Thursday, 15 August 2019

Interview with Author Claire Buss

Today I have a wonderful interview with fantasy and sci-fi author, Claire Buss. Enjoy!

Interview with Author Claire Buss

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Claire Buss, I’m a multi-genre author and stay-at-home mum to two rascals. I write hopeful dystopia, humorous fantasy, slice-of-life short stories, poetry and love writing flash fiction. I published my first book, The Gaia Effect, in 2016 and have since self-published a further 15 titles with two more due out later this year (2019). I am determined to make my author career a success and I’m in it for the long haul! I have lots of ideas for future books and series which I can’t wait to get stuck into. I feel like I have learnt a phenomenal amount with regards to independent publishing, book marketing and writing in general and I love that. I know there is lots more to master and I look forward to continually developing and improving my writing. I realise I sound a bit like I’m sat in an interview but I really want to make a good impression and I thought if I talked about my cake addiction, the ability to write 1000 or so words in half an hour when the muse is with me and constantly feeling like I’m failing as a mother, wife and entrepreneur you might run away. I wouldn’t blame you. But seriously, writing for me is usually a joy and something I am immensely proud of so I hope you’ll take a moment to have a read of my interview and maybe check out some of my books.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is a humorous fantasy novella called The Interspecies Poker Tournament. It is set in the town of Roshaven, the world you meet in my novel The Rose Thief and is a prequel of sorts.

Here’s the blurb:

Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher, has a new case. A murderous moustache-wearing cult is killing off members of Roshaven's fae community. At least that's what he's been led to believe by his not-so-trusty sidekick, Jenni the sprite. She has information she's not sharing but plans to get her boss into the Interspecies Poker Tournament so he can catch the bad guy and save the day. If only Ned knew how to play!

If you loved Terry Pratchett's Discworld, you'll love Roshaven.

How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I’ve been writing collectively for a while. I wrote short stories and began a million fantasy books when I was a young girl and teenager. Then came the angsty poetry years and then real life stepped in and my creativity stopped so it wasn’t until a random poster for a writers’ workshop at my local library reminded me that I used to love writing. That was 2015 and from that workshop, I entered a book writing competition, came second and published my first book, The Gaia Effect in 2016. Since then I’ve published a further 15 titles with two more due out this year:

The Gaia Collection (hopeful dystopia)
The Gaia Effect
The Gaia Project
The Gaia Solution – coming November 2019

The Roshaven Books (humorous fantasy)
The Rose Thief
Ye Olde Magick Shoppe – a short story
The Interspecies Poker Tournament 

Short Story Collections (slice of life)
Tales from Suburbia
Tales from the Seaside

Flash Fiction
The Blue Serpent & other tales
Flashing Here and There

Little Book of Verse, Book 1 in the Little Book Series
Little Book of Spring, Book 2 in the Little Book Series
Little Book of Summer, Book 3 in the Little Book Series
Spooky Little Book, Book 4 in the Little Book Series

Underground Scratchings in Tales from the Underground, Inklings Press
Patient Data from The Quantum Soul, Knight of the Sci-Fi Roundtable
A Badger Christmas Carol from The Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology
Dress Like an Animal from Haunted, The Sparkly Badgers’ Halloween Anthology – out October 2019

You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?

My favourite genre is usually the one I’m working in at the time. For me, it’s more about the story and the characters than the actual genre I’m writing. I pay no attention to tropes lol. I think the one that makes me laugh the most is definitely the humorous fantasy and I get a real kick out of hearing other people enjoying the same jokes. I’m funny – honest!

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

With two small children, my writing process is haphazard at best. I try to keep myself on track with a promotional spreadsheet that covers all the social media stuff and I have a 1-page plan of what I want to be writing, editing and releasing. It rarely happens but at least with those plans in place, I can always re-orientate myself and try and be productive. I’ve learnt not to worry if I didn’t get everything done, I can only do my best. When I have a new idea, I can’t not write it down. Usually the idea marinates in my head for a while before I’m ready to write but then when I am ready, I find it really easy to get the initial word count down. I prefer to write shorter length books than the traditional epic fantasy hefties. I write sequentially and I never read what I’ve written previously before I sit down to write again. With kids, usually all my writing is done in the evening, but I have recently negotiated coffee shop/library time with my husband when he’s off work because I get sooooooooo much more work done when I’m not sat in the house. Once the first draft has been written I let it rest for a couple of weeks before printing out a copy and beginning the first editing pass. That’s usually when I find all the gaping plot holes and lots of instances where I’ve written in caps what I want to happen, but I haven’t actually written in yet. I find editing a chore and will do things like clean the oven or wash windows to avoid doing it but once I get stuck in, it’s usually not that bad. I get ideas from all over the place; random thoughts, late night ideas, dreams, mash-ups of TV shows and books I’ve read, writing prompts and submission topics for competitions – everything!

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

My greatest challenge is finding the time. I never have enough time to do everything I want to do so either the writing suffers or the social media & promotion suffers and you can’t successfully have one without the other so it’s a constant catch-22 scenario. I am hoping when my youngest goes to nursery in January 2021 (I’m not counting down the days, honest), I will find more quality time to just get on with it and get the work done. I do treat my authorship like a business so I have goals I want to achieve and of course targets to try and make. I’m also really, really, really good at procrastination. 

How do you research your books?

Luckily for me, my current books are either set 200 years in a dystopian future or take place in a fantasy world that bears no relation to this one so I don’t have to really research anything – I make it up!. Every now and then something will come up and I’ll run to Google to fact check or find out. All my science in the Gaia books is based in fact so at least for my own peace of mind, I know it’s ‘right’.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

“Never give up! Never surrender!” If writing is something you enjoy, then you should write. Writing a book for you and for your own pleasure is a whole different ball game to writing to sell books and make a living. It’s hard work. And if you can imagine how hard it might be, triple it. It’s a constant process, there is no day off and sometimes it can be soul destroying. But you get to see your published book in your hands and there’s no feeling like that. People you don’t know will read your book and enjoy it, which is just amazing when you think about it. Plus, the indie author community is brilliant – full of advice and support, they really are the best cheerleading agony aunt you could ever ask for. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

When I’m not burnt out and sobbing in a corner, I like to cook and to bake. I very occasionally cross stitch which is a hobby I’m desperate to get back to. Obviously, I love to read, and I enjoy movie night with popcorn.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

My next novel out will be The Gaia Solution, book three of my hopeful dystopia series and then I am editing and taking part in an anthology of spooky tales for Haunted, The Sparkly Badgers’ Halloween Anthology. The Sparkly Badgers is a Facebook writing group that I run, we’re very friendly if anyone would like to join us. 

You can find out more about Claire and her books at her WebsiteFacebook Page or Twitter

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