Author Interview: Clay F. Turner

1. Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer? Yes, Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, changed literature for me forever. I was assigned to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in my 8th grade English class, and after finishing it, my eyes were opened to the power of symbolism and characters within a novel. It really made me realize that literature can indeed change the way one thinks, so it made me even more passionate about the medium that is writing.

2. At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer? Someone should call themselves a writer the second they set out to pursue this beautiful medium we call writing. It doesn’t have to mean that they have published anything or even finished a single project. One becomes a writer the second they believe they are one.

3. Have you ever traveled as research for your book? I have, yes, though the writing came as a result of the traveling. I studied abroad in Spain for my undergraduate degree, and after the trip, I pieced together my current WIP, which is a fictional retelling of my own coming out experience in Europe. The backdrop of the novel is actually from a first-hand account of my own travels, so everything in there is as real as if you were there yourself.

4. Have you listened to any audiobooks? Which did you enjoy the most? Oh yes. I listened to some of the “Harry Potter” books on audio. The best one had to be book seven, “The Deathly Hallows” because the narrator was actually able to curate a voice for all the individual characters, and it was the last book of the series, so everything really came to a head in this book. It’s my favorite of all the books in the series, and part of that was because I listened to it over audio and felt like I was able to experience every moment for what it was meant to be.

5. How do you celebrate when you finish your book? I usually go out for Mexican food, which is my absolute favorite way of celebrating anything. Having some delicious guacamole and chips, enchiladas, and maybe even a margarita ALWAYS puts me in a good mood. This was always how my family and I ended a stressful week when I was growing up: Going out for Mexican food on a Friday, enjoying time together without thinking about homework or any of the other stressors of the week. It was (and still is) pure bliss.

6. How long did it take you to write this book? It took me six years to outline, write, edit, revise, and self-publish this book. It started out as a fun project to fill my time on days when my Mom, who is a teacher, had to stay after school to tutor. One day back in 2008, I started typing out what would become the first draft of “Lodesyia”. I worked on it over a span of a few weeks until I realized that it could be fleshed out as a full-fledged novel. I outlined it for two weeks, and then I typed it out over the next few years. Once it was ready, I self-published it on Createspace, Amazon’s independent publishing platform in 2014.

7. If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be? I would love to be mentored by Truman Capote, who wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as well as “In Cold Blood”. He was also a gay Southern author who relocated to NYC, just like myself. I’d really like to just pick his brain over how he fostered sympathy for unlikeable characters and how he created such memorable characters like Holly Golightly. He also hosted one of the most iconic parties of the century, The Black and White Ball, and it would be fascinating to discuss how he planned such a memorable gala. I mean, we still talk about it to this day-over 60 years later-so it had to have been epic.

8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? When I’m not writing, I like to do theatre. When I lived in Arkansas, I volunteered at a community theater all the time. I did everything from performing in the shows to teaching drama classes to stage managing as well as assistant directing. The theatre is the place that has always served as my solace, so whenever I have the time, I go there.

9. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing? To me, good writing is good characterization, especially for novels. As long as your characters have depth and are believable but also make you think about your own stances, that’s really good writing. I think good writing also makes the reader forget that they’re reading, which can be accomplished by really paying attention to what the words actually look like on the page, the visual, if you will. If there are a lot of long paragraphs together on every page, it’s going to turn the reader off. But if there is variety in the sentence structure-large blocks of paragraphs here and there for scenes requiring a lot of description, joined by shorter paragraphs for scenes with lots of conversation-I think you’re good to go. I think what new writers don’t realize is that the written page’s visuals are just as important as what they are saying.

10. What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book? I would tell them to try setting up some type of structure for their writing. Commit to writing, maybe, 100 words a day and then work your way up to, say, 1,000 words a day. If you do it incrementally, you’re less likely to get burnt out at the beginning, and we don’t want that. I would also tell them to keep pushing no matter what. You’re going to have days where you wonder if it’s even worth it or if anyone will even read what you’ve written. Keep doing it, not for them but for yourself. If you feel like you’re meant to write, do it. At the end of the day, if writing gives you personal enrichment, that’s all that matters.

Lodesyia: Turner, Clay F: 9781500945930: Books

The Dark Phoenix (Lodesyia): Turner, Clay F, Mason, Jeanne, Hedge, Sophie: 9780692546857: Books

Lodesyia by Clay F Turner, Paperback | Barnes & NobleĀ® (

The Dark Phoenix by Clay F Turner, Sophie Hedge, Paperback | Barnes & NobleĀ® (

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