Also today I have another brilliant Meet the Author interview for you.  I’m talking with Claerie Kavanaugh about musical inspiration, story retellings, what wish she wouldn’t grant if she were a genie, and her book baby, Duet Rubato…..

other pen names

CJ Kavanaugh


LGBTQ Romance, YA Fantasy, Contemporary Middle Grade

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a freelance editor and indie author. I’ve been freelancing for the last three years and published my first two books last year. Queen of Thieves is a YA fractured fairytale retelling of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves and Duet Rubato is an LGBTQ second chance romance. When I’m not writing you can usually find me travellng, jamming out to the latest Broadway soundtrack, trying new foods, or playing video games. I just got my first ever PlayStation for Christmas and, being a giant Disney nerd, I’m obsessed with kingdom hearts.

What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?

I started taking writing seriously when I was about 18 and discovered fanfiction in college. I didn’t think I was going to make a career out of it at the time of course, but that’s where  I really learned to hone my craft and learned that my strength as a writer actually lies in telling character driven stories. A few years after that, I came up with the idea for my debut second chance romance  and things sort of spiralled from there.

My most common source of inspiration however, is music. I’ve always been a Broadway baby, but any type of music can be turned into a good story if you listen closely enough. A lot of songs have some semblance of a story already, so I love imagining who those characters could be and expounding upon that idea to see if they can turn into a novel. Because I write retellings, I also get a lot of my inspiration from the original authors like the grand Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen. For Duet Rubato, I don’t know where the idea came from. I realized I had never written a book about theater before and I really wanted try, since theater and writing are two great passions of mine.

How many books have you written and published?

I’ve written five books, published two, with a couple more on the way this year, possibly three.

How long does it take you to write a book?

The process is different for each book. My first YA fantasy. Queen of Thieves, only took me about three weeks to write because it was supposed to be a short story for an anthology and I had to write 10K in about 7 days. When I posted the story for critique, people kept asking for more, but there was no space for me to add more and keep it in the anthology. After a few stars aligned, I decided to take the story  out of the anthology and publish it as a novella instead.

For the second chance romance, that took me about 5 to 6 months to write, and for for the middle grade because it goes story that I’m working on right now, that’s taking me about two months.

Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?

Oh gosh! This is like asking me to pick a favorite child! I have a young adult retelling of the nutcracker that I really enjoy it and hope to revise and publish sometime soon.  I’m quite fond of that one because it was such a fun adventure and it’s the book where I really feel like I found my voice when it comes to YA Fantasy. But of all the books, I think my favorite one thus far has to be Duet Rubato, my romance.  It was and is my book baby and it was such a deep personal journey to work on. I fell in love with a romance while writing that book and I’ll never forget it.

What other jobs have you done other than being an author?

Other than being an author, I work as both a freelance editor in a developmental editor for New Degree Press.  Prior to doing that, I worked at a after school program and did several internships with different publications.

If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)

I think I would travel back to the 1920s New Orleans. I love that era and my family is from Louisiana so I’ve always wanted to go back and see what that time was I was really like.

What’s your favourite film of all time and why?

My favorite film of all time… This is a really hard one as well.   Probably Ever After the retelling of Cinderella with Drew Barrymore in it. I just love how feisty she is and the nuances it brings to the classic tale. I also love that Innoway she saves the prince and herself.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I don’t know that I believe in love at first sight. I believe in attraction at first sight, but for me love has to come from not just a physical relationship with someone but also a deep emotional attraction and companionship. I do believe that you can meet someone and immediately have a connection, but I don’t know that I would equate that with being in love.

If you were a genie, what wish would you refuse to grant and why?

I would refuse to grant a wish to make someone fall in love with someone else, because then the love would start under false pretense and even if they fell in love eventually, I think the person whose wish I would’ve granted would always wondered if they could’ve done it on their own

How important do you think it is to see diversity represented in literature?

I think it’s extremely important. Something I didn’t mention earlier is that I’m also sensitivity reader, which is someone who reads books to make sure characters of particular marginalized group are portrayed accurately. writing DR was a big part of how I came to terms with my sexuality.  I never saw myself in media growing up, neither my disability or what I would later come to identify as my sexuality. The more we can expand people’s horizons as creatives, the more opportunities people have to see themselves and the better the world will be!

And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?

Duet Rubato is a second chance romance with a theatre backdrop.

Here’s a brief summary:

Ten years ago, Catie and Addie were best friends- and maybe more. But a tragic loss and a rash decision sent them tumbling out of each other’s lives. Now struggling to keep a roof over her daughter’s head, Catie attends one last audition and wins the lead role, only to find out Addie is the show’s assistant director. Catie can’t afford to walk away, but what do you do when relaunching your career means opening your heart?

Book Links: Queen of Thieves ~Duet Rubato

Where to find Claerie online: Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

final words from chelle…

Thanks so much for coming on over to talk to us lovely.  I love that you write your books to incorporate you passions – I’m sure that comes across in your writing wonderfully.  I absolutely love the film Ever After too – it’s a marvellous and magical film.  I also think diversity within literature is so important and it’s brilliant that you are helping to open people’s eyes and expand horizons – Well done lovely.

If you have any comments or questions for Claerie then get in touch using one of the links above, or drop a comment below.

See you tomorrow everyone!

Chelle x

3 Replies to “Meet the Author: Claerie Kavanaugh

    1. So do I ❤️ it’s fab to learn more about someone and why they write what they do ❤️

  1. Great interview! Oh, fan fiction. I love it. I used to read it all the time – and even wrote some, but I never put it online. And I’m a big Broadway fan too.


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