Meeting T.M. Clark! An Interview with MC D’Alton

Born in Zimbabwe, T.M. Clark completed her primary school years at boarding school in Bulawayo, but on weekends and holidays, her time was spent exploring their family ranch in Nyamandhlovu, normally on the back of her horse. After her father died, the family of 5 women moved to Kokstad, a rural town at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, where she lived in the boarding school hostel as her home.

She began writing fiction when she moved to the UK while being a stay at home mum to her two sons. Now living on a small island near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, T.M. Clark combines her passion for storytelling, different cultures and wildlife with her love for the wilder places.

Her books include, My Brother-But-One (2013, Mira, Harlequin) was nominated for a Queensland Literary People’s Choice Award in 2014. Shooting Butterflies (2014), Tears of A Cheetah (2015). Child of Africa (2017), and her children’s picture book, Slowly! Slowly! (Wombat Books, 2017), is a 2018 CBCA Notable Book. It is also a companion book to Child Of Africa.

Tina Marie also runs the CYA Conference in Brisbane, helping others on their journey towards publication.

Her new book – Nature of the Lion will be released in November 2018.

The Nature of the Lion

Q. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I so want to say oh I went here and there… but I haven’t… growing up in Africa I have never considered going ‘home’ as a pilgrimage – but I guess in 2010/11 I did a trip to Zimbabwe, where I hadn’t been since 1997…. And that was awesome as I got to take my boys with me – and I had stories come out of the trip – so lets claim that as one shall we….

Q. What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

I know of companies out there who take peoples dreams of being an author and exploit them, taking not only all their rights, and money, but also scaring them so that they don’t want to touch the publishing business. If you are an author – google is your friend – find reviews both good and bad on a publisher and do your research!

Q. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both! Some days it’s like I’m dragging each word dripping with blood drops from my nails – other days my fingers won’t move fast enough on the keyboard.

Q. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Kryptonite – as in negative as in stopping me write…I’m a huge procrastinator – I will find anything and everything to do around the house rather than sit and write – but when I do start – then I leave my butt imprint in the chair as I don’t want to get out of my created world and face reality. So for me, I guess, having the freedom to choose when I am actually going to write is the biggest problem…LOL

Kryptonite as in a drug that is addictive – Story. There are times when its 3.30am and I have to get some sleep, and the story is going so well, that I don’t want to get up and walk away from my world created inside my head. Story is my kryptonite, I don’t want to live in the real world all the time!

Q. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

I wouldn’t call it writers block, but I went through a really bad time a few years ago where I was not able to write, I would sit in front of my screen and just cry, and write nothing. Even talking writing I would tear up. Before that, I always used to say – there is no such thing, it’s a job, show up – put your butt in the chair and write. Then my own little publishing world was rocked a little, and I began to question everything in my ‘work’ and admittedly it got worse, and I had to sort it all out, get the ducks in a row again, and then work through all the business side of writing, Only once it was all sorted out – could I sit down and write again. I now believe that even though writing is a business, it’s an emotionally connected profession too, and will never again underestimate the power of visceral responses and raw emotion!

Q. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I tell the story that wants to be told… but then I have to admit that not many readers tell me what they want unless its more of the same and a sequel or a prequel… and that can be a help and a hinder but I love being told both!

Q. What do you expect form an author when reading a book, short story or article?

To deliver the story.

Q. What authors did you dislike at first, but grew into?

Oh that’s such an interesting question… I think I grew into Historical Romances – I didn’t really like history growing up so I didn’t understand the genre when I was exposed to it, and shied away at first, but then as I read more I liked them more.

Q. How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

I consider myself so lucky – because I’m trade published, I don’t have any say in how many books I write, it’s up to the publisher, so I don’t really experience any demands as such from my readers. They just ask for more – and that’s a nice thing for an author.

Q. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?SLowly Slowly

At first I did try and put a giraffe in each book… but I have had to give up because I forgot in my picture book Slowly! Slowly!

Q. Tell us about your travels.

Ah there isn’t enough money in my life to do all the travels I want to… I have a bucket list a mile long and a bank account that can’t attend to it all! But slowly – we gdt places, see different countries and revisit spots we both love.

Q. Has it (your travels) added to your inspirational well, or taken from it?

Of course – give you an example. I knew in my new book Nature of the Lion, that my headquarters were going to be in Switzerland, but when I visited Bern, it was okay – that building – that is where this is set, honey talk a heap of pictures … I’m easily influenced by places!

Q. Why ‘The Write Practice’?

Why not the writing practice? Who says just because I’m a little dyslexic that I can’t tell a story?

Q. Do you have any expectations of your readers?

That they enjoy my books!

Q. On your writing journey, what has been the lowest and the most painful moment and vice versa?

Most painful moment … being ‘fired’ as a critique partner, not because I wasn’t giving enough to the other writer in my critiques, but because the other writer thought that she was giving too much of herself to me and my work, and wanted to concentrate on her own work instead. We are still friends, but after that I questioned my own judgement as a person as to how much I expected of people for a long time, and how I always set myself up to be let down. Shortly after that, my other critique partners were all busy too, and my hubby read my work and I found the best writing partner I could ask for. He is still my first reader now, so in a way it was a catalyst for change too in my writing trajectory too.

Highest so far – each day I get to sit at my desk and create a story in my head and can write it down on the page, and knowing that someone-somewhere wants to actually read it – that’s a permanent high for me.


Wondering where to find more about Tina?
Catch her on social media:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TMClark-Author
Twitter: @tmclark_author

Visit her website: www.tmclark.com.au

Or why not send her an email?  tina@tmclark.com.au

Thank you Tina for speak with the BookBaybz! It has been lovely having you!

Happy Reading!

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