Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chatting with Author & Publisher - Clive West




Today I'm very pleased to have not only an author, but a Publisher with us today. Clive West is the author of The Road, a Crime novel of greed and mystery, and Hobson's Choice, a collection of twisted tales.

Welcome Clive!

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...
I live in Italy. I'm married to another writer and we have 3 dogs. I've worked in a printer's, as a Civil Engineering estimator, as a Math tutor and as the director of an employment agency. I've been writing one way or another all my life and it comes fairly easily to me.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....
It's a long book – a bit of a blockbuster – but it's well focused. At its heart is the construction of a road – not even a very necessary road - which gives an opportunity to greedy and unscrupulous people to take advantage of others particularly in the form of white collar crimes. It weaves together the fortunes of various individuals and families, working its way towards a cynical and pessimistic conclusion, though not a tragic one. It's supreme strength is its realism, which is the product of my own experience.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
Since childhood, I've always had a desire to support the cause of the underdog. My novel presents in fictional form the injustices surrounding construction and inherent in society generally. I also thought the subject matter would make a really good story.

BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had my first (unpaid) writing job when I was at primary school and the headmaster gave me the task of writing plays for my class so as to channel my rebellious spirit – I was finding it all too 'childish'!

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?
I plan well and make sure I've plotted the end before I start. That way I'm infilling rather than lost out in the open.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?
It isn't really something I suffer from for 2 main reasons. Firstly because I practice the 'infill' method I've just described, and secondly because I've spent so many years doing commercial as opposed to creative writing and I just had to get on with it!

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?
Like I say, I plan scrupulously although allowing room for 'discovery'. I have the strange ability – not unique by any means but fairly rare, I believe – of being able to exercise a certain amount of control over my dreams. I can direct them to provide me with material and resolve problems.

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
I'm bubbling over with ideas but I have to keep the lid on them because my wife and I are trying to get an indie publishing firm off the ground and that's taking a lot of my time. I hope that some day I'll be able to devote all of my time to writing.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I mean them to be entertained by situations, characters and above all dialogue. I want them to feel indignation about the injustices I portray. If they've suffered such injustices themselves, I'd like them not to feel alone. Every crime has a victim, so there are a great many victims.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?
It's not exactly advice, but if my wife can't understand a technical passage or a twist of the plot, then I look at it again.

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
It sounds very stuffy, but I'd tell them either to make sure their grammar and spelling are up to scratch, or engage an editor. Maybe I belong to the old school because I find a proliferation of errors very irritating.

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm afraid that my new projects – and there's more than one – are still in my head. But once I'm producing again, I expect my subject matter will be fairly dark – studying what makes a serial killer, for example.

BK: Where can readers find you?
Readers can approach me through our website www.anysubject.com or our facebook page www.facebook.com/anysubject

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.


Every crime has its victim.

  • The Giddings family - enjoying their rural idyll until events start to spiral out of their control turning paradise into hell.
  • Henry - trapped in a loveless marriage who sees a chance to climb on board the gravy train for a one-way ticket out of misery but doesn't want to know about the consequences of his actions.
  • Sandra - frustrated by a system where the rich get richer and the poor pay to get a ringside seat.
  • John - a shrewd developer who knows all the tricks and is the guy flicking the switch when the smelly stuff hits the fan.
  • The parasites and hangers on, too numerous to mention, who abuse their positions of trust to feather their own nests but who are outraged when those lower down the pecking order try to do the same.

Kindle edition

Amazon UK | Amaon US

Excerpt 

Caroline and Stuart Giddings knocked on the door, and hearing a vague ‘Come in’ sound from beyond, opened it and entered. Sitting behind a large ancient desk was their member of parliament, Charles Milton, a tall, wiry-haired man of indeterminate age although probably in his mid to late forties. Stuart immediately thought that he looked the sort of person whom you could drop head first into a pile of manure and who would come out absolutely devoid of any trace of the substance while you and anyone around you would be completely plastered in the stuff. Still, he wasn’t there to befriend them, he was there to listen to their grievances and act on them.
Stuart had suggested that before Caroline get too involved with RIM, the two of them pay a visit to their MP and see if he had any power or urge to champion their cause. Deep down, Stuart was sceptical but he was pleased that Caroline had definitely brightened up when he had made the suggestion a few days prior. The children were at school and Stuart had arranged for a colleague to cover two of his lessons. This was important.
At their MP’s gesture, they seated themselves in two upholstered office chairs. Caroline crossed her legs which made her side-slit pencil skirt ride up. She didn’t seem the slightest bit self-conscious of the amount of leg she was showing but Stuart’s bum squirmed uneasily on its cushion.
“Thank you for seeing us at short notice. My name is Caroline Giddings and this is my husband, Stuart,” Caroline offered by way of introduction.
“My pleasure, my pleasure. Nice to meet you both. What can I do for you good people?” Stuart noticed that Milton’s eyes had addressed the question to his wife’s legs rather than to their faces. The man had a predatory look about him.
“We’d like to talk about this new road and the effect it will have on us,” Caroline continued. Stuart had decided he would let her do the majority of the talking – it might help her get some of it off her chest and at least if nothing came of it, she couldn’t say he hadn’t asked the right questions. Women could do that – sit beside you while you chatted away, not saying anything themselves. Then, when it was too late, they were perfectly capable of criticising you for not having said something important.
“Fire away,” Milton’s eyes had travelled up Caroline’s torso and he was now staring at her bust. Stuart already despised the man. Still, beggars couldn’t be choosers. He bit his tongue.
Caroline seemed oblivious – she was very clearly caught up with the matter at hand or perhaps she just enjoyed her figure being admired. “Well, we’ve just discovered that not only are we about to lose all of our trees, they are going to build houses right up close to our home.”
“Mmm, yes. I’m afraid there are always casualties when a new development of this size goes through.” Milton paused and reflected while they waited patiently for whatever pearls of wisdom he could lay at their feet. “I don’t mean to be negative but have you considered putting your house up for sale?” he eventually asked.
“Yes, and the estate agent told us that because of the high number of new houses that will be flooding the market and also because our house will be losing its view, we will struggle to sell it. He also said we will have loads of – what is it called Stuart?” Caroline turned to him.
“Negative equity,” Stuart chipped in.
“Mmm, yes. I see the dilemma. Perhaps you should try other estate agents – see if they view the picture differently.” Stuart noticed that his body language had changed. When they had first arrived it had been expansive and, supposedly, welcoming. Now Milton’s arms had folded across his chest and he was making outward movements with his hands. ‘Go away – it’s not my problem,’ in other words.


Clive West was born in the West Country of England in the early 60's. He was educated at a traditional English public school before going on to university to study civil engineering. Over the years, he has worked as a civil engineer, tutor of maths and science, schools quiz-master, employment agency boss, and writer.

His work includes a collection of short stories with twists called Hobson's Choice (also available in print), a full-length novel called 'The Road' about the consequences of corruption on ordinary people and an accessible job hunting interview guide (based on his years of experience as the boss of an employment agency).

He has also written a book about lymphedema. This is a disfiguring, life-threatening and incurable disease he now suffers from and which his experience shows that most fellow patients have (like him) been abandoned by their respective health services.

Clive now lives in a rebuilt farmhouse in the Umbrian region of Italy along with Damaris, his writer wife of 22 years and their three rescue dogs. Apart from his fictional work, Clive also writes commercial non-fiction on a variety of topics but especially relating to business and employment. He and Damaris run an indie publishers called Any Subject Books Ltd – www.anysubject.com

You can also follow Any Subject Books on Facebook – www.facebook.com/anysubject
Clive is now disabled but, aside from his writing, he also enjoys playing the keyboard, listening to music and reading.

Contact details: books@anysubject.com


Follow Clive's Virtual Book Tour

December 2 - Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog
December 3 - Book Feature & Excerpt at The Official Blog-Zine of Terra Little
December 4 - Guest Blogging at Books, Books, The Magical Fruit
December 7 - Featured at BK Walker Books Etc.
December 11 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
December 13 - Book Feature & Excerpt at The Writing World
December 15 - Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner
December 17 - Book Feature & Excerpt at I Know That Book
December 19 - Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
December 21 - Guest Blogging at Wise Words
December 28 - Guest Blogging BellaOnline Fiction Writing
January 2 - Review & Guest Blogging at A Book Lover's Library
January 4 - Interviewed at Philosbooks
January 5 - Interviewed at BK Walker's Blog
January 7 - Interviewed at Angels & Warriors Radio


December 2 - Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog
December 7 - Book Feature & Excerpt at The News In BooksDecember 9 - Review & Interview at Honest Variety Books
December 17 -  Reviewed at Thrice The Mischief, 3 Times The Love
December 17 - Book Feature & Excerpt at The Writing World
December 22 - Book Feature & Excerpt at Lori's Reading Corner
January 4 - Review & Guest Blogging at A Book Lover's Library
January 7 - Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
January 9 - Guest Blogging at The Official Blog-Zine of Terra Little
January 10 - Interviewed at Books and Tales
January 13 - Interviewed at Books, Books, The Magical Fruit
January 16 - Review & Interview at BellaOnline Fiction Writing

Reactions:

2 comments:

Michelle Cornwell-Jordan said...

Great interview!

I wish you well on your tour:)

Michelle

Pit Crew

Rebecca Graf said...

So cool to live in Italy. Always wanted to go there.