About Clark Nielsen:
Clark Nielsen is an American-born author and web/game developer who loves to travel as much as he loves to write. He has over two years of experience teaching English abroad, which was the subject of his best-selling memoir, Yes China. Presently, he and his wife live in Los Angeles, where Clark continues to spend his free time writing science fiction and fantasy. His influences include David Sedaris, Bill Bryson, Jack Vance, and Eiichiro Oda.
What inspires you to write?
Sometimes, it is the most random thing that gets my imagination going. For instance, The Second Page was inspired by a boat ride through a canyon. The Hazel Haven series came about from a few sketches I did while practicing drawing. But when it comes to non-fiction writing, I simply like sharing my adventures with others and making people laugh.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have to have an outline before I can start. Once I get into the actual writing, it’s possible I’ll never look at that outline again, but it’s still an important step for me. If I know the story is going to have a lot of characters, I may do character outlines first before doing the plot outline. During the writing phase, though, I tend to jump around a lot. If I’m suddenly itching to do a scene near the end of the book, I’ll skip ahead and come back to the other chapters later.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Every character I write has a part of me in them, so it’s easy for me to talk “as” those characters (as opposed to talking “to” them). I often mumble aloud when I write (which drives my wife nuts), but that’s just me running through dialogue as the different characters to see if it feels right.
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep writing. Your style, your voice, only gets better over time. But don’t be afraid to put a novel aside for a while if you’re truly stuck. You can’t force good writing. Find a different outlet–a new story, a blog, online reviews, etc.–to hone your writing skills until the spark returns. One of my books, for example, had a 10-year gap in between drafts, but once I was finally ready to tackle it again, it turned into the best thing I’ve ever written.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
In college, I had just finished my first full-length novel, The Second Page, and pitched it to many agents. All I got in return were rejection letters and, in one instance, an empty envelope. Who knows, though… maybe that empty envelope was actually “the one!” Regardless, it was clear that traditional publishing was too cutthroat for me. I don’t think I would have liked it, anyway. The freedom that self-publishing gives me would be hard to give up at this point.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
There will always be a market for books, both paperback and digital. The number of publisher-backed and self-published authors will continue to grow, as well, which is great for readers but means authors will have an even harder time standing out from the crowd. Good luck, everyone!
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Travel, Memoir
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.