While I have been AWOL, I have been playing with this entry in the back of my mind for some time.
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce my readers to my friend (and amazing author), Claire Lopez!
I “met” Claire through the Blogosphere. I think we both follow The Bloggess and perhaps Old Dog New Tits, as well. At one point, I got a like and a comment from Claire, who, initially, I only knew as “I’ve Been There, Claire” from her blog of the same name.
Well, anyone that’s been around the Blogosphere any time at all understands how quickly friendships are forged, and I am honored to say that Claire and I hit it off in a big way, right away. Not only are her blogs funny and insightful, the woman is, in my humble opinion, selfless, kind, open, loyal, and just a regular good gal! I swear, the next time I am in her neck of the woods, I am going to find her and buy her a huge ol’ cup of coffee as a “thank you” for being an ear to bend, and a shoulder to cry on through the ups and downs in this crazy thing I fondly refer to as, “my life.”
I have the opportunity to read through and edit Claire’s upcoming novel, Class Letters, and I have to tell you; while my life has been a bit bumpy recently, what I have been able to sneak in has been amazing.
When I first started doing the New Fiction Monday blogs, I shot her an email and asked her if she would be willing to let me interview her for the blog, and she kindly agreed, and of course, I was tickled. 🙂 How could I not be?
So, without further ado (a word I actually nailed some points with in Words With Friends earlier today), I give you my interview with Claire Lopez:
Claire, how long have you been writing?
I started when I was in high school. I wrote poetry — some of it was angst-y, but some was pretty good. I won a city-wide poetry competition (one of many winners). I stopped writing in my 20’s (probably too much partying) and picked it back up in my 30’s.
Have you always wanted to write?
Nope — I wanted to be a translator for the UN….except that I didn’t know you probably had to speak, like, six different languages and all I knew was some Spanish. Then I took an aptitude test that told me I should be an architect…..but I hate math. So, I majored in English because it came easily. I was slightly unfocused (probably too much partying).
What genre really inspires you?
I love stories that have lots of juicy details and intrigue (like The DaVinci Code) as well as historical fiction (like Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Camelot series).
Do you remember some of the authors/book titles you read as a child?
Of course! Dr. Seuss was, and is, a perennial favorite. But other favorites included Charlotte’s Web, A Wrinkle in Time, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Nancy Drew, and the Narnia series.
Does anyone in your life encourage you to write your heart out?
My husband loves my blog posts! He’s also very supportive and encouraging — assuming he can leave me alone long enough to get something done!
What advice would you have for a newbie writer that wants to break into the world of fiction/non-fiction?
Dear Aspiring Writer: Write for YOU….stories YOU love and want to explore and feel the need to tell. But do it with no expectations of being published or read. I know that sounds cynical, but, in all honesty, the likelihood of making a living isn’t all that great. Think about it: how many people do you know want to write The Great American Novel and how many actually make a living at it? Not everyone can be huge like J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, or (God love her!!) Jenny Lawson. Write because you love it, and it will be reward enough.
To date, what is YOUR favorite story that you have written?
That’s a tough one. They all have a special meaning, but my first novel was probably my biggest accomplishment. I wanted to answer a question and I didn’t know if I’d answer it in a short story, a novella or a full-blown novel. It managed to grow into a novel and was my first real “baby.” I learned that I could do it. So I did it again!
Who/what gets your creative blood pumping?
I love great toe-tappin’, hip swayin’ music (loooooove Stevie Ray Vaughn, bless him!) but I really prefer a quiet spot when I write. And I love beautiful art — Impressionism is a huge favorite, but I have many favorites.
If you were’t writing, what would you be doing?
Wow….if I could do (or have done) it, or had any talent, or maybe just as a completely different person, I’d be an actress/singer/painter/dancer. All of it together — the whole she-bang!
Do you have pets, and if so, what kind?
I love my girls (they aren’t dogs, and they would be very offended if you said they were): Duchess is a pit/bulldog mix and Lady is a Boxer. They are both about three years old and they are pampered and adored.
What do you do for fun (I.e. Hobbies, leisure time, etc.) (And yes, that is on the assumption you have leisure time…)
I love to read, travel and ride my motorcycle….not necessarily in that order…..or all at the same time. Just sayin’.
If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
A gorgeous 100 acre horse ranch in Colorado, complete with a fabulous house, barn, greenhouse, river and lake….that is surrounded by a national forest, of course.
If someone were to begin to dictate your writing, how would you feel about that?
Every now and then, my husband makes a suggestion (usually based more on protocol or in the interest of family harmony), and I usually comply because it truly is infrequent. But I gotta tell ya, it kinda pisses me off. Of course, when I was teaching and writing letters to my students, there were lines I couldn’t cross (if I wanted to keep my job). It was annoying, but I knew the boundaries. (Although sometimes I got realllllly close…..my philosophy was to ask forgiveness rather than permission.)
If you were told you could no longer write about the things that moved you, would you be able to adapt and move onto a different genre or would this force your hand to stop writing?
I truly believe in an individual’s right to expression….to be themselves. I would hate to be completely censored. And I’m kind of a rebel, so I’d probably do it anyway. Screw ’em!
How do you handle adversity when it comes to your writing?
Like trying not to kill my husband after he interrupts me for the third time?
How important are reviews to you, as a writer?
I haven’t gotten too many reviews — mainly from friends — and only one professional review (which was positive, by the way!). I try to have a thick skin, because I know it’s not personal, but it’s hard to completely detach after spending so much time with the characters, the plot, and the connection to another world.
Have you ever written a bad review for anyone else? If so, why?
Nope. I’ve never been asked to review anything. And I’m actually really OK with that.
How important is editing to you? Do you ever edit your book before it goes to the editor?
I do edit, and I try to be thorough. I look for inconsistencies in the characters, timing, plot….. But I know I miss things too, because I’m so familiar with it, so I certainly welcome other eyes!
What about book covers inspires you? How do you go about selecting yours?
I like simple ones, generally. I wanted mine to be mostly legible at a small size (like the Amazon book button size), and I wanted it to convey the idea of the book.
How do you write? Are you able to listen to music to inspire you or does it have to be quiet?
I am usually on my bed in a (preferably) quiet house.
Where do you choose to write? Do you have an office or do you surround yourself in places that pertain to your writing?
Just my bed…..or my recliner. It’s probably terrible for my posture (please don’t tell my chiropractor!).
If you were asked to appear on a talk show of your choice, which one would it be and why?
I love Ellen. I think she’s hilarious and I’d love to meet her.
Is your marital status important to how you write?
Sometimes it gives me good dialogue!
So there you have it, kids. THE Claire Lopez, author of “I’ve Been There, Claire” and “Class Letters.”
When “Letters” comes out you will absolutely know it, especially if you follow my blog. I’ll have it out there for all to see. 🙂
And for Claire? Muchas gracias por su amor y apoyo!