At My Desk: JT Clay


Having written a few books and published one, I have realised my writing weaknesses include story and description. They’re major drawbacks for a novelist, but at least I spell good.

So I’ve worked hard on story and structure over the years. I use various tools to storyboard a book and keep a two-page outline of key events above my desk.


I also transform my wall into a photo board to give me a sense of place and keep my physical descriptions consistent. At the moment, I’m working on a time travel farce set in the Jazz Age (with help from an ACT Government Arts Grant).


Much like a serial killer, I collect souvenirs of my main characters. In my current novel, this battered silver cigarette case is the only link between a rich orphan and his mysterious past. This survival kit belongs to Q, the hero of my RomZomCom, A Single Girl’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (on Amazon and Momentum).


I use paper and digital manuscripts when I’m redrafting. This way I can look at three versions at once – the one with scribbled notes, the one I’m rewriting and the perfect vision that exists in my head. I envy Terry Pratchett’s six-screen editing technique, but not as much as I envy his sales.

I like keeping pot plants. When it’s not going well, I leave water nearby, where they can see it but not reach it.

I also share my study with a kelpie and a blind maltese. Some days, I feel like it’s all gone to the dogs.


And yes, the grammatical error in my first paragraph is intentional. I meant ‘their’, not ‘they’re’.



About the Author:
J.T. Clay worked in counter-terrorism and law, then switched to waste management, which generated much more dinner-party debate. People care about rubbish. She now works as a technical writer and is finishing her second book, a time-travel farce. Her first book, A Single Girl’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, came out in 2013. J.T. lives in Canberra, which she claims is not as dull as people say, but she’s notorious for making things up.



Find J.T. Clay online:



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