Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Interview with Clancy Nacht, Author of Immortal Sins (written with Thursday Euclid)

What made you decide to be an author? I kept writing novels and someone said, “You know, they have a word for people who do that.” Before I threw my wine in their face, they said that word was author and I thought that sounded reasonable.
 What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? Best is creating my own little world, throwing my people in there and seeing what they’ll do. I usually have a plan for what they’ll do, but they’re usually much cleverer than I am about how things should go. Sometimes it’s not so much that I’m writing the book as the book is writing me.
Least is when people tell me their awesome book ideas that they’re sure will be best sellers if only they had the time to write. For every freewheeling moment of a book writing me, there are about 5 hours of editing, wondering where I learned the English language, and listening to people tell me I have it easy.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? I learned early on that I had to have a thick skin. That membrane can be Teflon one minute and, well, skin at others. I read a lot as a child. That’s really some of your best preparation. Read the books you want to be.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book—as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? A few times. I usually start out with a big idea and kind of a rough outline. Pride & Justice came in scenes, bits and pieces were written, the characters were always bickering and teasing each other about everything and that was a lot of fun. I had to cut some of it out just so the story wasn’t just them harassing each other. I love banter. The TV show Moonlighting was one of the highlights of my childhood.
You’ve written 14 novels and are working on a 15th novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? Time is a flat circle.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Both. I’m open to however a story comes to me. I try to write with organs when I can.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? It’s a trap! But really, if you’re going to publish, really research your publisher or agent before submitting. Make sure it’s somewhere reputable. Consider the terms you’re agreeing to very carefully. It’s tempting to be excited someone’s accepted your work and look, it is super exciting, but it can get ugly.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? I have whole playlists for books. The one for Immortal Sins is https://open.spotify.com/user/clancynacht/playlist/3MdEAellfoaJnDUH1KwGu5
There was a lot of Hozier and Nicki Minaj at the time. A little Lana Del Rey.
Tell me more about Immortal Sins.
Olen Clark is a nighttime security guard at the Houston Museum of Natural History, tormented by a dark past and painfully alone. His beauty and secrets attract the notice of an ancient vampire, Lysander of Sparta--known to Olen as Ander, who enters Olen’s world under a shroud of mystery and captures the spiritually wounded Olen’s imagination. Starry-eyed, with visions of pop culture vampire love filling his head, Olen takes the ultimate risk for love only to discover unlife is nothing like he imagined.
Rather than becoming Ander’s lover, he’s reborn into a cruel vampiric family with sibling rivalry and dangerous lusts beyond his worst fears. With his love for Ander unchanged but his maker keeping him at arm’s length, can Olen make peace with his new brothers and sisters and discover a way to win back the master vampire who still holds his heart? And how far is Olen willing to go to make Ander his and his alone?
How about an excerpt from Immortal Sins?
One moment, all was silent. The next, footsteps rang across the tiles, disturbingly close. Olen turned to see a dark-haired man walking toward him, looking so similar to the artwork he’d been admiring that he might’ve stepped out of a display case. A guard should have escorted him from the museum entrance, but he looked rich enough to get away with dismissing anyone he wanted. The aura of power he exuded left Olen’s skin itching.
As the man—ostensibly Mr. Smith—made eye contact, Olen balanced himself against the wall against an overwhelming sensation of falling. He tore away his gaze on instinct. The feeling lifted, leaving him with a queasy gut and the impression of deep eyes so intense they seemed lit from within.
For a breath, the urge to introduce himself seized him. His throat constricted with the need, irritating him with its insistence. Rather than letting the patron frazzle him, Olen decided to complete his rounds. What was wrong with him?
As he neared the exit to the next exhibit, a resonant voice like none he’d ever heard washed over him. It echoed from the marble walls in a trippy cascade of honeyed notes. “It would please me if you remained until I leave.”
A refusal shaped his lips, but it wasn’t as if Mr. Smith had asked him to do anything unusual. Olen wanted to ask why, but instead he stood near the exit from the exhibit, his arms crossed and his senses working overtime.
Staring at the floor, Olen could see the man’s face as if it had imprinted on his retinas. And, somehow, Olen couldn’t sense the man without looking directly at him.
The tall-heeled, handmade boots should’ve clattered against the floor, but now they seemed to make no noise until Olen stared at them. Nor did the man’s capacious silk coat, though it ought to rustle, and his long, loose hair should slither against it. Instead, it was almost as if the man existed only when Olen’s gaze was on him, compelling him to look despite his lingering dread. Instead of sharing space with another human—a comforting notion—he felt as if he were sharing space with something otherworldly.
In the moments between Olen’s peeks, the man moved from one end of the exhibit to the other, requiring Olen to move as well if he wished to keep him in sight. Sometimes the man sighed, and the soft exhalations tore at Olen’s heart, as if he had no choice but to share in sorrow.
Olen longed to head toward the brightly lit greenhouse exhibit. There was something claustrophobic about being near the man, even several yards away. Yet, the thought of leaving his presence filled Olen with anxiety.
Without registering he was doing it, he found himself in step with Mr. Smith, close enough to hear his murmurs, but not so close he could make out words. He looked at the relics when the man did, subconsciously mimicking him, and shoved his hands into his pockets to fight a growing urge to touch the man’s silk coat.
They stood before a case of artifacts dating to the fifth century BC, but the man gazed at them as if he knew each item intimately. He lifted a long-boned hand as if to reach through the glass and seize the shield on the other side.
Then Mr. Smith’s head turned toward him, and their gazes met just long enough to leave Olen trembling. This time the man broke the contact, releasing Olen as if from some transient bondage. He spoke in what sounded similar to the same Greek written upon the labels at either side of the items, but the words tripped from his lips as a song rather than a catalog of relics. For just an instant, Olen thought he saw the shield lift from its stand as if it would fly toward the man, but when he shook his head to clear it, it remained lifeless on its display.
Had Olen slept well the previous night? In spite of feeling watched, he’d actually worked on his art. He specialized in creatures: Minotaurs, gargoyles, strange dragon beasts. What he worked on now, inspired by the display, was a Spartan warrior, but it had a wolf’s head with a lion’s body, standing upright with sword and shield at the ready. The work came from the clay faster than it usually did, and while Olen felt rested and content, now that he was seeing things, he wondered if he shouldn’t set aside that piece for a day or two.
Yet, his fingers itched to be immersed, his mind raced to the lines that needed completing, more definition. It was as if he were home already, rewetting the media, fine-tuning with his wire-end tools to finesse the fur.
And the eyes. Big, dark eyes, wide and heavy-lidded. Liquid. Like the man. When Olen’s fingers met flesh, he realized he was tracing the man’s brows. He snatched his hand away and mumbled an apology.
The man only laughed, melodic and sweet as the most beautiful music Olen had ever heard. It washed away his embarrassment as if it had never existed. Then the man touched Olen, his fingertips hard as marble and almost as cold. He traced along Olen’s jawline and pressed the ball of his thumb to Olen’s lips.
“Why do you resist?” The question echoed in Olen’s mind as if sounding from distant caverns of thought. He couldn’t look away from the man’s rosy, sharply defined lips, and he hadn’t seen them move. The voice in his mind asked, “Do you not dream of me yet?”
The man dropped his hand and turned back to the display case, leaving Olen wondering whether he’d imagined the exchange.
Dreams, though… Olen couldn’t remember any details, only the mad frenzy to create. He dreamed of blood and war and fighting bears. But the man? While there was something familiar about him, he couldn’t say he’d dreamed of him.
But then, why would he? Even if this wasn’t all in his head, did he need another rich, older dickhead to abuse him? He’d been through that already. Never again.
Olen touched his forearm where it had snapped, remembered the bite of the cuffs. It all came back with such nightmarish force, stinging tears rose to his eyes, and he grew light-headed.
No. That asshole did not dictate the rest of his life. He was the past and could no longer hurt Olen. This was the present, and no one would control Olen again.
A gentle touch to his shoulder jolted him from his brooding, and he looked up to see the man already walking back the way he’d come, exiting the exhibit without another word. As the footsteps faded into the distance, his hands ached to capture that face in his art before it too could fade from memory. Words rose in his mind, but they weren’t Olen’s.
“I will return to you tomorrow. Be patient, and leave the lights on.”
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Buy Links:
Clancy Nacht, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.
Thanks for having me!

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