- Chad, it’s wonderful to have you with us for this Q&A. Tell us about your humble beginnings as an author.
Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to share some space on your site. I was a child of the eighties so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise how quickly I was drawn to the magic of cinema. This was the era of Star Wars before it was a global phenomenon. It was the time of Star Trek and ET. And bubbling just under the surface also was an explosion in the horror genre. Stephen King became a household name. All the franchises we have seen rebooted in recent years got their start in either the eighties or mid to late seventies and I got to be there to watch all of it. I also made it out to the library quite a lot and by the time I started school, I was already reading on my own.
Movies were great but growing up in a house with no television, books would become my primary source of entertainment, early on. This was a time when even VCR’s were too expensive of an extravagance for many so I had to turn inwards to my own imagination, sparked in the pages of countless books I had on hand. I think it was only a natural step from there to develop a passion for telling stories as well as reading them. Once I figured out that I could create these stories and make them whatever I wanted, I was pretty much hooked.
- Who or what inspired the concept behind Two Bells At Dawn?
When I was getting started in the industry, one common piece of advice that was handed down to new authors was that you had to have a blog. And while I was on board with that prospect, I struggled quite a bit with the kind of blog specifically that I should write. I didn’t feel like an observational blog would fit with my persona and I didn’t really see how posting pieces on politics or the state of the world would be able to advance my writing.
At some point, I fell on the idea of publishing micro-length stories on my blog. These would be stories that could be comfortably read in one sitting, say in the amount of time it took to ride the bus to work. I wanted to present my writing in bite-sized portions in the hope that it would help direct potential readers to my other work.
In 2013, I launched the Baked Scribe blog and with the exception of some time I took off following the birth of my second son, I posted one new story a week, pretty much every week for the entire lifespan of the blog, two hundred issues in all. I made the decision this year to close things down so I am no longer keeping it active but those stories are still there in my computer, waiting to see more of the light of day.
It was always my intention to eventually publish these stories in book form. So, in 2015 I published my first collection, A Shade For Every Season. This consisted entirely of stories taken from the blog, with some additional editorial attention and revision taking place. Two Bells At Dawn is the second collection, also taken entirely from my blog. I haven’t published all the stories, I am trying to choose only the ones I am completely happy with. And in the long run, I will likely have enough material for one more collection at some point in the future.
The stories in this book tend to jump across all genres. This is because, like the blog, I wanted these to be easily enjoyed in a short period of time. They all bear what I would consider to be my unique outlook and voice but in story formats that vary quite a bit. I would like to try and provide as many types of stories as I can to try and offer a little something for everyone.
- Do you prefer writing short-length stories or long-length ones?
They both have their unique challenges and rewards. Following the extensive run of the blog, I have kind of burned out a little with the short stories but even my single-title books tend towards the shorter length. I doubt I will ever be the kind of author who is able to put out thousand plus page counts. I tend to believe that with horror especially, shorter length stories are ideal. Basically, I often feel like as the story gets longer, the harder it is for the premise to hold up and still feel legitimate.
So if I had to choose, at this stage of my life, the shorter novellas have definitely been my preference. They end up being roughly the same page count as Two Bells At Dawn. I think this in turn allows for a good amount of intensity and burn in the story that is easier to maintain all throughout.
- What are your hobbies besides reading and writing?
I’m a pastry baker by trade and I have always been passionate about cooking. I teach private classes on making pizza from scratch, a passion I have been developing for almost as long as my drive to be a writer. I also used to play bass in a few different blues ensembles so from time to time, I will break out either the bass or my acoustic guitar and strum along with some music.
- Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I currently have three novellas floating around in the atmosphere which should be landing in the next six months. The Child At The End Of Time is a fairly bleak, apocalyptic sci-fi story that I am particularly proud of, in which Earth comes under attack by an invading alien army. In The Course Of Daily Events is a book mildly inspired by Stephen King’s book, Desperation. I would say that my novella represents where I had hoped Desperation was going when I read it myself. And finally, Winter Holiday is the story of a writer who spends every winter, intentionally trapping himself in his mountain home. While he normally uses this time to develop projects, this year he’s going to find out that he isn’t as alone as he thinks he is.
Anyone interested can head over to www.cclarkfiction.net and sign up for the mailing list.