SUMMERHOME… And How We Got Here

Tomorrow marks the release of my first full length novel, SUMMERHOME. It’s my second piece to be published through St. Rooster Books, following last year’s THE GOD PROVIDES. It’s my seventh book release since publishing A BOOK OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, a collection of my professional short fiction, in fall of 2018. It perplexes me how, that in less than 4 years, I’ve been able to produce the content I’ve released on the masses. In all of the previous years before, I’d written and completed a handful of short fiction pieces. And now look at me… I’m a two-time Splatterpunk Award nominated author. 

Much of this is because of my drive to be successful, coupled with support by my wife… and the motivation of money. You see, since July of 2018, I’ve paid Garrett Cook (CHARCOAL) for monthly workshops. As as a result, I’ve pumped out dozens of short stories, a plethora of novelettes, and – as of this writing – I’m working on finishing my second novella in 2022. It won’t see print until later this year, but that’s OK by me. 

INTERIOR PLATE AND ALT HARDCOVER ART

Garrett, while he’s likely the most important, isn’t the only mentor to guide me since I started on this trip, what seems decades ago. In high school I reached out to L. Sprague de Camp, the man who coined the term EXTRATERRESTRIAL and, with the aid of Lin Carter, introduced a new generation to the works of Robert E. Howard. I corresponded with Sprague for a few years, he gave me valuable advice on grammar and words one should NOT use while writing (alot, alright, that, just, so…). Then I went into the Army and journalism school came with it. It all came to fruition in 2013 with Billy “The Kidd” Donnelly and This Is Infamous, which led to me joining the Horror Writers Association. A mentorship with Monica S. Kuebler at Rue Morgue followed. Then I met Lisa Vasquez (THE UNFLESHED), who has been instrumental in developing my descriptive prose and my eye for graphic design.  

“BROCHURE” ALT COVER/INTERIOR PLATE FOR HARDCOVER

I’ve had other advisors, including Armand Rosamilia (DYING DAYS), Jay Wilburn (CURSE OF THE RATMAN), Brian Keene (THE RISING), and Patrick Freivald (MURMUR), to name a few. Their wisdom and positive encouragement have been instrumental in keeping me going and pressing forward with this crazy venture. A Borderlands Bootcamp mini-class with Tom and Olivia Monteleone also helped develop my skills as a writer. But it’s Kelli Owen (THE HEADLESS BOY), and her words at the first Scares That Care Charity Weekend I attended with Dawn, that have resonated with me. When asked how long the longest piece I’d completed was to date, I told her around 5,000 words. Her reply?  “Unfuck that.”

Did I mention I wrote a full length novel at 60,000 words? I got a bit of unfucking done, I’d say. Hell, I edited out nearly 15,000 words while I wrote it! 

FINAL FRONT AND BACK COVER ART BY LYNNE HANSEN

SUMMERHOME is chock full of social commentary metaphor, and Easter Eggs connecting it to the world I’m building in my fiction. It’s stand alone, like all of my work, but has a place in the ongoing story I’m telling. Upstate NY deserves its own Castle Rock and Derry, and I have made them in the port city of Fenton and hamlet of Tinker’s Falls. In the near future, I’ll be introducing you all to Falls Brook, another important spot in my “world.” Regular readers of my fiction will be happy, and new readers will be sucked in (I hope).

How about that Lynne Hansen cover art? I’ve made a decision to use Lynne going forward on my novel releases. She has the aesthetic I wish to present for my brand. My novellas are another story. I’ll be the cover designer and creator for them. Here’s a sneak peak at A PRAYER FROM THE DEAD, my forthcoming grimdark cyberpunk alt-history piece:

As of the writing of this blog post, I’ve not settled on the narrator for the audio book. It will likely be Cheryl May or Mia Moravis, as they are going to be my narrators going forward.

I’ve dedicated SUMMERHOME to those we’ve lost to opiate addiction. Though the novel focuses on how Alzheimer’s tears a family apart, diseases akin to Alzheimer’s have the same affect on loved ones close to the afflicted. And opiate addiction is a horrible disease. Heroin was named thus because it’s “discoverer” believed it to be a miracle drug. A person could never have been so wrong.  

I’ll leave you with the words of Robert Ford (BURNER), in reference to SUMMERHOME: “I never feared growing older until I read Clark’s Summerhome. It made me wince more than a few times as scenes unfolded.  An absolute blast of a read!”

SUMMERHOME will be available June 28th on Kindle, through Amazon in paperback, and in digital on GODLESS! A special limited edition Hardcover with alternate cover art will be available soon from Barnes & Noble and Nook.

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