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Author Interview: M A Clarke Scott

M A Clarke Scott is a Chatelaine Grand Prize winner for The Art of Enchantment, first in the Life is a Journey series of romantic women’s fiction about young women abroad who discover themselves and fall in love while getting embroiled in other people’s problems. Reconcilable Differences is first in the Having It All series about professional women in Vancouver struggling to balance the challenge and fulfillment of career with the search for identity, love, family and home. She also loves to weave dramatic relationships into steampunk and cyberpunk adventures.

She’s been a telephone operator, a dental hygienist, an architect, a gerontologist and an education savings advisor, and is now affectionately known as ‘Doc Maven.’ When not writing, she meditates while hiking wooded mountain trails, does yoga and Pilates to fend off decrepitude, reads eclectically, contemplates wormholes, experiments with painting abstract expressionism, kills plants and tries not to burn dinner. Clarke Scott lives in beautiful Vancouver, Canada with three large men and four small mammals, all of them hairier than she. Although she knows she lives in Paradise, she still loves traveling the world in search of romance, art, good food and new story ideas.

You can read more about M A, her books and ideas that strike her fancy at http://www.maryannclarkescott.com. Join her mailing list to receive a bundle of free goodies. If you enjoy her books, please rate them and leave reviews on Amazon.

  • : I've always been a daydreamer and an avid reader. There have always been a variety of fictional people chattering away in my head, so writing fiction was a natural progression, and something I always wanted to do. The more I write, the more I see that there are ideas I revisit, dressed up in different ways. I guess that’s how my first stories evolved into series. I saw that I kept coming back to the same ideas: identity, belonging, balance, self-knowledge, empowerment. Learning to be one’s true self, even if there are reasons why you’ve been denying that, as a survival mechanism. I think this is very true to life, and I like to explore it in different ways – that turning point in a life that changes everything – and brings you closer to yourself. The universe. Authenticity, I guess. And a touch of spiritual awakening, in a vague, non-religious way. A kind of Zen thing.
  • : Sure. When I was nine, I wrote the first ten chapters of a romance novel. I think it was a bit corny, involving a sinking cruise ship, a remote tropical island and a love triangle. I lost it, but there were ideas and themes in there that I still explore, though perhaps in a more mature way. I abandoned the story to become an architect.
  • : My current work in progress is Book 2 in the Having it All series. It involved the best friends of the two main characters in Reconcilable Differences. It's an oil-and-water romance involving a career-oriented, driven architect who doesn't want a relationship or a family, and a dot.com millionaire computer geek, who doesn't want a relationship or a family. They jointly care for their best friends kids, so they end up with a relationship, and a family! Also some life lessons.
  • : Professionally, seriously, in 2005.
  • : I grew up in a small city in the interior of BC. I guess, in some ways, there was not much going on there. But the place was not so much the reason as the fact that my siblings were all grown up and gone by the time I learned to read. Also my parents were older, and didn't do much, except work. So I had loads of alone time. Maybe I would have been introverted and creative anyway, but who knows. I think that was a factor.
  • : I don't follow a schedule. More an urge. I'm a binger so I write a lot, or read a lot, or procrastinate a lot. All at once. I think there are different rooms in my head, and I can't be in more than one at a time.
  • : After Coming About is complete, which should be soon, I'll be polishing Book 2 in my Life is a Journey series about young women abroad. A Forged Affair is almost complete, but I've been thinking about it, and I think I'm going to add a bunch of chapters from a second point of view, so there's a bit of work to be done on that one.
  • : Reading, of course. Exercising. I like to do Pilates and yoga, and hike in the woods. I like to cook, but mostly when I don't have to. For special occasions and entertaining friends. I love to travel, and eat and look at art, architecture, museums, history. I watch movies and binge watch series.
  • : The more I mature as a writer, the more planning I do for a book. I'm rather passionate about story structure, and have read many books about it. So over time I've amalgamated many ideas into my own architecture. I'm very interested now in the heroine's journey, and studying it in detail, studying exemplars, and using this archetypal and mythical structure to explore and express ideas in my books. So nowadays, I do a lot of note-taking, planning and outlining before I begin to write. I find it more efficient, and actually inspires my stories and helps me to problem solve.
  • : I love Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and several contemporary and historical romance and women's fiction authors. Some of my favourite's include Barbara O'Neal, Mary Balogh, Suzanna Kearsley, Suzanne Brockman, Jane Ann Krentz, Freya North, JoJo Moyes, Emily Giffin, Jennifer Crusie, Eleanor Brown, Laura Kinsale, Elizabeth Hoyt. They are all brilliant writers, who sweep me away, inspire me and teach me. My favourite SF authors include William Gibson, Neil Stephenson, Robert Sawyer and Lois McMaster Bujold. I also admire Khaled Hosseini, Peter Carey, Janette Turner Hospital, Carol Shields, Michael Ondatje, Ian McEwen, J K Rowling, Mary Novak, Barbara Gowdy, and many, many others.
  • : At the moment, I am lucky to be "just" a writer. But these days that also means I'm a publisher, book marketer and promoter. In the past, I've been an architect and an environmental gerontologist. I've had many jobs in passing, in finance, journalism, research, and odd jobs as a student. I've worked in libraries, on nurseries, as a telephone operator, a dental assistant and a gas jockey.
  • : For many years I've used my iPad. It's getting old and sick though, so I'm considering switching to a newer, bigger phone as an e-reader. And/or maybe a small Kindle with e-ink, so I can read outdoors and limit blue light and eye fatigue.
  • : Hah. Because I come from a design background, I'm a very involved, you could say meddling, high-maintenance client. I'm lucky to have a very talented and patient cover designer. But that doesn't stop me from studying the art, taking courses and thinking about doing more of it myself. I'm kind of a typography geek, and so hard to please on that count. Very picky about details and spacing. I figure maybe I should just add that to my list of careers. But, to answer the question, I think cover designs should convey the proper genre to the right readers, be evocative of mood, location, character and theme. Be colourful - I love colour and eye-catching. And if the books are part of a series, convey that through consistent layout and graphic design as well.
  • : See my answer on process above!
  • : Being in the zone. When I know my characters well and immerse myself in their world, their story, and the words just flow from my subconscious onto the page. In those moments, I feel like I'm channelling something bigger than myself, and am part of something universal. And also doing the thing I'm meant to be doing in this life. I especially love when patterns, symbols and connections come out of me that I didn't labour over. Serendipitous things that add layers of meaning and artistry to my stories. And when the sound of the words is beautiful, or the pictures I paint with my words are evocative and moving.
  • : My website: http://www.maryannclarkescott.com. Everything's there: buy links, synopses. Sign up for my email list to get a bundle of free reads, including deleted scenes, sneak previews and short stories.
  • : Live long and prosper. But, with feels. Lots of feels.