Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Indie Superstar Spotlight: Clayton Bye


Tell us about your most recent release.

7 strangely different short detective stories by a master storyteller. The book title and author: Det. Lupèe: The Impossible Cases by James Secor. These are primarily stories about crimes of humanity against humanity, crimes that often fall through the cracks or for which there is no law in existence to deal with them. Often a solution is found, but the case itself is unsolvable. Hence the title.


What else do you have coming out?

This year is dedicated to a ghostwrite and to a collection of my own short stories, some of which I have yet to write.


Is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?

I have written 9 books (some nonfiction and some fiction) and have, working as a traditional publisher, released 3 award winning anthologies.  All books can be previewed or purchased at http://shop.claytonbye.com. Currently, I work at The Write Room Blog as Editor-in-Chief.


What's the most blatant lie you've ever told?

I once lied about my age in a very delicate situation.


What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?

I have had only one bad review in 20 years in the business, and as I shrugged it off, the memory is long gone.


How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?

As mentioned above, I just move on. The review is only one person’s opinion. However, should I ever find a book of mine getting bad review after bad review after bad review. I would listen very carefully to what was being said—to the extent that I might pull the book off the market and fix it.


When are you going to write your autobiography?

I don’t know. I have already written a loose biography of sorts. It is called The Contrary Canadian and chronicles some of my travels across Canada. Each story presents a piece of my philosophy of life as it was germinating.


Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

I think so. The hero in The Sorcerer’s Key is named Jack Lighfoot and the antagonist is named Morgan Heist. The names reflect who they are through the words light and heist. I’m not always this obvious. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a man’s name being stronger or more harsh than that of a woman’s. This is done by making sure the man’s name has a one syllable first name and a two syllable last name, like Jack Lightfoot. Women or softer, weaker characters would traditionally have two syllables in both first and last name: Janet Weaver being an example. Then we have someone like Morgan Heist, where the rule is reversed. This makes sense in that he is the opposite of our strong, righteous character.


What about the titles of your novels?

I like titles that tell you exactly what the book is about.  The Sorcerer’s Key revolves around a magical talisman that just happens to be a key. Technomage is about the mixture of magic and technology to create technological mages or Technomages. In my non-fiction books I have titles like How To Get What You Want From Life and The It Can’t Be Done, No Way, You’ve Got To Be Kidding, Crazy Or Unbelievably Stupid To Try It, Handbook For Success.


Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Unlike short stories, which offer a quick reward, a novelist puts in a huge effort for what is often a poor return. If you are with a big publisher who widely distributes your book, then I say great. But most will go with a small publisher who expects you to promote and sell your own books. The earnings just aren’t there. Or more correctly, the distribution just isn’t there.


What's your favorite fruit?

Blueberry Pie.


How many people have you done away with over the course of your career?

I lost count when I began decimating worlds.


Ever dispatched someone and then regretted it?

No, a character dies in order to provide a certain kind of movement or motivation in your story. In this instance the death is a writing technique. The only reason to be sorry is if that technique doesn’t work. Besides, in fiction, it’s always possible to bring the character back—if you are good enough.


Have you ever been in trouble with the police?

Never.


So when were you last involved in a real-life punch-up?

When I was in my 20’s


If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?

I don’t think there is a “perfect” murder, unless it is completely random, blindingly fast and unobserved.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

A writer!


What is your favorite bedtime drink?

Nothing. My favourite drink? An excellent single malt scotch.


Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory?

Been there, done that. Writing is the best job in the world, if you can afford to do it.


Do you believe in a deity?

Yes.


Do you ever write naked?

Never, but I do write in my pajamas.


Who would play you in a film of your life?

Tom Cruise, just for the fact that there was a similarity in looks when I was younger.


What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

You must write every day, even if you just write letters to friends. If you don’t practice your craft every day, then you’ll never be good enough to be a competitive writer, and it is this which will drive you crazy. It is also important to be reading other writers on a regular basis.


Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?

I am the protagonist in every book or movie I have ever seen. It is my way of submerging myself in the story, of suspending disbelief.


What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing novel?

Being able to edit your own work and to do it well. If you can master this, then you will truly become a writer.


What do you consider your biggest failure?

I wrote a business book called Bare Knuckle MBA when I was very sick. In my somewhat delusional state I thought it was my masterpiece. The buying public says otherwise.


Do you research your novels?

Yes, I research my books. I say books, because I don’t just write novels. I also write nonfiction and poetry and short stories.


How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

It is the reason for the driving philosophy of my life, so I would say it plays a huge part.


What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

That I could be good at anything to which I set my mind and body.


Do you laugh at your own jokes?

Yes.


Do you admire your own work?

Yes. One must be confident in his work or he’ll never succeed.


What are books for?

Books are an escape to places we will probably never go and to people we will never be.


Are you fun to go on vacation with?

Probably not. I like to just go where my nose takes me. Even if I have a plan, I will rarely stick to it. That drives people crazy.


How do you feel about being interviewed?

I enjoy the process. Many times I am asked questions I have never asked myself, hence these interviews are as much about me learning about myself as it is about the reader discovering who I am.


Why do you think what you do matters?

Some people want to learn and/or be entertained by books. It is my pleasure to provide them with such opportunities.


Have you ever found true love?

Yes.


How many times a day do you think about death?

As death does not frighten me, I rarely think about it.


Are you jealous of other writers?

Never. They have earned what they have. I am happy for them and hope I can do the same some day.


What makes you cry?

Tear Jerker movies. People hurting people, especially children. And intense pain.


What makes you laugh?

The unexpected, especially if it involves friends.


What are you ashamed of?

Very little. There are a few things that shouldn’t have happened when I was a young man, but I have sworn to live my life in a way that allows me to never say “What if?”


What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen?

My sleeping lover in morning’s first light.


Are you doing what you truly want to do?

Yes.


Do you have a dream to follow?

My dream is to be able to live off my books when I retire.


Are you proud of what you’re doing or what you’ve done?

Yes.


How many promises you have made and how many of them you have fulfilled?

I keep my promises except when my health issues intervene (I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Bipolar Disorder).


What’s the one thing you really want to do but have never have done so, and why?

I want to go to Australia for about 3 months. There has only been one time in my life when I had the amount of money that would take. However, my work superceded the trip and the money was spent elsewhere.


Have you ever failed anyone who you loved or loved you?

Yes.


Will you take a shot if the chance of failure and success is 50-50?

Sure.


If you could travel to the past in a time machine, what advice would you give to the 6-year-old you?

Don’t sweat the small stuff and do what you enjoy.


Would you break the rules because of something/someone you care about?

It would depend if those rules were also laws. I have never been given to following arbitrary rules.


Have you ever abandoned a creative idea that you believed because others thought you were a fool?

No.


What would you prefer? Stable but boring works or interesting works with lots of workload?

I’ve done both, so I think I would go with interesting over boring.


Are you afraid of making mistakes even though there’s no punishments at all?

Sometimes.


If you would clone yourself, which of your characteristics you wouldn’t want to be cloned?

I can be somewhat narcissistic. That could go away anytime. 


What’s the difference between you and most of the other people?

I set daily goals and medium and long-term goals, and I work as hard as is necessary to achieve them.
Are you making some influences on the world or constantly being influenced by the world?
I think it would be foolish to think we don’t interact with the world.


The thing you cried for last time, does it matter to you now or will it matter to you 5 years later?

I try to live in the now, so I would hope it wouldn’t matter in 5 years.


Is there anything you can’t let go of but you know you should?

Yes.


Do you remember anyone you hated 10 years ago? Does it matter now?

No, it was longer ago than that, and it doesn’t matter now.


What makes you happier, forgive someone or hate someone forever?

It is always better to forgive—if one can manage to do it.


What are you worrying about and what’s the difference if you stop worrying about it?

I only worry about something until I make a decision as to how I am going to deal with it, then I refuse to worry about it again. My current worry is about money. And not worrying about it isn’t going to change the problem. As I said I won’t stop worrying at or about the problem until I have come up with a plan to deal with it.


If you’d die now, do you have any regrets?

No. One must be prepared to die on any given day.


Which one would you prefer, having a luxurious trip alone or having a picnic with people you love? 

That’s a tough one. It brings out the narcissist in me. I think I would take the trip.


Who do you admire and why?

I admire many people, too many to deal with here. But they all have the same characteristics: they are winners, people who have achieved what they set out to do with their lives.


Is there anyone who inspired you and made you who you are today?

Damon Knight, Og Mandino, Robert McCammom, Steven King, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins and Frank Bettger, to name a few.


What’s the thing you’re most satisfied with?

The books I have written and the books I have published for others.


When was the last time you laughed and what did you laugh at?

This morning, and I laughed at myself.


Are you doing anything which makes you and people around you happy?

I am succeeding in the goals I have set for myself. That makes me happy. If I’m happy, the people around me tend to be happier.


Is there anyone who you love or loves you?

Yes and yes.


When was the last time you really talked with your parents/family?

Yesterday. I had a good talk with my mom and dad.


If happiness is a currency, how rich do you think you are?

Well off.


If today’s the end of the world, what’d you do?

Go out and enjoy all the beauty I could find.




Clayton Bye is a writer, editor, and publisher. The author of 9 books and a varied collection of short stories, poems, articles and hundreds of reviews, he has also published (under the imprint Chase Enterprises Publishing) 3 award winning anthologies of excellent short stories by some great talents from around the world. The first book features general fiction, the second offering is horror and the third is a book of detective short stories.  

Mr. Bye also offers a wide range of writing services, including small business management for writers. 


6 comments:

  1. I feel I've learned from Clayton's interview. He gives very sensible, practical advice, and it seems to embody knowledge, even wisdom that many of us need. Be as happy as you can and don't hurt people. Take pride in the books you've written and those you've published. Don't fear death and set daily goals which you work to achieve. Don't overly worry. I like his comment about identifying with the protagonists in his fiction. His answers tend to be short, but they're often loaded. His interview is worth reading more than once.

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  2. What a nice long interview, Dan, and very enjoyable. I love Clayton's quick and witty responses. Clayton, you still have the Tom Cruise look going! Looking forward to your book of your own short stories!

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  3. Witty is as witty does! Great Q and A guys!

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  4. The interview was the most unusual I have ever read with thought and depth. I have known Clayton for a while and found it fun to read the answers he provided that in themselves were honest and entertaining. Many interviews have the same questions and dry replies. Neither were here. Thank you both.

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  5. Nice interview. Good questions and oft witty answers. Sounds like Clayton has his life in proper prospective.

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  6. Great interview, Clayton. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you better. I love your wit. Dan, thanks for giving us this chance to see Clayton more intimately and his inspiration to create.

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