Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime fiction and fantasy. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writers' requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, twilight laborer (of the fang-less variety), security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.
He is a happily married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.
Welcome, Carlyle. Please tell us about your current release.
The Black Song Inside was written to be a fast-paced crime thriller that was somewhat dark but often humorous with flawed protagonists you can root for as well intriguing and frightening villainous villains. Sand Diego based Private Investigators Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez, newly engaged, find themselves in an ever-tightening web of violence when Atticus’s ex-girlfriend uses a secret about Rosemary that Rosemary doesn’t even know to blackmail Atticus into helping her find her boyfriend’s killer and a fortune in drug money. The ensuing investigation pits the PIs against Lost Lobos Locos, a street gang whose leader is Rosemary’ s little brother, outlaw bikers, an aging Mafiosi, a messianic former child-soldier turned mercenary and a cartel kingpin..
What inspired you to write this book?
I had this idea in my head about the type of story I’d like to read and that I thought other people would want to read. So many thrillers are either dark, or light and funny, and I wanted one that was frightening but also funny because that it makes it really fun to write when you’re going through the gamut of emotions, especially for multiple characters, as well as (hopefully!) fun to read.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on an Epic Fantasy titled The Riven Tree, and what’s exciting about it is the challenge of creating a world with multiple cultures and weave them all together in a fast-paced tale that spans multiple novels. That allows for much more development of characters and themes. I’m hoping to have The Riven Tree completed this year.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I took a creative writing class at a junior college and one of the assignments was to write a short story that would be read by the teacher without naming the writer. So I was able to study the reaction of the other class members while my story was read and they really enjoyed it. Some were literally on the edge of their seat. That’s when I thought, “Hey, maybe I’ve got something here.” Incidentally, that story was basically the rough draft of the prequel to The Black Song Inside entitled: He’s Faster.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Oh, I wish I could write full time but I’m just a work-a-day stiff. I’m the Assistant Directory of Security at a Fortune 500 company near Chicago.***Teaser Alert**I didn’t stray too far from my childhood aspirations as you’ll see at the end of the interview. Finding time to write is always a challenge. I don’t have a set schedule; it’s big chunks of the weekend and typically in the evening or super early in the morning. I’ve had to forgo the pleasure of sleeping in to find time to write.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My writing reflect some of my real world views in that I find that many horrible things can be funny if you can just cock your head and squint the right way. It’s the old if you don’t’ laugh, you’ll cry. My antagonists often “mouth” that humor, but they are dead serious about it. It’s just that they have a skewed and often scary world view that to them seems perfectly normally and it’s everyone else who’s crazy, which is always an amusing dynamic for me.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a police officer, or ***Drum Roll Please*** a Private Investigator like Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes, I want to thank you Lisa, for sharing your followers with me and all of you followers for sticking with this interview to the end. I hope you’ll check out my novel. It’s free through the tenth!
Author website: http://carlyleclark.wordpress.com/
Title: The Black Song Inside
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Make Luck Press
Release Date: November 14th, 2012
Shortlisted for the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom Award
Newly engaged private investigators Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez have seen the dark and violent side of life. Atticus's dry wit is born of a traumatic childhood that's left him emotionally scarred and estranged from his homicide detective sister. The medals Rosemary earned during her tour of duty in Iraq are little reward for returning home to San Diego missing a leg and tormented by PTSD and her continuing failure to save her younger brother from his own violent nature. Still, nothing they've been through has prepared them for an explosive murder investigation that tests the couple's trust as they struggle to solve a case where the best result leaves them in prison or dead.
Atticus's manipulative and gorgeous ex-girlfriend, Claire, bursts back into their lives wielding a secret about Rosemary's family that she exploits to force the couple into investigating the execution-style slaying of her lover. The case thrusts Atticus and Rosemary headlong into the world of human trafficking and drug smuggling as well as rendering them pawns in Tijuana Cartel captain Armando Villanueva's bloody bid to take over the Cartel. Villanueva Machiavellian scheme sends one of his minions, Rosemary's own gangsta brother, after Atticus, and as if that weren't bad enough, Villanueva dispatches "The Priest", a former child soldier for a Colombian rebel group who is now a messianic mercenary whose religious psychosis has launched him on a trajectory that can only end in mayhem.
The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with the murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed protagonists who, in struggling to unravel a skein of human suffering, learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive others and themselves.
Rosemary suppressed a sigh. As the only child of parents who had wanted a brood, her life had been spent as the wobbly point of an inverted pyramid, forever attempting to balance the burden of hopes and expectations meant to be spread over a half-dozen children. Instead, it was only she and her adopted brother Johnny, the mayhem magnet.
“The leg I have now isn’t agile,” Rosemary said, rapping it with her knuckles. “With this new one, I can step over things, walk backward, change directions quickly. I’m no longer stuck just going one way and having a change in direction be a major ordeal. I’ll be free.”
Rosemary maneuvered the X2 case for a better view, marveling at the complexity encompassed in its artistic form. “Come take a look at it.”
Mama stayed put, offering a wan smile. “It’s very fancy.”
Mama sniffed as she levered herself out of the armchair. She pivoted toward the window and pushed the silk drape aside. The waistband of her stretch pants dented her torso. From behind, her hair-sprayed bob seemed smooth and solid, as formidable a protection as the brass dome of a deep-sea diver, the hose stretching from the helmet up to a world of stability, sameness. “So much bad weather this summer.”
Rosemary felt the urge to knead her mother’s shoulders. “You could change, Mama.”
Her mother’s neck stiffened. Still looking away, she shook her head. “I happen to like who I am.”
Ah, and there it was, the roundabout implication that Rosemary was somehow betraying Mama by being with Atticus—the only thing that had set the pyramid to wobbling as much as her joining the Army Reserves. Hadn’t Mama’s fears been grimly vindicated when an IED exploded under the Humvee she was driving? Didn’t she have an “I told you so” moment when the explosion transformed the man who’d been next to her in the front seat, Specialist First-Class Yukio Morimitu, an always smiling human being with a new bride and a child on the way, into a spatter of blood and bone clumped in her hair, clogging her ears and nose, and filling her mouth with gobbets of flesh.
Rosemary hobble-stepped to the window, leaned against the sill, and put her arm around Mama’s shoulders. Lightning flickered in the lining of steel gray clouds. “More rain coming,” Rosemary said. “Maybe you better go now.”
“I rearranged my day so I can take you to rehab. We could have lunch, relax, then go.” She studied Rosemary’s face a moment and squinted. “What? You don’t want me?”
Rosemary forced her expression to be neutral. “Of course I do, but you said you couldn’t go, so I asked Atticus.”
“So. You’d rather have him than your own mother.”
“Oh for God’s sake. I asked you to take me first. You said you were busy.”
“So Atticus can’t change his schedule?” The sky cast a greenish tinge on Mama’s face.
Here we go again, Rosemary thought. Countdown…three…two…one…
“Atticus, Atticus, always Atticus. I’m sick of hearing his name.”
“What?” Mama blinked.
“Cape Fucking Canaveral.” Rosemary shuffled back to her bed.