John R. Clarke, Ph.D.
I cannot remember a time when I did not write. First, it was on the wallpaper in my bedroom as a kindergartner. Red crayons were my writing instrument; red was my favorite color. Not cool.
That was followed by my poetry period, stimulated by reading Dante’s Inferno and ee cummings. Not unexpectedly, my teenage poetry seemed to be heavy on angst; dreary Kansas winters, unrequited love, typical adolescent themes.
In college my poetry improved, capped by my masterpiece, “Ooey Gooey Chocolate.” Everyone loves chocolate, right?
My internal critic says I also wrote a wonderful short story about hippies in Atlanta during the ‘60’s free love era. Unfortunately, I had no experience in the free love part. Maybe that’s why the story was not compelling.
My first two paid writing gigs came from the Georgia Tech Engineer where I started each piece with a bit of creative writing. Back then, $25 per article was real money for a fledgling writer. It could buy a lot more than half a tank of gas.
Graduate school had me writing good science, I like to believe, but hardly any creative stuff. What can you say creative about the effects of deep sea pressure on mussel hearts that had been ripped from their little mucousy bodies and suspended in a ghoulish sort of way? Some things are only of interest to scientists.
Later, as my reputation as a scientist and a writer grew, I was asked to write two chapters for a science reference book. The publisher was Marcel-Dekker, and it paid a good bit more than the Georgia Tech Engineer.
And then the creative writing bug really hit. The author Max McCoy visited my workplace, researching material for his book the Moon Pool. I was so stimulated by the visit I typed all night, unbidden, and wrote a major scene for the ending of his book. It’s how I would have ended it. Amazingly, he and his publisher liked it, and with my permission they borrowed large pieces of my story line for his concluding chapter.
I have now published three books of my own; a novel, Middle Waters, based on both surprisingly real and plausible events. It is a mixed genre work; military thriller and science fiction all combined in a potentially realistic way. The second, Triangle, is a sequel to Middle Waters (book two of the trilogy in the Jason Parker series).
The techno-thriller series wraps up with Atmosphere, a fast-paced adventure ranging both on and off-planet. The series’ website provides more information.