We have had the pleasure of interviewing author C.L. Spillard who has a wonderful book out called The Price of Time that is soon to have a sequel!
1. How do you rank your writing compared to those you admire?
I would love to have the predictive powers of Arthur C. Clarke, the imaginative humour of Douglas Adams, the steel logic of Isaac Azimov and the perceptive sensibilities of Emily Brontë… We can all dream, can’t we?
2. How long do you have to write for each session before you get “in the groove?”
Oh, I’m in there with very little time at all! I’m lucky in that I have a ‘designated writing place’ – my desk with its globe, pens and collection of bizarre finds and souvenirs, which I sometimes gaze at for inspiration. I love a piece of advice from Mike Wells’ blog: every scene you write should be ‘the candy-bar scene’ – the one you love to write. You have to concentrate on getting your characters from a to b in the first draft, because you want to get the whole story down while it’s hot. But when you come back and revise, you have the chance to turn each scene into something you relish constructing – that way your reader should relish reading it!
3. Where does your inspiration come from?
You could say anything I see, read about, hear of… that doesn’t make sense at first blush, or that strikes me as odd, inspires me to turn it into a story. These days, that seems to make for quite a lot!
‘The Price of Time’, for example, grew out of some reading I’d been doing in my previous work as a Renewable Energy consultant. I read a lot about the future of the energy market. I stumbled upon an insight into a fundamental part of how our world is run. This ‘mechanism’, if you like, is so all-pervasive that it’s hidden in plain sight. It took me a while to ‘process’ what I’d read, but when understanding finally came it was a gut-punch.
However an idea, by itself, does not a story make. And this particular one begged the question, ‘What sort of evil genius would come up with such a mechanism, and then be able to foist it upon humankind?’ And so Stan ‘Satanic’ Mills – guardian Devil to our naive, trusting heroine, was born. Their relationship is as problematic and riddled with contradictions as that of anybody with a conscience with the system in which we have to live because there’s no choice…
The starting-point for ‘The Evening Lands’ was Stanley Milgram’s obedience tests, and my bemusement at how anybody could give mains-voltage shocks to a stranger about whom the only thing they knew was that they had ‘a heart problem’ – meaning that electric shocks would easily kill them. This took me down the long road of ‘why would anyone torture someone?’ – a dark road to be sure, but one with light at the end: the light of knowledge. It turns out that those with experience of such things understand that maltreatment of suspects, dissidents and the like is counter-productive. It produces martyrs but no intelligence. Torture doesn’t work.
4. When was that moment when you realized that language had power?
Aged about ten, on a beach in Spain, building a sandcastle (as you do), I was approached by two smaller kids whose chatter I recognised as French. They promptly joined me, took the spade I was using and started to help to dig. Then their dad came over. He was obviously furious at his kids for nicking random other people’s spades. I ransacked my brain for some French – we’d just started learning it at school – and came up with “Elle peut l’employer…” (she can use it). I still remember how I watched, delighted, as my first-ever words spoken to someone else in their own language diffused the tension right before my eyes. Now I can stagger my way through French, Russian and even a bit of mandarin Chinese!
5. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I’ve not had many book reviews yet, to be honest. I think I’d just shrug-off a poor one – though of course I can’t say for sure unless it actually happens. For all I know I might be mortified and go into hiding for weeks – no not really, I’d get bored in hiding!
6. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
There are puns, some of which verge on the esoteric. Also both ‘The Price of Time’ and ‘The Evening Lands’ contain sideways references to my favourite music, to some inventions and classics of literature, and to a cheesy disaster film of which I’m far too fond…
And the question we ask everyone just for fun… 7. If the universal super being came down right now and said, “I give you two choices. 1 – I will give you 100 million dollars for your work, but no one will ever be able to read a word you write, or 2 – You can never ever benefit even one dollar ever off of your work, but 100 million people will read every book you ever write. Which one do you pick?
The second one, without a doubt! Particularly if some of those hundred million people turned out to be in a position to be able to properly address the themes behind ‘The Price of Time’ and ‘The Evening Lands’… (coming Spring 2019)
“Some people have a Guardian Angel. Some aren’t so lucky, and have a Guardian Devil.”
Her self-published fantasy ‘The Price of Time’, and its sequel ‘The Evening Lands’ has attracted the interest of a publisher in the USA who – with a bit of luck – will have it published by the end of March. She’s a Physicist by training, and spent a year of her childhood in the USA (in 1969, which made her Space-daft, hence the Physics!) is now married to a Russian & have 2 almost-bilingual children.
C.L. Spillard is a complex interplay of matter and energy in a pattern of waves whose probability cloud is densest in York, United Kingdom.
Following the profound influence, in a mysterious process not yet fully understood by science, of the American moon landings on the young pattern’s quantum-based self-awareness mechanisms, C.L. Spillard developed an interest in Physics and the plight of humanity on our small, blue spheroid. This led both to a lifelong career in Physics and a penchant for environmental activism.
C.L. Spillard’s wave-pattern enjoys proximity to a second pattern originating in St Petersburg (Russia), and these two have since generated two younger ones who are now diffusing over the planet stuffing themselves with knowledge as if it were going out of fashion.
Read her free short stories here! http://www.cspillardwriter.co.uk/short-stories.html