About Pat Clark:
Pat Clark is a teacher who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, three children, small dog, and large cat. She began teaching in the ’80s, which is evident if you read DEATH STALKS THE PRINCIPAL.
Pat used to have horses, and she misses having them around every single day. Nobody loves you like your horse, and nobody can put you in your place like a horse can.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always liked reading mysteries, and one day a story just popped into my head. What if I were involved in solving a murder? The characters defined themselves, usually coming from a conglomeration of people I’ve met in education: students, parents, and staff. Getting to know people means that while I might not like them any better, I at least understand that they’re doing what they think is right. I wanted to show in my story that teachers approach their job differently, but they usually believe they’re doing what’s best–and they might be. Different kids respond to different teaching styles.
I also have a non-fiction book, THE RELUCTANT CAREGIVER. That one came from a desire to share with others what I’ve experienced as someone who will be a caregiver but isn’t thrilled about it. I found there were lots of other people who feel the same way.
Tell us about your writing process.
I outlined my mystery and my nonfiction book on plain old legal pads. It took some tossing out and adding in, but I like shuffling through papers to find a bit of information that fits right THERE. Sometimes I tear the sheets into smaller bits so I can rearrange them, and I end up with a stack of numbered slips with arrows, asterisks, and other directions: “Add this on page 32 at ***!” No one could have made sense of it besides me, but it’s the final product that matters.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters are very real to me, and again, each one is doing what he or she thinks is best. The killer believes he/she has the right to act as he/she does. The students who make Cynthia’s life chaotic don’t really want to harass her. They’re just being themselves. And the parents who haven’t got a clue what a principal does all day just think they’re watching out for their own little darlings. How do I know? I “talk” to each of them in my head, and they tell me.
What advice would you give other writers?
I haven’t got a lot of advice yet, because I’m just getting started in this whole publishing thing. I do think you have to believe in your work, and that comes from going over and over and over it. One advantage of being a teacher is that I know that from the classroom. Nobody’s writing is as good as it could be the first time, and often not the third or fourth time either.
Also it helps to get input from others. You have to take advice from others into account, think it over seriously, and then go with what is best for you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have a friend who is traditionally published, and I knew how long it took and how little she got out of it financially. I decided I could do most of the work myself, publish sooner, and keep the money. I should say that I would have been lost if she hadn’t been there to advise me, though. Publishing a book is pretty tough to do. You need good editors, someone who understands formatting, someone who can design a great cover, and lots of help from readers who read BEFORE you publish and find those irritating little errors.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think readers are getting smarter about finding what’s good in self-published work and what isn’t. They read the Amazon samples. They read reviews and sort out the fake ones from the real ones. I think self-pub is here to stay, but the authors who don’t make a good effort will sell 23 books and then give up because they didn’t get rich and famous.
What do you use?: Professional Editor
What genres do you write?: mystery fiction, self-help (caregiving)
What formats are your books in?: eBook
Link To Pat Clark Page On Amazon
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.