Exclusive Interview with
M. C. Clay
When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was in high school. It started with just short stories and my love for writing and creating grew into something more. I've continued writing over the years but have just recently published my first two books.
What makes writing your passion?
I've always loved creating new worlds, and even just stories that are more mundane in setting. I just like the freedom to take a story wherever I want to go and to create characters that are complex and grow at the pace that I want them to.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for enjoyment for fifteen years, but have only been writing as a profession for the past two years and have only published my first works this year.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I felt so proud and accomplished! It was truly one of the most amazing feelings I have ever experienced. The process of getting published was stressful, but well worth it.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I really love damaged characters. I don't know what it is about a character that has experienced some sort of trauma or has some kind of major struggle. On some level I connect with these characters and they become a part of me.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The most frustrating part of a writing career is generating interest and getting books into the hands of the readers. As a self-published author, it takes a lot of work and different methods of advertising, as well as promotional events, to get your work out there.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
When I get stuck on a project, sometimes, I will take a break from it and work on a different project so that I can come back with a fresh perspective. It also helps me when I listen to music for a while and just immerse myself in some of my favorite artists.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I keep going because this is my passion. Writing is what I have always loved to do and it is my dream to be able to make this a career. My advice to new authors is to never give up. If you are truly invested in writing and passionate about it, then you will be successful. It may not happen overnight, and it will be a lot of work, but it is well worth it when that first book finally gets published, and even more so when you hear from readers that love your work.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell myself to keep writing and not spend so much time in lulls where I wouldn't write anything. I would remind myself that the struggles to come would be worth it in the end.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I do read my book reviews. I am in the very early stages and am not at the level of having hundreds of reviews yet, but I have received a negative review and while it was hard to accept, I took it as constructive criticism and worked hard to correct some of the issues in my writing when I moved forward to the next project.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I get excited! I mean, who doesn't like to hear their work praised? Realistically, I think the fact that something I wrote brought enjoyment to someone's life is that part that makes me happiest!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I haven't incorporated any personal details into my novels yet. I mainly write fantasy novels, and as awesome as it would be to have experienced or even witnessed some of the things I write about, I unfortunately have not. But, I do tend to channel my own emotions into my characters. Perhaps, if I ever decide to write something on a more mundane scale, I will incorporate something real from my life.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I compare myself most with Ash and Lark in my Nokturn Rising series. Ash struggles with his lack of emotions and fails to understand others because of it. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am not as in touch with my emotions as others and perhaps I lack a certain level of understanding when it comes to the human race. I can really relate to him in that way, as well as his struggle with expressing his feelings.
I relate to Lark in the fact that she is a strong-willed girl who fights for what is right. I can really connect with her on that level. Her love for being in the woods hunting is also something I have in common with her, and it is a little piece of myself that I've written into her character.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I don't know that I agree that it is AS important as the story, as I have read many books with 'okay' covers that the story itself blew me away. However, I think an amazing cover is incredibly important to catch the attention of the reader. You have to make people want to pick up the book and read the back!
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
A little of both. I love chatting with the readers that connect with me through social media. I also like to express myself through writing. So, I guess I would say that it depends on the subject matter of the conversation. Some things I don't mind discussing directly, while others i prefer to let my work do the talking.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I like to think I'm humble about it. A simple thank you or something. I have not been recognized in public yet. I hope that it is something I will experience eventually. That means I've made it! Haha!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I really love Victoria Aveyard and Leigh Bardugo. They both created such wonderfully detailed worlds for their respective stories. They know how to engross the reader and pull you in and really love that about their writing.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I would love to be as big as my favorite authors, of course! I mean, it would be great to be as big as J. K. Rowling, but at the same time, it might be overwhelming.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No way! If anything, I might go back and add a scene or something to my first book, or detail certain things a little more, but on the other hand, maybe not. I am happy with the way my first book turned out and even though some readers might not, I know there are those out there who loved it as much as I do!
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Probably J. K. Rowling. Just to know what it feels like to have created something so iconic and everlasting. The Wizarding World spans generations and is just as popular today, if not more so, as it was a decade ago.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I would say that I feel bad for them. Only someone who is incredibly insecure and unhappy with themselves and/or their life, would hide behind a computer and put others down.
What would you say to your readers?
I would tell my readers how much I love and appreciate them and their support! And I hope they will all continue on my journey as I keep writing and creating!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live just outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I have been married to my wonderful husband, Doug, for 5 amazing years. We have a beautiful daughter, Kassie, who is growing into an intelligent, creative, and ambitious young lady.
What is your day job if you have one?
I teach technology class to elementary students (grades K-5). It is a thankless job, but so rewarding!
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love reading, being outdoors, spending time with my family, and of course writing!
Did you have a happy childhood?
I had a wonderful childhood! My parents have always been supportive of creativity and have never pushed me to be anything but myself. They worked extremely hard to provide for my siblings and I and they made sure I was able to go to college and get the education I wanted and needed for the future.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Nothing major. When I was in high school, my English teacher gave us an assignment to write our own, original scary stories. I've always been a big fan of thrillers, so I really went for it and ended up being told it was the best in the class. It was even featured in the school's literary magazine! Ever since then, I realized I had both a love and a talent for writing.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have lots of unpublished works, most of which, are unfinished. Hopefully, they will all be published one day. I have more projects in the works in my Nokturn Rising series, as well as some spin-offs from that series. I also have some projects in the works that are NA as well as YA that are not in the fantasy realm.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think we've really gone lax in the education field. I don't think we expect enough of our children and I think we take things way too easy on them. In high school, they are doing things that I had already mastered in middle school. We are failing our children by continuously making things easier and easier for them.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
I would wish for a nation, undivided. I would wish for the success of my child. Finally I would wish for the continuous good health of my husband, so that we can grow old together.
What is your favorite music?
I love ALL genres of music, from classic rock to pop. I really love alternative music as well as indie bands, but I'm a sucker for 'today's hits'.
Share a secret with us 🙂
Secrets are meant to be kept just that, so if I tell you, I'll have to kill you.