Thank you, Anna, for the invitation to bore your blog readers. I’ll do my very best to answer your questions.
I try not to panic when asked to say something about myself. Where do I begin and who will believe me? And do you really want to know?
My first memory was running away from home at the age of 3 because my widowed mother mentally abused me, but only because she had a personality disorder. This set me up to marry a wildly, exciting, charismatic charmer who was also a bit of a psychopath.
A few years on and I was left in the African bush 25 kilometres outside Nairobi with a 9-week-old baby, little money, no food, electricity or transport. But, I had a guard/gardener and a maid and a leopard visiting each night, so all was not lost.
How about the time I was broadcasting live with a bayonet resting on my shoulder the point pricking my neck? I wouldn’t want to do that again.
And then there’s the day I walked around the corner to see soldiers hanging three young men – which reminds me of the tear gas attack we ran from in a different city.
Living on a sinking boat was also an interesting experience and when your husband is dragged off to prison and the police deny all knowledge of him and your Arabic is severely lacking, well that was a problem too. Solved when we were thrown out of the country.
Later I made history handling my own divorce – tricky when psychopath mentioned above has gone AWOL.
Try running a riding school with 4 horses two of them not fit for the knacker’s yard, plus I couldn’t ride and I had no idea how to feed them or look after them.
So, you see, I’ve been falling into things all my life. Of course, I wanted to write but was told to get a ‘proper job.’ I became a teacher.
From teaching I fell into writing for a living. My SABC radio audition was appalling but they liked the material (written by self on a typewriter minus the letter ‘n’). Bullied into entering the Playwright of the Year Awards, to my amazement I won. Now, there was no stopping me.
Since then (1984) I have written radio plays, hundreds of radio scripts, fell into television and eventually I ran my own video production company before leaving South Africa.
In between I also wrote magazine articles, reports, adverts, mayoral speeches, my own newspaper column, and two books for the Big 5 traditional publishers. (I turned down further contracts as I was too poor to wait for royalties. I had to feed the husband, two children, the home help and her family, the gardener and his relatives, the St Bernard, cats and the variety of small furry creatures that lurked around the house). Heck, I wrote anything for anyone who was prepared to pay me and pay quickly. I am the queen of propaganda with no morals or ethics in sight. It’s easier to ditch those to clothe and feed the children. Monday would see me extolling the excellence of red meat for the Meat Board, while on Thursday I’d scream in favour of being a vegetarian for a corporation making soya products.
But I have also; sewn giant teddy bears, cleaned toilets, climbed rubbish dumps, bred small animals for pet shops and Cairn Terrier puppies (I bred a couple of my own offspring around the same time), made dresses, taught English, presented on radio, and television (TV briefly, I have the perfect face for radio), hosted ambassadors and met royalty, heads of state and deep rural folk.
Altogether I’ve lived in 8 different counties, from a millionaire in a mansion to a one bed flat – and the boat with holes in it. I’m now ensconced in a rabbit hutch in Spain pretending to be retired.
Well of course that lasted all of 9 months before I was bored silly and turned to writing books. A huge learning curve after so many years writing scripts.
Having passed my sell by date, I learned I couldn’t write – well not ‘write proper’ according to my editor, with a sea of red marks to prove it. How the hell had I earned my living for almost 30 years if I couldn’t write? One of life’s little conundrums, I guess.
I made a conscious decision to self-publish, at my wrinkly age I couldn’t hang around waiting for acceptance by any Big 5, or small ones either, and my former contacts are also way past retirement. Anyhow, after freelancing for decades I was used to being self-employed. At last I was free! I merrily cast off the shackles of irritating clients, unreasonable CEO’s and the precise timing required for broadcasting services.
This new venture meant I could make every mistake in the book – which I can proudly attest to – every single one of them.
I didn’t know you had to be on social media. I’d thought readers would find my first biography Walking over Eggshells, by osmosis. They didn’t – well 12 did in the first year.
Next, they tell you to stick to one genre. Really? I’ve written on topics as diverse as splitting the atom, generating electricity, how to climb a ladder, interviewing Julius Caesar, bathing a baby, 52 ways of making a living with no capital and what to feed cows etc etc etc.
So, after the first memoir I turned my hand to fiction and created Amie (I have a sneaking feeling it’s the other way around).
Realising my memory was decidedly dodgy I fired off two more memoirs about my career in the media and how I wrote for cash.
Next came two more Amie books – a few deluded readers had asked for these.
Then during my ‘once in a decade spring clean’ I found an old mss lurking under the bed and I finally completed Unhappily Ever After my satirical Fairyland tale.
Two more Amie books plus a couple of back stories brings me to the present day and I’m now scribbling a psycho thriller.
I don’t write cosy books, or romances or sci-fi. I’ve just seen too much real life to believe in a cotton wool world. Amie has morphed from a shy, naïve, whining, newly-married housewife to a tough cookie who has learned to kill and survive. I’ve put her through a lot and in the latest book Amie Savage Safari, she is witness to the wheeling and dealing of governments that will go to any lengths to secure the rights to mine precious minerals.
Amie has been described as a female James Bond without the sex and the swearing. I like to think that my books can be read by anyone with an interest in travel, other cultures and African wildlife. Despite being cross genre, there is something for everyone.
When do I write? Once upon a time I had a study – a proper office and production studio. When I was still teaching, I’d get up at 4.30am and write and then work every day after school with a break for children quality time and continue every evening until bed time.
Now, it’s the dining room table in our only lounge so it’s a bit hit and miss. I’m still training my DH (Dear Husband) to keep quiet when the muse floats by but he’s constantly forgetting and I have to battle with the radio and even the TV on occasion.
The current work in progress is the only one I have ever mapped out in advance. Usually I have a vague story in my head and the characters – Amie in particular – then take over and do their own thing. I simply get dragged along for the ride.
My favourite book? I honestly can’t tell you. I began with Enid Blyton before I started school, and these days I read about 80 – 100 each year. I like action adventure books that move quickly, that surprise me and can make me laugh and cry.
I have two ambitions left. I’d like to get one book once on one of those prestigious lists out of London or New York and I’d die happy if one of my memorable remarks was ever included in a book of quotations. We can all dream.
I have all the usual addresses – oh for the days when we only had one. And I love to hear from readers and always reply.
Thank you again Anna I appreciate you putting me in the spotlight.
Web page – https://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com
Blog link https://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com then add date
Amazon author page: author.to/Lucinda
twitter name @LucindaEClarke https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke
Facebook My page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBIaMN5uEKjs9PwXzGwWgdQ