You may have read his monthly blogs, or read one of his many award-winning books, but do you know who Bryan T. Clark is? Well, this month we get to know the romance writer behind the keyboard.
So, let’s begin and start with a light introduction.
Well, I think of myself as a funny, loving, family-oriented man and a proud member of the LGBTQ community. After twenty-seven years in law enforcement, I retired a couple of years ago to focus on my writing full time. When I am not writing, I love traveling with our horses, lying by a body of water soaking up the sun, and watching a good movie while snuggled up on the couch with my beautiful husband of thirty-five years, and our loyal companion Nettie, the Sheepadoole.
Are you a Fresno native?
Although I’ve lived in Fresno for the last thirty years, I actually consider myself more of a Central Valley native. I’ve lived up and down the Central Valley most of my life.
What kind of books do you write?
I write LGBTQ romance books that represent a moral dilemma that the characters have to resolve in order for their relationship to work. I try to infuse real emotions into real situations that someone in the LGBTQ community would face, whether it’s their job, coming out to family members, or going against the grain of what was expected of them. Love doesn’t always come at the best time.
Where in your existence, your mind, body, life experience, does the desire to write come from?
I come from a family of readers. I grew up going to the library every Saturday morning. We were allowed to check out three books. Those three books were read at bedtime every night. When I was a little kid, my mother use to write stories and submit them to Reader’s Digest. She was the first author I ever knew. My mother is a remarkable person and I love following in her footsteps.
When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
In high school, my best friend and I wrote short stories together. I verbally created the story aloud and Angie penned them. For forty minutes each morning on the bus ride to school, we spent it producing stories. Over the years, I continued to write many short stories and dabbled in poetry, but I never gave any serious consideration to ever publishing. It was simply a creative outlet for me. It wasn’t until five years ago that I shared one of the stories that I had written with my husband. To my surprise, he said it was so good that he thought I should submit it for publication. That book was Come To The Oaks. I have published five books so far and I am currently working on completing my sixth.
How did you choose the topic for your newest book, Escaping Camp Roosevelt?
You would be hard pressed to find a book being released today with a story line that hasn’t already been told a hundred different ways. The premise of Escaping Camp Roosevelt mirrors many aspects of my own life and the people in it. I wanted to bring a different lens in which you would see homelessness, sex work, addiction, and mental illness from another perspective. One of the beauties of reading is we get to experience other worlds besides our own. I simply wanted to share a part of mine with you.
You’re doing something unique with the royalties from this book. Can you tell us about what you’re doing?
Yes, we pledged to donate 100 % of the royalties from the first year of the book to benefit a homeless LGBTQ youth shelter. We’ve teamed up with Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco to ensure the money is used to provide direct services to the young people in their program and not to support administrative or operational costs.
In the beginning of the interview, you mentioned that you and your husband have horses and that you travel with them. I’ve heard of people taking their dogs with them, but you take your horses?
When traveling, we’re not always on vacation. My husband trains and rides competitively within the California Dressage Society. We travel up and down California to various Equestrian competitions during the year.
What kind of horses do you guys own?
We have three: Centaur, who is a twenty-one-year-old Bay Holstein, Quinten, who is our seven-year-old Bay Hanoverian and then the baby, Mr. Fanfare, our two-year-old Bay Hanoverian. They are not your typical horses. These horses are specially bred for the sport of Dressage. My husband spends hours a day training and riding and tending to them. If forced to ride, then I like to ride those horses you find out in front of Safeway for a quarter!
One last question, and then I must wrap up this interview. What would you tell the aspiring writer that hasn’t written their book yet and not sure where they should start?
First and foremost, writing a book is hard work, and, if done right, takes a long time. But, if you are seriously bent on writing that story deep within you, then, just write the story, DON’T try to write a book. People think there are all these rules in how to write a book, and they just don’t know where to start, so they never do anything. Get your story on paper and then work on developing it into the next great novel!