Interview with Tom Cleary

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A new idea, an excitement to draw something, breakfast, good weather, you know the usual stuff
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
This sounds cheesy but I honestly am almost always looking for new ideas. If I go for at least an hour's walk I can end up planning some new project. If not, then still, at least it was a nice walk on the seafront
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Literally by just browsing. It's really exciting discovering new material by simply typing in one keyword or sometimes even none at all
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think I was about 4/5 years old and it was supposed to be an action series called The Blobs, which were actually more like a group of pelicans with 4 legs and wearing trainers. Can't remember their purpose in life but there was a 'baddy' in it and everything!

The first full comic I made was when I was 11. It was a series I made called Trixton, about 3 men who work in an office. This episode was called 'The Ulcer' and was simply inspired by the fact I had a mouth ulcer at the time and didn't know what it was. Thus, I carried on with Trixton for about 10 years afterwards
What is your writing process?
Eat, have a can of something fizzy, put some very loud music on, grab a pile of paper and pens and draw. Some days it's easier than others. There are days I don't do anything and feel quite guilty, then there are days I spring out of bed and get to work without eating or drinking anything all day. Probably not the healthiest routine but if it works, it works
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was very young I was fascinated by the Mr Men books. I loved the simplicity of the characters, the stories were always unique and each simple drawing had so much personality.

Then when I was about 6 years old, I remember reading Elmer the Elephant which I absolutely loved. Elmer was this brightly coloured, checkered elephant which really stood out to me. His stories were important to me as well, they were often about fitting in and looking/feeling different which, for a children's book, is actually quite a powerful and important subject.
How do you approach cover design?
I have an idea of the colour scheme in my head, firstly. I love creating collages, so I use this technique to hopefully create something that will stand out, be eye-catching and manage to impress myself.

Printing off images, creating patterns and finding mew materials are probably the key elements to making the covers
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a big fan of Viz comics, so they are definitely up there, along with some work by R. Crumb.

Old music magazines (NME, Q etc)

Very rarely, I'm ashamed to say, do I often sit down with a novel, but I have been reading Samie Sands' current series which is a very good read.

Also recently ordered 'My Most Wanted Life', Ray Cokes' autobiography which I'm looking forward to reading
Describe your desk
It's a dining table with piles of paper, boxes of pens and pencils, a mound of newspaper cuttings and a very annoying cat walking all over it
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I've grown up mainly in and around Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Westcliff, to be precise. I think a lot of work I do is influenced by the area. South Essex has this very bizarre landscape which I was never really aware of until I started to travel a bit more. There are flat marshes with cattle and horses grazing quite happily under duel carriageway fly-overs, the beautiful Benfleet Downs with Hadleigh Castle which are picturesque, even though they're slightly dominated by the Coryton Oil Refinery and Tilbury Docks. Then there's the sound of bomb tests going on in Foulness, to the east, and the strange view of the Isle of Grain across the Thames Estuary.

Also the place we lived as children is an interesting spot. We were in a flat in Westcliff surrounded by criminals, yet we were perfectly happy to go and play outside, bike riding, building dens and alleyway exploring.

I remember my parents at the time were always listening to music, so that stays with the memories and enhances them, almost. I suppose I sort of try to keep hold of some of the imagery through my work, in a way, with the use of colours and character designs for both the childhood home stuff and all that about the Essex coast. Sorry if I'm waffling, I've never really thought about this before
When did you first start writing?
I've been drawing and writing for as long as I can remember. Tacky answer but true.

This current comic series which are here on Smashwords, I started back in 2012 and finished in 2015, but it's the tip of the ice-berg when it's put next to the other work I have done
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love the niche audiences and the small community feel around the lifestyle. I find indie work to be a lot more honest and there's a lot more feeling of the writers doing it for themselves predominantly, which I personally believe everything creative should be
Published 2016-01-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ident TV: Another 2014 Kind Of Day
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 140. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Media tie-in
The newest book in the Ident TV series from renowned comic book artist Tom Cleary.
The Wonderful Adventures of Hammerhead Granny In... Fishnapped
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 140. Language: English. Published: February 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
The Wonderful Adventures of Hammerhead Granny In... Fishnapped and Truth Burgers. The newest series by the creator of the Ident TV series.
The Wonderful Adventures Of Hammerhead Granny in…Strange New Technology
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 150. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Graphic novel
The second book in the Hammerhead series, brought to you by the creator of the Ident TV series.
The Wonderful Adventures Of Hammerhead Granny in…The Salt Thieves
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 150. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Graphic novel
The Wonderful Adventures Of Hammerhead Granny in…The Salt Thieves. The first in a brand new series from the creator of the Ident TV series.
It Really Was That Simple
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 70. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
It Really Was That Simple...the fifth book in the Ident TV Series. The previous books include: Praise The Lord SS Montgomery Having An Off Moment It's Good To Be Fantastic
It's Good To Be Fantastic
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 150. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
The fourth book in the Ident TV series - discover new characters, and much more!
Ident TV: Having An Off Moment
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 150. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
Book 3 of the Ident TV series, featuring some brand new characters for you to enjoy.
Ident TV: SS Montgomery
Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 150. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
Book 2 in the Ident TV series - a comic strip TV channel, featuring Tricky the Blobfish, Inspector Spy and Duncan Soldiers. If you feel the need to escape this world of ukulele music, top-knots and trendy beards; look no further than this comic!
Ident TV: Praise the Lord! And Coming Up After 'How to Kill an Avacado' we go Off Down to Walford for More Hilarious Cockney Characters Getting in to More Hilarious Cockney Situations. Oh I Do Love a Good Laugh! And You Can Too! For Just 9999.99.9999
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 160. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
Book 1 of the Ident TV series - a comic strip TV channel packed with short stories; some funny, some scary, some just down right weird
Ident TV: Samples aka Tasters
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 140. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Graphic novel
A sample of the up-and-coming Ident TV series...a brand new comic strip from the quirky artist Thomas Cleary.