Today we travel to the south of England to interview author Clare Revell.
Clare is a British author of inspirational romantic suspense. Her faith, love of romance, crime, mystery and drama combine to help her spin her yarns. Her books describe a triangular relationship between two people and God. She has been published by White Rose Publishing/Pelican Books, Every Day Fiction and Thaumantrope.
Clare has written Season For Miracles (2010), Saving Christmas (2010), Cassie’s Wedding Dress (2011), Time’s Arrow (Christmas 2011), Kisses from Heaven (2011), After The Fire (2012) Monday’s Child (2012) Tuesday’s Child, Wednesday’s Child, Thursday’s Child, Friday’s Child, Saturday’s Child, Sunday’s Child, and An Aussie Christmas Angel (Dec 2012)
Her favorite authors are Marianne Evans, Delia Latham, Mary Manners, and KM Daughters. She also enjoys reading Tom Clancy and the Left Behind series.
Now, let’s get right in to the interview with the prolific Clare Revell!
Jim: Can you tell us a little about yourself, Clare?
Clare: Yes… Oh you mean details LOL. Okay, I’m married, coming up on twenty years this year. I have 3 kids, aged 17, 16 and 13. I’m also a registrar for my church. I love cheese, tea- hot sugary tea which has to be drunk while boiling hot.
Jim: What do you do when you aren’t writing?
Clare: Sleep LOL. No I watch some TV – mainly cop shows. I LOVE Flashpoint, Rescue Special Ops, Sea Patrol, Without A Trace, Murdoch Mysteries… Hmmm, I see a pattern. Men… In… Uniform 😀
Jim: Do you have a day job?
Clare: I work 7.15am to 9am in a local school doing Breakfast Club. We have between 18 and 32 kids a day, aged 4-11 years. We do a craft activity, physical activity and offer a healthy breakfast.
Jim: When did you start writing, and when did you finish your first book?
Clare: I started writing at age 5 according to the school books Dad kept. Several rewrites of Little Red Riding Hood. Even then I had a proper villain LOL. The first proper original story called The Boat was a school project when I was 14. (Stay tuned for news on this one.) In between and since then I’ve done fan-fiction – Blake’s Seven, Stargate SG1 mainly. The first one I sat and consciously wrote started life in 2002 as The Beach. In 2007 it was completely rewritten as Piece of Sky. Last year I tweaked it and it’s now published as Monday’s Child.
Jim: From where do the ideas for your stories come?
Clare: I wish I knew. Sometimes TV shows throw up a line that grabs my attention, or a beach I’m walking on (that’s where Monday’s Child came from) or a view from a mountain top.
Jim: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Clare: Yes. Normally immediately after finishing a book. It’s like my mind shuts down for a week and needs a rest. Not a good idea when I’m working to a deadline. But then I’ll write a short story or something silly for a while.
Jim: Do you outline or write “by the seat of your pants”?
Clare: Both. I usually have a vague idea or even a synopsis, but you can guarantee the characters will turn around and change things. Or something totally unscripted will happen. Like a tornado.
Jim: What author or book influenced you most in your writing?
Clare: I got my love of mysteries from Ellis Peters and Tom Clancy and romance from Danielle Steel.
Jim: What challenges did you face in getting your book published?
Clare: Years of rejection. Even had one m/s tossed back and forth with an editor for a year before getting a no. But I persevered and finally found a home with Pelican Book Group.
Jim: If you had to go back and do it again, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published you’d do differently?
Clare: I’d stick to what I know and not try to put stuff in a book that I’m not comfortable with writing.
Jim: How do you market your work? What works best for you?
Clare: Tough one. I put them on Facebook and Twitter and I’ve tried the local library, book store, even Christian book store, but they don’t want to know. So I stick to where my publisher sends them which is Amazon and several other online retailers.
Jim: What was your favorite part of this story to write?
Clare: I think it was the scene where Sara and Luke are decorating the Christmas tree. That and where she is telling him how to drive. It was hilarious with Luke speaking American and Sara constantly correcting him and trying to get him to speak proper English.
Jim: Do your characters lead you on merry chases, creating new plots or do you have to pull it out of them?
Clare: All The Time. Just when I think I know what’s going on, they chuck a spanner in the works. Or the villain turns out to be not so bad after all, and the real villain is someone even I didn’t realize to start with. Or something will happen and it’s not until later that I realize why.
Jim: Why this story? What was your inspiration?
Clare: Aug 2002 we were on holiday in the chalet park in the book and walking along the beach at the start of the story and I thought it’d be a great place to hide someone. Miles from anywhere – hiding in plain sight kind of thing. I bought a notebook and started writing and that was it. Often characters change their names mid story, but Sara and Luke didn’t.
Jim: Tell us about your writing environment. Is it messy or neat? Is there a cat on the desk or a dog at your feet? Do you use pen and paper, laptop?
Clare: Like this 😀 First draft hand written, 2nd draft being typed up. Tea, phone, tissue for the sad bits and my back to the TV. The green post-it-note has a list of chapter numbers and what page said chapter starts on so they are all roughly the same length.
Jim: What about your process? Do you produce consistent daily or weekly word counts or do the words rush out all at once and leave you with a dry spell?
Clare: When writing to a deadline, I aim for 2500 words a day. Sometimes I manage 1000, sometimes its 15000! It depends really on how many kids are under my feet. Whether the TV is on in the back ground, which child is killing the other etc.
Jim: What project are you working on now?
Clare: I’m working on two LOL. Sunday’s Child – the last of my contracted series, but I’ve just finished something I’m going to submit and hope for the best with. I’m also writing a short about a DJ – using my radio interview last Oct as the basis for it.
Jim: What was the toughest criticism you received as an author? What was the best compliment?
Clare: Toughest was a rejection I got a year or so ago. I submitted something and got told it was awful. Got told I couldn’t write for toffee and I should give up now. The best compliment is just someone really liking it and giving me a glowing review for something. My aim is to bring glory to God through what I write. It’s for Him, not me.
Jim: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Clare: Don’t give up. Write what you know. Join a writing group and find someone to read and critique your work while you do theirs. Oh and spell check is your friend.
Jim: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Clare: Thank you. 😀 And if you really like what you read, take a couple minutes to put a review on Amazon. It makes all the difference when others know what you think. Course it helps me too, knowing what works and what doesn’t.
You can find me on Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B005NZT2O2
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005NZT2O2
Pelican Book Group – (pick my name from the drop down box on the left) http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/
And here – http://www.revell124.plus.com/clarerevell/
And Thank you Jim for having me here.
I appreciate Clare coming to talk with us today. Having read her book After the Fire I can heartily recommend her books. Go out, or get online today and order today. I promise, it’s a decision you won’t regret!
Thanks so much for having me here, Jim. The interview was great fun 🙂
You are most welcome, Clare! It was fun, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have for my inaugural interview. Thank you so much for doing it.
Great Interview, Clare. Don’t work to hard today!
Thanks Sharon 🙂 In the middle of making marmalade atm. Thought I’d heated enough jars but I hadn’t.
Isn’t writing such a quirky business to be in? I can’t think of anyone who would enjoy the routine rejection entails… But God wired us to pen stories and weave tales so we obey and do it all over again. Loved reading this interview. Good job!
Thanks for stopping by, Susan. Yes, we must tell the stories and the rejection figures prominently in the stories we tell about writing.
Thanks Susan. It was strange being on the other side of the interview for once. And I came so close to throwing it all in after that rejection, but I’m glad I didn’t.
Great interview Clare! Congrats on all of your successes & may God bless you with more!
Thanks for stopping by and for your comments, Pam!
🙂 Thanks Pam.
Clare, I just adore you!! This line of the interview was priceless: <<>> OK — “chuck a spanner” — tell me about that phrase – it’s awesome! Second, I can totally relate. My characters tend to take over the wheel of the story and I start screaming at them: “You can’t do that! Nicola will kill me for diverting from the contracted synopsis!!” LOL!!! Thanks so much for the lovely compliment of being one of your favorite authors. As you know full well, my dear, you’re absolutely one of mine as well. XO – blessings, and keep shining for HIM!! You’re writing rocks!
Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Marianne. I hope Clare will pop around soon and respond to all the comments.
Thanks Marianne. Nicola quite often kills me when the word snuck sneaks into my manuscripts lol. Chuck a spanner in the works, means to derail something completely and ruin it. Or set if off on a new course.
If you are from the US, Marianne, a spanner is a wrench. I think we say “throw a monkey wrench” into the works.
Well, boo. It ate the quote I copied. You were referring to your characters, and it read: Just when I think I know what’s going on, they chuck a spanner in the works. 🙂
That’s a lovely phrase, isn’t it Marianne?
I so love putting Brit-isms in my writing. Not just cos it throws the Americans lol, but cos all my stories are based in the UK
Hey there, rockin’ writer across the way. Terrific interview. I can hear your voice in your writing and would love to sit down over tea. But if it’s boiling, isn’t the cup too hot? I’d burn my lips. Enjoyed this…
LoRee, thanks for stopping by today and taking time to comment. I’d like to take a cuppa with Clare, too, but I can’t take it that hot!
All my cups have handles. I have a wonderful set of London Underground mugs, each one a dif colour for each tube line. And we’ll definitely have to sit down over tea one day.
Really great interview! Now I want to read her books!
Thanks so much for your visit. Go on, read her books. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Thank you 🙂 Hope you enjoy any that you do read.