This month, I introduce to you P.C. Darkcliff. An award-winning author with three standalone novels, “Deception of the Damned”, “The Priest of Orpagus” and his recent project, “Celts and the Mad Goddess”— the first installment of The Deathless Chronicle.
Darkcliff has been featured in various publications, and received an Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest for “A Poisoned Gift”. I feel honored to have shared a Table of Contents with Darkcliff on two separate occasions. In September 2020, he was Spillwords Author of the Month.
Having lived in six countries and on three continents, Darkcliff admits that that seminomadic lifestyle inspired most of his stories and novels. He and his wife are settled in southern Spain, where he swims and cycles whenever he’s not too busy writing and teaching English.
1. Tell us a little about your latest project.
This past October, I published Celts and the Mad Goddess, which is the first installment of The Deathless Chronicle. The book’s about a Celtic tribe facing an insane, pestilential rat-goddess. The whole series will span two millennia, from the first century to the near future.
2. What inspired this project?
Celts have fascinated me since I was little because of their bravery and their ties to the wilderness. They had such enthralling customs and beliefs that I knew I had to write about them. The Gaulish tribe of the Boii, which I featured in the book, is shrouded in mystery, which gave me the freedom to let my imagination fly and fill in the missing facts in whatever way I wanted. As a writer, I couldn’t ask for a better gift.
3. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would shout at the top of my lungs, “Stop thinking that plotting is for untalented losers, you pimply idiot!”
4. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Just one, actually. It’s the second draft of a standalone novel called The God of Madness, which is about an evil Egyptian deity and his immortal priestess. I might polish and publish it once I have finished The Deathless Chronicle.
5. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do some general research to get me going while writing the first draft. As I progress to the second draft, I read up more deeply on whatever I need for the book. I was lucky enough that a Celtic historian Kim Hood offered to read the draft of Celts and the Mad Goddess. She corrected several mistakes and provided some fascinating insights into Celtic life, which made the book much more real and interesting.
6. How many hours a day do you write?
I try to write for about three hours each morning before I go to work. On the weekends, when I have no other plan, I can write more than eight hours a day. Last May, when we were under a lockdown, I wrote a 50-thousand-word draft in three weeks.
7. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I always read them with a held breath, and I run and brag about the best ones to my girlfriend. Fortunately, I’ve only got one really bad review, for my debut, and I’m still bitter about it, two years later. The person who wrote it has a blog on erotica books, which seems to be the only genre she reads. I have no idea what she expected to find in a dark fantasy novel.
8. Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or e-books better? Why?
It took me a while to get used to e-books but now I love them because I can read at night on the balcony, using the inbuilt light. Also, they allow me to read while I am eating without having to hold the pages down with the plate.
9. What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written?
Once I wrote that my character had a chainmail shit. How much he had to suffer before I found and corrected it!
10. Tell us about your biggest achievement.
Last November, my short story, A Poisoned Gift, received an Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest. It’s a huge, international competition, so it came quite unexpectedly. I’m still over the moon!
11. How many drafts do your books generally go through before publication?
For my last book, I wrote two drafts and made about ten rounds of revisions. The first draft was just a skeleton, only half the length of the final product, and it was basically me telling myself the story. When I was done, I printed it out and wrote the second draft which I sent to my editor and my advance readers. When they got back to me, I changed the manuscript according to their comments and went through months of rereading and polishing.
12. What can you tell us about the future installments of The Deathless Chronicle?
I’m planning on seven or eight more books in the series, and I hope to publish an installment every nine months or so. Each book will skip a few decades or centuries and take the readers to the near future. The second book, Celts and the Gladiator, is coming out next summer. It’s set in Nero’s Rome, and I’m polishing the second draft for my editor. It was so much fun to write because Nero was such a crackpot!
I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the mind and mechanisms of Darkcliff, I know I did!
Below are links to three of Darkcliff’s recent novels. More to follow!
“We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants…”
― St Bernard of Clairvaux commenting on the spirituality of the Celts