Interview for Coffee Time Romance and More

Welcome, today we are talking with Claire Buss! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions. First, let’s delve into who you are. Some of the questions may be untraditional but you’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.

Can you share a little something about Claire Buss that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website? 

I have a snail phobia – I’m both oddly fascinated and disgusted by those slimy molluscs! Also, I don’t like salad. At all. In any format. Not even a little. 

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? 

I used to write poems and short stories when I was little and for a time I wanted to be Lois Lane when I grew up but as life got in the way becoming a published author seemed like a dream rather than an achievable goal. In 2015 I saw a writers’ workshop advertised at my local library and from there my author career began. 

How long have you been writing? 

My first novel, The Gaia Effect, was published in December 2016 and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What have you found most challenging about it? 

The most challenging aspect is juggling being a mum with trying to write. It often means that the only time I can write, edit, market and promote is after the children have gone to bed and it’s not a lot of time to fit an awful lot in. I look forward to January 2021 when my youngest will start nursery and I can have that time to dedicate to my writing. 

 Have you won any awards for writing? 

Yes! My hopeful dystopian book, The Gaia Effect, won the 2017 Raven Award for best Sci-fi & Fantasy novel. My short story collection, Tales from the Seaside, won Best Indie Book of 2018. This year my humorous fantasy book, The Rose Thief, won the 2019 Raven Award for best Sci-fi & Fantasy novel. I am both thrilled and humbled to have been nominated, let alone win.

What does writing do for you? Is it fun, cathartic, do you get emotional or exhausted?  

I love exploring my imagination and finding out what happens next. I’m a discovery writer so I never know what my characters are going to get up to. I love getting excited by new ideas and really like writing flash fictions. It’s great to have an outlet for creative energy and the fact that other people enjoy reading my books is just amazing. I do find that I’m usually wiped by the time a book goes to print, it is an emotional process writing, editing and then publishing your work. And I have made myself cry in the past with character deaths so there is definitely an emotional connection.

Describe what your writing routine looks like. Are you disciplined with a strict schedule or do you have to be in the mood? 

Haha! Oh, I wish I had a writing routine but I’m afraid at the moment it’s a case of shoehorning it in where possible. Sometimes my kids will get me up at 5am and I can find a little bit of time there. Other days it’s after 8pm when I finally collapse into the sofa and open my laptop to try and do some work. I find that I do a lot of outlining, thinking and planning in my head so there is usually a time delay between the initial idea and when I start to write. I have tried in the past to stick to a daily word count but I found that pushed me away from actually writing especially when I missed a day for some reason and fell behind. I write better when I’m in the zone and can knock out 2000 words in a half hour to an hour session. 

Did you go into writing thinking that it would be a hobby or a job? 

I started writing as a creative hobby, something to do. The writers’ workshop I joined funneled into a writing competition which wanted a first chapter so I thought I can do that. I should’ve read the small print though because it was a first chapter initially and then they chose their finalists. I found out in March 2016 I was a finalist and I had to write the rest of the book by August 2016! It was definitely a learning curve. Writing a book in three months was the catalyst to keep going and write more and more and now it is definitely my business and career. 

What inspires you? 

Everything! News stories, the people around me, movies and tv shows, the books I read and then how that all mushes up together in your head when you dream. I have lots and lots of ideas and I really enjoy being inspired by writing prompts – that’s where most of my flash fiction comes from. 

Let’s move on and give readers some insight into your personal life.

 What is your favorite:

  • Animal – Elephant
  • Food – Pasta
  • Movie – Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • TV show – Supernatural
  • Singer – er… I don’t have one!
  • Author – if I had to pick just one, I’d choose Sir Terry Pratchett

What are your pet peeves?

People who drop litter when they’re walking along – grrr! Also, when you’re sat reading a book and someone asks you what you’re doing…

 Who is your hero? 

All the mums out there getting life, work and creating new people done! I think everyone is a hero, we all have our own issues to get through and obstacles facing us – everyone who never gives up is a star. 

Give us one thing on your bucket list. 

I want to go to Machu Picchu.

What would readers find surprising about you? 

I’m terribly, terribly shy in social occasions and would much rather stand behind the wallflower and people watch then be front and centre talking to people but I love, love, love chatting with readers through my social media.

If you could go to heaven, who would you visit? 

My Nana and Grandad – miss them lots. 

Any bad habits? 

I may be addicted to cake…

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you? 

Oooh, um… gosh, that’s a toughie! I remember watching The Croods at the cinema and laughing so much when the dog rolled off the cliff ledge, I snorted super loud which made the man next to me jump lol. 

Now that our readers know who Claire Buss is let’s get down to the business of your book, The Interspecies Poker Tournament, a humorous fantasy novel. 

How long did it take you from beginning to end before your novel was completely finished, and how did you decide on the topic and title? 

It took me about six months from start to finish to write, edit, format and publish The Interspecies Poker Tournament. The title is the result of a throwaway comment by my main character Ned Spinks in The Rose Thief. As soon as I wrote that scene, I knew I wanted to come back to it and expand it further and so the novella was born. 

Who is your targeted audience?  

My Roshaven books which include The Rose Thief, Ye Olde Magick Shoppe and The Rose Thief have been inspired by my love of humorous fantasy writers like Sir Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Piers Anthony so my target audience are readers who enjoy humorous fantasy. I reckon that covers all age ranges and anyone who enjoys a laugh when they’re reading.

Please tell us a little bit about, The Interspecies Poker Tournament. 

Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher, has a new case. A murderous moustache-wearing cult is killing off members of Roshaven’s fae community. At least that’s what he’s been led to believe by his not-so-trusty sidekick, Jenni the sprite. She has information she’s not sharing but plans to get her boss into the Interspecies Poker Tournament so he can catch the bad guy and save the day. If only Ned knew how to play!

The Interspecies Poker Tournament, Case 27 of The Roshaven Files, is a humorous fantasy novella following the adventures of Ned Spinks and Jenni, a prequel to The Rose Thief. If you loved Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, you’ll love Roshaven.

What was your hardest challenge writing this book? 

I had already written a book with main characters Ned Spinks and Jenni so I had to make sure I didn’t make any big changes to their personalities or appearance. Lots of my characters have unique speech patterns so I ended up creating a lexicon to ensure their dialects remained the same. It meant a massive attention to detail and copious proofreads which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

What kind of research did you have to do? 

My husband and I played several hands of poker so I would accurately write about the different cards that were played and the different ways a player could win. That was fun, we used teddy bears to stand in for the other characters. 

I understand you also have a new book coming out, The Gaia Solution, which is book 3 of your series, The Gaia Collection. Can you tell us a little bit about the series? 

The Gaia Collection is my hopeful dystopian trilogy that is set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons. In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.

In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.

In the final book, The Gaia Solution, my heroes have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race. 

How many books do you plan for the series? 

There will be three novels and then I’m considering writing a prequel novella to provide more information about The Event and how Corporation came about. 

Any other works in progress? 

I have two more titles planned in my Roshaven series – The Bone Thief and The Silk Thief which I am looking forward to writing and I have a new multi-book series in the works about a young girl called Kat who joins an odd temping agency, there may be magic!

I’m just about to re-release my four Little Book of Verse poetry books with brand new covers and there will be four more books coming out next year and then I hope to move into organizing my novels into audio books.

Any advice for aspiring authors? 

Never give up! Never Surrender!

There will be times when you wonder what on earth you are doing but your love of words, writing and storytelling will carry you through. Believe in yourself and write the best book you can write.

Final words? 

Thank you so much for having me!

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