Author Spotlight: Brenda W. Clough

  • a science-fiction and fantasy writer

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Brenda W. Clough!

Brenda W. Clough, the first Asian female SF writer, spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. She has lived in Laos, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Germany. She returned to Pittsburgh, PA to earn a degree in English/Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University in 1977.

Several years working as a meek mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newsletter enabled her to write a fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown. And she’s been publishing new stories ever since. Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer was set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest.

Now she’s now dipping into historical fiction with eleven volumes of Victorian thriller.

Brenda, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

It would be great fun to have an owl like Archimedes, Merlin’s pet owl in THE SWORD IN THE STONE. Archimedes was of course as intelligent as a person, and could talk. Also he did pest control!

Oooh! What a fun choice. Does that make Archimedes a pet… or a friend, though?

What do you write? And how did you get started?

You write what you read, you know. I’ve read fantasy and SF since as long as I can remember, so it came easily, to write it. Time travel novels got me into developing a convincing historical ‘voice’. I wrote a Hugo and Nebula-finalist novella, “May Be Some Time,” which was from the point of view of Titus Oates, an Edwardian explorer. From there it was easy to write the Edge to Center trilogy. Then I realized that no one had ever done a proper sequel to THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins. Since there ought to be more novels about Miss Marian Halcombe, I wrote them.

I find it fascinating to see how what you wrote before leads into your future works.

What do you like to read?

At this exact moment I am reading books about water sports — competitive swimming, water polo, and so on. Research for a novel!

What a fun genre of sports to read about! Research is never-ending.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.


I do no planning. I never outline, do worldbuilding, create battle plans or character lists, nothing. I am a pantser born, flying without strings or a net. When I write a book, I have no idea what will happen next. The characters know, and the Muse knows, and eventually the word gets around to me.

The very thought terrifies me, but amazes me when I see the results.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Fix it in the edits.

This is allied to being a pantser: the work is forged in the rewrite. The first draft is just that, a rough sketch of the work to come. Everything can be fixed in the rewrite. 

That seems to be a favorite piece of advice for many writers, but especially pantsers. I wonder why… *wink*

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Marian Halcombe

Marian Halcombe by Brenda W. Clough

The most dangerous woman in Europe meets the greatest danger of all: love.

Miss Marian Halcombe thrilled the world In Wilkie Collins’ Victorian best-seller THE WOMAN IN WHITE.

In this sensational sequel, Marian uses all the wits and wiles she learned then to save her husband Theo Camlet from charges of bigamy and then murder. Women are supposed to be rescued in her world, but Marian fights to rescue everything she loves: her husband and her happiness.

The River Twice

The River Twice by Brenda W. Clough

Calla Ang expects to be the next president of her Southeast Asian country, until a charming time traveler from Victorian England sweeps her into a dangerous tangle of overlapping realities.

Calla Ang has always known her own power. Her grandmother is the dictator of Jalanesia in Southeast Asia, and Calla’s future is to follow in her footsteps.

But after the Victorian time traveler Jack Wragsland invites her to 1867 to show Charles Darwin what a real scientific revolution looks like, Calla returns to the 21st century to discover Jalanesia is no longer the country she knew. As she and Jack thread their way deeper into an interlocking maze of alternate realities, there always seems to be a second chance…until suddenly there isn’t.

The only certainty Jack and Calla have as the universes change is each other. But if she can’t learn to handle power wisely, then even love will not be enough to save Calla, Jack, or her country.

The first volume in the EDGE TO CENTER time travel trilogy.

Revise the World

Revise the World by Brenda Clough

He said, “I am just going outside and may be some time.” He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since.

On March 16, 1912, British polar explorer Titus Oates commits suicide by walking out of his tent into an Antarctic blizzard, to save Robert Falcon Scott and the other members of the English exploration team. His body is never found — because he was snatched away into the year 2045 by scientists experimenting with a new faster-than-light drive.

The first section of this novel appeared as a novella in Analog Science Fiction magazine (April 2001) under the title “May Be Some Time.” It was a finalist for both the Nebula and the Hugo awards.

How Like a God

How Like a God by Brenda W. Clough 133x200

What would it be like, to get absolute power?

Would you wear a cape and fight crime? Rule the planet? Or perhaps you would be like Rob Lewis, and watch your world collapse around you. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? Rob is going to find out.

Check Brenda W. Clough out across the web!

Website | BVC Authors | Facebook


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