About

My name is Gabriel M. Clarke. There’s another Gabriel Clarke but he’s a) a journalist b) not an aspiring YA fantasy author and c) doesn’t have an ‘M’. The ‘M’ stands for ‘Michael’.

I live in South London in one of those areas where the city threatens to turn into the suburbs but somehow draws back at the last moment. I’ve been with the same partner for a long time. We have a ten year old and a six year old. We had two much loved cats. At an advanced age, one vanished one night and the other simply pined away. We mourned, we grew, we discovered a gap in the house and space in our hearts and another cat moved in with us.

My current work-in-progress is yet another fantasy novel. There are teeth, betrayals, sorcery that bubbles out of the sea like natural gas and too-few fingers.

Here’s a random list of eight children’s writers I idolise in a God-I-Wish-I-Could-Do That sort of way:

  1. The peerless Diana Wynne Jones, who sadly died recently.
  2. Joan Aiken, best known for the Wolves of Willoughby Chase sequence
  3. Ursula Le Guin
  4. Philip Reeve
  5. J. K. Rowling (yes, I know, I know. But to leave her out would be a contemptible ‘too cool for school’ move)
  6. Rosemary Sutcliffe
  7. Neil Gaiman
  8. Tove Janssen
I try and read at least one YA or middle-grade novel a week, partly for study but mostly because I enjoy them. As a young teenager, I read every ‘juvenile’ novel Heinlein wrote and segued seamlessly into his ‘adult’ novels without really noticing the difference. I still feel the same way (and any sixteen year old who enjoys Diana Wynne Jones’ Stained Glass really ought to think about tackling Robertson Davies. Come to think of it, any adult who enjoys Robertson Davies should be reading Diana Wynne Jones).

I’ve got a small collection of guitars I haven’t picked up for five years and a badly atrophied set of song-writing muscles (use it or lose it). Then there’s the tarot cards and the unused Japanese archery equipment. I also have a day-job I’m quite passionate about but it really doesn’t belong here.

If we are what we do and say, I was a very different person before we had children.

I used to say that this blog was part of a recovery plan – an identity recovery plan and how I dreamt of being a writer from the moment I realised I could read. I still do but I’m confident that being a writer is an identity one claims through doing, not wishing. And I’ve been ‘doing’ for a while.*

*Dudelet, the ten year old, says I won’t really be a writer till I actually publish something and become an author. But he has every confidence in me.

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22 responses to “About

  • openpalm

    send me the ms. if you want comments, or not…i’ve given feedback to writers for the last 20 years, and would be happy to read for you.

  • dadwhowrites

    Thank you! I’ll seriously think about that – though more likely to be the second one. The first one I just want to get off my conscience. Problem is, it’s a novel of two intertwined halves and the first half is much more interesting than the second (or rather I’m obviously much more interested in the first half, as a friend of mine pointed out)

  • Karen Joy

    Ha! I googled “LC 15” before I saw that blurb on the upper RH corner of your blog. I’d never heard of Laney amps. Googled again, and saw that they’re English. Ah ha. Mystery solved.

    I think you need to un-neglect your guitars.

  • drawingdad

    I can relate a lot to what you’ve written above. For me it’s not music (although I wish I was musical), but the same “what happened to the person I used to be?” question resonates. As with most things, I suppose it’s a matter of striking a balance between being the dad you are now and the guy you were before. Trying to work that one out myself.

    You’re obviously a great writer, so thank you for getting your words out to the world.

  • lifeslightlyused

    Wow. Why haven’t I read this before? What better reason to blog 🙂

  • WackyMummy

    I’m also re-finding myself. And now finding new parts I didn’t know were there, maybe to substitute for parts I need to leave behind. You know? Glad we’re all on the same page. 😉

  • Phill

    That’s possibly the most interesting “about me” page I’ve ever read.

  • Craig McGill

    Hi, I’m thinking of trying to do a weekly UK Dad Podcast – would you be up for it? Drop me a note via craig@craig-mcgill.com if you do…

  • Beta Dad

    I’m glad that you’re finding a way to recover your identity, but now I’m a little worried about my own. I’m a stay-at-home dad to infant twins, and I was hoping that they were going to help me finally settle on an identity. I’ve had so many up to this point (including a guy who played a ’57 Les Paul Jr. through a Fender SuperReverb). I guess all identities are temporary.

  • Sophie Reed

    I wondered if you would be interested in exchanging links with a blog which we write for http://writersremorse.com?

    In return we just ask you to link back to us.

    If you are interested or have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    • dadwhowrites

      I’ve had this sitting in my pending tray for ages and couldn’t quite work out to respond.

      Basically, if I like a blog, I add to my blog roll or mention it or some such thing. Whether someone links to me or not doesn’t really have anything to do with it.

  • G

    When Dudelet is a teenager your testosterone levels will rise and you will instinctively start showing him how to be a competitive, aggressive, brave, rational, civic-minded sports fan. Right now you are in nurture-mode. But even nurturing types can do all of those aforementioned things, I guess.

    To me, this is a galling and all too common dilemma: ‘I want to do XYZ – at least I think I want to – so why do I never actually do it?’ I think that the honest answer is seldom ‘time’. But I don’t know what it is. You can set up some form of white-knuckle discipline, or you can go with the flow and see what surprising path you take – though maybe that path usually leads to the TV.

    I think that Buddhist monks are the most convincing example I’ve seen of healthy self-discipline. You see them do incredibly controlled, patient things like making those sand-mandalas that get immediately destroyed, and they never seem uptight or repressed or miserable. I need a dose of that. That kind of skillful mental discipline should be part of everyday life.

  • anna

    hey, just stumbled across your blog and loved reading your about me page. I have surprised myself by being a full time stay at home mum for quite a few years now and as my youngest approaches 2 1/2, I’ve been struggling a little bit with just how much they consume my every waking minute. It wasn’t until I read your page here that I realised this is probably why I started my own blog recently. That need to do something else!!!! I like how you write too!

  • elizabeth

    I like the new look, about page, etc.! And you have a name! Most excellent.

  • Femme au Foyer

    J’adore your About page! Very interesting and made me want to follow you.

  • ergeller57

    Beautiful blog. How is it that Pullman is not on your list? I am assuming that you have read “His Dark Materials” trilogy, of course. I can assume that, can’t I? No, not the movie. Please don’t mention the movie…

  • Kass_Kray

    Howdy! I really loved your writing style – very insightful work and a really intriguing bio/about page.

    I wanted to ask, would you be interested in having a chat about promoting your writing on a social media site called Blurtit.com that I’m launching? We’re a Q&A platform – and I’m really keen to get some talented bloggers involved in our community before we roll out to the rest of the world.

    If you’re interested, please email me at kass@blurtit.com and I’ll send you an invite code to have a snoop around the site!

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