Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Author Interview ~ LaVerne Clark

The fantastic LaVerne Clark is here today talking about her work, movies that make her cry and her heritage. Come on. You know you want to read on!

I know I do. Let’s get this interview started. Where are you from?

I’m a New Zealander and live in the coastal town of Nelson, at the top of the South Island. The scenery is incredible with mountains edging us and National Parks dotted around. The beaches are clean and safe, and when the sun is out (which is most of the time - Nelson is the sun-shine capital of our country) there are few other places more beautiful.

Sounds fantastic. What is the hardest scene you have had to write (published or not)? Why?

Oh, my. I’m blushing just thinking of it : ) That would have to be the sex-scene in Guardian of the Jewel. The sexual tension had been building from the moment they set eyes on each other, and so I wanted the scene to be both hot and sensual. Trouble was, I couldn’t stop thinking my folks would probably read it! Then I told myself to stop being ridiculous. I hadn’t had anything published yet, and the likelihood of them reading it was not high. So, I wrote the scene purely for the characters. Then I got the wonderful news that The Wild Rose Press would like to publish my story! After the excitement, my next thought was of THAT scene – and the people reading it! In case you’re wondering, my mother loved it and my father closed his eyes and thought of England : )

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

There was a nationwide competition for Primary schoolchildren, organized by the Coca Cola factory, to write a story about the processes that went into the making of Coca Cola. We’d been for a school visit, took notes, and had a week to write it. My idea was to write the story from the point of view of a bottle called Bob. Bob spoke about how he came to be, what it felt like to be cleaned, then filled with this delicious, tickly liquid. We travelled with him as he got placed in a refrigerator in a shop and then bought by a thirsty little girl. After she’d had her fill, he got dumped, sorted and then finally squashed by the compacting machines. Just when you think that was the end of Bob – he pops up again saying, “Hello. I’m back with a new shiny coat.” So a happy ending after all. My teacher loved the story and thought I had a great chance to win the competition, but a few days later took me aside to say the organizers wouldn’t accept it. It wasn’t factual enough for them. I’ll never forget the disappointment in her eyes – more so than me. That was my first taste of rejection. Nothing like learning from a young age! : )

I’ve been hooked ever since.

And we’re glad you were hooked, but not rejected. That's no fun. What does your family think of your writing?

My family is hugely supportive and proud of what I do. My son (he’s 10) wonders why I won’t let him read my book as he loves to read as well. My husband has been a huge help with my current WIP – probably because it’s about a heroine with super-hero ability. He keeps coming up with cool scenes, and after hashing it out together, we come up with something that fits the story. It’s been a lot of fun.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Ooo – what a difficult question to answer! I’m going to sneak in two here : ) My favorite romance author would have to be the great LaVyrle Spencer. Her characters are so real and no-one writes emotion with such honesty and depth as she does. I was in mourning the day I heard she’d retired from writing. My other would be a toss-up between Diana Gabaldon and Jodi Picoult – but I think Jodi has the edge, just. I love how Ms. Picoult shows us the two sides to a controversial topic, and constantly reminds us life is never black and white.

Yes, she does. We like both. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’d love to! I’m working on a super-hero themed novella in response to a submission call from Samhain Publishing.

Jenna Thomas is a loner. Labeled a freak when she was younger because of her ability to ‘call’ creatures and take on their attributes, she keeps to herself as an adult, not letting anyone close. But that all changes the day she saves a young boy from drowning in extraordinary circumstances, and the story goes viral.

Nick Hawke, an off-duty policeman catches the end of the drama and investigates the incident, not sure what to believe. His cynicism and growing attraction to Jenna is put to the test when word of her abilities gets out, thrusting her into the limelight. His protective instincts kick in when she is targeted by some very dangerous people who’ll stop at nothing to get her under their control.

What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

You can’t beat a greyhound : ) We adopted our ex-racing greyhound, Jazzy, two years ago and she has been just the most wonderful addition to our family you could imagine. She’s loyal, gives unconditional love, always happy to see you, teaches the children compassion and is the biggest couch potato you could imagine. They are truly the easiest breed of dog to own if you’ve got a busy family life.

Awww. We love dogs, too. What is your heritage?

I’m a true Bitzer (bits of this and bits of that), with Maori, Irish, English and French ancestry. Although I look like a typical Irish Coleen, I’m fascinated by my Maori heritage. A current WIP has a heroine who is half-Maori called Aroha. Aroha is the Maori word for love. I’m loving the research into the culture and protocol that is present in everyday Maori life and enjoying getting to know more about that side of my ancestry.

You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Oh – I’d LOVE to be able to do this! Just for the record – I loathe bullies, but I’d love to erase the one day I joined in and became one.

There was this boy in my class who was overweight, spoke with a lisp and who had full, shiny red lips. I’d always been nice to him, especially as others weren’t. It was yet another day, and he was being taunted by the others at our table. I sneered at him and made a nasty comment. I remember the others looking at me with approval – but it was his face I will never forget. He looked up at me with wounded eyes, his mouth open in shock – and then he turned bright red and ducked his head. Oh, how I wish I could turn the clock back. I’ve never felt so low. The good news is that I’ve found and friended him on facebook and he has a great life. He’s lost weight, traveled the world and has a lot of friends who appreciate the great person he is.

Aww, but at least you learned, yanno? Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

Two movies come to mind immediately. The Green Mile – no need to explain that one : ) and the other is a New Zealand, Once Were Warriors. Oh. My. Gosh. My husband and I came out of that movie theatre shaking and with tears running down our cheeks. So were the rest of the crowd who’d gone in the see it. It is a powerful, hard-hitting movie about a low-income Maori family living with domestic abuse and alcoholism. There are some beautiful moments in the movie too – but one scene in particular had me bawling like a baby. Not a movie easily forgotten, that’s for sure.

Yes! I cried during The Green Mile, too. Do you like thunderstorms?

I LOVE thunderstorms and I blame that on my mother : ) When we were little, if the thunder and lightning started up, Mum would yell out, “It’s cuddle-weather!” and we’d all go running up to her for a big squeeze. We’d all sit huddled in front of the picture-window and watch Mother Nature put on her show. I do that with my own children now and it never fails to warm my heart.

Want to know more about Guardian of the Jewel? Here you go!

After coming to terms with the brutal death of her husband by unknown thugs half a world away from New Zealand, Amy Hamblin concentrates on bringing up their son alone, struggling to make their dream of an action-adventure tourism venture a success. When a dark, dangerous-looking man knocks on her door late at night claiming to be a guest, the safe, quiet life she’d created is suddenly anything but...

Gabriel Ryan’s task of finding the priceless blue diamond Amy’s husband stole from
an organized crime ring, is made all the more difficult by the attraction that sizzles between them. Playing a role had never been so hard, and now, with a ruthless killer on the trail of the missing jewel as well, he needed his wits about him to keep them all alive.

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LaVerne Clark said...

Thanks for having me ladies! That was such a fun interview : )

Just wanted to announce, since the interview, The Wild Rose Press have offered me a contract for "Affinity"! So very excited it's made itself a home : )

Jerrie Alexander said...

Congratulations! Loved the post and I understand the tears in The Green Mile for sure. Lord knows I've watched the reruns over and over again.

Guardian of The Jewel sounds intriguing! Here's wishing you many sales.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi Sweet LaVerne, it's me!! Most excellent interview! And congrats on your new contract with TWRP. Yay, you! My husband and I enjoy "The Green Mile", too. I would love to see pictures of your shoreline and mountains. Sounds breathtaking.

LaVerne Clark said...

Hi Jerrie and Vonnie,

You girls are great for visiting me and for your congrats - thank you! My most favourite scene that never fails to choke me up would have to be when the prison owner is visited - his wife is terribly sick - her mind going also with cancer. The love and despair potrayed by her husband gets me every time.

Sarah Grimm said...

LaVerne- Congratulations on your new contract! Fantastic news! Love the interview.

LaVerne Clark said...

Hi Sarah! Thank you very much. I'm hoping the cover is even a fraction as gorgeous as After Midnight : )

Menagerie Authors said...

Sorry It took us so long to get here. Kealie was putting on her face and I have a sick totlet. LaVerne, congrats on the new contract and thanks for coming by. We had a blast!

Kealie and Megan