One-on-One with Brenda W. Clough

There are only nine questions this time around, mainly because I think I missed the tenth one when I was copying and pasting from the document to the email I sent Brenda, but things like that are bound to happen. At any rate, here are the answers given to me by Brenda W. Clough, author of How Like a God!

1. How do you come up with ideas for your novels; in other words, how do the muses work for you?

I usually get going when I see or read something that is not right -- a play, a book, or a story. Thinking about what was wrong with it, and how to do it right, is usually enough to get the ball rolling.

2. Do you have a special routine when you're writing, or can you just sit down at a computer and start typing?

I have a favorite pencil, a mechanical .5mm lead pencil. Writing by hand on yellow lined pads is best. Then I enter the story onto the computer and crunch it around.

3. Who are your literary influences?

I am rather Anglophilic, and many of the usual suspects -- Austen, Shakespeare -- are my favorites. I also have a large comic book collection.

4. Generally how long does it take you to write an average novel? How many different revisions do you usually go through?

It varies tremendously, but a year seems to be the minimum. Three or four revisions is the minimum too, but really the sky is the limit here.

5. How do you deal with writers-block?

If you keep on pecking away at it, eventually the block goes away. Alternatively, back up a bit -- go back two pages and start writing it again from there.

6. Out of everything you've written, which would you say is your favorite; which gives you the most satisfaction of a job-well-done?

I am fond of HOW LIKE A GOD, which really hangs together well.

7. Do you have a favorite character that you've created?

I really enjoy writing about Titus Oates, but he isn't someone I've created. He was a historical person (died in 1912). There isn't all that much known about him, however, so I've been able to make his fictional personality very interesting.

8. What do you think makes a good fantasy author?

It helps to read a lot, omnivorously -- to dabble widely in many different areas. Then at least you know what you don't know, and when you need it you know where to find out.

9. Can you tell us what you're currently working on and when you expect it will be available in bookstores?

I have a short story coming out pretty soon in a magazine called PARADOX: the Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction. Their web page is at The story is about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien's first (entirely fictional) meeting.

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