Interview with C. Hope Clark, author of Edisto Stranger
07 Jun 2017
What can you tell us about your new release, Edisto Stranger?
The fourth in the Edisto Island Mysteries, Edisto Stranger was probably the most difficult of the books to write for me. Police Chief Callie Jean Morgan has experienced a lot of loss in coming to Edisto Beach and assuming the role of police chief. She almost sees herself as the buffer between crime and her beloved tourist community, but it’s taking a toll. The weight of all she’s experienced made it difficult for me to motivate her through the pain, which in essence made the story a better one through the struggle. Readers of the series have also been wanting to see more of her son, so this story brings the college kids forefront since I set it during spring break at the beach. Throw in her mentor disappearing, her son turning against her, and a big name in town wanting to get rid of her, she has a lot on her plate. She’s a borderline alcoholic, and that plays into the story as well. The story is a true test of what Callie is made of. With the juxtaposition of a bucolic beach against death and crime, the book seems to work.
Who is your favorite fictional character from literature?
I love the stereotypical noir sleuth like Sam Spade, but in contemporary literature, I’m fondest of Pierce Quincy of Lisa Gardner’s FBI Profiler Series. A close second is Jack Reacher of Lee Child’s books. Having grown up military, I appreciate a lot of where Reacher is from, and I love his no nonsense methods. I get bored with soft books, in case that wasn’t clear. LOL
What books are currently on your nightstand?
There are 25 on the nightstand and who knows how many on the Kindle. These are the highest on the list:
- The Charm School by Nelson DeMille (currently reading)
- Pork City by Howard Browne (love this old author)
- Halo for Satan by Howard Browne
- The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
- Fractured by Karin Slaughter
- A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy
- Try Fear by James Scott Bell
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper
- Stories and Early Novels by Raymond Chandler
You are hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
Nail Gaiman, Stephen King, Lisa Gardner – Not that I read much Gaiman or am intrigued with King, but I love what they stand for in the literary world and how they look at life. I’ve always wanted to meet Lisa Gardner who I hear is quite personable. So why not throw them together. I’d love to write as a compilation of the three.
BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?
Sometimes I think immortality because I have so many stories I want to write, but I also sense that would be a greedy choice I would live to regret. So, I think I would like the ability to understand and speak any language and love to better understand other cultures.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I work at home, writing full-time, rising when I awaken, no alarm clock. With a place a ways out from town, I have a garden and chickens, so a fresh breakfast is a must for me. If I could eat one meal a day, it would be breakfast with eggs. I often eat it in front of a recorded mystery of some sort, whether movie or TV series. Then to work for 2-3 hours. Then the gym, running errands, or gardening unless I’m on deadline, then I take mini-breaks maybe walking the dogs, but keep on writing. An early dinner around five, then work. I often finish my day with a recorded mystery (currently watching the Justified series), and if I’m not sleepy, then back to work. I work seven days a week with my least work day being Saturday, and strive to get in 40-50 hours per week at the keyboard. My husband is my strongest ally. He fixes my breakfast, and he lets me read aloud to him to edit, which we often do on the back porch in the evening, overlooking the lake, sometimes with bourbon in hand and sharing a cigar. He’s my sounding board when I’m plotting a new book and my technical adviser of sorts since he’s a retired federal agent.
What scene in Edisto Stranger was your favorite to write?
The last two chapters which involved Stan, her mentor. I adore writing the last 3-4 chapters of a book. They are the easiest and most satisfying writing for me.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman
We procrastinate too much and expend too much energy trying to be who others want us to be.
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