Hi and welcome to my stop on Ray Clark’s Implant blog tour.
Many thanks to Ray Clark and to Kelly @ Lovebooksgrouptours
Interview with Ray Clark…..
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Other people: that sounds awful, doesn’t it? I don’t mean that I steal ideas. We all have lots of conversations everyday. What happens with me is that a throwaway comment in the middle of a conversation simply refuses to leave my brain. The thoughts then multiply, and before I know where I am, an idea for a book or a short story has developed. A classic example of that happened some time back when I mentioned to a friend that I loved the old Rod Serling TV series, The Twilight Zone. He replied that he felt the same, but no matter how many he’d seen, he’d never seen the same one twice. Neither had I, which prompted me to write a short story entitled Lost & Found, which appeared recently in a collection entitled, A Devil’s Dozen.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Only one. The second in the IMP series, entitled, Imperfection (also published by Urbane Books) dealt with a killer who was extremely adept in the art of disguise. He committed his first murder in the Grand Theatre in Leeds in front of the whole audience, before promptly leaving the theatre disguised as the man he had just killed, fooling everyone, including the man who looked after the stage door. I based him on a friend I used to work with, a real Yorkshireman with oodles of character. I never told him, but I suspect I won’t have to now.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
I believe names depend largely on the situation the characters find themselves in. I try to work it out from their lifestyles, and the things they like to watch, listen to, and do: are they from a poor background, or a well to do family is often another consideration. It’s not unknown for me to change a character’s name as I go along because I feel it doesn’t suit him or her.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I don’t really have one. I’m not the kind of writer who rises at a particular time and has to complete a certain number of words before breakfast, or a set number each day. With me, I have to go with the flow. Sometimes, if I’m really passionate about a plot, I get up early, feed my cats, have my breakfast and then start – and nothing else gets done until I’ve finished. There are other days when I don’t write a word. The one thing I feel I have to do, however, is finish writing the chapter I have started in one session if at all possible. That way, I don’t lose the flow. As far as a book is concerned, once I have the initial idea, the development process is pretty much the same. I usually spend 3 months minimum, simply researching and making notes. Before I actually start to write the book I need to have the first twelve chapters mapped out. After that I let my characters drive the plot. I very rarely know the ending of the novel until I’m well into it. If I’m happy with the research and the development of the characters I am very confident that they will drive it to a believable finish.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
It would have to be Nigel McCreery, the only one from the list above that I have not personally met. Nigel was the man behind the big TV hits, Silent Witness and New Tricks, the latter being my all time favourite show. He is also the author of a number of police procedurals featuring a very strong character called, DCI Mark Lapslie. The first, entitled, Still Waters, is one of the best books I have ever read. Lapslie lives with a very unusual condition that I had never even heard of, but it was written so convincingly that I thought it simply must be real. I could not put it down, even to the point of delaying meals. The question I would ask Nigel is, who or what influenced the character of Mark Lapslie?
Were you a big reader as a child?
Not really. The strange thing is, I read more of the classics as a child than I ever have as an adult: A Christmas Carol, 20’000 Leagues Under The Sea etc. I remember vividly the first book I ever read was, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which nearly frightened me to death because of the character Injun Joe: the final scenes in the caves stayed with me for many years.
When did you start to write?
I actually started writing at school. My problem then was, I could never finish anything. I always started off very dramatically, putting everything into it, but I’d burn out at the halfway mark. The teachers always said I had a very good imagination and should do more with it. I think that really hit home when I was in my early twenties and I picked up a book entitled, The Manitou, by a then unknown author to me, Graham Masterton. The rest of the world knew Graham very well – it was only me that didn’t. That book kept me glued to the seat. The story revolved around the rebirth of a Native American Medicine Man into modern day culture: the fact that he chose to be reborn inside someone else really hyped up the tension. It was absolutely steeped in myths and legends that were so well written that I took them all to be completely true. Whether or not they were, I’m not sure. The Manitou started me on my writing career. I later found out that Graham took only one week to write it. I realized then that I had a long way to go if I wanted to reach that kind of standard.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I really don’t know the answer to this question, and I think my main concern is whether or not I will offend anyone by doing so. When I finally did start reading books regularly, in my late teens, one of the authors I really liked was James Herbert. The quality of his writing, plotting and characterization were pretty much second to none, but I could never accept his endings. Maybe I misunderstood what James was trying to achieve, but to me they always felt weak, leaving me – if not other readers – unsatisfied, or wanting more. I really don’t want to upset anyone with this comment but that was how I felt when I read a James Herbert book.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
What a great question. There are a number of books I’d love to have written: Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris to name but one; Denial by Peter James, or Black Angel by Graham Masterton. But if I was pressed to choose one it would be Watch me by A.J. Holt. It’s an American police procedural, and the first time we meet the protagonist – a cop – she’s in court for catching a serial killer, but she’s the one being convicted because the computer program she wrote for tracking killers was illegal. She is quickly demoted and sent to a small backwater community to do nothing other than firewatch. Whilst there, she stumbles upon a problem the police are having with a man who runs a group of Internet serial killers. She decides, illegal or not, the program deserves to be used. That is one awesome book I would have been proud to put my name to.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
At the risk of stealing the title of Christopher Lee’s autobiography, I think there’s only one thing it could be, The Lord of Misrule, which is the name of my website.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee, who would it be, and where would you take them?
Miss Marple, but only if she was Margaret Rutherford. Miss Marple lives in a world I’d love to inhabit, a delightful existence of long afternoons spent with friends, dining on tea and scones and home-made baking, in a village where time stands still, and old-fashioned values are the mainstay of life, with no outside threat from the modern world of global warming and nuclear weapons. I remember seeing Margaret in a Norman Wisdom film called Just My Luck when Norman, who knew nothing about horse racing, placed a bet on a six-horse accumulator, backing not the horse but the jockey. Finally, on a winning streak, the last horse was pulled and Norman ended up visiting its eccentric owner, played by Margaret Rutherford, to try to persuade her to change her mind. She lived in large, rambling mansion, full of animals sharing her rooms. Quite frankly all I could see was Miss Marple. But I would love to have afternoon cream tea with her at Betty’s in Harrogate or York.
What are you working on right now?
Book 6 in the IMP series, entitled, Imperceptible: which examines what you do when one of your own goes rogue. And a novella entitled Ryder On The Storm, which is based on a true story about an unsolved murder in 1855, where the body was found at the side of a railway track. The clue to finally solving the case 150 years later lies in a haunted house, nestled on the side of the same railway track.
Tell us about your last release?
Implant is the third book in the IMP series (each having a one word title beginning with the letters IMP)
The novel is designed to make you think about where the world is heading, about how much we all rely on technology, which we believe makes our lives easier. We all have smart phones and TV’s and everything we become involved in depends heavily on that technology.
It all materialized from a book talk. I was invited to a large hall in a town quite close to where I live, to talk to an audience about the writing process, in particular, the secret behind short stories.
I’m not sure how many people attended but one thing I did notice was that a large percentage of them were of the younger generation: you know, the ones glued to their mobile phones, whose removal required surgery. Naturally, I was quite surprised: not by the fact that before, during and after, they were using the phones – merely that they had in fact turned up, which told me that some, if not most, actually read books. Some were texting, others taking photos, including selfies: a few were actually holding a conversation as I was talking.
Afterwards, I was pretty intrigued when I spoke to some of them. I could not fathom out why they relied so heavily on such technology. Rather amusingly, they couldn’t figure out why I didn’t!
Young people run their entire lives on their phones: Internet banking, on-line buying, social media: almost everything they do is through that phone. If they lose it they are virtually shut down themselves.
But think about what would happen if suddenly, that sophisticated machinery fell into the wrong hands and was used against us: if someone was clever enough to manipulate it, and in turn use it to exploit us – especially an enemy. How much damage could one person cause by turning something as small as a phone into a weapon: if a killer was clever enough to use it in such a way that he or she didn’t even have to be anywhere near the crime scene? How tough would that be for the investigating detective?
Do you have a new release due?
Only Implant, on August 9th.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I don’t tend to do anything special but what usually happens is I’ll attend a book signing shortly after publication day, and afterwards go out for a meal and a drink with some of my closest friends.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
All the usual social media sites and my website:
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I love music, and before setting my heart on writing, I spent years as a musician working the length and breadth of the UK, both as a solo artist and with a trio called Stagefright. The other two members thought that name very apt, because before every show I would walk a trench into the dressing room floor because of nerves. Live performances can do that to you, but I’d never stop because I love it. Later this year I have arranged a concert at a theatre close to where I live for OPA_UK with the proceeds going to the Fiona Wade Appeal, featuring six acts together for one-night only in a fundraising event to support The Oesophageal Patients’ Association charity. I love my music almost as much as my writing, so it’s a real honour to be able to take part in such a worthwhile cause.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ray 🙂
Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.
Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence. Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?
Implant is the perfect read for fans of Peter May, Mark Billingham and Peter James.
Publication Day: 9th August 2018
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Category: Fiction, Genre: Thriller / Crime / Psychological
About the Author
The British Fantasy Society published Ray Clark’s first work in 1995 – Manitou Man: The World of Graham Masterton, was nominated for both the World and British Fantasy Awards. In 2009, Ray’s short story, Promises To Keep, made the final shortlist for the best short story award from The Tom Howard Foundation. Ray is based in Goole, and has set his Gardener and Reilly crime series in nearby Leeds.
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