Interview with Frances Clarke

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Sheer frustration! I experienced a lot of encouragement from two different agents, both of whom worked with me and to both of whom I owe a great deal. 'The Glassblower's Daughter' would never have been written if the first agent hadn't insisted I do it. He and I parted company eventually when he felt that he was hindering my progress. The second agent added even more wisdom and I produced a final draft working with her but she wasn't able to place the book in the end. After so much hard work I just wanted to leave it behind and get on with another book but I felt I couldn't because what was the point of having written it (which took AGES) if no one was ever going to read it? My level of frustration prompted me to go down the indie route and it had the desired effect - I was able to let the book float free and start writing another one.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords offers a sane and utterly helpful platform with clear instructions on how to proceed. You end up doing this really difficult thing but because it is broken down into steps for you - you somehow achieve it. Once you have gone from one step to the next, and once you see the download figures start to increase it gives you back all your sense of belief in yourself as a writer. You feel in control. I think that is very important.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Finding out what the truth is. If you write something and it feels contrived or bogus in some way you find, if you read it over honestly, that you haven't told it right. You have to hammer away at it chipping away any artifice or inauthenticity or anything you added for effect. Eventually if there is anything left - it is the truth. Then you can move onto another bit and write that.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. They are a reason to keep going when it seems too difficult to do. You know they 'get' what you are doing because the reviews express that they got it. And because they got it, you keep doing it because it means you were on the right track - you said what you meant to say.
What are you working on next?
A novel which is about time and distance.
Who are your favorite authors?
WG Sebald, Mikhail Bulgakov, Joe Simpson, Jeanette Winterson, A.L. Kennedy, Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro, Annie Proulx, Eudora Welty, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Orhan Pamuk, Mervyn Peake, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot (I could go on and on...!!)
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
All the aspects of things I do whether it is writing, making a website, using Facebook and Twitter to reach people and spread messages - trying to help solve the challenges of the word's problems - which are therefore my problems and everyone's problems, the interesting things I help to do at work, helping organise music events, keeping up with my children and friends, plus the possibilities for walking, cycling or playing badminton or swimming, for seeing the wonderful things in nature in the sky, in the city, from the train, going to see theatre shows... everything helps to inspire me
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a demanding job and I spend a lot of time doing that. It brings me into contact with people who are working on solutions to the energy crisis, people who are working on healthcare technologies, people who are working to safeguard population health across the globe and energetic young people
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually happy accidents of browsing, sometimes through Twitter or Facebook
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do. I remember the first one my sister wrote too.
What is your writing process?
I write things into a notebook. Later I type the things into a document. Then I try expanding that draft. I keep incorporating relevant bits I find in my notebooks and at some stage I'll maybe shut myself up and lay everything out on the floor and try and see where the story goes physically - like which bit goes before that bit and why is that bit there when x hasn't happened yet
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Alice in Wonderland had a huge impact on me. It was the first whole book I read. Before that I had read stories but I don't remember which one was first. Grimm's fairy Tales and Hans Anderson fairy tales had a massive impact
How do you approach cover design?
I do mock ups in a programme like Microsoft Publisher and then make it into a pdf to see what it looks like. I need to have a strong colour in mind.
Published 2013-11-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Unusual Salami and Other Stories
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,800. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(5.00 from 6 reviews)
With humour ('Imaginary Col')or strange lyrical horror (the title story) the characters in this collection struggle to make sense of life with sometimes dreadful consequences. Greg is weirdly empowered by reading a book, Anna escapes an enchantment (or does she?) God creates the world and Arkle is... well, Arkle. Although what IS that raggy brown stuff under the tree in 'Pneumonia'?
The Glassblower's Daughter
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 95,390. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(5.00 from 8 reviews)
Greta's life is carefree until the abrupt disappearance of her elder sister, and all her courage can't save her from the sinister shadows that engulf her. Even when she finds a way out betrayal and treachery threaten her.