Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Author Spotlight - Claire Robyns

Today's author in the spotlight is a friend of mine, a South African now living in England, and I am incredibly proud and pleased to be able to introduce her to you. Claire is celebrating the launch of her second novel through Carina Press. her first, Betrayed, is an historical romance set in Scotland, and her latest is a fun contemporary romance.

What is your writing process?
I don’t do detailed plotting up front. An idea usually comes to me slowly and in stages. Sometimes it’s a character, sometimes a plot arc — once it was just the title of the book. As I muse over the idea, which can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years, the plot and characters take direction and start to form a cohesive story. Note, I say ‘start’… because once I start writing, nothing’s set in stone. Most times, it’s not even set in jello.

Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
Is this where I admit how much I hate shoe shopping? I can never find what I’m looking for and usually come home grumpy and empty-handed!
But, if I’m struggling, the only thing that helps me is to write. Doesn’t matter if it’s only a couple of sentences a day, doesn’t matter if I end up deleting everything, just the processing of hitting keys and getting words out usually seems to start the rhythm again pretty quickly.

Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
If lifting my arm up and down as I slurp coffee counts, then, why, yes, I do have an exercise regime, LOL

Do you believe in writer's block?
Whatever you call it, I think it’s natural for many writers to go through a dry spell where either ideas aren’t coming hard and fast, or the ideas are there but not the words to tell them with.
I do believe that any kind of block can be persevered through, be it by some free-writing, a change of scenery, maybe changing up your genre even with a short story, or whatever else it takes to push through. We’re all human, and sometimes we just overload ourselves.

Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?
I just did, in Second-Guessing Fate
I’m a total fortune-teller sceptic, exactly like Gemma in Second-Guessing Fate, but many years ago a friend dragged me, kicking and screaming, to her personal fortune-teller. I came away from that experience vaguely intrigued, but still a whole lot sceptical. I’ve always remembered the experience, though, and years later it wormed its way into my plot.
However, I’m more likely to use real-life incidents to spark a plot or character and that’s as far as the resemblance goes, not nearly real-life accurate enough for anyone to recognise themselves or confront me on the subject. So far…

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Well, I’d been writing (let’s call it honing my craft) for about 8 years before I contracted my debut book. That’s a lot of time I spent hanging around with fellow aspiring authors and ‘stalking’ published writers. Also, because of the internet and especially the fantastic romance authors out there always ready to share their experiences and answer questions, by the time I finally sold a book I had a pretty accurate idea of what to expect after the champagne bubbles have fizzled out i.e. triple the work with edits and promo on top of the current WIP, but no hope in sight of giving up the day job to free up more time 

Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?
I guess I don’t do anything unique or different from other authors. After a year of running a website and a blog, I’ve combined the two to make it easier to manage. I’m on Facebook but I’m far more active on twitter than anywhere else. I find twitter great for chatting with other authors and connecting with reviewers and readers.

What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Well, sometimes for me promo feels like preaching to the converted. One of my biggest challenges is reaching audiences beyond my usual circle. This year I’ve joined in Rachael Harries’ Platform Building Campaign, which has proved great so far in connecting with bloggers beyond my usual scope. In a similar vein, I think Blogfests are also good for this.

What did you learn while writing this book?
With my historicals, I always learn heaps because of the research required. This book, being a contemporary, I learnt more on the editing side than during the actual writing. As Second-Guessing Fate is set in Manhattan, my New York savvy editor helped out a lot and I learnt all about the Manhattan way of life.

What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Oh, I had such fun writing about Gemma’s antics as she attempts to get herself dumped. The whole situation was so bizarre that I could allow my imagination to roam free, the crazier the better 

And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?
Why? Because he’d ask advice from his buddies, of course, and here’s what they’d say…
Jackson: Paris, man, don’t even think about taking her anywhere else.
Billy, nodding sagely: Women really buy into that stuff about it being the City of Love. A little suffering up front goes a long way.
Gus: And don’t forget the kiss at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Chicks are weird that way. Do this right and our Saturday poker nights will be safe for at least the next year.

Tell us about your book.

Can She Outwit Fate? 
Gemma is on a collision course with heartbreak. At least, according to the fortune-teller her best friend drags her to see. Gemma doesn't believe a word of it, but when other predictions start to come true, she begins to suspect that gorgeous, gray-eyed Nick is the man foretold to break her heart before she can find her soul mate. Too bad she's never met a man she's wanted more, because now she has to get him to dump her before she falls too hard.

Nick has plans of his own. He's ready to settle down with Ms. Right, and everything points to the beautiful Gemma. He's determined to prove to her that he's the perfect boyfriend—even if she does seem to be trying her best to scare him off…

Thanks for having me here, Minxes 

* * *

Second-Guessing Fate is available wherever eBooks are sold. You can find it at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble and direct from Carina Press.

You can also catch up with Claire on her blog and on Twitter.


Maya Blake said...

Thanks so much for being here, Claire :) I loved your spotlight and I must say, your cover is GORGEOUS!

Caroline said...

Great blog Claire. Good to see you here. Caroline x

Claire Robyns said...

Yah, finally home from work. Thanks for having me here, Minxes.
Maya, yes, I really love the cover too :)

Lacey Devlin said...

Oooo yes, absolutely gorgeous cover! I love what you said about writer's block. Thanks Claire :-)

Sonali said...

Claire the blurb is amazing and the cover is fabulous.

Romy Sommer said...

Yay - another romance writer who shares my feelings on shoe shopping. Why is it the shoes I like are never in my size?!

Claire Robyns said...

Thanks Lacey and Sonali :):)

Romy, yes, that! And if I'm looking for a particular style, you can bet it won't be in fashion this season! LOL