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Clarke Wainikka: Floating on the Wild Side

When authors publish their first book, the pressure immediately begins for them to contemplate how they will approach the second book. This involves figuring out anything that went wrong in the first book and correcting it. The second book is also when the author finally comes into their own and realizes what they have. But it also often reminds them of their humble beginnings.

“I think the first point I decided I really wanted to take writing more seriously was when I lived in South Korea,” said Clarke Wainikka, author of The Resemblance, a thriller about a woman who gets caught in the middle of a murder mystery. “I lived there from 2017 into 2018 and I lived by myself. I didn’t write much during my time at University in Canada because I always felt like I didn’t have time. When I lived in Seoul, I had a strict teaching schedule with a spare at the same time every day. So I suddenly had the time to write. I made a goal to reach a minimum word count per day at the same time every day and that was what allowed me to finish my first novel.”

In the Resemblance, Louise Rickshaw has an abusive husband and she also deals with a charming neighbor, all the while attempting to put the pieces to a murder mystery.

“Louise represents a terrible reality for a lot of women,” she added. “I know how women are treated in today’s society so when thinking back to 1979, it’s hard to imagine how horrendous the treatment of abusive relationships really was. And the perception of it was another key part of basing the book in 1979. Many people just didn’t care if women got beat or cursed out or raped especially if it was by their own husbands.”

For her work on Louise Rickshaw, Wainikka detailed how she researched examples of women in abusive relationships, past and present, and gained some testimonials from multiple cases.

But as she has now had The Resemblance out for a full year, she prepares for a new book release. All Junkies Float officially will be out on June 1st, 2020.

“All Junkies Float is a project that I’m particularly excited for people to read,” Wainikka lamented “It’s a gripping psychological thriller that follows the story of Annette Baker, a struggling psychologist with a Xanax addiction. The novel takes place in the fictional town of Hacksaw, Alberta, which is loosely based on my hometown of Morden, Manitoba. I’ve tried to capture that rural ‘true north’ vibe in this novel and done my best to express how damn cold it gets up here.”

These two books have been individual stories with their own universe and their own setting.

“So far all of my projects have been one offs however, I’ve considered writing detective series for both The Resemblance and All Junkies Float,” she said. “I’m particularly attached to Detective Mason Radford in All Junkies Float and I’d really like to see him investigate more crimes in the future. Nothing in the works yet, but never say never!”

As Wainikka prepares to officially have two books published under her belt, she looks back at her humble beginnings and offers some advice for future writers.

“Accepting that failure is a part of the game has really helped me improve,” she said. “Allowing myself to grieve and be sad when it happens, but then picking myself up and moving on has kept me consistent and allowed me to complete four novels in the last three years. I remember reading through Lisa Jewells ‘Then She was Gone’ and I was so inspired by her use of perspective and verb tenses. It just reminded me that there are so many different options and different roads to a successful novel. Don’t play it safe. Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop.”

The goal for Wainikka right now is to establish herself and build her reader base. She would like to reach a wide audience that will be able to appreciate her work and see what it is all about. “I want people to be able to swim in the characters I’ve created and empathize with their stories,” she explained. “Of course, you know, I’d love that New York Times Bestseller ranking. That’s always been the big number one dream. But just having people read a book, a story or prose that I’ve written and telling me that they enjoyed it is gratifying enough. Success is subjective, but a stranger telling you that they loved the art that you poured your blood, sweat and tears into is objectively satisfying.”

Important Hotlines To Remember.

Assaulted Women’s Helpline, free at 1-866-863-0511 or TTY 1-866-863-7868

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 833 900 1010

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-330-6366

Kids Help Phone: 1 800 668 6868

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