Monday, February 3, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A with 'The Black Song Inside' Carlyle Clark

Carlyle Clark is here at the book club today to talk about his new historical fiction/coming of age, The Black Song Inside!

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 and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.

He is a 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.

Visit his website at

Thanks for joining us at the book club today, Carlyle!  THE BLACK SONG INSIDE is sooo incredible.  This book can be described as dark humor, can it not?  Why did you decide to write dark humor?

Carlyle: That's the funny thing. I didn't set out to write dark humor. It's just that my world view bleeds into the work. In general when I try to explain how I see things, people often burst into laughter and shake their heads, but they don't deny the "validity" of my point of view. It makes for a lot of awkward moments in real life, but for some really humorous things to read. The fact that people do find my work funny gave me the confidence to tackle dark subjects knowing the comic relief would give the reader a welcome break.

Can you tell everyone a little about the characters inside?  Were they based on your imagination or real life?

Carlyle: My characters are never based on real life people. I've tried that, thinking it would be a nifty shortcut to creating 3D characters, but I just can't pull it off. That said, though all of my characters are obviously influenced by my own life experiences, they are more influenced by characters in film or fiction where I thought, "Man that character would be great if you just changed X,Y, & Z about them." Of course, you then end up with a totally different character.

How hard was it for you to write THE BLACK SONG INSIDE?

Carlyle: Immensely difficult. It took multiple rewrites with major character additions and subtractions and a change from 1st person POV to 3rd person. The good part about that was I weeded out the clich├ęs and focused on writing twists that were logical but surprised even me in hopes that would surprise the reader.

Did your own background have any influence on the writing of this book?

Carlyle: Yes, because the novel is set in my hometown of San Diego, and the setting played a major part. In San Diego, there are constantly positive and negative issues with the border right there and Tijuana on the other side. It's a very strange thing growing up in a land of plenty and then taking frequent trips just a few miles south into a place where it’s a struggle just to survive and you bribe the police on nearly every trip because that's just how things are done.

Without giving anything away, what would you say was the most pivotal point of the whole book?

Carlyle: That would have to be when The Priest does something so diabolical it means the heroes, Atticus and Rosemary, seem to have no way out but prison or the grave. Thrusting them into that crucible really exposes their character in a way that allows the reader to see what they're made of.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

Carlyle: I would like to let them know that there is a free short story prequel to THE BLACK SONG INSIDE they can try called HE'S FASTER.

1 comment:

  1. I have trouble using real people to create my characters, too. Mostly, I fear I would make them so close to the real thing that someone would get ticked off.