December 01, 2010

Interview With Cat Clarke (Entangled Blog Tour)

I recently was lucky enough to read and review debut title Entangled by Cat Clarke (review here).  Publishers Quercus also invited me to be part of the Entangled blog tour. The Mountains of Instead is the first stop on the tour and I was lucky enough to interview Cat about her new project:

Firstly, Cat, Entangled is awesome!  It's such a haunting story and Grace has such a clear and unique voice that I couldn't put it down! Secondly, I'd like to ask you some questions about your new endeavour, The Lighthouse Children's Literacy Consultancy.

In your own words, what can you tell the blogosphere about LCLC?
First of all, thank you so much for being so lovely about Entangled, and thanks for having me here on your blog! The Lighthouse is a literary consultancy for writers of children's and YA fiction. We cater to both published and unpublished writers, and provide appraisals of ideas, manuscripts, synopses and query letters.

What inspired you, and your co-consultant Sarah, to start the LCLC up?
It started off as a bit of idle banter one lunchtime and then rapidly snowballed into something we were actually going to do! Sarah and I are both writers as well as editors, which hopefully gives us a unique (and sympathetic) perspective. We're passionate about good writing and want to do everything we can to help people on the road towards publication.

Obviously LCLC didn't exist when you were writing Entangled, but you do have a background in children's publishing - do you think that this helped or hindered your writing process?
I think it's helped. I find it pretty easy to judge when I've written something a bit rubbish, even though it can be hard to admit sometimes. Working out how to fix that rubbish bit can be slightly trickier, but that's where my lovely editor comes in! I definitely find it easier to edit someone else's work than my own. A bit of distance always helps!

Recently there has been a lot of controversy surrounding James Frey/Full Fathom Five and their treatment of young writers - what are your thoughts on the issues that this has brought up?
I think whichever way you look at it; it's exploitation of young writers. Sure, it sounds like an amazing opportunity - who wouldn't want to see their idea sell hundreds of thousands of books and be made into a huge blockbuster movie? I know I certainly would! But one look at the contract the writers have to sign is enough to make me want to grab them and shake them, screaming 'DON'T DO IT! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T DO IT!'. There's a huge difference between this and the kind of writing-for-hire that a lot of young writers do (e.g. novelizations of films and TV programmers). I loved Maureen Johnson's blog post on the subject.

Can you give aspiring writers out there any advice on navigating the confusing waters of the publishing world?
There's a lot of information out there on the internet. Pretty much any question you might want to ask will have already been asked and answered by someone else. The key is being able to sort the good advice from the bad. I'd say if you want to get published, don't rush it. Your time is best spent honing your craft, writing the best novel you possibly can (and then editing it A LOT), before you even think about trying to get published.

Finally, LCLC has a really interesting and rather lovely to look at website - what inspired the Lighthouse motif and who designed the site for you (always of interest to those with blogs!)?
Thank you! The site was designed and illustrated by my friend, the lovely Steve Wood. You can check out his website here.
Sarah came up with the Lighthouse name (clever Sarah!), and we told Steve a little bit about what we we're trying to do - essentially we want to guide writers through the choppy waters of writing a manuscript and/or seeking publication. We were completely thrilled with the logo he came up with, and with the whole look of the website. I'm very lucky to have such a talented friend!

Thanks so much for the interview! Great questions!

And thank YOU, Cat!

Please follow the rest of the Entangled tour over the next five weeks as there are lots of interesting features,interviews and the odd contest along the way. You can find them at the following:




Nomes said...

wow. i loved reading all of this. that is such a cool idea.

also, i so CANNOT wait for her book. I already pre-ordered it!

RK Charron said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview with Cat Clarke. It was very interesting & I learned a lot of new things about Cat.
All the best,

Lauren said...

This was really interesting to read, so thanks to you both. I think it must be fantastic to have an 'inner editor' when you're writing. I also seem to have missed this Full Fathom Five thing, so it sounds like I need to get the scoop on that.

Splendibird said...

The Full Fathom Five brouhaha has to be read to be believed...

littlewow said...

great great great! Cat & Sarah are amazing!