The Ram Boutique: Author Interview – A. Suiter Clarke
With the ratings we’ve had for the darling Ms. Clarke, we are certain you have all been looking forward to this interview session. Please enjoy the following insight to another talented writer that we are exceptionally proud to work with!
Who are you as a person: where are you from, what do you do, what are you doing?
I’m from a little town called Fergus Falls in Minnesota, but I spent my undergraduate years in Saint Paul and earned my Master’s degree in London. This summer, I’m getting married and moving to Melbourne, Australia: my fiancé’s home city. While I’m there, I hope to have more time to sit down and finish my novel. My dream is to teach at a university part time and write fiction on the side.
Your background as a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was nine years old and made up stories on my paper route, which I would then type up on my dad’s computer when I got home. The first full story I remember writing was from the perspective of a little girl on the Titanic. When I got into acting, my undergraduate focus, I stopped writing as much as my attention was more on theatre. I did have the opportunity to write and direct a ten-minute one act show, which was probably the first time I had really written in about three or four years. That and the discovery of online writing groups a couple years later got me enough feedback that I finally started considering graduate school, and eventually applied to Kingston University and made the leap to studying abroad for two years. While at Kingston, I wrote in multiple mediums: fiction, poetry, plays, and even song lyrics. I really found my home with fiction, though; everything else just made me feel like a kid playing in someone else’s sandbox.
Where did the idea for this piece come/how do you get inspired to write?
This piece was actually developed during one of the rougher periods of my life. I had just been through a pretty bad breakup and was feeling isolated in London, missing my family, etc. I was also having such intense dreams that I wasn’t sleeping well. I had this thought that if I had the choice not to dream, I would probably take it. Knowing psychologically what that could do to a person, since our need for REM sleep is so strong, it triggered the idea that I based this story on: what if someone found a way to shut off her brain’s ability to dream? The rest flowed from that.
Your ideal time and place to write? Explain your answers.
I like to write in the late afternoon/early evening, just in that right time when you need another cup of coffee for an afternoon jolt, because I love to drink a cappuccino while I write. This probably also explains why I like to write in coffee shops. I’m pretty picky about which ones, though. Atmosphere and level of white noise are important, and I prefer to write someplace that plays good music since wearing headphones for a long time gives me a headache. I also like to write in libraries and book stores.
Why do you write?
I don’t feel like I have much choice, to be honest. I’m unhappy when I don’t write regularly. As an introvert, it’s a part of how I express my opinions that I’m normally to non-confrontational to say in front of people. In the instance of my current novel, I just like my main characters way too much to simply keep in my head. I want them to be able to get out so other people can meet them too (I realize I now sound crazy). But yes, that’s essentially it. I’m never happier than when I’m writing a thousand words a day and seeing my current project take shape. Writing is stubborn and tedious at times, and a paragraph might take me thirty rewrites before I like it, but at the end of the day it’s what I love, and I stick with the things I love.
I do want to say a special thanks to Kristin and Jenna and all the others working at River Ram Press. So far, this has been a wonderful experience, and it’s a great feeling having some of my work out there for other people to read. I hope to be working with you again in the future!