If cake and tea or coffee keep you going on your writing path, then my interview with an author who likes the same might just interest you.
Claire Buss is a hard working author who keeps on writing no matter how difficult it might be to fit it all in!
Here’s what Claire had to say –
Have you always wanted to write, or did you want to pursue / did you pursue another career before writing?
I wanted to be Lois Lane when I was growing up, I’ve always been interested in telling stories and I used to write a lot of stories and poems as a child & teenager. Then I got a real world job and life overtook my dreams for a while. It wasn’t until 2015 when I entered a local writing competition that I found my writing passion again and discovered the confidence to keep going.
How do you motivate yourself?
Often I feel like I’m not doing enough and as a mum to a little boy with another bundle of joy on the way it can be difficult to find the time to write but I try to stay focused on my current projects. I celebrate small victories and try to give myself small chunks of work to achieve to keep me motivated. I try to follow the advice of writing everyday – whether that is physical words on a WIP or an hour spent editing. The important thing to remember is not to get too down hearted if you don’t achieve anything on one particular day.
What does your average writing day look like?
In theory … I get up around 6am, get that all important cup of tea and go through my emails & social media feed. I check my diary to see what reminders I have made myself for the day. Most of my day is spent being super-mum but usually I get an hour or so in the afternoon to work on my current WIP. I am very good at tuning out Postman Pat et al. Once little man goes to bed I either continue working on my WIP or go back to emails & social media – sometimes both! It doesn’t sound very productive but I don’t tend to write lots of rough drafts, I tend to work things out in my head before I start writing so I can get quite a lot done in the odd hour here and there.
Who is your inspiration, and why?
I’m inspired by other indie authors who work hard and are passionate about their writing. I’m also inspired by my favourite writers – people like Sir Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb and Ben Aaronovitch among others because they persevered and found success.
What was it like speaking at the Pen to Print Awards?
It was very exciting to be part of the Pen to Print Awards. I came second in the first year of the competition and went on to publish my debut novel, The Gaia Effect, so I was invited back to speak the following year. It was very inspiring to hear about other local authors and their writing stories as well as stand in front of them and share my author journey so far.
This is my vlog from the evening: https://youtu.be/tiK0e1IS8b4
Can you tell us more about Pen to Print?
Pen to Print is writing competition run by Barking and Dagenham council through Barking libraries and supported by the Arts Council. The purpose of the project is to build on the network of support for aspiring writers, identify local writing talent and provide opportunities to produce quality writing for publication. The creative writing project runs a series of workshops and masterclasses supported by established creative writing experts and authors.
Pen to Print offer several competitions – The Book Challenge, The Poetry and Short Story Competition, a Competition for Young Writers and new for 2017, the Playwriting Competition. Events and competitions are open to all residents, aimed at inspiring and encouraging aspiring writers, as well as providing entertainment to the wider reading public.
This is a link to the council’s page about Pen to Print:
Which of your books are you most proud of, and why?
Oooh – a tough one. I am very proud of The Gaia Effect because it is my debut novel however my second book – Tales of Suburbia, a collection of short stories, plays and blog posts that I put together and published by myself without any help. My latest book, The Rose Thief, is due for release in the Autumn and I’m really proud of having written another novel. I can’t wait to see how it will be received.
The Gaia Effect – http://amzn.eu/cOl3ekG
Tales from Suburbia – http://amzn.eu/09W086Z
Did your virtual book launch go well? What did it consist of?
I held a virtual book launch for The Gaia Effect on the 2nd January 2017 via Facebook and it was a lot of fun. I did some research beforehand to see the sorts of things other indie authors had done and wrote out my plan beforehand. I also prepped all the images, text and links I wanted to use so that I could just cut and paste to my schedule whilst also being able to respond and interact with people in real time. I invited Ian Ayris, Dagenham-based local author and also my mentor for the competition as well as established Penguin crime writer, Howard Linskey to be interviewed for the book launch and they were both brilliant. I shared all my social media links, writing tips, a PDF of the first chapter of the book as well as a YouTube video of me reading the second chapter and ran a competition for a signed copy. I think it went well and I’d definitely do it again. It meant that all my family and friends as well as fellow indie writers and lovers of books could join in, no matter where they were in the world.
Here are the highlights from the book launch:
How does it feel to have your book in libraries?
The first time I saw a copy of my book in the library I actually squealed. It was an amazing experience. The book has been read by the libraries book club and went down well, despite being a little different to their normal picks. I have been fortunate that my local library have also agreed to stock Tales from Suburbia as well.
This is a picture of my book on the shelf with some sci-fi greats:
You were a library competition finalist. Can you tell us more about that please?
It all started in November 2014 when I randomly noticed a poster in my local library window about a creative writing workshop. tried to get a place but they were fully booked. Oh well, I thought. A couple of days later I received an email asking if I wanted to attend a monthly Writers Workshop run by local author Ian Ayris. I leapt at the chance and found out about the Pen to Print Book Challenge. All I had to do was submit a first chapter by the end of January 2015. Easy I thought. The competition received over 60 entries and announced 8 finalists. I was chuffed to discover I made it as a finalist – Martina Cole shook my hand and told me I had a great premise. Then I found out I had to write the rest of the book and submit it by the end of August. Clearly I hadn’t read the small print!
Having made it as a finalist in the Pen to Print book competition I was given a mentor to help me through the book writing process. I was extremely fortunate to get Ian Ayris who was incredibly patient and encouraging as well as devoting a huge chunk of his own time to editing my book. Which I wrote about one or two chapters in front of the editing process. Nothing like giving yourself four months to write 60,000 words plus. It was at times both rewarding and challenging but I made it to the submission date and with pride had my novel, The Gaia Effect. I was both surprised and delighted to place second in the competition.
Do you get nervous before speaking at writing groups? If yes, how do you conquer your nerves?
In my previous life I used to work in marketing so I’m used to organising events, introducing speaks, talking with lots of different people from varied walks of life as well as presenting important sales information to the Board of Directors. I also taught IT skills to adult learners so I feel very comfortable talking in front of other people in a work related environment. Put me in a social event and it’s a very different kettle of fish!
Does being involved NaNoWriMo help your writing?
I took part in NaNoWriMo last year and used it to finish writing The Rose Thief so yes it was incredibly beneficial. If only it had run two months concurrently, perhaps I would’ve completed the editing just as swiftly! But sometimes I think editing takes a long time for a reason, you really have to understand your story & your characters, make sure you’ve done the absolute best you could for them.
Where do you get your ideas from regarding self promotion?
As I mentioned I do have several years experience working in marketing so I think I have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t. I try to be an active member in other indie writer groups, supporting them and getting ideas & tips from the self promotion they’ve been doing. These days there is so much out there it can be tough not to get overwhelmed by everything but I think if you pick a few channels you feel comfortable with and more importantly use them consistently then you can’t go wrong. It’s about building an interactive base with your reader rather than trying to constantly flog your book to anything that moves. This is the important bit, the sales will come in time.
Claire also wrote a blog post on winning the Raven Award for Favourite Sci -fi / Famtasy Novel from Uncaged Book Reviews. See it here – http://butidontlikesalad.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/raven-award-winner.html
Thank you so much to Claire for your great interview. Why not check out her books / blog now?