Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Alexander Clifford, author of Man Soup.
Hi Alex, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I'm a 22-year old British author, now living in Spain. I've always been fascinated about what makes people tick and the forces that drive people to make decisions. At school, I ran a newspaper that scandalised all the little stories we had between people in our year-group. Then after finishing school, I hopped into various marketing jobs. It was a like a crash-course in applied psychology. After that I traveled a lot, worked various odd jobs – masseur, estate agent, journalist among others – learning as much as I could before moving on.
The more experiences, and the more diverse the people you mix with, the more perspectives you have on the world. Then that creates great putty to make stories out of.
How much research do you do?
Not enough – in the traditional sense. What I do is visit the places and locations. I soak up the atmosphere. I note all the little microexpressions on people's faces? What is their body language telling you? How do you feel? What are the underlying life stories, themes and repeating patterns of people who live here?
For Man Soup – it's part-fiction, part real life. Being able to draw on those experiences in London and San Francisco meant I could write very fluently. I would go to the library, go into a sort of trance, then emerge three hours later with 5000 words in front of me.
I think authors are just vessels to share stories that need to be told by the universe. If you experience something first hand then your subconscious puts that energy and all the intricate details into your writing.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Well, I've started tons of books and never got beyond 3 pages! So with Man Soup I decided to sketch a rough outline. I'd read a couple of guides of how to outline books and “the hero's journey”. Then I just thought “I want to write this book in a month.” Then you see what happens. The outline is the spine of the book. You have to ask yourself “what's the main message I'm trying to convey here”.
From there the book is like an embryo. It has the first bundle of cells and the DNA to know where and how it can grow.
Who designed your book cover?
Myself. I looked into getting it done by a professional cover designer, but I didn't have much of a budget. The kind of amazing illustrated covers I wanted were beyond what I could afford. But who knows? If this book sells well, the next one could have a more elaborate cover.
For Man Soup I made it in Microsoft Paint - which I know sounds very unprofessional. But I wanted that black background with the stark white text. I think too many LGBT books are too glossy, too perfect and too shiny. I wanted something that would capture the dark, the grit and the melancholy of feeling lost and lonely in a city.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
If you look on the top sellers in the Gay Fiction category on Amazon – they all feature 6-packed men. So obviously that must be a good factor. The cover is very important, because you need that visual impact to grab someone's attention.
I went the opposite way in using no images – just the dark black background. So I think that stands out as it looks different.
What is your favourite quote?
“The smartest people in world are ones who learn how to get paid for playing.” - I think Alan Watts once said.
I'm paraphrasing it. But I think the modern office workplace is often a very depressing, life-force-zapping environment. So if you can find a way of doing something you enjoy and be paid for it (even if it pays much less than a “normal” job) – you can never go wrong. Too many people sacrifice the spark in the eye, their playfulness and their creativity for a regular paycheck. What the world needs more of is people who are passionate about what they do and who they are.
Title: Man Soup - A Tale of Sink or Swim
Author: Alexander Clifford
Release Date: May 12th 2016
Genre: Dark erotica, gay fiction
This is a gay coming of age story with some heavy topics and dark erotica themes. It'll make you hard and break your heart. You have been warned.
Ed tippytoed awkwardly down the red steps. He was excited but confused. He came to the changing rooms and the lockers and was overawed by the energy he felt and saw. All these men, half naked putting on socks, taking off towels, pulling off shirts - like it was the most natural thing in the world.
He eagerly took his clothes off, but didn’t look around much. That must have been a habit from the PE changing rooms at school. Get dressed quickly. Don’t look around. Don’t get accused of being gay. Take a sneaky glance here or there but don’t do anything that will make them think you fancy them. He exhaled loudly. He was almost shivering at the anticipation and excitement he was feeling. It was like a new fantasy world that he was discovering, well beyond his imagination."
Add to Goodreads
Buy Link: Amazon
GIVEAWAY: WIN a $10 Amazon Gift Card
About the Author
Thank you for stopping by and reading!!