About John H. Clark III:
John Henry Clark is an award-winning journalist, newspaper columnist, and author of eight non-fiction books. A tireless researcher, seeker and questioner, Clark uses his natural curiosity and expert interviewing skills to explore the human experience. In many of his books, which include such titles as “Finding God,” “Destination Unknown,” and “Everyday Heroes,” the Kempner, Texas resident enjoys using man-on-the-street type interviews to create compelling looks inside the hearts and minds of people who candidly reveal the sort of tragedies and triumphs – from the seemingly small to the overwhelming – that make up life as we know it. His career as an author began to take off after Clark left the newspaper business to become a public school teacher and wrote a book about his month-long summertime backpacking trek across northern Spain. Based on his journal and blog entries during that expedition, “Camino: Laughter and Tears Along Spain’s 500-mile Santiago de Compostela” chronicles his struggles and discoveries along the famed pilgrimage route from the border with France to the Atlantic Ocean. Along with writing books (the story of his recent trip along historic Route 66 is among his latest projects), Clark writes a popular column, People and Places, for the Copperas Cove Banner newspaper. Visit his website here for a complete list of his books, personal blog archives, and other information.
What inspires you to write?
Writing for me is a way, first and foremost, to express myself. I’m not so good at verbally expressing myself, and don’t consider myself to be an incredibly articulate speaker, but give me a keyboard, or pencil and paper, and my words will dazzle. Writing also is a way for me to unburden my heart and feed my soul. It is something I almost have to do on a daily basis, like an addiction. I feel alive when I am writing, and on those occasions when someone says that my writing has touched them in some way, it is magical.
Tell us about your writing process.
I enjoy writing in a journalistic style — I think that is my strength — and so one of my writing processes involves pre-writing in my head. I figure out what my hook will be, and then I know what my story will be about. I start the story with something designed to grab the reader, something strong to get them interested, and then go from there. I write a lot about people, and I think in this case it is best to let people who are in the story talk, as much as possible. When interviewing someone, it is so important to listen carefully as they respond to questions. Invariably, people will say something unexpected that may take the story in a new direction, or provide that “aha” moment, when you think to yourself, “Cha-ching! There’s the story.” Here’s an example: I was interviewing a guy about his collection of vintage comic books, and I was asking questions about his life; his childhood. He casually mentioned that he had witnessed his father beat his mother to death, and that is why he grew up in a home for boys. He kept talking, and I interrupted, “Uh, just a second. Let’s talk about that for a minute.” If I hadn’t been listening carefully, maybe thinking about the next question I was going to ask, I would have missed it.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write a lot and your writing will certainly improve. Accept criticism, and don’t take it personally. It’s not you; it’s your writing. Your writing is not you; it’s what you do.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I stumbled onto a goldmine of a situation when I applied with a start-up publishing company to work as a proofreader. After these guys took me on, I mentioned that I had self-published a book a few years before, and wondered if they’d like to take a look at it. They said, sure, so I sent it over and they liked it enough to re-format it, design a new cover and re-issue it under their imprint. That led to six more titles being published by them, and now I am venturing out on my own, to form my own publishing enterprise.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Seems to me, the near future is bright for self-publishing. There’s a lot to learn to be successful at it, and it seems overwhelming, but lots of people do it, and I know it is possible.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: non-fiction, first novel in progress
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.