Today I’m delighted to have Claire L Brown with us on Meet the Author. Not only do we also get to look at a photo of her beautiful dog, but she talks to us about making her dentist ‘ugly cry’, rewriting fairy tales and her wonderful sounding book, The Poppy Garden…..
Claire L Brown
Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’ve always been a writer and dreamer, spending weekends at the beach with my grandfather would help me focus and develop stories in my head. Writing always gave me a world to escape in to and a place to work things out and I’ve continued to build worlds and relationships for my characters.
What inspired you to start writing?
I think I was just born telling myself stories, when I was very young I was bullied relentlessly so disappearing in to my own little world was great escape and safety for me. Writing has always been a great escape where I can create any kind of world I want to.
I think when you are bullied, you need somewhere or something to focus on where you can find positives and try and build back your confidence and writing was something I could delve in to and work out and deal with things in my life.
How many books have you written and published?
I’ve written and published 3 books since making the choice to be an indie author, I’m currently working on my fourth and have my fifth planned out. Prior to that I’ve written multiple short stories, film scripts and series while developing my writing style and voice
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
The Poppy Garden is my favourite I have such a personal connection with the story and built in characteristics of the important people in my life to several of the characters. It’s like spending time with family.
The story came about when I was in my garden, I was discussing my grandfather with my mam and how he used gardening as a way to deal with his PTSD from World War II. I realised that I too was using the garden to help cope with grief after losing my dad and the story developed from there.
It wasn’t just about the person and how they had to learn to move forward but about those around them and connected to them and the ripple effect PTSD can have and how strength can be found in the simplest things.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
I always carry a note book and when I hear interesting names I jot them down, generally when I start visualising the character the name tend to form with them as if they are introducing themselves to me.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
I think probably Torren’s from the Poppy Garden, he’s still a bit of a mystery I’d like to get to the bottom of and he has a military background so should there be any need for survival skills he’d be ideal!
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
I have several favourite authors, its so hard to choose just one! Reading is like being presented with a box of chocolates, so many flavours and each one a different enjoyable experience.
I love Agatha Christie and my favourites of hers would be Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, there’s something just so rich and sumptuous about her settings and the time periods she uses. I also love her Miss Marple novels and as a child wished Miss Marple was a great aunt just, she was just so unassuming but perceptive I felt you’d never be bored with her.
Julian Fellowes is a great writer of Social Class stories, such as Belgravia and Snobs I find them really intriguing and of course I love his scripts for Downton Abbey.
More contemporary authors, I like Heidi Swain, she writes books like Richard Curtis writes movies, in settings and communities I’d love to live with.
I’m also enjoying the Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) Strike books, they are ideal to curl up with on a cold autumn night with a roaring fire, a large mug of coffee and the curtains closed to the world.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
I remember re-writing fairy tales if I didn’t like the ending, or felt the story wasn’t finished. I grew up with both the Disney version and the Grimm Brothers tales and I would cherry pick the bits I like from each and create my own story.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
I’m an Executive Assistant in my day job. I have worked in the Emergency Services for most of my non writing career and have recently moved in to the private sector.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I’d probably go backwards for one more day with my dad and granddad
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My granddad, if every life is a book, when I’m reading his there are so many blank pages from the questions I never got to ask and the stories he never got to tell me.
What are your favourite things to do?
I love walking with my golden retriever, rain, shine or snow it’s just great to be out in nature with him wandering around. When the walks are done and your skin is chilled I love to curl up with a good book especially in the autumn and winter by a roaring fire and if I’ve had the chance to pretend to be Mary Berry for a little while cooking my favourite comfort food, cakes and biscuits.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
As a writer, it was probably on a visit to my dentist, I was in the hygienists chair and just as they lay you back and are poised over you ready to pounce and you are at your most vulnerable, she told me she’d read my book and was annoyed with me because I’d made her ugly cry while on holiday!
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Keep going, write about everything, not just the good but even if it breaks your heart to put the words down, it doesn’t matter how many times you go back to them, add to them, delete them just never stop getting the words down.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
I think there’s a book out there for everyone, be it something you remember from childhood, or something you read yesterday that you just stays with you and that makes you smile or cry or just refuses to move out of your mind that’s the book for you.
I would just hope you have an amazing time finding it.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Six months after her perfect wedding day, Sky is woken by a Military Officer bringing her news of her husband, Nick, Injured in a bombing he is on his way home to a military hospital. Filled with relief as he opens his eyes for the first time, Sky’s world falls apart when he can’t remember who she is or anything about their life together. Now Sky must fight to save the marriage he can’t remember and from the intrusion of her husband’s former flame who wants Sky to fund her lavish lifestyle. Inspired by memories of her grandfather and how he channelled his PTSD into his garden she sets out to create somewhere for not only Nick to recover from both physical and mental scars of war but to help other recovering service men and create a place of beauty to share with their families. Will the beauty of the garden be able to heal her husband’s wounds and bring him home to her forever?
Thanks so much to Claire for this fab interview! Your book sounds amazing and I’m definitely going to add it to be TBR list! Your story about the dentist literally made me laugh out loud too!
Any questions/comments for Claire then give her a shout!
Have a wonderful day lovelies!