“Write what you know” is the usual advice to aspiring writers, and that’s exactly what gave C. Hope Clark the inspiration for her first mystery novel. It worked again for her second book, and she has just done it again for her third.
Clark is the author of a three-book mystery series centering around an agricultural agent named Carolina Slade who in the first book, Lowcountry Bribe, falls in love with a federal investigator.
Not coincidentally, Clark spent 25 years working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture involved in programs that provided loans and grants to farmers. When she encountered an apparent bribery attempt, she worked with two federal investigators — and ended up marrying one of them, Gary Clark.
Even her protagonist’s last name came easily. It’s a branch of Clark’s family tree.
So is Carolina Slade her alter ego? Clark acknowledges pulling from her experiences, but “reality is not as exciting as fiction needs to be.”
Clark, who lives on the banks of Lake Murray, took early retirement from the Department of Agriculture about 10 years ago to devote herself to writing. Her first novel was set in Edisto and appeared in 2012. The second, Tidewater Murder, appeared last year and was set in St. Helena.
Her new release, Palmetto Poison, takes place in Pelion and Columbia, and Slade investigates a web of lies and murder.
Clark will be signing her books from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on May 31 at Books on Broad in Camden. All three have been published by Bell Bridge Books.
Clark could be branching out soon.
“I’ve been contacted by a film agent who’s fallen in love with Carolina Slade, and is hotly pursuing a cable TV series that will hopefully come to fruition,” she says. “The ink has been dry on the contract for about two days now. Exciting stuff!”
Aside from her novels, Clark has been published in a wide variety of magazines.
She also manages an email newsletter service called fundsforwriters.com, which specializes in providing leads on writing for pay. The website reports more than 45,000 subscribers. It has been chosen by Writer’s Digest for its list of 101 Best Websites for Writers.
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