Friday, April 1, 2011

Interview with Derek Clendening

Welcome Derek. Thank you for joining us today.

Q: Let’s start out by getting the name of your newest release and what genre/category it falls into

A: My newest release is titled The Between Years and it falls into the dark literary category. Other words to describe its category would also be appropriate. You could also call it ‘quiet horror’ or paranormal.

Q: Can you sum up your book in 2 sentences or less

A: The Between Years is a haunted house story that deals with grieving parents and how our experiences shape our lives and the people that we become. It presents characters as real people, as they are, warts and all.

Q: List three adjectives that can best describe this book

A: Dark, Moody and Paranormal.

Q: What was your inspiration for the book?

A: This book was inspired by the very terrifying close call that my family had when my nephew was born. He survived and is now five years old but I was still profoundly impacted by these events. You could more appropriately say that I was haunted by them. I had to write about it just to make my bad dreams go away. Writing is how I deal with any number of difficult circumstances in my life.

I once heard Stephen King say that if you think the worst that it can’t really happen. So, in The Between Years, I tackled the worst thing that could have happened, and I pulled no punches. And it worked. I never had a bad dream about my nephew again.

Q: OK enough with the book for the moment let's learn a little more about you.

A: Well, I’m a librarian by day and I live in the same town in which the novel is set. I’ve been writing seriously—or, at least, what I prefer to think of as seriously—since I was a teenager. Fiction writing is part of my daily life and I simply can’t do without it. I also write some non-fiction about sports, particularly football.

Q: If you could offer one tidbit of information for new writers, what would it be?

A: The best advice I can give it one that writers say a lot: read every day and write every day. But take that advice to heart. Brian Keene once said it on his blog and I followed that advice ever since. I haven’t missed a day at the writing desk in over 4 years. Aside from that, a writer should be an observer of human behavior. People watch if you must. Us what you see to create very believable characters. If an artist sees a mole, he/she will paint that mole. Be sure to notice all the imperfections you see in people, particularly the people you admire. That will bring your characters much more down to earth and will help you to write a more engaging story.

Q: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

A: Man, I’d love to write full time! But by day I work at the local public library. It’s a great job and I’ve been at it for many years.

Q: Name one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you.

A: Readers would probably be surprised to know that I get scared off when people ask me about my writing, particularly when I’m not prepared for the question. Usually someone will approach me at work and say that they have read about me in a newspaper and ask about my writing or what I’m working on. And I just clam up and look for an escape hatch! I’m not sure why that is. I know many people would like to be recognized and asked those questions. Perhaps the fact that writing is such an isolated act has created too much of a barrier for me to come out and be open about it to strangers.

Q: Do you have a favorite book and/or a favorite author?

A: Stephen King. Big surprise, huh? Aside from him, I love Rio Youers and John Langan. I would definitely recommend their books (especially Rio’s Everdead and John’s House of Windows).

Q: Could you tell us about your current work in progress?

A: I have a young adult novel coming out titled The Vampire Way, so I’m working on a sequel to that. And I’m also writing a zombie novel titled for adult readers. It’s part horror novel and part political satire. I also plan on writing a sequel to The Vampire Way and more young adult horror novels.

Q:What are some of your hobbies besides writing?

A: I’m a die hard football fan and relentless supporter of the Buffalo Bills. I love to cook. Hanging out in the grocery store’s baking aisle makes me tick. Travel is also a big deal to me. There’s nothing like going to the airport and taking flight or hopping in a car and hitting the open road!

Q:Finish the following sentence:

A: The best thing about being an author is...the ability to escape into another world and be someone else for a little while.

Q: In closing, tell us a bit more about your latest release. Feel free to share a blurb or an excerpt.

A: This book revolves around a number of real life places in Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. In fact, you could probably navigate Fort Erie based on the book’s geography. Anyone who has ever had kids will relate to this book. It’s ‘quiet horror’ but I hope it will strike a nerve. Also, there are no good guys or bad guys in the book. They’re real people who have flaws and insecurities just like the rest of us.

Here’s a description of the novel:

Randy and Carol Fuller face the worst horror parents can possibly face when they lose their six month old son, Kenny, to Sudden infant Death Syndrome during a freak snowstorm. In the following months, Randy wants a second chance at parenthood, but Carol isn’t ready. Their marriage disintegrates.

However, Randy discovers his second chance, anyway, when he begins to see Kenny at age four. Then at age eight, twelve and eighteen. Soon it becomes apparent that Kenny is alive and growing up within the walls of Randy’s ancestral home. Randy has the opportunity to be a father to Kenny again, although in ways he never expected. And he must face obstacles he never imagined. The Between Years is a novel of ghosts and memory, obsession and darkness, and the undying love only a parent can understand.

Find the book at

Learn more about Derek and his books at

1 comment:

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

My moms a huge fan of the bills. We have tried to sway her to no avail. Fun interview