Tuesday, July 2, 2013

AFN Clarke – Inspiration Is A Strange Thing!

Inspiration Is A Strange Thing!

by AFN Clarke

Many people have asked me a question that most authors get asked frequently – what inspires you to write? And I am sure there are as many different answers as there are authors!

For me from the time I was a child living in and traveling to different places all over the world including so-called “exotic” locations like Hong Kong, India, Iran, Libya, Turkey, Spain and Italy – my inspiration to write was simply the overwhelming desire to fully communicate my experiences of those countries, cultures and landscapes to family and friends.  Life was an adventure and so I wrote about it from the time I could form my letters and put pen to paper.

As I grew older the inspiration remained similar – to entertain, communicate and inspire by using words to create new worlds in which my readers could immerse themselves and explore for a while.  But each book also has its own reasons for having been written and probably reveals as much about myself as it does about the characters and story it presents.

My first book Contact started out as a way of coming to terms with the world after returning from combat physically and emotionally wounded. I was lost, angry, sad, wanted the average person to know what a soldier went through day after day waiting for a stray bullet or an explosive device to shatter their life or end it; wanted families of veterans to understand why their loved ones seemed different, distant, and burdened. That it became a bestseller was gratifying, but it was not essential to me.  In fact it was greatly unexpected.

My inspiration was always the experience with my men and the communities we patrolled, witnessing the strength of the human spirit to survive against all odds.  My motivation was the desire to ensure those lives lost and lives torn apart meant something and were not forgotten in the noise of political and religious rhetoric. That maybe politicians would understand the cost of war and not engage in it quite so lightly or quickly.  Sadly that lesson seems not to have been learned, as veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan tell me how “Contact” – written so many years ago  - still manages to resonate with their experience in recent times.  Eerily and heartbreakingly so.

Now I only write fiction and I love to write many different genres because each genre provides a new medium of communication.  My second book Collisions was inspired by my own unsettling experience of PTSD; An Unquiet American is a politically provocative thriller inspired by my concern over the rise of extreme conservative elements in US politics and the eroding of democratic principles; Dreams from the Death Age and Armageddon are satires which were a blast to write and were inspired by my desire to question some of the absurdities of life today by humorously projecting where we might end up in the future; Dry Tortugas is a more personal novel inspired by my relationship with my daughters.  And my latest book The Orange Moon Affair is the first of an ongoing page-turning thriller series inspired by my love of history, intrigue, international espionage and concern about the dangers of unmitigated power in the hands of unscrupulous individuals and groups.

They all sound like serious topics for a work of fiction, but I guess that’s because what I’m most passionate about is exploring and making sense of the world around me – seeing things through different eyes and perspectives that expand my vision and push the envelope of my thinking – and doing the same for my readers.

So what inspires you?  What makes your blood boil or your heart sing? What animates your conversations and makes others take notice? Hold that thought and you may have the seed of your next book, painting, song, dance, social campaign, or career.  Inspiration is a strange and personal thing – but without it the world would implode in its own mediocrity.

AFN CLARKE is the son of a British MI6 operative, pilot, sailor, screenwriter, father of four who’s lived all over the world, served in the British Army and recovered from the physical/emotional traumas of war.  His bestselling memoir CONTACT was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film.  He’s insatiably curious, loves heated discussions and has a rascally sense of humor. He now writes fiction of various genres – thrillers (The Orange Moon Affair and An Unquiet American); human drama (Dry Tortugas), humor/satire (Dreams from the Death Age; Armageddon), horror (Collisions) with more coming soon.  For more information visit, connect on Facebook or Twitter (@AFN Clarke).

This new expanded edition of AFN Clarke’s bestselling and controversial book CONTACT is a raw, visceral, “no-holds-barred” account of combat from one of the men we paid to kill. When first published it caused a furor for its devastating honesty and chilling revelations.

Clarke vividly recounts his experiences of two tours in Northern Ireland (in Belfast and Crossmaglen) as a Platoon Commander with Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment during the blood soaked 1970′s. Soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan comment on how relevant the book still is today, as the dangers, political agendas and religious roots underlying the conflict are eerily and heartbreakingly similar to their own more recent experiences.

Clarke takes us to heart of the action.  We feel what it’s like to live each day with senses on high alert, waiting to be ripped apart by the accuracy of a sniper or a well-hidden bomb.  We enter the private world of soldiers ordered to hold the lines in an ancient quarrel they have little affinity for, but whose consequences are deadly.  We experience their emotions, fear, courage, humor, bravado and the anguish of death.

This expanded edition continues from where the print version ended, revealing the untold nightmare Clarke lived through having nearly died, with half his insides missing, suffering from PTSD and being expected to return to a “normal life”.  A story of the scars of war that affect generations.  Of heartache, courage and hope for peace.

“I am an ex soldier who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and this is an excellent account of what it was like. I only wish we had an officer like Captain Clarke.” pm, 5 Stars Amazon UK“.. its honesty and passion cannot be denied .. Mr. Clarke has sent out a powerful and disturbing early warning signal.” Maurice Leitch, Daily Telegraph.

“..a major contribution to our understanding of war and how people act .. Contact is the work of a brave writer.” Kevin Toolis, Irish News.

“As a civilian it’s hard to imagine what’s it’s really like to be a soldier in combat but this book opened my eyes. I highly recommend it …” KTHuffy, 4 Stars Amazon USA.

CONTACT was reviewed by soldiers who served with Captain Clarke as verification of his recollections.  It was first published in the UK in 1983 by Martin Secker & Warburg, was serialized for 5 days in The Mirror and became an instant best seller. In 1984 it was published in paperback by PAN Books, by Schocken Books New York and made into an award-winning BBC TV film.  And in 2012 came the expanded ebook edition, which all these years later is still selling strong.  Readers outside the UK are invited to visit for soldier’s reviews and comments.

AFN Clarke is a full-time author and writes fiction of various genre – fast-paced thrillers (An Unquiet American), poignant human drama (Dry Tortugas), humorous satire (The Book of Baker Series - Dreams from the Death Age; Armageddon; Genesis Revisited), psychological horror (Collisions); and the Thomas Gunn suspense series (The Orange Moon Affair) with more coming soon. Visit the Amazon Kindle Store or for further information.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Autobiography / Biography & Memoir

Rating – 18+

More details about the author

Connect with AFN Clarke on Facebook & Twitter



Post a Comment

Back to top!