Author Interview with Clint Adams author of Evangeline
Interviewer: Misty Daniels
Book Title: Evangeline
1. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Although I began writing in 1992, I didn’t complete a full-length manuscript (novel) until 2001: MIGUELITO (middle-grade); it went unpublished. Fewer publishing options existed back then…or, it was just unpublishable. The older I get the more I can accept that now. Age? Misty, you really know how to hurt… I was 44.
2. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A doctor. I knew nothing about medicine, but somehow I knew that being a doctor was highly regarded. Seeking validation started early for me. Now, I no longer seek it, I just overeat.
3. If you didn’t like writing books or couldn’t continue to for some reason, what would you do for a living?
Thank goodness I don’t do this for a living. When I began writing I was as delusional as any newbie: getting a hefty advance, being on OPRAH, having a bestseller. No, now reality suits me just fine. (The process of) Writing a book is THE reward, what happens after its published is gravy. No doubt about it, if writing was not available to me, I’d be a lawyer – I’m completely obsessed with justice, the law, making things right.
4. I know you went on a bit of a journey of self-discovery, looking into your family history, as you researched Evangeline! Could you tell us a bit about that? What was the research process like and what emotions did it bring up for you?
Good question. Well, I’d discovered that my family may have enjoyed stretching the truth a bit. The only reason I knew about Evangeline Adams was because I’d thought we were related (both being direct descendants of John & John Quincy Adams). After having hired a genealogist, I found out that I’m not related to any of them. Doesn’t matter. This was after the book had been written (12 times). At first I was upset, disappointed. Then, I realized that I got to know, seemingly first hand, one of America’s first female entrepreneurs, someone few people know about. A privilege.
5. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play Evangeline?
I also write screenplays. The first thing I learned was that it’s helpful/necessary to envision the actor/actress playing the part you, the writer, are creating. Three years ago I could only see Nicole Kidman in this role. Now, I’d love to see Emma Thompson, simply because I’d like to be able to meet her.
6. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
Easy one. Anyone who writes in an unusually simple, easy-to-follow voice. Superfluous writing doesn’t cut it with me. Alice Walker, who wrote THE COLOR PURPLE in the voice of Celie, is my favorite. Diablo Cody, who wrote the screenplay for JUNO, really captures my attention.
7. What book written by someone else do you wish you could have written?
This is a tougher question. In my opinion, a writer chooses to write a book because there’s a very definite message they’d like to deliver. My message (theme) for EVANGELINE: “You cannot change your own true destiny.” This originally had to do with sexual orientation, then about death. Now, about both. So sorry, I cannot answer this, because I’d need to know WHY the original author NEEDED to tell their particular story and I’d have to then honor that it’s exclusively theirs.
8. Any writing rituals? Tell us about your daily process or your crazy writing habits.
Yes, just like most authors I journal write (about 1,000 words) every morning. It’s never connected to a book I may be developing. Basically to just clear my head and get my fingers on the keyboard. I’m also big on outlining. I think writing a full novel freestyle is either a myth or F-A-R from the norm.
9. What book are you reading now? Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m a member of a book club and I bought and was supposed to read BEAUTIFUL SHADOW: THE LIFE OF PATRICIA HIGHSMITH. Big mistake. I must have the attention span of a five-year old, because completing any 500+ page biography would cause me to pull all my hair out. Interesting new writers: those that share the same writing/publishing journey as me; Christy Potter, Steven Dos Santos, mostly all my friends on Facebook.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Absolutely. First of all, thanks to you, Misty, for giving me this opportunity to share. To readers, explore not only new authors but also new genres. Switch things up. You’ll be glad you did. Because of J.K. Rowling, middle-grade and young adult fiction is now LOADED with new talent, new stories to tell, new ways to tell them. Above all else, don’t be afraid to escape completely into the book you’ve chosen to read. Historical fiction is a great way to vacation to a time long past. Enjoy!