I am a Canadian living in the UK. My family moved around every few years when I was a child, from oil-town to oil-town, including northern Alberta, Alaska, and Newfoundland, until we settled in Calgary. It was in Calgary that I became a north-west girl: someone whose identity is bound up in wide open spaces, harsh winters, big skies, prairies and mountains. I was into camping in the Rockies and into wood-craft, having my own pair of snow-shoes, which I still own.
All this while being intensely bookish and academic, so it can be done! My academic side finally took me to England, where I did a D.Phil. and a post-doctorate at Oxford University.
I had the choice of staying in academia (mediaeval history) in Canada, or going for something new. I chose something new, mostly because I had fallen in love and, since she was heading for London, I went to London. Best decision I ever made.
I did a variety of jobs: designer, editor, rights manager, and copywriter in small feminist and independent publishing and book distribution, carpenter, a short time in a bookshop, a shorter time as a bodyguard, freelance editor, copywriting and, finally, designing and running websites, mostly for massive global companies.
My first published stories were science fiction. My first published novel was THE WOLF TICKET, not science fiction at all, but a lesbian love story set at the end of WWII. It's currently out of print, (but not (I hope) for long). I have written short stories for lesbian anthologies, and I publish poetry under a different name. You can find more about my other writing at my general author website: caroclarke.com.
I have travelled extensively, including Antarctica, the Gobi, Iceland, southern Russia, and Patagonia. If it involves a desert, the sea, or needing oxygen, I want to go! I also make a point of visiting the places covered by my books, so I have spent time in the Great Smoky Mountains area in Tennessee.
I still live in London with lots of books and my snow-shoes (so useful!), within easy stroll of Oxford Street and Hyde Park, in an residential area known as Little Venice, because it has 1½ canals.
My logo is the representation of a chaotic attractor. It was created by Valery Tenyotkin, who owns the copyright (I have paid for the use of it).
Why did I choose a chaotic attractor to represent my writing? The process of inspiration can seem without reason, a chance thing, randomly striking yet, like the universe, it has an underlying structure. In the case of human creativity, it also has an end-point, which is to enhance our lives. In the same way, chaos only seems random, but it is not. Chaos, in its scientific meaning, are combined behaviours that have an underlying order, which I find both comforting and mysterious.
Chaos, or rather chaotic systems, are unpredictable, but all of them have an end-point. This end-point is called the "attractor". The initial conditions completely determine how all the behaviours in a chaotic system will travel toward the attractor. The usual example, the flap of a butterfly's wings, never leads to unorganised nothingness, but to something also organised, such as a hurricane. It is the initial conditions that determine whether the butterfly's flap leads to the hurricane or a century of mild summers or you dropping that coffee cup.
All the changes of behaviour in a chaotic system can be mapped as dynamic x and y variables on a graph. If we draw lines between every mapped dot on the coordinates, we can follow the movement of the behaviours. The journeys these lines make might seem random, sometimes looping back again and again, densely filling in one section of the chart, something leaving whole sections alone, but nevertheless they all end up at the attractor their initial conditions dictated, or to say it another way, the ending the initial conditions created as soon as they came into being.
To me, this iron law of arrival is the essence of the the initial inspiration. To have an opening scene flash upon your inner eye is to inescapably know, have already delivered the entire story to its ending. My task, once I have been hit with that first lightning, is to work and work until I have uncovered every point of every journey of every part of the story: each character, the underlying themes, the connections that demand cohesion, the best words, in short until I have charted the story I did not at first fully understand or even grasp. It is the story's inescapable, powerful attractor that drives me forward until I must, until I finally do, reveal its true and full self.