Wayne Clark is a Montreal writer and author of the historical novel That Woman: Beating the odds in colonial New York (2017) and the international award-winning literary fiction novel he & She (2013). In addition to writing fiction he has worked as a journalist, copywriter and translator.
What is your writing process?
After I've convinced myself I have an idea, a character, a situation, worth exploring I make myself sit down at the keyboard first thing every morning, seven days a week. If nothing comes, that's fine because I know from experience that if I stay loose and let my fingers go where they want a scene will start to take shape. In the past I've tried blocking out each scene for an entire novel but that frequently tended for freeze me. I think my nature is better suited to "running with it" because there is more discovery in the writing process, and that can be exhilarating.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I’ve always wanted to write a historical novel. For many years my favorite escape was reading books set in the Age of Sail, 17th and 18th century naval adventures, and of course pirate tales from any era. I daydreamed about being captain of my own ship, the ultimate freedom to my mind. After publishing he & She, which was a work of literary fiction with much of the action taking place only in the protagonist's head, I had an urge to write something different. I toyed with the idea of indulging myself by writing a pirate novel. However before a pirate story solidified in my head I found myself remembering a visit I once made to the Bordeaux waterfront. In the 18th century the city was booming and its port was the most important one economically in France. On its waterfront you would hear a babble of languages from seamen and merchants from around the world. For some reason, the character of my protagonist, Sarah, started to rapidly take shape. I could see her on those congested docks and that’s why in the book I gave her the gift of learning languages, which facilitated her father’s business.
In the early days of planning the book, the idea behind having her and her brother be kidnapped and taken to New York as virtual slaves was to give myself the chance to write about life at sea. Even though the story moves to New York, the focus remains on the docks, on the East River waterfront and the international trade that flowed in and out of the city. Sarah becomes what in those days was often called a she-merchant.
. Finalist 2107 Book Excellence Awards for Fiction
Kidnapped in France and brought to America as an indentured servant, a young woman takes on the brutal merchant king of New York’s East River waterfront…
Published: October 22, 2013.
Fiction » Literature » Literary
(3.50 from 4 reviews)
5-star Silver Medal winner in the 2014 Readers' Favorite Annual International Award Contest. A Web photo of a dominatrix sends a man mired in midlife crisis on a last-ditch attempt to feel truly alive one more time, even if it kills him.