School of the Ages


indie writer interview -- Carolyn Chambers Clark writes almost everything!

Posted by Matt Posner on October 13, 2011 at 9:45 PM

So, CCC, tell the readers about yourself.

I'm Carolyn Chambers Clark and I'm from Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey and California, but currently live in Florida.

I'm from Florida and North Carolina but I currently live in New York., so I can relate. It seems like a lot of us writers have done a lot of moving around. Maybe we get ideas that way. You have a lot of ideas -- you're a multi-genre writer, which is cool. How about some facts about your books?

I write in a lot of genres including mystery/thriller, paranormal, women's fiction, MG and YA.

I get ideas for books from my dreams and also by watching movies and could I do an entirely different take on this subject? I also get ideas from my own life. ..

JANE EYRE, BEWARE is about a teen who takes the role in the play, Jane Eyre. I did that in high school, but I didn't run into all the scandalous situations Jane Lloyd does in the book.

Ditto with VIRGO RISING. It's a sci fi story for young adults, but it's not a great stretch to some of the environmental issues our country is already facing.

ELECTRIFIED is about a teen who's trying to find her missing brother, but gets electrified in a NYC electric company and uses her new electrified hands to stop people and aliens who get in her way.

Then, there's CANDY, MURDER & ME, a wacky cozy mystery with Italian and Norwegian recipes. Cookie, the female sleuth, is a dress designer who has a dachshund psychoanalyst. Well, he's really not a psychoanalyst, but she consults him about what to wear to work, which candy goes with a viewing at a funeral home, and whether the handsome PI she meets at the funeral of her PI likes her as much as she likes him. Although I'm not a candy addict like Cookie, and don't pal around with a dachshund, I did with a Swedish Elkhound some years ago, and our family lived with a black cocker spaniel. The main connection to Cookie is that we both design clothes. When I was in grad school and had no money, but was invited to a party, I went out and bought an old Singer Sewing Machine for $14 (which I still use) and made myself a dress. Oh, and the other connection is that my husband is Italian and loves to cook, and I'm half-Norwegian and adored my Nana's desserts, e.g., Grandma Berelli’s Pralines (“Worth going to jail for”;), Cookie’s Maple Candies (“So good they’re criminal”;), Nana’s Kringlas (“To kill for”;), Cookie's Chocolate Cover-Up Fudge ("Perfect for spying activities"), and Blood Red Spaghetti Sauce with Bad Boy Meatballs, among others, are available throughout the story to break up the mayhem.

Ditto with VERTICAL STRIPES CAN KILL YOU. Different protag, but also a dress designer sleuth who witnesses a murder and has to hide from the killer. Only one recipe in this one.

The women's fiction deals with issues I've encountered, e.g., trying to find the right guy to marry (LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING), impending divorce, (THAT'S AMORE) and empty nest syndrome after the kids leave home (UNFORGETTABLE).

My husband and I love to dance—everything from ballroom dancing (DANCING WITH A VAMPIRE, UNFORGETTABLE and LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING) to line dancing (ANGEL IN COWBOY BOOTS)

Both of us were bullied as kids. From those experiences came SMALL BOY'S BOOK OF SELF-DEFENSE. This one was a real challenge because it's told mostly through cartoon characters. My daughter and I collaborated on those.

HOW I LEARNED TO DUEL, STOP BULLIES, AND BE A HERO also deals with bullies, but has a Zorro-like character in it who helps the protag learn to be a man and a local hero.

MORGAINA AND HER MAGIC HORSE, GHOSTS, and GODS is for our granddaughter, Morgaine. It's a time travel adventure with a magic horse and it's for middle grade kids and includes a talking book who guides and frustrates her along the way to helping the Norwegian god, Odin.

All these books are humorous, but we have written a few serious thrillers, including DARK FORCES (a creepy story that keeps you guessing over whether its a paranormal or serial killer), OUT OF BODY (when protag survives a murder attempt with the power to go out of body, she still has to save herself and her little daughter from the killer), and ARMED AND DANGEROUS (female military sleuth must find the murderer of 20 women in a German military hospital).

And then there's my one historical novel, ESCAPING THE FIRE, which deals with the Inquisition AND the Salem witch trials. This is my feminist side...

You are the most prolific author I've interviewed so far. I saw that you have several well-publicized books you didn't mention that are about medical and lifestyle topics. A very impressive list of books, and also, you also have your own online venue for marketing your books. That takes a lot of work! Tell us about that.

Go to  and click on the BOOKSTORE at the bottom of the red section. Then, just click on the book covers for an in-depth description and click on the cover again for sample chapters.

Every month, we offer a FREE book from our bookstore, so I urge your readers to come back often to our blog to check for the free book-of-the month. Or, they can sign up to get emails of the posts on the blog.

Talk about how your life has informed your writing.

In my previous life, I was a nurse with a master's degree and a doctorate from Columbia University. I had my own nurse psychotherapy practice and taught at a number of universities. I also am a forensic examiner. I use all my education and work experiences in my books. My husband, who also happens to be my writing partner for some of these books, was an ammunition renovation specialist in the Army (we're working on a book about the relationship he had with a stray dog while he was in Vietnam) and we used his training and/or life experience and mine in FORENSICS BY THE NUMBERS, A Jewel Connor Mystery, SMALL BOY'S BOOK OF SELF-DEFENSE and all the others I mentioned above.

You had an extensive career writing and publishing books about wellness before you began to focus on fiction. Would you comment on your decision to make the transition? Do you think you will write about wellness again in the future?

I still maintain a wellness, selfcare and relationship web site at where I offer books, ebooks and free articles. From there, readers can also get my free Wellness Newsletter. I'm also in the process of getting out a health promotion book for nursing students, and have two other nursing texts that require revision for another edition, so I still keep my hand in wellness and nonfiction pursuits. Sometimes I think I slow myself down by being involved in too many things, but that's just how my brain works.

Me too, How would you compare and contrast your experiences in nonfiction and fiction writing?

I've always been successful in my health-related books. No nursing publisher has ever turned down my ideas and I've had more than 20 nonfiction books published, including three by non-nursing publishers. Two of them are still in print and three of my books won Book of the Year awards. Fiction? Still struggling. My timing is a bit off. In health-related books, I'm usually ahead of the pack, while in fiction, I'm behind. For an over-achiever like me, it's sometimes hard to take that seventeen-year-olds are getting published and I'm not, but I'll never give up writing fiction. It keeps me sane and balanced. Also, non-fiction calls for different writing skills. I have a well-developed logical/rational side that is death to fiction. I have to keep forcing myself to include description and character feelings.

Oh, and the first line and first page in fiction are the hardest for me. Finding how to draw in the reader is still a challenge. In non-fiction, I just start writing and have no problems. I can't even count how many first, second and third chapters of novels I've thrown out. Never happened in non-fiction.

I haven't included direct sales links for Carolyn because I want to feature her website. Here is is again: 


And here are some other pages that feature her:

An interview about Designed to Kill:

Carolyn's website:  http/

A medical interview:  http:.//

Her Harper Collins author page:  http:///

Thanks Carolyn.

NOTE:  I am trying to update the link to Carolyn's Blog. Check back here soon for the correct data. -- Matt

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