Beyond the Jacket Copy: An Interview with Author Missye K. Clarke, Part One


Here’s a quick opportunity to get to know me as an author, a writer, and an average Jane Palooka. I hope this gives you some insight in more to me than being a mere storyteller. Like you expect a fantastic story to let you forget life for a little while, that can’t happen unless you know about the author beyond the jacket copy. So, without further ado, here’s The Interview, Part One.

Who were your favorite authors to read during your childhood?

Hmmm. So many to list, it’s almost impossible to narrow the field. When I was seven, it was Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur (An “I Can Read!” book), The Story About Ping, The Case of the Cat’s Meow, and Where the Wild Things Are. At eleven, it was Jenny and the Cat Club; at thirteen, it was Susan (S.E.) Hinton’s The Outsiders, Tex, and Jane Emily, by Patricia Clapp. Evntually, although they’re for children, The Great Brain Series is a fantastic collection of hilarious stories about a Catholic family in Mormon country, Utah, in 1898, with a clever boy named Tom Dennis who was as much a money cheat as he was in breathtaking intelligence in lessons and solving some town dilemmas. Of course, find these tales on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Strand Bookstore, and other outlets where fine books are sold.

You mentioned one of the titles, The Case of the Cat’s Meow. Did that spark your love for mysteries?

Partly. I thought it a very cool story (no spoilers here!), but it was my mom who got the mystery bug in me. I’d tried reading Nancy Drew, but found myself drawn to Joe and Frank Hardy, instead. More action, adventure, and BOLD protagonists. Nancy was a girly-girl, her mom’s girl. For the time, it was expected for a girl to “know her place” as a female, and when she was done with solving mysteries, keep her skirts clean, and go for an ice cream sundae to celebrate. YEEECH!! Totally not me. Besides, I was too much a tomboy to enjoy Nancy, oo I read The Hardy Boys mysteries. Four, I think. Might be time to pay the fellas another visit. And my mom, God rest her, read Ellery Queen magazine often. I tried to read them when I was sixteen, but torn between a quartet of loves–reading, budding writing, music, and raging hormones over boys–(**laughs**) that took a backseat, unfortunately.

In your perfect world, what’s an ideal mystery  you’d read?

Fantastic question! I think I’m crafting one now. Called The Threesome Of Magic Mysteries, I’m blurring genre lines with mystery, fantasy, and lots of–shall we say for the sake of G audiences reading this–adult face time involved with the plot (**she winks slyly**). I’m one for bending rules into pretzel forms to the point they don’t break, and if it does … then so it does. But this is more speculative fiction than anything else, as not only is the plot based on a dream I’d had, but that I’m also a character (Missye Maroon, at your service) in the story–and another of my characters from my Casebook mysteries is my  fellow amateur sleuth. No, I won’t tell you who it is, that’s cheating. And–in the voice of “Isaiah Edwards” from Little House on the Prairie–“I won’t stand for no cheatin’!”

…But seriously, I’d like to read and write a mystery with as original a plot as I can find, with characters  I’d love to have as real-life best friends, and o let adults go on these fantastic adventures as kids do when they first discover the joy of reading and the wonder the stories hold. This magic shouldn’t ever stop just because we kids have grown up and started worrying about home financing and keeping the light bill paid.

I ask this out of respect for you, but … you seem–how to put this nicely–so energetic on the page. Do you worry this might alienate your readers?

Not at all. Apart from the fact I’m born under the astrological sign Gemini (another topic for another post!) I was Netflix-binging on Ken Burns’s documentary about the Roosevelts, earlier this year, and saw, to my surprise, Teddy (known then as T.R.) was boundless with energy. In the above photo of Theodore Roosevelt, his hands are  fisted. He doesn’t do this from anger, but he’d had such energy, he had to hold his hands still for photographs. I’m much the same, as is one of my McGuinness boys. I’ve had unchecked A.D.D./A.D.H.D. for as long as I can remember, and it’s impossible for me to contain my energy some days. Others, I’ll sit quietly or work on falling asleep, but my mind’s still racing, thoughts flying, and I can’t type or write as fast as the thoughts go or drift off as I’d like. With my A.D.D., is it a job to get my ducks in a row for a novel? Brother, you’re not kidding; I’m half-shocked I can sit still long enough to finish such a project, let alone do another! (**grin**). Which is why I’m begging my husband to get me a swim membership for the Y, in addition to organics to corral this energy. Or I’m good with a trampoline, that works, too. And more adult face-time. And like Teddy R., he read everything, got into exercise, and just never stopped going, going, going. You could say without a hitched eyebrow Theodore Roosevelt could’ve been the Original Energizer Bunny.

What’re your thoughts on the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia

Oooo, another good question! Wow, you can’t get more pelican brief, can ya? A high U.S. official, dead in his bed, unrumpled bedclothes and pajamas with a pillow over his face, no investigation, no detectives, no DNA, no autopsy, bodily fluids extracted before toxicology panels could be run, secluded ranch, the “official story” kept changing over the course of a few days, and the cause of death is declared by a federal official, (huh?!?), landmark cases to soon be decided on and he’d be one of the swing votes, maybe … Come on (she says in her heavy New York City accent), this is the stuff supreme mystery novels are built on, only it’s real. And scary as hell, especially since the family members, when asked about Scalia, were zipped tighter than a body bag on the topic of how their family member, just checked by his doctor a week before, suddenly died on a remote Texas ranch. That ranch, by the way, two hours outside of cell or Internet service and in one of the more corrupt counties in the Lone Star State.

This reeks of a full-out cover up of a murder. And it’s taken a supermarket gossip rag to bring out the truth the once-proud mainstream journalism would’ve been falling all over itself to investigate and compete for prizes for. An even deeper mystery: why is the mainstream press so silent on this? Do they know something we don’t–or shouldn’t? What are they hiding to keep Scalia’s death as a “Nothing to see here, move along, please!” attitude about it.

Yes, it’s a mystery, every aspect of it. Yes, I suspect Justice Scalia had been assassinated. No, I don’t believe the “official story,” anymore than I believe OJ didn’t kill Nicole and Ron. Yes, something shady went on and why we’ve not read anything more about it, especially under suspicious circumstances, is fully confounding as the reasons behind the SCOTUS’s death in the first place.

So find it no surprise why more authors than ever before are writing mysteries. Truth is stranger than fiction, of course. But as long as truth like this keeps coming at society, the fiction will continue.

~ Missye

Part Two of this Interview will be posted on Thursday.serveimage


#TrumpOrBust: Why This Author Is All In for The Donald

10626596_10154535515590725_8406776879092171790_nI’m a novelist. And it’s been said, often, writers shouldn’t express their feelings on politics, religion, and other hot-button topics some could deem third rail in book or story sales.
But that depends on how said topics are handled–and probably another good blog post for a later time. Still, writers and other creatives must have a say in their country’s political processes, as those decisions in their country’s or state’s capitals affect them greatly. Personally, I think the one who crafted the Never argue religion or politics line was probably one who lost the argument too many times to admit, and issued said statement to keep his head held high. But I digress.
Let’s press on!

I understand why some of you prefer certain candidates. Here’s the breakdown, brilliantly told by KSFO talk show host and retired meteorologist, Brian Sussman, during his stand on for natioanally syndicated talk giant, Michael Savage of The Savage Nation on 4 March 2016:

Carson (@RealBenCarson–and announced the end of his campaign at the 2016 CPAC conference, sadly): soft-spoken, Christian, never engaged in the playground name-calling others did, gracious, diplomatic–but his platform was lost in the media-ratings game shuffle, and he never gained traction in the polls from his late fall polling surge;
Cruz (@tedcruz): A “true conservative Constitutionalist” who appeals to those under that dome, those on the right (debatable he is as more details emerge, but for now, we’ll leave this so);
Rubio (@marcorubio): for those who want Establishment politicians running things, and prefer this apple cart to stay where it is at the expense of everyone and everything in America;
Kasich (@JohnKasich): appeals to the “Casper Milquetoasts”–erm, middle-of-the-road moderates–in the GOP;
Hillary (@HillaryClinton): because she’s a woman; she has no other record to run on BUT this. Unless they wish to ignore her numerous scandals, Benghazi and Deletegate, to name two of many;
Sanders: (@BernieSanders): make college free and the rich “pay their fair share,” but he, nor his supporters, never explained what happens when said rich move their money elsewhere;
Trump: (@realDonaldTrump) representing why/how/where/when and how deep the aforementioned have failed the PlainJoes and PlainJanes across the country, and how We the People are fed up as hell with the status quo and aren’t taking it anymore.
I see the logic in those reading this why so-and-so is your guy or gal. Or you prefer no one at all. While I disagree with you, I respect your rational and reasons why you hold yours. But here’s why I’m putting my support behind Trump.

In 1980, I was fourteen when Reagan campaigned and was elected; in 1984 when I was eighteen and voted for the first time, Reagan won his second landslide as President. But before his election, the GOP during the Carter admin didn’t do SQUAT for double-digit inflation in food and energy costs, there were double-digit interest rates, his foreign policy attempts were disastrous–and why we’re in a bog as big as Jupiter with Middle East relations today–and the Elephant Party pretty much gave us Ford after Nixon acted the fool. They also did next to nothing to free Americans from Iran for 444 days. I remember this as if it this were yesterday.

Was Reagan perfect? Hell no! Is Trump perfect? Well, as none of us are, I’ll guess you can reach that conclusion on your own. But like Reagan then and Trump today, both men were as close to perfect as we got in tackling the chance to gut an over-bloated gov’t as able in eight years, keep the Constitution intact, trade taxed accordingly, laws being enacted and enforced, and people left alone for the most part. The economy boomed for a good dozen years during and after Reagan’s Presidency, the fed debt was low, and people had money to spend. But most of all, they were left alone without Big Nanny Gov’t in every aspect of their lives to tell them what to do and not do.

Reagan also changed his positions when he learned the other side of the story in certain issues he’d supported (being pro-choice to pro-life, for instance). And how the private sector is far better in creating jobs than any government welfare or federal program can empower anyone. (Case in point: where are those “Summer of Recovery ” jobs Joe Biden said would materialize in 2011? Yeah, I don’t see them, either. And imagine being dictated when to buy food via a food-stamp card? I think not. Mind, I’m not saying all welfare programs are bad; they’re best for those down-and-out and fallen on hard times. But it’s not meant or intended to be generational, ongoing, or used in lieu of actual employment.).

I’m for Trump, not because he’s a business guy, will get the southern border wall built and make Mexico pay for it, will help create much-needed jobs and income, can keep a budget. I’m not for him because he’s a Gemini like me, from NYC like me, speaks in a street-fighter way like I’ve done all my life–living in that town, it’s almost a pre-req to do that! :)–and gut aspects of this leviathan gov’t sinking the nation (though all those things help). I’m for Donald J. Trump because for years, both parties played games with We the People long enough. He’s not a politician–and that’s what many in America want! He’s a verbal Mohammed Ali, a verbal street-fighter the world needs to see and lead through upcoming tumultuous times the previous leaders–the metrosexuals, the Ivy League’d professors, the soft-spoken gentlemen–instigated this mess in the first place. He’s a father figure, a manly man, a person who sees winning as a good thing.  How many people since the 1980s grew up without a strong male role model? How many women see Trump as a strong, heroic leader they never had an example to look to? Why do you think ladies like me like a rough, tough-talking, rugged guy? It embodies strength, power, FIGHT! And heaven knows this country is begging for that. Sure he’s got an ego; you need one to be in business for as long as Trump has. Since when is having a level of ego wrong? From the ruling class who has this in spades, yet sees themselves lording our lives over us? Do I care he’s not spouting the Constitution or his relationship with God on his sleeve? No. We’ve so many bigger fires to fight on the front; Trump’s faith in God is between him and the Creator–and I’m going on face value he and the Man Upstairs are tight. Did Moses not have some in his tribe hold his arms up when he grew weary? So, too, will we the people hold Trump up and accountable when that time comes. It’s our duty to do so, be you Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, or whichever.
I’m for Trump because average people like you and me–rule-abiding, raising families, not looking to game the system, work every day, paying your bills, feeding your kids, without connections, etc.–are SICK AND DAMN TIRED of the empty promises and BS rhetoric coming from both sides of the aisle. We the People are tossing the Establishment Elites out on their collective asses for this monster they created–and they hate those for personifying in Trump in their resentment toward them. There’s an uprising like never before. The Day of Political Reckoning is here. Yet the ruling elite will do anything to curtail this tideswell.
But did you ever consider: maybe this is what God wants? I think so. Because seriuously: if you don’t have Borders! Language! Culture! . . . the Constitution won’t matter much a damn. This isn’t to put down Ted Cruz’s stances on the nation’s document. But he hasn’t said much on the borders-language-culture issues, and for that, to me, makes the Constitution unimportant now. Close the borders. Then worry about the laws and the messes within them.
Trump embodies the anger I’ve had for the Establishment since 1980. They kept my wages low. They helped keep my taxes high. They gamed the system he didn’t do, we didn’t do, played by the rules set up IN that system–and they’re trying to take him down for exposing the flaws the Establishment elite created. #TrumpOrBust. But not if I help hold The Doanld’s arms up, politically speaking and in earnest prayer, like Aaron did for Moses.
Thanks much for reading. A more light-hearded post will be up shortly.
~ Missye