The Next Big Thing project: a chain blog featuring online interviews with up and coming authors.
Welcome to the website of writer C.A. Clemmings
The Next Big Thing Interview: CA Clemmings
What is the title of the book?
I have a novella and a short story currently in progress. The title of my novella is Rebirth, and the title of my short story is Placencia.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
For Rebirth I drew inspiration from Bad Girls, the TV series about women in prison. Since my ideas originate with character, however, I wanted to write about a woman who comes out of that kind of environment and to examine how she rediscovers and redefines herself in society.
Placencia was supposed to be a fun, easy project. It was an attempt to take a “vacation” from the extensive work that goes into longer projects. Turns out it takes just as much effort for me to produce a short story.
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I had not given much thought to this, and when I did, I found it difficult to select the right actresses who could embody my characters. I think I will leave up to readers to shape the characters with their own imagination.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Rebirth is about Nicolette, a young ex-convict who goes to live on ranch that once belonged to her deceased parents, and ends up acquiring a racehorse and an attractive female jockey who convinces her to get into the horseracing business, which inadvertently unearths Nicolette’s parents’ shady past.
Placencia is a about a woman who, while on her way to meet her girlfriend for their vacation together in Honduras gets thrown off-course and ends up in Placencia, Belize, where she is tempted by an alluring woman and encounters a fisherman who is a haunting reminder of the father she’s never met.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first drafts of both Rebirth and Placencia were completed in a few months, however the process of transforming them into their current versions took considerably longer.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In general, I am inspired to tell stories about ordinary people with an enigmatic quality. For Rebirth, I was inspired to write about a woman who had lost nearly everything and had been stripped down to her “flinching muscles.” I wanted to rebuild her and bring color back to her life.
Placencia was born out of the idea of taking a vacation away from the things that we obsess over in our daily lives such as work, relationships, and our families. However, interestingly enough for my main character Elodie, Placencia becomes the place where she finds herself confronted by the things that burden and haunt her: the tremendous fog of failure and the potential for failure that seems to envelope her, and the unresolved issues that stem from not being given an opportunity to know her father. The impact of this is depicted in Elodie’s aimless spirit. I enjoyed writing Placencia because it allowed me to explore this flawed and self-absorbed woman, who at the end of the day is good-hearted and makes the right decisions.
Is your book out in print, upcoming from a publisher and/or represented by an agency?
Rebirth and Placencia will be self-published in the spring.
What is most visible is a lie.
What is eternal runs deep.
What is eternal is hidden.
What is eternal is the lie.
For a long time we avoided the whole matter. On the way to Placencia we saw a man on the bus who made some passing remark about death and failure, which we pretended not to hear. We looked instead to the shape of trees across the bright skyline and the sand. The jewel-colored sea shone with its vast treasures, twinkling glares that scathed our eyes. We tried to make sense of the breeze. Was it warm or was there a chill?
How can we take stock of everything we have lost. We try to measure it in increments, the way a laborer might measure every plunge and heave of his shovel. Here we have portioned out our losses with every bend of our back on small trembling legs. We regard the piling increments with an un-traceable emotion, for under the heap there is something buried. The shape of something soft and pliable. The shape of something vile.
But this is Placencia. On the sand where our toes are half-interred there is a fish head. We consider this to be the worst part, but the islanders have a liking for fish with its head still attached. Nonetheless, this fish head with eyes like paper is in the sand where our toes have sunk in their flip flops. A few yards out where the waves come up the sand is smooth. We could pull our feet from the porous heap and head towards the water.
What good will the water do. There is the odd ocean breeze and tourists lounging on the beach. We look towards the bar where those in sleeveless shirts with sun-bruised skin have gathered. We turn our attention to the toes that are somewhat buried in the sand.
From Reluctant Protagonists' Commentary on Placencia - A Short Story