Here is my interview with Roland Clarke

Another insight into my life, writing and my mind. Thanks Fiona.



Name: Roland Clarke

Age:    61

Where are you from?

I live in Harlech, North Wales, with a view from my office window of Snowdon.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:

I was brought up in South East England by an English father and Anglo-Chilean mother. Although I’ve had a privileged upbringing – money, private schools, and anything I needed, with such privilege comes a lack of real love, a lack of direction, and a lack of motivation. So after attempting to get qualifications at various schools, I tried to apply myself to something. But I job-hopped from photography, to marketing organic produce, to TV & film production, to equestrian journalist.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m now retired and coping with multiple sclerosis. Having got my first novel – Spiral of Hooves – published, I try to make time to finish various draft novels…

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Why Ignore the Symptoms?



Ignorance is bliss, supposedly, but that is not the answer. Nor is this a post about Writing. Health is today’s imperative – your health.

This is my contribution to the Survive and Thrive Bloghop! This blogfest, hosted by Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, L Diane Wolfe, and Alex J Cavanaugh, is “meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.”

So why ignore your symptoms, because you are coping? They might go away – or they might get worse. I suspect that the doctor would prefer an early diagnosis than the complications of extended treatment.

Minor-seeming ailments could be the symptom of something worse. My earliest Multiple Sclerosis symptoms were subtle and could have been ignored. I went to my doctor and he diagnosed Repetitive Strain Injury, but, when the symptoms flared up again, I was sent for more extensive tests. These tests led, within three months, to the diagnosis that I had MS. I could have ignored the problems, continued driving – with extreme difficulty – and the consequences could have been far worse than early retirement, a wheelchair and a rebellious body.


I’m not suggesting that doctors will always get their diagnosis right. There have been some tragic cases of medical incompetence. I might have gained a daughter when I got re-married, but within four months of her birthday in December 2010, she had died of stage four stomach cancer. A tragedy as she was a wonderful person, but the doctor told her that the stomach cramps were just acid reflux.

That suggests that if the problem persists, you should seek a second, third, fourth opinion. Don’t ignore the symptoms because the first doctor says you have a mild cold.

Maybe there is great value in the Chinese philosophy that prevention is the best cure. Traditionally, Chinese doctors had failed when a patient fell ill. But that’s another post. Just eat healthy until then.


Chicken Soup ~ Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at

Chicken Soup ~ Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at




Is there life or death in the Apocalypse?

Different World ~ Image courtesy of manostphoto at

Different World ~ Image courtesy of manostphoto at

Are you prepared for the apocalypse? Or have you been scared off?

On the one hand some people, especially agents, have had enough – or so they say. Yet, there are still books and movies in the apocalypse genre being released – e.g: The Colony. Is the genre going through an operatic death as the back-log dries up? Lead times in production are long, so in a year or two the apocalypse could have gone the way of vampires. What can we believe?

Unless it becomes reality – no longer the stuff of speculation.

I say this because I realise that I’ve been committing the mortal sin of writing in a supposedly dying genre. So what do I do? Admit that I’ve erred big time? Put the manuscript on a back burner for a few years? Turn it into a romantic comedy?

I keep wondering whether I can simply redefine it by changing the frame of reference. It’s not really post-apocalypse. Yes, there is a global disaster and society is breaking down. But there is hope. There are relationships. It goes beyond survival. But I’m not a hardened science fiction writer, who has ready every book in the genre. I’m an eclectic reader, hopping from mysteries, to fantasies, to historicals.

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

Of course, apocalypse has got a bad press – blame Hollywood. It’s often seen as the end of the world, a cosmic cataclysm as described in the Book of Revelation – or rather that’s the simplistic interpretation. According to the online Oxford English Dictionary the word originates from “…Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal’, from apo- ‘un-‘ + kaluptein ‘to cover’.”

So it’s all about a revelation – as the Book says. In a useful examination of the genre Fantasy Faction said, “The term apocalypse originally did not mean mass extinction, destruction and death, but rather related to enlightenment in a biblical sense. And before that, the term translated as “a great change.” 

Might be worth looking forward to – once we’ve got beyond War, Pestilence, Famine, and Death – plus zombies, aliens, Justin Bieber, and Kim Jong II.

Maybe my take is different enough from all those that have trod the path of apocalypse before me – not that I have read all the books in the genre… too many given my reading speed. For a pretty comprehensive list, see Michael White’s Chronological list.

I can claim to have read some of the definitive novels, such as John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, Arthur C Clarke’s Childhood’s End, John Christopher’s No Blade of Grass, and Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley.

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of dan at

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of dan at

My attempt is called ‘Storm’s Compass’ and the collection of short stories will be Book 1 of The Gossamer Flames Saga. Provisional blurb is:

“What lies ahead when the world is devastated by a solar storm? Who will choose to build the future?

Eight tales of unfolding disaster have repercussions that will affect posterity. From the arid deserts of India and the United States, to the wild beauty of Norway, the future could be sown.

Storm’s Compass is post-apocalyptic fiction, with folklore in the shadows and greenpunk in the workings.”

What do you feel is the future of the apocalypse/post-apocalypse genre? Does ‘Storm’s Compass’ sound enthralling? Do you want to be among the beta readers?

Please tell me what you think in the comments.