I’ve been thinking about starting a new feature for awhile now and I’m so excited to start today! I was inspired in part by Aimee at Hello Chick Lit and her post about book bloggers supporting other book bloggers. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and I’ll be incorporating my support for other bloggers in the coming weeks. Every Saturday I’ll be doing some sort of shoutout post highlighting something or someone book related. It may be one of my favorite bloggers, a specific book, a publisher, etc. If anyone else wants to participate feel free, I think this will be fun!
For my very first week I’m delighted to bring you a Q & A from Claire Seeber the amazing author of The Stepmother. I read her book a couple months ago and really liked it, especially the unique take on the tale of Snow White.
1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.
I write when the kids are at school; I like the early mornings in theory, my brain seems to work better – but I have to wait ‘til I’ve got everyone out from under my feet! My perfect environment would be a lovely garden with coffee on tap, not too hot but sunny! I’m very lucky that I have a fantastic view onto our garden & a little park behind with a duck pond, swans and herons flying around.
2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?
I worked in TV as a director for years and whilst doing that, started writing features for the broadsheets. I also started a screenplay & a novel that didn’t get much past a chapter but turned out to be my 2nd thriller, BAD FRIENDS. It’s about a TV producer being stalked.
3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?
I guess for the kind of thriller I’ve been writing since around 2004 when I started LULLABY, my first book just after having my first baby, it would be Daphne du Maurier & then Nicci French seemed to be doing a new kind of thriller. My guilty pleasure was always Jilly Cooper so maybe I mixed a bit of that kind of comic romance thing in too!
4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?
Oooh….it’s all a bit up in the air at the moment: I’ve written something quite different which might come out under a different name. That’s a secret though!
5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters?
Brief us on your process. I usually have a germ of an idea that’s been hanging around for a while. I write everything down in a notebook because otherwise I forget, and then when it comes to writing a new book, I discuss it briefly with my agent or editor.
6. Favorite character from one of your own novels?
I do like DI Joe Silver who is in LULLABY & FRAGILE MINDS. He’s no nonsense, straight talking & slightly tormented – but the ladies love him! Rose Miller was probably my favourite ‘heroine’ from NEVER TELL, and I like her son Freddie too who was definitely modelled on my boys!
7. Preferred method for readers to contact you?
Twitter/ Facebook/ through my website – though not sure my email on that works very well! I’m useless with technology.
8. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote THE STEPMOTHER quite quickly as I was under real time constraints: it was 6 months from start to finish probably. It meant I could focus my mind.
10. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?
Good question! Rose Miller, probably, or parts of Laurie in 24 HOURS, who was tormented by loving the wrong person, which is something so many of us do. It’s not based on my first marriage though, as many people assumed! My ex was nothing like Sid.
11. If writing wasn’t your career what would you be doing?
I’m training in psychology/ to be a counselor, so that’s something I’m really interested in. If I went back to school and started again, I’d prob do a job like Rose Miller did, e.g. be a foreign news correspondent trying to bring vital news to the world. Or something useful. I’d like to say a doctor, but just didn’t have the right logical mind for that.
12. What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?
Any time someone contacts me and says they really enjoyed something I’ve written, that’s enough for me! Or if the subject moves them because it’s something they’ve been through, I am really pleased. A really top agent said something I’d written (not a thriller) reminded her of some truly classic books and that brought tears to my eyes.
13. I adore the cover for The Stepmother did you have in part in the design?
Thank you! I can’t take credit: I talked it through with my editor Keshini; she always wanted a mirror as the working title was ‘Mirror Mirror’, but the first image didn’t work apparently, and then they came up with the idea of the rose. It’s very striking isn’t it?
14. Was there any specific topics or issues you researched for The Stepmother?
I know a lot about stepfamilies as I grew up in one, and now am a stepmother (sort of, we’re not actually married). I read a lot of versions of Snow White too. I also looked at current affairs for the Marlena side of the book; I knew quite a lot about the Leveson enquiry because of my journalistic roots, and I was interested in the idea of regrets over phone hacking. I would like to explore that more actually.
You can find Claire on social media here:
Thanks so much to Claire for taking the time to join me! Also to Kim at Bookouture who is just a star.