the world of fantasy can never negate her despair, and in so doing, she realises what she must do: renounce him.
Before The Fall
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 38,200. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
‘Before the Fall’ is a retelling of Henry James’ ‘The Golden Bowl’, but with a twist as it involves the gay lovers, Marty Townsend and Carlton Aspern, seducing and manipulating the widowed Australian millionaire Clara de Veer and her daughter Maggie.
The Flowers of Spring
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,300. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
‘The Flowers of Spring’ represents Clarke at his finest, exploring the corrosive effects of money and the consequences for those who obtain it.
The Cat
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,730. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
In the distant future, a man downloads an ancient novel and instead of instantly transferring the novel into his brain, the man does something profound, he reads the text.
Upon The Rock
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,090. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Upon the Rock is a blend of narrative voices and styles that tells the story of Marcus Baird, a gay man from Townsville, and Aemilius, a character from a novel set in Ancient Rome written by Aaron J Clarke.
La Mer
Price: Free! Words: 790. Language: French. Published: September 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Sur la plage un homme et une femme découvrissent la fragilité d’amour et de vie.
The Sea
Price: Free! Words: 1,010. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
On the beach a man and a woman discover the fragility of love and life.
The Sinner's Kiss
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 92,030. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Romance » Historical
In 'The Sinner’s Kiss', Clarke tells the story of betrayal, revenge in France and Morocco during the fin de siècle.
Price: Free! Words: 1,090. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(1.50 from 2 reviews)
In the confines of a bedroom, a tragedy would be enacted between former lovers that would lead to guilt and recrimination.
Les ombres de la nuit
Price: Free! Words: 1,050. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(1.00 from 1 review)
On a winter's night, people gather around a group of bridge players. Unbeknownst to them, in the corner of the capacious chamber, two former lovers meet: their objective to subjugate the other.
Epiphany of Life
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,930. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Adam Carlson takes for his research topic an unfinished novel by Noelene Richards, a friend of Virginia Woolf. Trying to finish this extraordinary masterpiece, Adam begins to obsess about the book and its author, an obsession compounded by drugs. This clever debut novel by Aaron J Clarke, a book within a book, plays on perceptions of reality and identity and the possibilities of redemption.