• Ayana Gray

Inkling Interview: Clyde Andrews

Happy Friday! Party time!


One of my hopes with the #inklinginterviews is to hear voices from a diverse array of writers around the world. Diversity isn’t just about colors, it’s about a willingness to listen to the stories of people who don’t look like us, talk like us, or think like us. I firmly believe that, at core, many of us share the same base beliefs in kindness, love, and respect no matter where we come from. That’s why this week I wanted to venture over to Australia to interview this wonderful writer. His tweets are always so positive and kind. He once caught my attention when he unapologetically took a stand for a particular community in his writing and noted that he was more than happy to lose followers to stand for the people he believed in. (In this social-media centered world, that means a lot to me.) So without further ado, the compassionate and witty, Clyde Andrews.


Let’s start with the standard question for those who don’t know you: where are you at in your writing journey, and how did you get there?


Ah, that is a lovely question to begin with, isn’t it? Where do I stand? Hmm…I have been writing for quite a while *cough* twenty years plus *cough* but stopped doing so about five years ago because of some very negative/hurtful things that were being said about me/my work. I’ve only just picked up the pen again in the last year or so. The support of the writing community on twitter has been amazing. I’m glad I found the courage to be me once more.


The #writerscommunity does it again! I'm so glad you're a part of it, Clyde. Truly. Can you pitch your current project(s)? What are you working on?


I’m working on my #ArtyandTobias stories. The first book is done, the second is in editing, and the third in the drafting stage.


Arty is a young man who discovers he has the ability to travel to other planets at will, hitchhike on wormholes. Unfortunately, all is not what it seems when he arrives at his latest destination. The only thing that stops Arty from being lost forever while there is the love he feels for his boyfriend, Tobias, and his determination to get back to him.


I've followed Arty and Tobias and so love the updates and snippets! If you don't already follow this hashtag, check it out friends. I’m so curious to ask this: How, in your opinion, does your identity affect your writing?


That’s an easy one to answer. I write the books I wanted to read when I was a teenager/younger man. There weren’t very many LGBT books back then (70’s and 80’s), and of those that were available they were usually tragic, depressing, violent stories or ones that spoke about how unnatural/disgusting gay love was.

I wanted to read about how two men can be in love and how normal it is for that to happen. That’s what I write.

There's a trend here. The publishing world has really failed so many people in the past, but I'm so happy to see writers taking an active role to change that and create the stories they didn't have. It's so inspiring! As you write these stories, Clyde, what is your perfect writing “atmosphere?”


I can write in silence, with music, or with the TV on, but it must be at home. I don’t like people looking over my shoulder when I create. Yes, I have a writing room just like J.K. Rowling. Sue me! LOL


Honestly, I still can't believe that arguing over that was even a thing. YOU HAVE YOUR WRITING ROOM AND MAKE NO APOLOGIES FOR IT. DO YOU. Okay, mini-rant over, so we can talk writing again. For you, what’s most important in a story: plot, characters, or setting?


Character. Character. Character.


Always.


Everything else will fall into place in my experience.


Perfectly said, methinks. Now, I'm nosy and always want to know: How do you manage life and other responsibilities alongside your writing?


I run my own successful physical therapy business from my private clinic at the front of my home.


WHOA.


As such, I can choose my hours of work and don’t have to go far to write, either. It’s still a balance, as some days are busy in the clinic, but most of the time I do get writing in every day.


I didn't know this! How cool! Of course, having that creative freedom and independence is really fortunate, but I know even then you much have hard days. What is the toughest writing advice you’ve ever received, but loved?


The toughest advice I received (and was so reluctant to do it) was to read aloud your own work. Hearing your own words really does highlight stuff you’d otherwise miss when you read it mentally. I do it all the time now.


That's good advice, and I do it myself! Another idea I've heard is to download text-to-audio software and have your story read to you like an audiobook. Okay, time for a would you rather! Would you rather... have an all expenses paid trip to see one country a day for a month, or visit one country and spend the whole month there and nowhere else? (And where would you go?)


I would love to spend a month in a country, if I could get over my fear of flying. If I did so, I’d like to see as much of America as my phobia would allow. You know, going from New York’s Central Park to the Statue of Liberty, adventurous stuff like that. (you can tell from that answer I don’t travel that much really) I mean, I walk from my clinic to my writing room and that’s enough travel time for me.


Whenever you're ready, the U S of A is waiting for you with open arms. Come on down to Florida for a visit, we've got Disney World! Okay Clyde, what advice do you have for aspiring writers, particularly those from underrepresented  communities?

Just write.


Get your stories out there. Whether you want to self-publish (as I am) or indie publish or go the traditional route, do it! Just do it. We need to hear all voices, so we can all understand the many wonderful facets of what it is to be human.


All stories need to be told.

And especially don’t listen to those who say: “Gee, why are we getting so many stories lately from authors who are POC/gay/differently abled/trans/non-binary/etc etc, they’re taking away our limelight.”

I'm just staring at my screen wanting to cry at this moment. If I could put this on a plaque, I would. Thank you for saying that, Clyde.


Having your work out there means that there is a chance someone will read it. And though reading comes knowledge. Through knowledge comes change.  


I... have nothing to add here but a fervent head nod and some teary eye, really. For a fun question: what’s your “anthem,” the song that would play if your life was a music video?


Queen’s “I want it All


Looove it. Per tradition, I am not listening to it. Bonus Question! You can have a never-ending goblet of your favorite thing to drink...what’s in the goblet?


Apple Cider!


Yummmm. Thanks so much Clyde, perhaps one day when I'm back in Oz, we'll meet. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing to follow your journey. Want to know more about Clyde and his writing? Follow him on Twitter and visit his website!


Next interview is... Bharat Krishnan! Thanks, as always, for reading!

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