I recently had A Slice Of Cake with Claire Buss. What a fun interview! Thanks, Claire.
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Claire Buss loves cake, Victorian Sponge to be precise. She says it’s a classic cake but when made well it’s truly scrumptious. She has a wonderful sense of humor that comes through in her writing and her website.
When she’s not eating cake, Claire pens award-winning books and poetry, bakes, and dotes on her two young children. She lives in London with her family.
Now that I’ve introduced you to Claire let’s get to know her a little better.
Hello, Claire, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.
What inspired you to be a writer?
I have always loved stories and reading as many books as possible, being transported to other worlds with new people and new possibilities.
I always said I would be a writer but then I did nothing about it until 2015 when I saw a poster in my local library for a free writing workshop. I took the course and entered their writing competition placing second overall with my debut novel, The Gaia Effect.
Is writing your full-time profession?
I’d love to say writing is my full-time profession and I certainly do try to write as much as possible.
But I’m also a stay at home mum to my little boy, Leo (5) and my little girl, Anabelle (1) so my writing time tends to be crammed into small opportunities at random times in the day!
How long have you been writing?
I’ve always written – funny stories when I was young, angsty poetry as a teenager, a few dabbles with fantasy ideas in my twenties and then actually committing in my thirties.
Have you won any awards?
The Gaia Effect won the Raven Award for Best Sci-Fi Fantasy Novel in 2017, The Rose Thief won a Golden Squirrel Award for Best Book Cover 2018 and Tales from the Seaside won Reedly’s Top 50 Indie Books of 2018 (it placed 26th overall).
How many books have you written?
I’ve written two books so far in The Gaia Collection, my hopeful dystopia series – The Gaia Effect (2016) and The Gaia Project (2018). I wrote the first draft for the third book in the series, The Gaia Solution, during NaNoWriMo in November 2018 so hopefully I’ll be editing that later this year.
I’ve written two collections of humorous short stories, Tales from Suburbia (2017) and Tales from the Seaside (2018).
I wrote a humorous fantasy book called The Rose Thief (2017) and I‘m currently working on another book in that world, The Interspecies Poker Tournament.
Then I released a collection of flash fiction called The Blue Serpent and Other Tales available for free when you subscribe to my newsletter.
I also wrote four poetry books last year which will become part of a larger series. So far I’ve got Little Book of Verse, Spring Fling, Summer Dreaming and Spooky Little Book of Verse and I hope to add more in the near future.
I’ve had two short stories published, Underground Scratchings in Tales from the Underground from Inklings Press and Patient Data in The Quantum Soul from the Sci-Fi Roundtable.
Last year, my fellow author CH Clepitt and I edited and released a Christmas anthology called the Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology which also includes our co-written short story A Badger Christmas Carol.
Which genres do you write?
So far I write hopeful dystopian, humorous fantasy and satire plus the poetry but I‘m sure that will expand!
What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?
To be honest, I don’t really think about the genre I’m writing in. I write for the characters and the story they’re trying to tell. I do read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, they are my go-to genre but I do try to read wide as well.
I think the most challenging thing in any genre is to be wary of tropes and specific cliches unless of course you are using that to your advantage. The thing with writing is someone, somewhere is always breaking the ‘rules’.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but the most important thing is that the writing feels real to you.
What are you working on now?
I have just realized that my planned novella, The Interspecies Poker Tournament, doesn’t quite work yet so I need to expand it into a novel. Which isn’t a bad thing except for those readers who are waiting to read it! I’m actually looking forward to getting stuck in and expanding the universe.
Last year, during NaNoWriMo, I wrote a very rough draft of The Gaia Solution which will be the third book in my Gaia Collection series and I hope to get going with the revision later this year.
I’m also planning to release another free book of flash fiction this year, title to be decided!
Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
I do a lot of people watching, but not in a creepy way! My characters tend to tell me what they want to say. I’m a discovery writer so I never know what’s going to happen until I write it.
I don’t model my characters on anyone in particular but I think I do get a lot of inspiration from the people around me. Whilst I don‘t like being the centre of attention, I quite enjoy being on the sidelines and watching others interact, it’s great dialogue fodder.
What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
I think the most rewarding experience has been when I was in the library and my little boy said ‘Mummy, your book is on the shelf.’ Sure enough it was. He’s so proud of me, that’s a very motivating and humbling experience.
What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Just do it. Cliche I know and you should probably avoid those but if you want to write, write. Don’t worry too much about genres or tropes or what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
If you love writing that’s what you should be doing. There’s a whole host of advice out there for what you should be doing and how you should be writing. I would say take the things that make sense to you, leave the things that don’t.
If you try something and it doesn’t work, that’s alright. You can’t do everything all the time. The main thing is that you enjoy the writing experience.
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
If you read one of my books, please post a review. It helps others decide whether they want to read it or not and that is so important.
I work really hard to juggle family life and try to keep the writing and marketing going so I really appreciate knowing that someone has read my book.
I plan to keep writing for lots more years to come, I’ve got lots of ideas, I just need to resist the urge to write them all at once!
What message are you sharing in your books and poetry?
Friendship, love, looking after our planet, the importance of family, being a mum, hope and a healthy dollop of humour.
What are your favorite books/authors?
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch, the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, everything Robin Hobb has written. I think it’s fair to say I love fantasy books!
What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
Oooh I love this question. Favourite movies are the LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies, The Princess Bride, all the Disney animation movies, Constantine, The Matrix, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Never-Ending Story, Flight of the Navigator oh I could go on and on and on!
TV shows – I’m a big fan of anything Joss Whedon wrote so Buffy, Angel and obviously Firefly among his other shows. The dialogue and character interplay is so good in those shows.
Currently we are enjoying the Marvel and DC TV shows as well as things like Suits, The Good Place, Orange is the New Black.
There is so much choice out there we’ve gotten very behind on shows we used to watch because there is always something new popping up. I would like to add that I’ve got two active lists on my iPad – one for TV shows and one for movies so I don’t forget to watch things that look interesting.
When you’re not writing where can we find you?
Usually in the midst of a huge pile of Legos or trains! #mumlife
Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
Here are my social links:
Website – www.cbvisions.weebly.com
Facebook page – www.facebook.com/busswriter
Facbook group – www.facebook.com/BussBookStop
Twitter – www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407
Where can we find your books?
All my books are on Amazon – www.tinyurl.com/ClaireBussBooks
Thank you, Claire, for spending time with us to share your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!