Rachel Thompson

Author Interview – AFN Clarke


What contributes to making a writer successful? Luck is a huge part of being successful – being in the right place at the right time can make or break a career and you see it time and time again.  But so is hard work and perseverance – not giving up when most people would, going that extra mile when the whole world thinks you are nuts. For me being a success as a writer also depends on the state of my own psyche, my own emotional health and wellbeing and standing up for and trusting my instincts as a result. Every time I have gone against my deepest instincts I have suffered for it.  But I can only trust my instincts when I am in a good place within myself.  I also think that having a strong support person or persons can make all the difference in the world. Writing may be a primarily solitary activity but success is not solitary – and it’s an important distinction to make.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I have been fortunate and lucky enough to win awards, accomplish everything I have set out to do, and have best selling books as well. But the most cherished things in my life are my children and grandchildren. Whether it is my accomplishment is for others to judge, but they are all successful, happy, intelligent, compassionate and vibrant human beings and that is an accomplishment in itself.

What do you do to unwind and relax? I’ve always been very active physically so contrary to a lot of people who love to be still and lie on the beach and do nothing in order to unwind, I need to do something – aerobatics, go sailing and become one with the wind and the waves, ride a motorbike on an open highway and open up the throttle, or even just get up and make a fool of myself dancing myself silly to some ageing rock band’s greatest hits!

What’s your idea of a fun evening? If I’m not writing, sailing, or out in nature then one of the most enjoyable things I love to do is to sit around with family or a few select friends enjoying a meal with a glass of good wine discussing everything under the sun – heated discussions are my idea of fun, the louder the better, the more passionate the more appealing – anything for a stirring debate and then a heartfelt laugh with no hard feelings and just a great sense of satisfaction at having had a fabulous time and stretched the brain cells till they nearly popped.

What do you find most tedious in life? Oh gosh, lots of things ….. filling out forms and dealing with bureaucracies that don’t make sense.  Having my hair cut.  Shopping for clothes.  Remembering twenty million passwords to different websites and steaming each time I see the “error” message.  And editing – oh how I dislike editing, yet it’s such an important part of finishing a book and whipping it into shape.  Once I have all the words on the page and have written “the end” for me it really is “the end” – all I want to do is move on to the next book and the next book – I am done with the one I have just written why must I return to it?  So my long suffering wife has to keep putting up with my groaning and moaning as she edits and suggests, and gently (or not so gently) nudges me to do what I have to do.


This new expanded edition of AFN Clarke’s bestselling and controversial book CONTACT is a raw, visceral, “no-holds-barred” account of combat from one of the men we paid to kill. When first published it caused a furor for its devastating honesty and chilling revelations.

Clarke vividly recounts his experiences of two tours in Northern Ireland (in Belfast and Crossmaglen) as a Platoon Commander with Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment during the blood soaked 1970′s. Soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan comment on how relevant the book still is today, as the dangers, political agendas and religious roots underlying the conflict are eerily and heartbreakingly similar to their own more recent experiences.

Clarke takes us to heart of the action.  We feel what it’s like to live each day with senses on high alert, waiting to be ripped apart by the accuracy of a sniper or a well-hidden bomb.  We enter the private world of soldiers ordered to hold the lines in an ancient quarrel they have little affinity for, but whose consequences are deadly.  We experience their emotions, fear, courage, humor, bravado and the anguish of death.

This expanded edition continues from where the print version ended, revealing the untold nightmare Clarke lived through having nearly died, with half his insides missing, suffering from PTSD and being expected to return to a “normal life”.  A story of the scars of war that affect generations.  Of heartache, courage and hope for peace.

“I am an ex soldier who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and this is an excellent account of what it was like. I only wish we had an officer like Captain Clarke.” pm, 5 Stars Amazon UK“.. its honesty and passion cannot be denied .. Mr. Clarke has sent out a powerful and disturbing early warning signal.” Maurice Leitch, Daily Telegraph.

“..a major contribution to our understanding of war and how people act .. Contact is the work of a brave writer.” Kevin Toolis, Irish News.

“As a civilian it’s hard to imagine what’s it’s really like to be a soldier in combat but this book opened my eyes. I highly recommend it …” KTHuffy, 4 Stars Amazon USA.

CONTACT was reviewed by soldiers who served with Captain Clarke as verification of his recollections.  It was first published in the UK in 1983 by Martin Secker & Warburg, was serialized for 5 days in The Mirror and became an instant best seller. In 1984 it was published in paperback by PAN Books, by Schocken Books New York and made into an award-winning BBC TV film.  And in 2012 came the expanded ebook edition, which all these years later is still selling strong.  Readers outside the UK are invited to visit Amazon.co.uk for soldier’s reviews and comments.

AFN Clarke is a full-time author and writes fiction of various genre – fast-paced thrillers (An Unquiet American), poignant human drama (Dry Tortugas), humorous satire (The Book of Baker Series - Dreams from the Death Age; Armageddon; Genesis Revisited), psychological horror (Collisions); and the Thomas Gunn suspense series (The Orange Moon Affair) with more coming soon. Visit the Amazon Kindle Store or afnclarke.com for further information.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Autobiography / Biography & Memoir

Rating – 18+

More details about the author

Connect with AFN Clarke on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.afnclarke.com/

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