What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
None, I have not found myself seeking out the home or drinking spot of an author. The closest would be my fear of the Pacific Northwest because I am an avid reader of true crime novels.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I do not remember the first book to brought me to tears, but the story of Diane Downs (Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule) made me so angry and ill that I am sure that I cried. I, also, remember crying at the opening in Sula by Toni Morrison, where the matriarch uses her last bit of food, a carrot, to give her youngest child an enema in the frozen outhouse. I have been moved by Toni Morrison, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Maya Angelou…countless authors and poets.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Overthinking. It is my weakness in so much of my life. I can have a million ideas and struggle to get them down onto paper.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Both. I am writing a series that you will not have to read the other books to understand each individual book, but they do build upon the previous story. In addition, I have written companion books for the first novel of the series. With the companion books, they are intended as supplements.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It did not change it at all. I wrote my supplements in less than a day on the urging of my writing mentor. I am going to start writing the second book in my series in December though when I am overwhelmed with inspiration I do have Google Assistant take dictated notes.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Phoenix. The idea that I can burn to nothing and rise again is quite freeing for me.
What did you edit out of your books? (keep it family-friendly, please)
My books are fiction though I borrowed a fair bit from my life so I left out some difficult conversations and themes that I am not to deal with. I am hoping that I will be able to address in future books when I am strong enough.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I would love to give the debt that I have to other’s personas/identities. In my writing, I deal with topics that are fun and bouncy so I find it difficult on occasion to not write the entire truth.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Anything Dr. Suess
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Deciding where to let the character grow – I am impressed with her development and it is so much outside of myself that I find myself trying to cage her because I would cage myself if I was in those situations.
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
Talking about my city.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
I am an extroverted person with a large group of friends from every timeframe in my life…I have friends I have known since elementary school. (My wedding last year had 800 guests).
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
It has not yet. My mother and I wrote short stories together when I was a child, I was a published poet in high school, and I have been authoring scientific articles since I was 18. Writing has always been something that I had to do, not something that I sought out to do.
Who are your biggest literary influences?
Like with music, I am drawn and inspire to produce pieces that are real, true…pieces that make someone reflect and hopefully love and forgive themselves.
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
Probably Small Sacrifices but my reaction to it was just so visceral.
How did it feel when your first book got published? How did you celebrate?
When my first full novel was published, I felt incomplete. I still fell incomplete. I feel like there is more to be done. I have not celebrated yet.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
I cannot begin to speak for all authors. I think what people are generally surprised to learn about me is how hard I am on myself.
When it comes to research for your books, are you a hunter or a gatherer? Talk about your research process.
I write about things I know. I write loosely on my life and experiences of those around me therefore, I tend to just sit, sip bourbon, and reminisce.
Could you be housemates with your characters? Why or why not?
Yes, I basically already am my character’s housemate. I write people I am impressed by and those that I would love to be. Absolutely, I would love to be housemates with the best version of myself I could imagine.
What’s your typical writing routine or schedule?
I write in the free time between my full-time job as a scientist and regulatory and my full-time job as a wife, aunt, sister, and daughter.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. How do you recharge?
Do you prefer music or silence when you write? Do you have a writing playlist? What’s on it?
I do not have a preference. Generally, my husband is around either watching TV or listening to music so I tend to have to block out the white noise. No I do not have a playlist.
Which celebrity would you choose to narrate your audiobook?
What well-known author, living or dead, do you wish could be your mentor? Why?
Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou. I am impressed by their work and they wrote their truth and was not always respected for it.
What is your favorite of the six senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight, intuition) to write about, why?
Touch. I am a tactile person so describe the electricity that runs over the nerves that I imagine experiencing. Goosebumps forming in response to the slightest stimuli.
What is a favorite location you’ve written about? Have you visited that place? How did you choose which details to include? Detroit. I am in armored with my city and I write so many details in the hopes that the reader will love it, too.
Travel back in time (without negative effects for you or the timeline) what year do you visit? Why?
While, I think seeing history up close would be interesting, I do not think that I would want to go backwards. History was not kind to Black people. The present is not kind to Black people. If I am not allowed to change the past, I do not want to witness the horror first hand.
What is something about your hero or villain that drove their character, but you didn’t specifically tell your reader?
Self-doubt. My characters are real in that all people are driven by their secret self-doubt.
Have you ever resuscitated a project you'd shelved? What helped it work better the second time around?
No I have not.
What do the words “literary success” mean to you? How do you picture it?
A success is being able to use my book to better the lives of my audience.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
I am in the process of writing the second installment in Nicolette’s story.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
Do not be too hard on yourself. Being critical is easy – sometimes you just need to like you (and your work).
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
www.AngeliqueClemens.com for signed copy of my book(s).
You'll find some interesting stuff here... some Op Eds, some Information, Book Reviews, and More. Poke around the categories and see what ruffles your feathers... in a good way!