Today I’m fortunate to present Claire Buss author of The Rose Thief.
Hi Claire, thanks for agreeing to this interview!
Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?
I’m from the UK, just moved to Southend-on-Sea so I’m looking forward to being inspired by living next to the seaside!
Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?
I think a good story needs to capture the reader’s imagination so either a wondrous setting, imaginative storyline or characters that you can really connect with. Ideally all three in one book if possible. What I enjoy the most about reading is forgetting that I am turning physical pages because I am so swept up in the story world.
Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book, The Gaia Effect, was the result of taking part in a local book writing competition. I saw free writing workshops available at my local library and thought that would be a great opportunity to get back into writing. The workshops led to entry into the Pen to Print Book Competition with an opening chapter. I was fortunate enough to become a finalist in January 2015, all I had to do was write the rest of the book by August 2015! It was an amazing experience and I am so proud of The Gaia Effect, the first of many books I hope.
My second book, which I released in July 2017, is called Tales from Suburbia and is a collection of short stories, plays and blog posts that intermingle my own personal experiences as a mum, the peccadillos of suburbia and the perils of social media. The subject matter varies from social observation to the humorous reflection of toddler life. Burying my Baby is heartbreaking. One, Two, Cha Cha Cha is hilarious. This collection is full of human foibles and folly and is both amusing and empathetic.
Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I am a stay-at-home mum so it can be difficult to juggle set writing times, it’s better if I try to remain flexible and jump on any and all opportunities to write. I often manage to get an hour in first thing as my little boy is a very early riser, between 5 and 6am usually. He watches Fireman Sam and I work on my latest project. When I am writing first draft I do sit down with a 1000 word daily target in order to make sure I get the book out of my head and onto paper. It’s a case of doing as much as I can, when I can.
Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmm, well I am a touch typist so I don’t have to look at my fingers when I’m typing which my husband finds highly amusing. I never plan, I’ll have a vague outline of the story – only about five lines or so – but absolutely no idea who is going to do what or how we will get from the beginning to the end. I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much because I have no idea what’s going to happen next.
Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.
My latest book is called The Rose Thief, it’s a humorous fantasy set in a world where magic exists and humans live alongside fae folk.
Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses. But that’s not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It’s up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn’t exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?
Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
I am always surprised at being able to string words together. I think because I don’t have a writing plan and never know what’s going to happen back, it’s always impressive reading the first draft for the first time and thinking, wow, I wrote this!
Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?
Ned’s train of thought was disturbed by a blood-curdling scream coming from the direction of the Black Narrows. This in itself was not unusual. Most sounds down the Black Narrows were of the screaming persuasion. It wasn’t a place you visited after dark. Or in the middle of the day. Or ever, unless you were one of the unlucky hundreds who happened to call it home. There was no immediate response so the screamer tried a different tack.
‘It’s Two-Face Bob! Eee’s been murdered!’
That did the trick. Soon the Narrows were filled with onlookers – some brought a stool and a beverage, the forward thinkers of Narrow society – others got stuck in the crowd. The murder alarm had started bonging in the thief-catcher’s office and seeing as the spell that ran the alarm had a bad habit of growing ten decibels a minute, it seemed to Ned to be a good idea to get away from that and investigate. Thief-Catchers were not required to investigate all murders, most were covered by The Guild of Inhumers. There was a monthly newsletter outlining who to look out for. As long as the correct paperwork had been logged and a receipt issued, everyone knew where they stood. They might not like it but at least they knew about it. The murder alarm somehow knew who had receipts and who didn’t. It was spell casting beyond Ned’s blocked ability, he couldn’t even manage the volume control.
There was a bit of shoving and muttering as Ned pushed his way through the ranks. He didn’t have to look too hard to find the murder scene, all he had to do was follow the curious crowd. A fair number of the shifty looking men in nondescript clothing had come to make sure Two-Face Bob was actually dead. Certain people owed certain things and if his death were true, life had suddenly become a lot brighter. It only took one look to know for certain. One of Two-Face Bob’s faces stared lifelessly at the smog-ridden skies above, both eyes missing. The other face, which incidentally remained on his head, attached to his body, had eyes popping, mouth open as if to scream and a terrified look of fear and shock frozen in place. Someone had clearly taken a violent dislike to Two-Face Bob. Looking down at the separated visages of Two-Face Bob, Ned felt a flicker of unease surge in his stomach. It could be because he hadn’t eaten in the past twenty-four hours. Or it could be because Two-Face Bob had been to see him less than five minutes ago, claiming intel on the Rose Thief. Ned didn’t hold much weight with coincidences. The viciousness of the attack was unusual for the type of murder usually committed in Roshaven. Put that together with Two-Face Bob’s extensive protection system of both magical and mundane origin and it was obvious.
‘He’s been ripped apart by a wraith,’ Ned muttered under his breath.
Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a short story in the new Inklings Press anthology, Tales from the Underground and one in a brand new anthology called Quantum Soul – both of which should be out by the end of 2017. I shall begin writing the sequel to The Gaia Effect in January 2018 and I have plans to revisit the world of The Rose Thief with some additional stories. I also have a techno-western, a re-imagined fairy tale, a possible multi-book series as well as a second short story collection and a book about my book club. Lots more to come!
Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
So far, the best money I’ve spent is to have the cover of The Rose Thief designed by a proper artist who is talented and knows what he’s doing, the wonderful Ian Bristow.
Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
You can contact me via Facebook – www.facebook.com/busswriter – or twitter – www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407. I also have a website – www.cbvisions.weebly.com where you can find the sign-up link to my newsletter, the latest news, and other social media links.