After moving on from his pursuit to become a rock star, Clint Stoker discovered a love for fiction with the help of novels like I Am Legend, as well as another way to tell stories; through books.
Breaking the writers-grew up-writing stereotype, Clint has written and published his début novel The Cause and has given me the opportunity to quiz him all about it.
Find copies of The Cause at the following websites;
Bonnie: Your first novel, The Cause, is dystopian, but would you classify yourself as purely a dystopian author?
Clint Stoker: I love dystopia, but I’m very careful about labels. I expect to write at least two more dystopias, but only because those happen to be the stories that are nagging at me. I don’t necessarily want to put myself in one genera. I’ve had impulses to write an historical fiction, so I’d like to leave that option available if a story needs to be written.
Bonnie: What advantages do you think a writer has by not adhering to, or labelling themselves in, the one genre?
Clint Stoker: With my background as a musician, I can understand labels. Everyone wants to know what you “sound like”. It’s useful, but to a point. The worst tragedy is when an artist is put into a box, and expected to create only what is expected of him. Yet, that artist is expected to think outside the box.
Many authors are boxed into genres because their readers and their publishers demand it. A lot of times that is great for readers and publishers, but I think there’s something to be said for flexibility. As a writer, I don’t feel pressured to keep writing dystopia’s. I’m writing dydtopia’s right now because it feels right. However, if a great idea came along outside the genera, I think it would be a disservice to my readers to sacrifice a great story just so I can fit into a label.
Bonnie: You’ve also written short stories as well, what would you say your short story writing style is like?
Clint Stoker: Short stories have been a really good exercise for me. I’ve published several on my blog. I don’t consider them publish worthy, but they help me with my writing process. When I research a specific topic that relates to my next novel, I often write a shot story about it just to become more familiar with the topic. I think it’s a great way to let my readers into my writing process long before the next novel is published.
I should say that there is a huge writing gap between my short stories and my novels. The short stories are fun and I try to mimic Richard Matheson’s style of writing short stories. Often I’ll put a twist at the end.
Bonnie: You’ve gone from musician and song writer to fiction writer, not starting out with a love of books, what do you think of the stereotype that authors must have always been mad about books and writing stories?
Clint Stoker: When I had thought of authors, I always got this image of some eccentric guy with hair like Einstein. I always imagined this person writing their first book at the age of five. Authors are often stereo typed as a whole new bread of people – beyond book-worm. While this is true sometimes, I really don’t think it’s the case for many writers. I probably would have started writing at a younger age had I realized how much I love books. I’ve always been a creative person, I love writing music, I’d spend hours daydreaming during school about life and death situations. I should have started writing, but I figured I wasn’t one of “those people”.
Bonnie: The characters in The Cause have unique names, Air, Mist, Dex, and Napal for examples. How did you go about choosing the names for your characters?
Clint Stoker: The Cause is a really different kind of novel. The characters needed to seem distant and futuristic. Since it seems like names are always evolving, I tried to follow what I felt was the natural evolution of names. I saw simple names, many reflecting nature. It seems like people are branching out to find more unique names, I tried to reflect that. The best names were Air and Napal. They just came to me, and they were perfect for the parts. Some of the other names were a little more difficult, Dharmesh, Anna-Desi.
Bonnie: What kind of obstacles did you come across while writing The Cause?
Clint Stoker: The Cause has a couple unique problems. One, being that the laws forbid human emotions like guilt. I’ve never read a book like that before, and It was difficult to write in an easy-to-understand way. For the entire book, I had to make sure no character revealed too much emotion, too fast. It really put constraints on me. I began to feel like I was restricted by the city myself.
Bonnie: On behalf of other readers who are used to just about everything being turned into a trilogy/series, and at the risk of asking you something you’ve probably been asked plenty of times before… Is there a possibility of a sequel?
Clint Stoker: I left the ending open enough for a sequel, and I have some interesting ideas. However, I haven’t decided on anything yet. Right now I’m working on another story called All For Owen. Once I’m finished, I’ll take another look at The Cause. If there is enough demand for a sequel, I’ll continue the story.
Bonnie: Can you share with readers what you’re currently working on and what you may be publishing in future?
Clint Stoker: Right now, I’m working on a novel called All For Owen. It’s another dystopian, though it might be better classified as post-apocalyptic. I’m really excited about this one because it takes place close to home.