I’d like you all to please welcome author Jonathan Clark to Imagineer-ing! Having been teaching and tutoring for over 20 years, he has a considerable interest in education as well as writing, and his books bring the two together.
When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?
I first started to write about science, because I knew I had something as a teacher but I wanted to reach a wider audience, a world audience. That is why I chose to publish A Question of Biology on Kindle.
Then when I went on to write Karim and the Secret of the Stones it was in the belief that science (in this case the science of the Solar System) is fascinating if presented in the form of sci-fi.
Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?
Not really, I don’t think I can write as well as the geniuses I admire so much at the moment. I think I should just concentrate on developing my own style and whatever genre it is in is fine. I do like sci-fi for teenagers though, as it may help to get them to see that science can be really cool!
When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?
To tell the truth I don’t own a Kindle! I don’t mind reading online, but it is just the physical beauty of books as living furniture that makes me opt for print. Ebooks are great for self-publishers like me though and democratise books – which can only be good.
Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?
Of course! That is one of the great joys of being a writer. There are so many talented writers out there that apply our craft with such skill and intelligence. Standouts, for me, are Stephen King and Michael Connelly for sheer talent and brilliance. I can only sit at their feet and wonder at their genius.
Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?
Yes, of course. I wrote 1994 The Very Last Lennon Interview after seeing a man on Polish TV who looked very much like I think John Lennon would have looked in his mid-fifties. I think you have to write about what you are interested in and passionate about, and that has to come from your life.
Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?
I can’t really single anyone out. There are so many talents out there. I think Tolkien, if you were twisting my arm. He combined superb storytelling and great use of English; he is really the master. For children it has to be Roald Dahl, who just weaved magic in such a simple and enjoyable way.
Have you got both printed and digital books published?
There is a print copy of A Question of Biology available. The others I haven’t got around to doing in print yet as I have been mainly stuck on Kindle as a way of reaching out to the world.
Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?
I have no interest in fashion when I write – it has to come from the heart or it is not worth spending your time on. The reader can sense this right away. I think you have to write to satisfy some inner need – in my case at the moment I would love to get to the bottom of what made John Lennon and the Beatles tick – as there was a kind of magic in the air and around them.
How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?
No set times, just when I have the time; which is far too rarely at the moment, usually a few hours a week.
Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?
No but I wish I did. What I do is to write a little summary of each storyline that I think of, and then keep it in a Word file for later development.
Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?
It is a bit of both. I think you need some structure or idea of the general story. But one of the great things about writing is how characters and stories take on a life of their own as you write. It is quite exciting when that happens, as if you were giving a voice to another person.
When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?
I prefer the computer, although it can be frustrating if your typing is not good that day. I hate writing with a pen, it is just too slow.
Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?
Yeah, sure, as almost all the books I read are from second-hand shops and you never know what you’ll find. Joking aside, when I found a copy of Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson I was really pleased, as it is such an exquisite piece of writing.
What is your greatest ambition in writing?
To have my books read by many people all round the world and to teach people important things and educate the young particularly about important scientific and world problems that we all need to understand as we stare into the near future. To communicate on a world stage, as I feel I have something valuable to say to most people on the planet. To take this unique chance we have in the digital age, to reach the hearts and minds of as many human beings as I can, whether it be about what made the Beatles produce so much joy, or what we have to do to save our planet.
Where can readers find out more about your works?
They can have a look on Kindle or Amazon.co.uk. I will be doing a Facebook page soon. Also they can look at my website www.freeducate.co.uk