I recently got a very exciting offer that I couldn’t refuse, and that was to host Clare on the blog tour for her new book release, Reaper’s Rhythm. As I was lucky enough to read this book in advance of its release, I was only too happy to oblige. So, without further ado, here’s the transcript of our little virtual chat…
Hi Sharon, thanks for letting me stop by for a chat.
Q. I have my magical pink writing cardigan. Do you have any writing rituals or things that you like to have around you to help focus you when you sit down to a WIP?
A pink writing cardigan sounds lovely and comfortable.
I’m not sure I have any rituals exactly, but I always sit in the same chair (from Ikea) and I’ll often have the TV on for background noise. I love distractions and hate silence. Obviously I always have my laptop. If I have a reference picture for a character or scene, I’ll make sure that’s visible somewhere too.
Q. I know that you have an incredibly demanding home life with your day job and family, how do you balance that with your life as a writer?
By neglecting my husband? Actually at the moment it helps that my husband is working away during the week. Yes, I miss him like crazy, but it means that for three evenings every week I’m home alone (I have friends over on the fourth), which gives me time to write, edit, format, or work on marketing/promotion. My daughter also gets three free pre-school hours each day, so on my two days off a week, I get that block of time for writing and related stuff, too. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to juggle things quite as well over the summer holidays, though!
Q. The premise for Reaper’s Rhythm is a highly original one. Can you remember the exact moment when the initial idea came to you? Where were you and what were you doing?
I’m glad you like the premise. I was at home, sitting in my chair, feeling pretty down about writing. I’d been waiting for feedback on another WIP (which never came. To be honest, I don’t blame the critique either), which was a mid-grade urban fantasy. I decided I needed a “for fun” project to get myself out of my writing funk, so challenged myself to write a darker version of the story, in first person present tense. As it was a fun project, I just started writing about two sisters, walking home on a dark winter night. The story evolved from there. For ages, I referred to the two stories as “light Kim” and “dark Kim”. As you’ve probably guessed, “dark Kim” won and became Reaper’s Rhythm.
Q. Your covers are quite striking, almost vintage in feel. How closely do you work with your designer to realise your vision?
Thanks! I love both my book covers too, which is why I’ve continued to work with the same illustrator and I’ve commissioned extra bits of artwork for both Reaper’s Rhythm and Trinity. With both books, I gave him the blurb, some character details and my own vision of the cover. For Reaper’s Rhythm, I also gave him reference photos for Kim and Matthew. He then works with that to produce a pencil sketch for me to approve (or not). He sends me several “in progress” versions, so I can make suggestions or ask for any changes along the way. I’m really lucky that my illustrator, Bramasta Aji, is great at realising my vision, from just a small bit of information. He’s surpassed my expectations and my original vision both times.
Q. Reaper’s Rhythm has a contemporary setting, where your previous novel, Trinity, was more of an epic fantasy. Was it a conscious decision to make the new one so different?
I’m not sure it was so much a conscious decision, as a subconscious one. The idea for “light Kim” popped into my head while I was on holiday in August 2011 and I just ran with it.
Some quick fire to shake things up!
Tea or coffee?
Neither. The only hot drink I like is hot chocolate.
Twitter or facebook?
Both? I used to spend more time on Twitter, but lately I’ve been using Facebook more.
Heels or flatties?
Flatties. How does anyone walk in heels?
A dinner party with six guests of your choice, living or dead, who’s on your invite list?
Edward I, Eleanor of Castille (his wife and my daughter’s namesake), Edward III, River Phoenix, Jonathan Brandis, Tamora Pierce. Spot the history theme in that list!
What book do you wish you had written?
I’ve been asked this before and gave a boring answer then – my own!
If the devil offered to take your soul in return for JK Rowling type success, would you strike the deal?
Thanks so much to Clare for stopping by. You can find out more or get your copy of Reaper’s Rhythm at the following places: