Here’s what Spotlight is about; it’s an interview that promotes you! It will feature questions that are formatted to your needs. Questions will be focused on your work, upcoming work and some personal [but not intrusive] questions for your fans to get to know you more!
Today features Claire Upton
Tell us about yourself
I am 37 years old and the mother of four fabulous children aged 9-21, as much as this can be an overwhelming concept they are my inspiration and my reason for thriving for more in life. They are extremely supportive and understanding. I have just finished a Psychosocial Degree via Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, and I gradate in October this year, as does my eldest son from Lincoln University. I grew up in King’s Lynn, Norfolk and spent many school holidays in Richmond, Surrey with Grandparents. We currently live in the Fens and enjoy the quiet life of the country.
Share with us some of your interests
I obviously love to write but try to put time aside to read other books in order to relax. I am an exercise addict, at the moment, after putting on a lot of weight doing hours of studying, and eating. This helps me to focus my mind because I tend to find that I sort through things as I exercise. I enjoy going for walks with the children and blowing out the cobwebs. We are lucky that we are close to woodland and beach.
What makes you the person you are?
Again, my children make made me who I am. Having my children while I was very young I had two choices to let it hold me back in life or make me push harder. I choose the latter! I am lucky enough to have a very supportive friend circle who pick me up when I fall. Doing my degree boosted my confidence and coming out with a 2:1 made me feel I could now achieve anything!
About your writing;
When did you start writing?
I have always written little stories but I had a lovely teacher when I was in my final year at primary school who encouraged us to do creative writing. To this day I am ever grateful to Mrs Winten who made ‘Rachel the Rabbit’ into my first hardback book (with white cardboard stapled together). As a teenager I wrote long stories, I found it helped me cope with emotions I didn’t understand. To this day I write my problems down.
What inspires you to write?
It can be anything. People I meet. Places I go. For me books start with a line that pops into my head. This can either become a couple of pages or a whole book.
How has writing change you as a person?
I don’t feel writing itself has changed me but taking the huge leap to publish my work and the feedback from readers has changed my belief system. It is scary to allow people the read what has come from the inner workings of your soul.
How do you figure out what you’re going to write about?
I just write. I allow the story to unfold by itself and just keep writing. There is rarely a plan. I am as intrigued by where it goes as the reader.
What is your writing style like?
My writing is no overly descriptive, I like the reader to see the characters and where they are for themselves. Everyone interprets things differently, my writing is there to guide them through the story. Each person who reads it will have a different experience.
What topics have you explored in your writing?
Without giving away too much of my book or upcoming ones, I have explored love, loss, birth, friendship, amongst others.
What topics would you like to explore in the future?
I have toyed with thrillers but I scared myself, so decided lighter subjects were more my forte. I started another book, ‘In The Moment’ which a few chapters are on authonomy.com. It is based on the toils and tribulations of motherhood but with a touch of humour… the main ingredient to sanity while being a mum! I will come back to this at some point.
Adding something else;
If you spend the rest of your life in a novel or novel series, what novel would it be and why?
I would live in an Adele Parks novel and be a reappearing character who can be friends with all her fabulous characters.
Share a couple of your favorite things and or things you like?
I have a stationery fetish… hence why I enjoyed my degree so much! I tend to start my books in notepads so I always have a good reason to keep buying pretty stationery.
What couldn’t you live without?
Tough question… coffee, I tried to go decaf for a while but I was not very productive.
In the literacy world who do you think is a misunderstood character and why?
Count Olaf in ‘The Series of Unfortunate Events’, I believe he started off with the best of intentions but after the schism became an so-called enemy.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing?
I have read many books, which have inspired me to continue to fulfil my dream of becoming a published author. It can be difficult to stay positive towards writing as it is not only a lonely existence but also when you are being rejected by publishers and agents while following all the guideline it can knock your spirit.
Is there a character that annoys you in the literacy world? Or even one of your own?
Eeyore from the Pooh Bear books, he is so depressing. (I read a lot to my children so most of my references are the kid’s books)
What kind of books do you like?
I like chicklit books such as authors like Erica James, Adele Parks, Cathy Kelly and Sue Welfare. Their characters become friends who you find yourself wondering whatever happened to them after the books finish.
Any characters of yours or in the fictional world you do not like?
*spoiler alert* I don’t like Tom in my book, ‘Twisted Fate’ I would have liked my main character to have given him a good slap.
What do you look for in a publishing company as they will end up representing your work? | If you self publish can you tell us how that process works? | If you haven’t done either – can you tell us which you would like to do and why?
After years of rejection from traditional publishers I decided to test the water with Kindle early last year. I got fantastic feedback from this and once I finished my degree decided it was time to see my book finally in print! I did a lot of research into which company people were getting the best service from and chose Create a space. It was easier than expected and you can pay as much or as little as you want. To the point of final copy the progress can be done for free. The hardest point was the cover but again, they step by step you and you need a lot of patience.
How do you stay confident in yourself especially by putting yourself out there in the internet world?
Take a deep breath and just leap! Learn from others, and expect to fail sometimes or for your efforts to be in vain. Have a friend at the other end of the phone who keeps you positive.
How do you handle rejection? What advice can you offer to moving past it?
I cry. Then I get past it and try again. The best way is to read back over good reviews. Focus on the positive. Few people succeed the first time.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. Believe in yourself. When you are writing,don’t worry about the potential readers opinion. If you write what you feel it shines through, if you write what you think others want to read it comes across as false. When you read back through your work, if it keeps you engaged it will engage your readers… you have succeeded.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book [s]
My debut novel is ‘Twisted Fate’, the main character Natalie Walsh is strong and sassy & believes her life is complete, yet after an incident occurs, she treats herself to a break away. Here only in the next county she meets Matthew Samson. They quickly fall in love but fate steps in once more and she has some tough decisions to make. ‘Twisted Fate’ pulls it all the different emotions as you journey along with her, wishing nothing more than to offer her a consoling hug.
Who is your favorite character and why? [If you can share without spoiling your work]
This is difficult because you connect with the characters for different reasons. My favourite character is probably Matthew, as he is a powerful influence on Natalie but with the unassuming quality that is charming.
What character do you hope readers understand?
All of them but I hope they understand Natalie and her reasons for the decisions she makes.
Do you have a favorite part of your own book (s) ?
I think it would have to be the part where Natalie & Matthew first meet. It is not your usual boy meets girl kind of book moment.
Choosing a character or even yourself, can you give us a sample playlist of music that would follow said person?
If I had to choose a playlist for this book it would include-
Thank you- Dido
Smile- performed by Lyle Lovett
Torn- Natalie Imbruglia
The Scientist- Coldplay
Adagio for Strings – Samuel Barber (for chapter 16 & 17)
Dear Diary- Pink
Have you had trouble writing about any of your characters?
Not so much trouble writing about then as that I get fully immersed in how they are feeling. When my main character is happy, so am I. When they cry I cry. I think that is why people find they can relate to Natalie.
What would you like readers to get from your book (s) ?
I hope that the emotional turmoil of the characters shines through and that they finish the book still thinking about it. Many people have contacted me mid-way through the book to report that it made them cry and another reader went on holiday and nearly called a young man Matt as to her that is how he looked. I love that fact.
In your book (s) what had been the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Finding a good place to stop without leaving the storyline hanging. I try to round everything up as I go along and I hope the Epilogue helps with that. I didn’t want to write a sequel and overstretch what I felt was a good storyline, but an epilogue can be useful.
How is this world a better place because of your books?
I don’t know if the world is a better place because of my book but I hope my readers lives are better for having read it and that parts of it ring true as they travel through their lives.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would (they / it) be?
I’d like to go and have coffee with them all in the farmhouse, a celebration book release.
If you had to write a scene for a character of your choice that would put them in an awkward situation how would it go?
Hmm, I think I would get the lady and chapter two & Natalie to meet up further down the line, that would be quite an awkward situation.
What do you to for marketing?
I have a fantastic son who helps me with my marketing, he is admin on my facebook page too. He advises me on how best to aim my attention, he is much more technologically minded than I am. I am on Goodreads and Twitter but in no way understand them, again my son helps with these. I have books in the Bookstop Café in Lincoln and I’m planning to contact similar places, as I think it is a fab concept. I have book signings and meet the author events coming up over the next couple of months and a photo-shoot next week for something not related directly to my books but is very exciting. I try to tap into local promotion as well as worldwide, it is not easy to keep up with this and write subsequent novels.
Promote your books in a sentence or less 🙂
This is not your typical romance,do not judge it by its category, no matter what your preferred genre you might just like it.
(If more than one work, a sentence for EACH work, you’re not limited to one sentence for more than one piece of work.)
What are you working on now?
A book I started on a journey to London last May, which was put on the back burner while I finished my degree, I love my main character and I am hoping that readers will love her too. She is very down to earth, quite different to Natalie from Twisted Fate. I don’t really want to give too much away at the moment.
Links that readers can contact and or connect with you at – Optional
Links to websites that sell your work
—- Or links to websites that will be having your work soon
Bookstop Café- http://www.bookstopcafe.com