5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Clive S. Johnson, author of Leiyatel’s Embrace

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Clive S. Johnson, author of Leiyatel’s Embrace
(Daisy Bank)

A finely wrought and exquisitely detailed Speculative Fiction Mystery set at the end of a castle kingdom’s epoch long history. The arrival of a strange army at the gates marks the end of an era and the unravelling of a mystery. At its heart is Leiyatel – the Living Green Stone Tree – long the preserver of the realm of Dica. But what is her fate to be, and of those who depend upon her?

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Leiyatel’s Embrace?

Clive S. Johnson: It started in my twenty-year-old mind almost like a movie, more the views and characters, the feel and atmosphere than anything else and was hurriedly hand-written. It then languished in a loft for thirty years whilst the mind behind it matured and unknowingly discovered the real story at its heart.

When the manuscript was unearthed a few years back, the spark burst once more into flame. The tale scorched its way through the keys of a PC, taking over my life in the process.

JP: What sets Leiyatel’s Embrace apart from other books in the same genre?

CSJ: It’s apart because it doesn’t clearly fall into any one genre. It has the immediate feel of a fantasy novel, such as Peake’s Gormenghast (a major influence, I admit), but is strictly driven by a science fiction ethic – based obscurely on quantum mechanics. Add to that a deep and complex interweaving mystery and you can begin to see why it sits apart.

So, a fantasy without magic, dragons, elves or trolls mixed with SF devoid of starships and ray-guns delivering an exquisitely drawn, immediate world of mystery and intrigue – need I say more?

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Leiyatel’s Embrace getting out to the public?

CSJ: It began with a close friend’s encouragement to publish, after she’d read a copy I’d hand made into paperback form (I have worked for a commercial printing company so knew how to paginate and bind). She loved it but thought it was too long for a traditional publisher to consider as a first work. I had a look at self-publishing, as an indie author.

I’ve a long professional history in computing and IT, so the process was pretty straightforward for me. After considerable editing and much rewriting, I published through Amazon, and then later through Smashwords.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Leiyatel’s Embrace?

CSJ: Leiyatel’s Embrace saw the light of day as ‘The Winds of Change’, spilling out as illegible script from my twenty year old mind – I’m fifty six now. It languished in a loft until about three years ago when it was uncovered and tempted me into reading it.

The story was great, albeit not completely formed, lacking any real depth and with a rushed ending, something put right by the intervening years’ accumulation of experience and two years of learning the exacting craft of wordsmith – the hard part for me.
I started out just capturing the original script to computer sometime in 2009, before the bug bit and I thought ‘what the hell, I’ll just make it read that bit better’!

I have a very well-read, erudite and knowledgeable partner and learnt much of my word craft from her. Kit’s now my editor and does an excellent job of making sure my fertile mind and novel ideas end up not only as readable but also engrossing text. The sheer pleasure of crafting words, and the enjoyment it gives my readers, is largely down to her guidance.

As any writer will tell you, the really hard work, the slog and sometimes the grind, is in the editing. Leiyatel’s Embrace had a lot of that, being my first work, and took about six months to reach a state I felt happy to publish, in November of last year.

JP: What’s next for Clive S. Johnson?

CSJ: Leiyatel’s Embrace is a complete story but leaves some perceived ambiguity. The story itself tempted me into finding the sequel to a tale that couldn’t possibly have any sequel!

So, I’ve spent the last couple of years on a new tale, one I think is even better; deeper and richer, and a really surprising twist on Leiyatel’s Embrace. That sequel is due for publication sometime around April of this year.


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