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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Interview with Clare London

Thank you, Clare London, for agreeing to an interview on Eternal Press Blog.

EP: When did you seriously sit down, and say to yourself, I’m going to write a novel?

Clare: I started one around ten years ago, but with no plan or outline – just the characters in my head! And when it continued to grow, that’s when I discovered the pleasure of writing a longer work. That’s when I thought – I can call this a novel!

EP: What do you find the most difficult to write? Dialogue? Back story?

Clare: It’s all difficult except for the dialogue, actually! I love writing the ‘voices’ of the characters – I like letting that take the story. I even write some short stories with nothing BUT dialogue. It’s fun, and a good discipline to make sure you have enough differentiation between the speakers for the readers to follow it.

EP: Have you ever found that you didn’t like your Hero or your Heroine? If so, what did you do to change that?

Clare:LOL I admit I wrote a novel once where the ‘bad’ guy shone as much as the hero – so I thought I might start a novel for him alone. Then I struggled with trying to make him likeable enough to be sympathetic to a reader – and to me as well! I think it worked, though the novel’s unfinished.

EP: If you were to start again, with the knowledge you have now, what would be the first thing you do?

Clare: Format as I go. LOL That first novel I referred to above? I wrote the whole darned thing with the wrong kind of speech marks and other odd formatting, so now I’m hacking through the whole lot to make it readable.

On a more serious note, I’d spend more time outlining, too. It’s fine writing by the seat of your pants when you have time and the Muse is sitting and smiling and drinking coffee by your side. But when the rest of life crowds in and the Muse decides to go visit friends on the other side of the planet… well, I’d appreciate having something to organize my thoughts and keep me pointed in the right direction!

EP: Do you have the support of friends and family? Meaning, do they understand when you are writing that you cannot be disturbed? Or do you have friends that think since you’re home, you don’t work?

Clare: The family are great – though my teenage sons roll their eyes at the whole weirdness of a mother who’s an author. But I still work full-time, so the writing happens in my spare time. Like that ever happens at all LOL. They’re supportive in theory, but it’s difficult to write on the dining room table when the phone’s ringing, the timer’s going off for dinner, Son#1 is practicing ‘Smoke on the Water’ on his electric guitar, and Son#2 wants to describe every plot detail of a TV program to me – as it happens!

The only good thing is now my husband does a lot of his work at home in the evenings too – we actually spend MORE time together, with dueling laptops on the table!

EP: What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your career?

Clare: Self-esteem. Believing I am an author, and people DO like my books and my writing, and that it can reach many others. And second to that is learning to market myself – methinks that’s connected to the first one LOL

EP: What genre do you write? Do you write more than one, if so, what?

Clare: I write mainly M/M romance and erotica. My novel-length works have other relationships in them – to reflect life, of course – but the central protagonists are men. I‘ve also written in other genres – I have a women’s fiction short story with Eternal, and I’m still smartening up that novel I mentioned above (ad nauseam). And I’d love to write a crime novel one day!

EP: How do you research for your books?

Clare: I research as I need it – the important thing for me is getting the characters right and what happens to them emotionally and romantically. I wrap the setting around them after that. I’m prone to ring up friends late at night with obscure questions, just because once they worked somewhere or knew of something that’ll be useful for my story! And, of course, God bless the internet. The greatest fun recently was posting up a request on my blog for anyone who might know about dentistry equipment – I got three very useful answers!

EP: How do you develop your characters?

Clare: They appear in my head as the people they are – I then throw them together and see what happens. Mix in some external conflict with their own personal confusions, and off I go.

EP: Are any of your characters a person you’d like to be? If so which one?

Clare: I want to be Felix, a character I’m writing a novel about at the moment. He’s a bit perplexed with life, looking after his family, struggling to hold down a job, tolerant of most things – and then he meets a spirit friend Bryn who throws several spanners into the works of his careful life! But I love his character, feisty but cautious, essentially loving.

Don’t we all associate with our most recent characters? I think I do.

And no snide comments about me wanting to be a man, from anyone out there! LOL I know the clothes won’t fit.

EP: Who inspired you to write?

Clare: The women in my family! My grandmother died 18 years ago – the year my son#1 was born – but she always bought me books. Some of the most vivid fictional memories I have are from those early books. And my mother, who didn’t necessarily take all the career paths she would have wanted to, has always encouraged me in pursuing whatever I wanted to do. And recently my sister said how proud she was of me, seeking out another career (a bit) later in life.

EP: What is the most humorous writing experience you’ve ever had?

Author: Apart from dropping my notebook in the bath on a regular basis, groping for it when the inspiration hits me? I think the most recent was last summer, I had to finish the first four chapters of a new, already contracted novel and I had to knuckle down to it. We had a family holiday in Dorset at a bed and breakfast, and my husband took the boys out so that I could sit quietly – no internet access! – and finish it. He came home to find me surrounded by the landlady’s family, the two year old grandson crawling under my feet, the daughter and son-in-law arguing in the kitchen, and the other daughter (an artist) sitting cross-legged on the floor, making glitter paintings and getting it everywhere, including on the dog! Oh, and me reading one of my short stories aloud to them all…

They were very intrigued to have an author staying with them – even if ‘she’ didn’t get much writing done!

EP: If a new writer came to you for advice what would you tell them?

Clare: Write. Sounds trite, but it’s what I was always told. The more you write, the more you want to write, the more you hone yourself. And then it gets to the stage where you HAVE to write – or that’s how I feel. And I’d tell them to write whatever they like and enjoy and will bring them pleasure. I believe an author writes for themselves first.

EP: Do you have a book coming out? If so what? Do you have a web site? Do you have a blog? My space?

Clare: Well, I’ve had a very exciting time since I started submitting for publication. This month saw the launch at Eternal Press of My Own Wings, a short story in the women’s fiction genre, a tale that I hope readers will find gentle, sweet and life-affirming. I have a m/m novel coming out in June and another contracted with another publisher, plus two short stories – and I’m an unapologetic entrant to contests, so look out for me in other places soon!

And you can find me here…

Clare’s website : www.darkpearldiva.com
Clare’s blog : http://claredivatoo.livejournal.com/
Also : www.myspace.com/clarelondon
And : www.authorsden.com/clarelondon

Thank you, Clare, for taking the time to answer our questions for the Eternal Press blog. Good luck with your writing.

Great to talk to you all!

11 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Clare,

Thanks for sharing!

Dialogue's the HARDEST thing for me.

I love reading about our different paths to the page.

All the best to you!

Tessa Buxton said...

I thought I'd drop by and show my support,
another m/m novel apart from that which we cannot name, do I know about that one, or is it that one that you were fretting about last week.

Jaime Sams said...

Hi, Clare!

I can relate to so much of that! The kids and the glitter and....

Yeah.

Can't wait for your forthcoming books!

Jaime Samms (a.k.a. dontkickmycane)

Ginger Simpson said...

I never expected I would enjoy a m/m romance, but Clare changed my mind. She writes with emotion and depth that reel you into the story. Heck, I almost thought she was a man at first, the feelings are so vivid.

I also never expected to find such a great friend on the internet, but I did when Clare and I joined up with EP. It was wonderful to learn more about her here. We've talked a lot about our 'author side' but this gave me a sneak peek into the wife and mother role she plays. Like I said...some of my best friends are people I've never personally met, and EP authors.

Ginger

Sloane Taylor said...

Great interview, Clare. It's good to hear your family supports you. That can be the toughest for an author.

Molly Daniels said...

LOL Clare:) I also forget my friends aren't always on the same wavelength as me, and frequently catch them off guard with questions like, 'when you were dating so-and-so, what was his reaction when you (fill in the blank)?" Or, "Have you ever had a customer flash you at work?" Their first reaction is, "Huh? What the hell are you talking abou...oh my God! You actually remember me telling you that?"

Ha ha!

Tabitha Shay said...

Great interview Clare,
but coming from you, I'd not expect less. You're such a wonderful author with your own unique style. Good luck with all your novels and keep those Cheeky Cherubs coming....they are adorable..Tabs

Rita Karnopp said...

Hi, Clare..... I knew you wouldn't find 'dialog' hard... :) Very interesting interview...
hugs,
Rita Karnopp

Rawiyaparand said...

Fabulous interview, Clare. Thanks for linking it from your LJ.

Do I know this 'bad guy' who's getting his own story? *bats eyelashes* I really hope it's who I think it is. (Starts with an M...)

I'm glad that you've got the support of your family; and even though the boys roll their eyes, they think you're cool, don't worry!

1more-sickpuppy said...

Hi! I came over from LJ of course. Loved the B&B story, how you were reading aloud to all those people. Whenever I've written something fictional, even for school, I was always extremely embarrassed to have to let someone else read it. I'm so glad you don't mind sharing yours! :)
Just a thought, have you heard of the LJ comm shared_wisdom? It's for writers and readers to talk, share & help each other etc, and while it's been quite fanfic oriented so far (many 'speakers' have been QueerAsFolk-ers) that's in no way stipulated.
Ok, fun to see this interview, and don't worry - that woman's sexy bum wasn't really so sexy... haha.
Cheers/Josie

Jenn said...

I'm here though Clare's LJ and just wanted to marvel at what a great interview she gives.

Clare, I've known since reading "Six of the Best" that you are going to have a long and fruitful career as an author. Good luck with everything! - Jenn (Sin)