Saturday 3 December 2011


1.     What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
The Apocalypse Gene is a co-written novel by me, Suki Michelle, born in Chicago, and Carlyle Clark from San Diego. We live and write together in the Chicagoland area.

2.     Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a doctor like my father but soon discovered that I’d rather write about blood than actually see it. Carlyle studied criminal justice, but has always wanted to be a writer.

3.     When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I’ve always considered myself a writer. Anyone who writes is a writer, regardless of their skill.  However, I didn’t feel like an author until our book was picked up by a publisher.

4.     Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
It was a long, difficult slog. It took three years to write and two years to shop around, find a publisher, and have the manuscript edited and revised. Writing is not a gig for the impatient.

5.     Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I’m a medical transcriptionist.  Carlyle is a security director. We both would rather be writing.

6.     What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The Apocalypse Gene: Summary: Global pandemic is raging, far more than a mere disease. Only two psychic teens hold to key to its cure.

7.     Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Not self-pubbed - Parker Publishing, Inc.

8.     How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

9.     Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
ALL books are difficult to write. Each character has a backstory and an arc. There must be evocative setting and a forward moving plot, and it must always be entertaining. The act of creation is exhilarating and challenging.

10.                        What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Carlyle and I both love to write scary fantastical stuff, so we’ll stick with fantasy for adults and young readers, but we also enjoy literary fiction. Twenty-four hours isn’t enough time to write all the ideas in our weird little noggins.

11.                        Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
The Apocalypse Gene is the first in a series. We are hard at work on the sequel and expect to have it complete in the summer of 2012.  Our publisher eagerly awaits!

12.                        What genre would you place your books into?
The Apocalypse Gene is cross-genre, primarily Young Adult Urban Fantasy with elements of Cyberpunk, Paranormal Romance, and Science Fiction.  It is a complex story suitable for both young readers and adults.

13.                        Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
The Apocalypse Gene is definitely our favorite because it is already out there for everyone to enjoy.

14.                        Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
To describe our favorite character would be a major spoiler. She’s the best surprise and doesn’t appear until Chapter Seven or so – a real scene-stealer. You’ll have to read it to meet her.  Trust us, she’s hilarious, but the one we can talk about is Olivya, a girl of mixed race with crazy dreadlocks and a talent for seeing psychic auras. A little rough around the edges, she proves herself to be a great chick warrior.

15.                        How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
Carlyle and I have both been writing most of our lives. I’m inspired by oddballs, outcasts, freaks, and geniuses – real or imagined.  Carlyle is inspired by the crazy notions that pop into his quirky, brilliant mind. 

16.                        Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
I get my plot ideas from the medical reports I type all day long.  I have to entertain myself somehow!  Carlyle gets many plot ideas from his love of Japanese anime.

17.                        Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
We are long-time members of an online writers’ workshop to which we owe a debt of gratitude.  It was perhaps the strongest influence in producing such a quality piece of work as The Apocalypse Gene.

18.                        Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Absolutely – E-book or paperback.  We are grateful for all the feedback we can get. 

19.                        Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Not only read – reread – about a zillion times.

20.                        What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
The toughest review was from my daughter in the early phases or writing.  She said, “Dude Mommy, this is kinda lame”, which (like all not-so-good reviews) ultimately made the book much, much better. We’ve gotten many great reviews. Here is one of our favorites:

21.                        How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
The cover is based on a scene that takes place in the cyber-world.  We described it to our publisher’s art department and they produced what we think is a gorgeous cover.

22.                        How do you market/promote your books?
Primarily online.  The best source of marketing comes from book-blogs like this one, and we are most grateful for this exposure.  We’ve gotten so many fans and readers by interacting with bloggers.

23.                        What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
A great story with lots of conflict, compelling characters, unique ideas, and humor, but most of all, tireless authors who work hard to get the word out.

24.                        Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I suffer from writer’s block often.  The only way to get past it is to write write write. Carlyle never has writer’s block. Somehow, his mind is always free to create. I don’t know how he does it.

25.                        What do you do to unwind and relax?
I eat chocolate and watch brainless reality television shows. Carlyle reads.

26.                        Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
All our characters are composites of people we’ve known. All our story lines have an element of personal experience. However, our stories are really far out there – we have vivid imaginations, and if this stuff really happened, we would all live in a very different never-boring world.

27.                        Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
The Apocalypse Gene is ultimately about believing in yourself and in the power of love – an important message.

28.                        Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I’ve been influenced by the poet, Emily Dickinson, and her skill at word economy. Carlyle has been influenced quite a bit by James Lee Burk, master of dialogue.

29.                        Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
Any format is fine with us, as long as it’s a great story.

30.                        What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
Carlyle and I share a favorite book – The Little Prince – a lovely, deep story that we’ve both read many times.

31.                        Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Some do, some don’t. (Ours was BORN to be a movie!)  Best transfer to movies? The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King.   Worst? The Secret Life of Bees. In my opinion, it didn’t come close to the power and depth of the book.

32.                        What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m reading The Story Sisters on my Kindle and listening to The Name of the Wind, also on my Kindle. Both are wonderful!

33.                        Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I believe print books will always be with us, but they will become more and more scarce in the years to come. You can’t beat E-books for convenience.

34.                        Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I hope so. A love of reading throughout life is probably the single most enriching activity anyone can do, and without a vivid imagination, great ideas cannot be born. 

35.                        Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I will never read The Exorcist because seeing the movie gave me post-traumatic stress disorder for about ten years.  I tried to read The Satanic Verses but gave up.  Man oh man, way too intellectual for my simple brain.

36.                        Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
At the risk of sounding overly self-serving, I have to say - watch out for US! Our book was recently named “Critics Choice” at Kirkus Reviews, who proudly boast are “The World’s Toughest Book Critics”.  Our readers always tell us they’ve never read anything like The Apocalypse Gene.  That review and more can be found at our website and our blog – links below.

37.                        Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
We totally love The Apocalypse Gene, but that doesn’t mean we don’t learn from the feedback we get. Our readers and reviewers have provided us with invaluable input, which will make our sequel just as exciting and imaginative (if not more) as the first.

38.                        What do you think about book trailers?
They’re fun to watch and are probably good hooks to inspire a reader to investigate further, but I’m not sure they have a direct impact on sales.  Here is ours:

39.                        What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Be open to all criticism.  Praise is nice, but learning from the words that sting the most will be the greatest influence on making you a better writer.

40.                        Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Suki Michelle is my real first and middle name.  I dropped my last name because everyone, including me, always misspells it.  Carlyle Clark is, in real life, Carlyle Clark.  Neither of us would use a made-up pen name. 

Where can readers follow you?

Twitter: @Suki_Michelle

Other: Carlyle’s Blog

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this interview! It was a lot fun. Much appreciated.