Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trick and Treat: A Freak Snowstorm and Author Interview With Marcus Clearspring

Happy Halloween! Here in SCentral PA, USA, we were greeted with 8 inches of heavy wet snow yesterday. Since the trees are still laden with leaves, that coupled with the snow caused branches (and wires) to come down all over the place. I've had the joy of being without power for 18 hours now. And so, REN3 peeps, I've been reading stories sporadically but not leaving comments so as to get through as many as possible with limited battery power.  :-((  No telling when I'll be back in full swing - a stay at a motel outside the area is likely if power isn't restored soon. As for the fridge - well, that could be kinda spooky when I finally open it....

But enough of my travails. Next in our series of author interviews is Marcus Clearspring, author of Emma Meets the Walkabout Gnomes and IT whiz. You may remember Marcus as the creator of the Next Blog buttons for the A to Z Challenge back in April. Marcus not only donated a copy of Walkabout Gnomes for our REN3 prize bundle; he also did a set of buttons for REN3 as well. (Unfortunately, I've still got gremlins on my blog page and couldn't for the life of me get it to accept the code. Nothing to do with Marcus' handiwork.)

Without further ado, here's the interview with Marcus.

1. Tell us about the book you are donating.

"Emma Meets The Walkabout Gnomes" is a short magical story about a
young girl who meets a group of gnomes in the park after school.
Before she knows it, she's standing on a bench on one leg, holding an
umbrella and learning not to take everything too seriously. Later, the
gnomes give Emma some advice on approaching the boy at school she's
too embarrassed to talk to.

Read it with an open mind, cast your expectations of gnomes and kidlit
aside, and you might be surprised.

2. Why are you donating a book to this blogfest?

The blogfest sounds like an interesting experiment in writing short
fiction. The participants and readers of this blogfest may think
outside of the literary boundaries established by the publishing

3. Can you think of a genre, which is currently out of your comfort
zone, but intrigues you enough to take up the challenge of writing in

I don't really have a genre. I just think up a story, which may fit a
genre, or not. I'd like to write a thriller, with social and political
themes, and some form of laugh-out-loud comedy. Something farcical

4. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I've always been fascinated by language and the creative aspects of
computing. After studying Linguistics and English Literature, I
currently develop web applications. I made the "blog-hopping" buttons
for this blogfest and the A-Z Challenge.

I'm also starting a project to teach literacy to adults using
smartphones, tablet PCs and the web.

5. What are your views on Self-publishing vs Traditional publishing?

One reason I self-published the short story I donated to this
blogfest, was because it didn't fit any market categories. I also
realised, after a good year of pondering, that traditional publishing
was not for me, no matter whether the book would fit commercial
categories or not. That's why I had been so hesitant to send anything
to agents. I realised what would happen in the unlikely event that I
did get an agent, or even a publisher, and decided it was not what I

One good reason to self-publish is when your work is not commercial
enough for a publisher. Not finding a publisher does not mean the
writing isn't any good, although it may. The only thing that's sure is
that publishers cannot predict a market at the given time. There are
plenty of books which agents and editors say they really like, but
which are not financially viable for them to publish.

Here's a question for you I've been considering for some time. Why do
most authors seek recognition from publishers? Musicians have audience
feedback telling them whether they played well. They don't require a
music executive to say they are "proper musicians". Why is reader
feedback online, and in person at signings and live readings, not
sufficient for writers?

And so, dear readers, feel free to respond to that last question, leave feedback, and by all means, check him out on my "featured authors" page for more info including where to purchase Emma Meets the Walkabout Gnomes.

As for me, I'm off the air for now. Until next time....


  1. I agree Marcus! Reader feedback means more.
    Sorry about your power outage, Lisa. I don't think they were predicting that much snow.

  2. Hang in there Li and don't open the fridge. Been there, done that! :)

    Marcus, a readers feedback means every bit as much. Nice point.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  3. Great answers Marcus. If it's not for the reader feedback, then what is it for?

    Glad you got your power back.

  4. OH...just noticed you put my story up. Thank you, Li. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

  5. Hi Li!
    The US snowstorms made the news in Oz. Wowzers! Already!

    Informative post. I'm trying to learn all I can about self-publishing. Thanks for that.

    We've had gremlins at RFWer too so have made a new site. Only thing is we can't automatically take our followers. So just to tell you that you'll need to refollow us at our new RFWer site so you can keep in touch with out news!


    Denise <3

  6. awesome interview.

    Happy Halloween, how is your day?

    Thanks for your support to Jingle Poetry Community, bless your talent, we loved your poetry.

    welcome sharing any time, we are open until Thursday.

  7. Hi Li, Whenever I think about traditional publishing and all that's required, and so little in return, I am just grateful for this blogging forum to do what I love and get good feedback from people. It's a really good way to hone our craft, too.

  8. Good point about reader feedback!

    I enjoyed reading this interview.

  9. Thanks everyone for the comments. Thinking about self-publishing leads to a lot of interesting topics.

  10. Yikes! I so hope you were able to get electricity sooner rather than later! In Huancayo, Internet disappears some Sundays for maintenance and I always play that prioritization game as my battery runs out. =P

    Great interview, btw! What I love about Marcus is his versatility. I love that idea of not having a genre and how he lives out all his interests in his studies, job, and projects. =)

  11. Found this site following Samantha's link from Twitter...
    We lost power for 3 days. I couldn't write or read unless I went to my friend's house. I went 2x's, but it was definitely different not being able to read and comment at leisure!
    I used to go to the library every 3 days or so until I found blogs. Isn't that sad! LOL!
    My answer to the question?
    I see self publishing and blogging as taking your power back. Doing SOMETHING that you can to grow and to give you experience that you couldn't do just a few years ago.
    Loved the post.(Thanks to the both of you)
    Stay warm.
    The book looks interesting.