Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.
He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.
His latest book is the mystery thriller, The Black Song Inside.
Visit his website at http://carlyleclark.wordpress.com/.
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About the Book:
Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez, newly engaged private investigators, have seen the dark and violent side of life. Nothing, though, has prepared them for an explosive murder investigation that threatens to tear their relationship apart as they struggle to solve a case that could leave them in prison or dead.
Atticus’s manipulative ex-girlfriend bursts back into their lives wielding a secret about Rosemary’s family that she exploits to force the couple into investigating the execution-style slaying of her lover. The case thrusts Atticus and Rosemary headlong into the world of human trafficking and drug smuggling, while rendering them pawns in Tijuana Cartel captain Armando Villanueva’s bloody bid to take over the cartel.
The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed and compelling protagonists who, if they can save themselves, may learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive.
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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Carlyle. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
I’m kind of a multi-published author. My wife, Suki Michelle, and I co-authored a YA speculative fiction novel called The Apocalypse Gene that was published in 2011. The Black Song Inside is my first published solo novel.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
In our first publication we went with a small press because, well, because they were the first publisher who wanted us. We’d queried basically every agent and direct submitted to a lot of places and kept almost getting picked up. I was ready to go Indy, but my wife wanted to hold on for a traditional contract and finally Parker Publishing came knocking and soon we were published authors.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
I can’t quite remember but I feel certain it was less than a year, which feels like eternity while you’re waiting for your novel to actually be a real thing people can buy. But still, it takes time to do it right and “unfairly” the publishing world didn’t come to a stop just because our novel was in the pipe; there were still other books for the publisher to work on, and they needed to do other things like eat and sleep, etc.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It was really an ecstatic feeling. After plugging away for years and with no solid reason like having an agent or publisher lined up to believe our work would ever reach an audience, it’s a lightning-level electric zap to find out that “Yes, it’s actually going to happen.” My wife and I celebrated with dinner, and alcohol, and a party and other ways.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
We started the quest for reviews. We launched an all-consuming search, eschewing the things like food and sleep unlike our publishers, and hunted out any blog, review site, or random stranger, who looked like they might review a novel like our and then shipping off paperbacks or emailing books. It’s funny because we completed that quest years ago and still a straggler review from that effort come rolling in now and then.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
Basically, getting The Apocalypse Gene published freed me of almost all my previous work. Before I would learn new things about introducing characters, or linking scenes, and use them to revise existing works. So with The Black Song Inside I was starting out with all my new knowledge and designing the book with it in mind instead of retrofitting. I believe that knowledge allowed me to handle presenting a complex plot to the reader in a simpler way.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
How incredibly different each publisher is. To me from the outside it seemed like, I don’t know, the fast food industry. Each place operates off the same principles just dishing out slightly different fare. Having recently met numerous authors published by multiple houses at the Thomas & Mercer On The Lam conference, I have discovered nothing could be farther from the truth. Sure there are similarities, but each place has a different culture and places a different value on author relation and reader relations and how flexible and responsive they are and a variety of other things.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
I’ll have to add a caveat and say being published by the right house. After hearing the horror stories of authors who were initially elated and then became mired in unfair contracts, unable to get responses to the most basic queries, or having brutally ugly or bland or just inappropriate covers foisted on them, or the editor who like their work leaving in favor of one who doesn’t and watching all the support from the evaporate, and I could go on and on. Having been fortunate enough to be picked up by house founded on the idea of making sure those things don’t happen was thrilling and it made it rewarding to be proud not just of The Black Song Inside, but of the organization behind getting it to the public.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Don’t listen to anyone saying write what you know or any of that. If you think about, it doesn’t make sense. How could people write about vampires, and zombies, and space battles, dragons, boy wizards, etc.? Write what you are enthusiastic to write about. If you keep at it, that excitement will show up in your stories and then you’ll have exciting tales that people want to read. Good luck!