Jack Canon's American Destiny

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Author Interview – AFN Clarke

Was your second book as successful as your first? No, but only because I made a rookie mistake that I’ve never made again. My first book Contact was a bestseller which was great – but I spent time basking in the limelight and enjoying my fame rather than reining in my ego and getting back to work on the second book.  So by the time Collisions came out I had lost a lot of momentum I had gained.  It did OK, but not nearly as well as it could have.  It’s an important lesson for any author. Now that I’ve “written my way back” to being a fulltime author I’m wiser and more disciplined and keep on releasing new books to follow up the last – that consistency is important for readers and for me as well.

Was it easier to write other books after your first book was published? It was easier because I knew I could do it and so the passion and excitement of success was a wave I could ride on and helped my confidence. But in another way it was harder because I became more self-critical rather than just letting the words and story flow.  I thought about it too much and so had to stop myself overanalyzing everything or questioning everything.  So I have learned to stop that kind of thinking while writing and allow the spontaneity and instinct to take over.  I need to feel, in some ways, that every book is the first book, though it comes from a place of deepening experience and expertise each time as I publish more and more books.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? My first editor John Blackwell was the most influential in many ways.  He was what I would call a “great” – one of the “old timers” who had the freedom to choose the authors he worked with, could dedicate all his time to just a few authors, not take on a huge workload, and who had the incredible knack of bringing out the best in each of us and opening our eyes to the better side of ourselves so we could develop our own unique style. My wife has also been a huge influence, showing me that only by facing myself and my own demons, fears and frailties, can I mature as a writer.

Have you considered anyone as a mentor? I consider my first editor John Blackwell at Martin Secker & Warburg, who published my first book, as my mentor. A quiet humble man, we became good friends and I respected him as an editor, a book lover and publisher. There was so much to learn from him and yet he always thought authors were the most important people in the publishing process, although I am sure that even his Nobel Prize winning authors would think that he was the most important person in the process. It was a great loss when he died suddenly of a heart attack.

Do you intend to make writing a career? Writing IS my career and I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I think it’s a career because it’s more than just something I do to earn money or pass the time – it’s a lifelong passion and activity that I nurture and grow and do everything I can to excel at and learn more about.  I hope each time I write that passion and growth shows and inspires my readers to read more and new writers to keep on writing and be even better.

This new expanded edition of AFN Clarke’s bestselling and controversial book CONTACT is a raw, visceral, “no-holds-barred” account of combat from one of the men we paid to kill. When first published it caused a furor for its devastating honesty and chilling revelations.

Clarke vividly recounts his experiences of two tours in Northern Ireland (in Belfast and Crossmaglen) as a Platoon Commander with Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment during the blood soaked 1970′s. Soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan comment on how relevant the book still is today, as the dangers, political agendas and religious roots underlying the conflict are eerily and heartbreakingly similar to their own more recent experiences.

Clarke takes us to heart of the action.  We feel what it’s like to live each day with senses on high alert, waiting to be ripped apart by the accuracy of a sniper or a well-hidden bomb.  We enter the private world of soldiers ordered to hold the lines in an ancient quarrel they have little affinity for, but whose consequences are deadly.  We experience their emotions, fear, courage, humor, bravado and the anguish of death.

This expanded edition continues from where the print version ended, revealing the untold nightmare Clarke lived through having nearly died, with half his insides missing, suffering from PTSD and being expected to return to a “normal life”.  A story of the scars of war that affect generations.  Of heartache, courage and hope for peace.

“I am an ex soldier who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and this is an excellent account of what it was like. I only wish we had an officer like Captain Clarke.” pm, 5 Stars Amazon UK“.. its honesty and passion cannot be denied .. Mr. Clarke has sent out a powerful and disturbing early warning signal.” Maurice Leitch, Daily Telegraph.

“..a major contribution to our understanding of war and how people act .. Contact is the work of a brave writer.” Kevin Toolis, Irish News.

“As a civilian it’s hard to imagine what’s it’s really like to be a soldier in combat but this book opened my eyes. I highly recommend it …” KTHuffy, 4 Stars Amazon USA.

CONTACT was reviewed by soldiers who served with Captain Clarke as verification of his recollections.  It was first published in the UK in 1983 by Martin Secker & Warburg, was serialized for 5 days in The Mirror and became an instant best seller. In 1984 it was published in paperback by PAN Books, by Schocken Books New York and made into an award-winning BBC TV film.  And in 2012 came the expanded ebook edition, which all these years later is still selling strong.  Readers outside the UK are invited to visit Amazon.co.uk for soldier’s reviews and comments.

AFN Clarke is a full-time author and writes fiction of various genre – fast-paced thrillers (An Unquiet American), poignant human drama (Dry Tortugas), humorous satire (The Book of Baker Series - Dreams from the Death Age; Armageddon; Genesis Revisited), psychological horror (Collisions); and the Thomas Gunn suspense series (The Orange Moon Affair) with more coming soon. Visit the Amazon Kindle Store or afnclarke.com for further information.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Autobiography / Biography & Memoir

Rating – 18+

More details about the author

Connect with AFN Clarke on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.afnclarke.com/


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