I’m very excited to feature in this Book Blitz with Storytellers on Tour! I’m interviewing Gary Clark this time and I’m happy to share his wonderful book The Given!
In a world where the power to read minds is outlawed, can Jay ever find freedom?
Jay must hide her true abilities if she is to stay safe. But as her powers grow stronger and the authorities more intolerant, she knows that time is running out.
When Jay’s energy is detected by a powerful Reader, she has little choice but to take action. On the run with her friends, and just one step ahead of her pursuers, she must decipher the words of the Legend and reveal the secrets of her childhood stories if she is to find safety.
As she unravels the mystery, the Readers close in. Will Jay unlock the true potential of her power in time, and find the courage to fight her way through to the sanctuary of the Interland?
The Given is the first book in a YA adventure series. If you like an intriguing, grounded fantasy, a fast-paced adventure with characters coming to terms with inner conflicts, and battling powerful enemies, then you’ll enjoy this brand new dystopian YA adventure.
The Given by Gary Clark
Published: April 12, 2021
Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi
Age Group: YA
Pages: 286 (Print Length)
Goodreads | Purchase Books!
When did you start writing as a career?
I’m actually an Engineer by profession. Always an avid reader and later a hobby writer. I wrote more seriously after my daughter had a spell in hospital and I wrote a journal. It helped me get through a very difficult period and ultimately that journal became my first book. I’ve not published it because it’s not ready. It never quite seems ready. Perhaps it’s too personal. But I am determined to finish that one properly, so perhaps after this trilogy I will get back on to it.
What’s your current work in progress?
I have many works in progress! The Interland trilogy is my top priority. The Given is published of course, and book #2 (Interland) is finished and in final stages of editing. Book #3 is work in progress. Then I have a number of projects that I have started but not yet finished, and I’m looking forward to getting back to them.
Your book, The Given, is a Dystopian Sci-Fi. What led you to write in that genre?
Yes, it’s really an adventure story, and I love adventure stories – from reading Enid Blyton growing up I guess. But this one does have a sci-fi dystopian element to it. I had no idea of genre when I started writing The Given. I just wrote what I wanted to write, which was the kind of book I thought I’d like to read. As it developed, I thought it was going to be a straightforward adventure story, then came a magical twist, or at least powers, and a dystopia. Whatever we call it, the writing process has been fun! And I hope my readers enjoy it as much.
Talk to me about the path you chose in publishing.
I have taken the independent publishing route. One of my first books (currently on the shelf waiting to be resurrected one day) I offered to literary agents hoping for representation. I did receive some great feedback from the profession, and from one or two agents in particular, but none actually made an offer of representation. That was quite a painful process, and with comments like “..this is brilliantly written but the market is not there at the moment…” I realised how fickle the industry can be, and how it can be a bit of a lottery as to which books get picked up and carried through the traditional publishing process. When I wrote The Given, I debated with myself about whether to take the same approach and see if I could match the book to a particular market and literary agency – but I decided not to put myself through it, but instead to go independent. The independent route requires all the same steps – a professional cover, professional editing, and then marketing etc, but the wonderful thing is that the pace is dictated only by me, and I can move quite quickly to publication if that suits me. The downside is the investment I need to make in the professional services in getting to publication. There are no short-cuts there. It can be expensive. Every book needs good editing, artwork, and marketing. So, for now, I’ll keep the day job, and I hope the investment will be worth it in the end!
What advice would you give an author who is discouraged about the process of completing a book and getting it published?
Many will say the same thing here I think: The only people who will definitely not make it to getting published, are those who give up. There are ups and downs. There are days when it won’t seem like it’s worth it. But keep going, ride the storms and celebrate the little milestones.
What are you reading currently?
Just finished the creepy ‘Borne’ by Jeff VanderMeer and before that Veronica Roth’s ‘The Chosen Ones’. Now just starting Adam Silvera’s ‘They Both die at the End’.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
In the near future – books #2 (April 2021) and #3 (June/July 2021) of the Interland series. Then, I hope to finalise the novel that is very personal to me (working title: The Polar Bears are Alright) and get that published by the end of the year.
We’re hosting a tour-wide giveaway, and invite you to take part!
Prize: One (1) paperback copy of The Given by Gary Clark – UK Only
Starts: April 12th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: April 14th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
Gary graduated from the University of Surrey in the UK with a degree in Engineering, embarking on a career that has taken him all over the world from the Far East to the Americas. He is a graduate of the Faber Academy and Curtis Brown creative writing programmes. Now a father of three, he has settled close to where he grew up on the edge of the South Downs in Sussex, where he indulges his love of books, and passion for writing. The Given is his debut novel. It is the first in a series of young adult novels to be published in 2021 in which the main character, Jay, has to come to terms with her unusual gift.