Today's Darklight On is ... Special Guest Clare Rhoden
How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I suspect that a childhood devouring all things Dr Who may have had something to do with it, but I have also always loved fantastical stories. Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and Paddington Bear all inhabit worlds just a bit removed from ours, worlds that make us reflect on our own. These days I find that the books I read are somewhat darker, but I guess that goes with the times. Speculative fiction allows us to observe, imagine, and explore. I just love it.
Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
I think you would call me a pantser, because although I have a general idea of where a story or character is going, I never really know until I sit at the keyboard. I write myself into quite a few corners. Then I have to find ways to escape or ways to make the corner work. Occasionally that means retreating to square one, but most of the time I just run with it. “Oh, is that what you want to say? Is that where this is going?” I believe that some of story-telling is subconscious so I like to let my mind choose its own path. There is indeed something magic about writing.
Do you have a favourite of your characters?
I find it so hard to choose! I could just say “the one who is talking to me at the moment”. I like something about them all, or they would be too hard to write. Even the ‘evil’ characters are wonderful to play with. I do sincerely love the canini – the intelligent, compassionate wolf-dogs of the world of the Pale – but if I had to be on a desert island with someone, it would be the tribesman Feather. He’s gorgeous, and very practical too! A perfect post-catastrophe man.
What are you currently working on?
I’m rattling along with the third instalment of the Pale story, and fighting gamely to keep some hope in dystopia. I think of that as my ‘work’. I’ve also got a WWI historical romance about to be published (on December 1) so I have publisher edits to attend to.
What is your favourite part of the process of writing?
My own first round of editing, I think. If I’ve got to that stage, then I have heaps of words on the page. The first draft, for me, is just getting everything down. Usually way too much. Editing is like reading a book – something I love to do – but with the chance to make it better. Plus more cups of tea.
What can we expect from Clare Rhoden in the future?
I hope you’ll find more books in more genres, as well as my main path of speculative fiction. Spec fic gives me so much leeway to play with different philosophical perspectives as well as to imagine how it might be to be human in another place or time or entire world. However, I also just submitted a middle grade book about magic cats, and I have hopes that we will see it out next year.
Who are your favourite authors?
You do like to ask difficult questions! Here’s a list, in a very mixed order, and for very different reasons: Mary Renault; Sebastian Barry; Georgette Heyer; Cormac McCarthy; JK Rowling; Ali Smith; Mary Stewart; Katherine Kerr; Robin Hobb; Jasper Fforde.
What are you currently reading?
Record of a Space-born Few by Becky Chambers. It’s brilliant. I now have to add her to my list of authors to watch (Emily St John Mandel; Rachel Nightingale; Belinda Crawford; Steven Amsterdam; Laura E Goodin; Jane O’Reilly; Jane Rawson; Chris Womersley).
Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?
I am still devoted to Tom Baker as Dr Who, and I loved the first series of Star Trek to bits. As a very young child, I often wanted my family to be Lost in Space…
Do you have advice for emerging writers?
Nobody else is going to write your book. It’s up to you. Only you can give it any chance of existing.
Thanks, Clare Rhoden!
Thanks for having me J
Clare’s latest book is Broad Plain Darkening (Pale #2):
The safe world of the Pale is under threat.
Inside the policosmos, the new Regent Adaeze strives for dominance over the all-powerful Senior Forecaster, but the Pale’s humachine citizens are unaware that their city is close to collapse.
Outside on Broad Plain, the exiled human Hector undertakes a dangerous trek to find a safe haven for the orphaned twins.
How can anyone survive as their world shifts underneath them?
Broad Plain Darkening (Pale #2):