NOTE: Post originally published in Feb, 2016.
Since winter is coming to an end, I thought it would be nice to have a writer with chilling stories but a warm personality. So, today, we have Lindsey Clarke (@LittleCinnamon) who is the authors of the Whitechapel Chronicles on Wattpad. You will usually find her rocking the top #100 numbers in the Vampire genre. It is a great pleasure to have you here, Lindsey.
With the introductions out of the way, let’s begin the questions.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself behind the scenes. When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Lindsey: Behind the scenes, I’m a very busy mum of one who works full-time with a daily 30 mile commute into London, so I have very little free time and literally LIVE for my weekends. I love spending time with my son, going to the cinema, trawling charity shops for second-hand books, getting addicted to new series’ on Netflix and going to gigs (I’m a bit of a muso!).
May: Oh my God, I just realised you live near London! I’ll have to try stalking you during one of those weekends when I get around to crossing the Irish Sea. *laughs* I’m glad you spent quality time with your family. It’s hard to keep working, writing, and being present for others.
2. Dark Fantasy is a great genre. I know a handful of authors that can pull it off. Could you share some of your secrets with us about your plotting process and idea generation?
Lindsey: I’m meant to have secrets? Damn, I knew I was doing something wrong all this time! There really are no secrets whatsoever to what I do, there’s no secret formula, no winning process that I follow and, in fact, I often find I have to adapt the way I work depending on the project. Sometimes, it all works out and sometimes it really doesn’t. I started out as a natural pantser (goodness how I HATE that term, can we think of something else that doesn’t involve the word ‘pants’?) and I wrote my first series without any planning at all. I simply sat down and the ideas somehow materialised.
However looking back, the plot holes are the size of the Grand Canyon and now I’m faced with a project that’s developed into a bit of an epic monster, I’ve had to adapt and be more regimented in my approach to plotting and character development. Along the way, I’ve learned the importance of tension-building, when to throw in the all-important plot twist and of course, how to torture my readers with evil cliffhangers.
When it comes to idea generation, I don’t think we dark fantasy authors get our inspiration from anywhere startling different to where writers of other genres get their ideas. We all covet what we see, whether that be places we pass every day, people we see on the train or in restaurants, things we see on social media or in films, or articles we read in the papers or magazines. Maybe the one difference is that while others might be inspired by the main story on the page, we’ll probably be the ones picking up on the 5 line story in the side column about the freak who killed and ate all her pet cats in the hope she’d turn into shapeshifter!
May: That’s such a random example. It made me cringe a little. Must be because I just ate and my dinner did not agree with the statement. But, you’re right. Ideas do seem to come from anywhere. Heck, some of mine came from music videos.
3. Let’s move away from the seriousness and have some fun. Imagine you became the Doctor’s (Dr Who) companion for a day and he ended up using the Tardis to bring you to a certain time and place in the universe. Where and when do you think you’d like to end up and why?
Lindsey: May, this might just be the best question I’ve EVER been asked! Did you know I was a Whovian? Or do you have some kind of supernatural mind-reading ability? Either way, great question and a difficult one to answer too, because there are too many times and places to choose from, so I’ve decided to go for the very first one that sprung to mind. I sort of wish it could be more profound but I’m going with my gut on this one. I’m a big Jim Morrison fan and his poetry is a huge influence on my writing, so if I could get the Doctor to whizz me anywhere I would choose either (I’m being greedy and choosing two particular events) 1965 Venice Beach when Morrison and Ray Manzarek first discussed forming The Doors or December 8th 1970 when Jim recorded what later became An American Prayer, a reading of his poetry. Told you it wasn’t profound in any way….I’d totally go back and be a Morrison groupie!
May: I had no idea! I’m a fan also, so I ended up asking it. What a great coincidence! I actually can’t stop laughing now. I really didn’t expect you to be a Whovian. *snorts*
Right, must be serious and all that. Er… knowing me, I would go to see Leonardo da Vinci. I loved studying his art in school. He’s such a great inspiration and simply a genius in Art and Science. It would be interesting to meet him. Maybe he’s secretly a Dalek…
4. Would you have any writing advice for the writers that are writing Dark Fantasy/Horror? Any DOs and DON’Ts?
Lindsey: I must admit, I really don’t think I’m qualified to issue Do’s and Don’ts and even if I was, I’m not sure I’d want to be that kind of writer who stipulates the Ten Commandments of Writing to others. What I do or do not do, is quite a personal thing and not necessarily a rule of thumb that I think other writers should live by. One thing I’ve learned from the writing community is that everyone dances to a different beat and what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another. Horror taps into our own fears and the darker side of our psyche so it really has to start with you. Think about what YOU love about dark fantasy/horror. What scares YOU? What kind of story do YOU want to write? Ultimately, it’s about developing YOUR voice which should be unique and the only way it will be unique and special, is if you find your own way, as opposed to following the Do’s and Don’ts laid out by another writer.
May: Those are all fair points. You’re right, we are all different and what works for one writer may not work for another (same with marketing). I have yet to write a proper horror story, and the things that scare me may freak others out because even when I watch horror movies with ghosts, demons, monsters, mass murders, serial killers, I don’t really get scared. Sure, I might end up having a bad dream afterwards, sometimes, but they don’t affect me when I watch them. I do wonder what on earth I’d end up writing…
5. What is your plan for the future as an author? Are you working your way towards traditional path, self-pub, or hybrid?
Lindsey: I’m looking to self-publish my work and should hopefully be taking the step towards that later this year! I think most writers dream the big dream of being traditionally published and, of course, if that happened, then I’d be a very happy bunny indeed, but the majority of my writer friends are self-published and I’ve learned so much from them over the last few years to know that it’s a path I’d love to take.
May: I am happy you’ve chosen a path. Self-publishing is difficult but with good connections, I’m sure you’ll succeed. I, too, think I’ll end up self-publishing my series over the next few years. It will be quite an interesting journey to undertake. Hope to see you there on Amazon in the future!
6. Writers are a funny bunch. Every time we talk about our craft, our eyes begin to glow with so much love, frustration, and excitement that people can barely understand us. Have you ever been in a situation where you were chatting with your friends/family and they had no idea what you were talking about? How do you deal with those situations?
Lindsey: In all honesty, I very rarely discuss my writing with friends or family. Until about 6 years ago, I didn’t even tell anyone that I wanted to be a writer. Even once I took the plunge and confessed (prompted by the encouragement of a freelance writer friend of mine) I was still very selective over whom I told. I do recall a couple of occasions when I admitted to friends that I wanted to be a writer, only to be met with some rolling of eyes or that kind of ‘uh-huh, so what’ response, so I learned to stay selective in who I talk to about my writing. For the most part, I only ever really talk about it within the writing community itself, whether that’s fellow writers or readers. Psycho-analyse that however you will!
May: That’s fair. I can truly relate to the eye rolling or the glazed over look in their eyes when I start discussing a plot of a story or talk about characters in my head. I swear, sometimes, people must think I’m nuts. But, oh well. After all, you only live once…may as well make the best of this lifetime.
7. Being a popular Wattpad author, could you give a few tips to the readers on how to increase their fan base?
Lindsey: I don’t think there’s any hard and fast rule to live by on Wattpad in order to increase your fan base, but there are a number of things you can do that might help such as using the Share Your Story thread in your genre club and also spending some time to respond to comments, thanking people for reading, voting and following (politeness costs nothing!). Most importantly, I would suggest to read, vote and comment on other people’s work. If you’re not willing to read others work then you can hardly expect them to read yours, can you? Never underestimate the importance of the Wattpad community – getting to know other writers and readers, I found was by far the best thing I could ever do, as not only did it prompt users to follow me and read my work, but I now have a network of amazing supportive people who I consider my friends and quite honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without them all!
May: My suggestion would be to try your best to write the best piece you can. Spend some time on going over it. Try to catch as many typos as you can. Even use some free online ending software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to pick up on most of the typos and grammatical errors. Then, submit your story for feature, obviously while you’re being an engaged member of Wattpad. Also, never post the whole story all at once. That is never a good idea because your work will be buried in Wattpad landslide very quickly.
8. If you were stuck in a car for a whole day and there was only one CD in a glove compartment. What CD would you want to listen to on repeat?
Lindsey: Now this is a difficult question! I’m a big music fan so it’s incredibly tough for me to choose JUST one. I’m going to cheat and say I’d burn my own CD with a compilation of Kings of Leon, The Doors, Matt Corby, Hozier, Bowie, INXS, Coldplay, Band of Skulls, Foo Fighters, Amy Winehouse…..oh dear….I think I should stop otherwise this is going to be a VERY long CD!
May: Ahaha, omg, I can’t believe you’ve cheated the system. I guess I have to try and go by the rules here. Also, I love Kings of Leon >.<
I guess it would have to either be a Bon Jovi CD or Nickelback. I can last long enough on those artists since I’ll just be singing along for the majority of the journey.
9. Do you use any particular software to help you with your editing? If so, could you share it with us?
Lindsey: I wish I could but I’m really not at that stage yet! My editing right now literally just involves a spell-checker and a thorough read-through. Maybe ask me later this year when I throw myself into the editing maelstrom with my editor Gemma.
May: That’s understandable.
10. Please share any ongoing projects you’re working on right now.
Lindsey: Right now I’m busy finishing my dark fantasy series, The Whitechapel Chronicles. It’s been a project that has ballooned into something quite unexpected! It started as a 2 page piece that I wrote to combat writer’s block while writing my first vampire series and it somehow became a 3 book series where the first book was Featured, reached number one in the hot list and also hit that wonderful one million reads mark. Two years down the line and I’m almost done, which I know seems a long time but my writing time has been severely restricted due to work commitments so I’m constantly just grabbing snippets of time here and there and never feeling like I’m getting very far. But I’m pleased to say the end is in sight and I only have maybe 6 chapters and an epilogue left to go!
May: I know what that’s like. While writing the first book of HH series, I was always thinking, maybe another book? Then, once I finished it, I realised it’s at least a three-book gig. By the end of Demon Gates (Book 2), it became a 4 book thing. And, I have some exciting news for my fans in the next few months about the series which I cannot share just yet.
As usual, I would like to invite you all to check out the blurb for one of Lindsey’s stories.
“Playing Dead” White Chapel Chronicles Book #1
‘I was falling. And he was going to catch me. I just knew he was.’
For Megan Walden, life is all about perfection. She’s the perfect friend, the perfect wife, the perfect office dogsbody, but what happens when she makes a decision that cracks the glass protecting her perfect little world?
During a night-out in the shadow of her effervescent best friend, Megan meets Harper Cain and is instantly intrigued by the mysterious tattooed rocker-type with his trace of Bostonian accent and brooding darkness that lurks behind his smile. Knowing instinctively that she is playing with fire, and yet finding herself inexplicably drawn to the irresistible Harper, Megan embarks on a course that will destroy the foundations of her whole world and force her to question everything and everyone she has ever known.
Plunging headlong into a nightmare she cannot stop, Megan realises too late that playing away with a mysterious stranger is the least of her worries.
It’s time for her perfect life to come to an end.
Will Harper catch her? Or will Megan be able to save herself?
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