A prolific writer with wide-ranging interests, Claire Chilton specializes in new adult fiction and speculative fiction, which includes genres such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, comedy and romance. Hustle, her Harlequin debut, won the publisher’s So You Think You Can Write contest on Wattpad. Her previous books include a humorous young adult science-fiction series called The Squishies Series and a paranormal comedy series, The Demon Diaries.
Claire Chilton is a web designer with an honors degree in English Literature and a passion for great stories. She’s done just about every job on the planet at least once, and she’s won an award for being ‘the most likely to trip over the red carpet and flash her arse at the cameras’.
After exploring the world in her misspent youth, traveling across Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean, she now lives in an ancient Roman city in Yorkshire with her Californian fiance and a fluffy kitten called Shadow, who is convinced she is a bigger cat than she is.
You can find Claire online at claire-chilton.com.
What inspires you to write?
I write every morning to make sure I’m inspired. I think you make your own inspiration and shouldn’t wait for it. Just start writing. It takes about thirty minutes for the inspiration to kick in.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write my idea down as a blurb to record it, which also usually doubles up for the actual blurb later on. Then I’ll write a sentence about each chapter in a kind of plan (I call that a chapter planner). After that’s done, I can see my story structure and make sure each chapter is driving the main conflict, and I have a nifty guide to follow when I’m writing each chapter. Then, I just sit down and I write it. I find this method keeps me on track, and keeps the main conflict going in each chapter.
If the story changes as I write, I can adapt the planner and check it’s still got a decent story arc with one glance. I prefer a planner like this to a synopsis, which is usually a giant chunk of prose that you have to read. It’s faster to find structural issues in a sentence about a chapter than in a giant chunk of prose.
After that, I’ve got the first draft of my blurb and story completed. Then comes the editing phase.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I become my characters. Is that weird? Even if I’m writing my hero’s role, I become him for a short time, so that I can think what he thinks or speak as he speaks. I also act out some of the actions to see if they are humanly possible sometimes, which can be an interesting visual if it’s a fight scene. My family think I’m crazy. But honestly, how can you write about a sword fight if you haven’t thrust a sword? ^^
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep going! I’ve been writing for twenty years, and there have been many successes and failures in my career so far. There is never a time when you’ve made it. There is never a time when you reach the finish line. There is never a time when you know everything that you need to know. You are always learning as a writer. There is no end goal where you get a happy ever after. The journey is the part that is important, not the destination. Enjoy the ride!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started out as an indie back in the nineties, avoiding the idea of submissions and publishing in small press indie magazines instead. When the self-publishing ebook world appeared, I tried it out and loved it. I wasn’t very successful, but I loved the freedom and control I got from it.
Last year, some of my action romance stories were picked up by Harlequin, so now I’m a hybrid author. I write speculative fiction as an indie and action romance for traditional publishing.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I chose both a publisher and the indie self-pub route. They’re both completely different ways of publishing, but I think they’re both valid. A lot depends on what the author wants.
Me? I like my eggs in lots of baskets. I like having some books I control, and other books that are given that professional polish. I think in the modern publishing world, you need to try everything to find out what works for you. I don’t know what works for me yet, but I’m enjoying the adventure of finding out.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that technology will decide. Ebooks are heading towards apps and subscription-based reading. Readers are using mobile devices to read their books, and the future is online. The winners of the race will be those at the forefront of modern technology, the companies that keep adapting and inventing new technology, which is looking like mobile reading and apps to me right now.
Books will always exist in some form or another, but how they are delivered will depend on the readers and the technology they prefer. Authors who adapt for their readers and who keep up with the latest technology are going to be the ones who are the most successful.
Publishing services are going to have to adapt to keep up with technology and provide services that authors and readers want, and I hope they do.
Fan-fiction and free reading sites are popular right now, but I think that they need to create revenue streams (perhaps through advertising) to keep their authors happy, or it won’t last.
I predict that we’ll see more services appearing for authors because more authors will take control of their publishing. I think more publishers will adapt their services to fit into the new publishing world and that more forms of distribution will appear on the scene. The publishing industry is going through a revolution right now. It’s going to change. What we end up with will be different from the past. Publishers and authors need to adapt now if they want to remain part of it. Readers are already adapting. Now is the time to experience techno-joy and try new things. Older systems will come to an end, so it’s the right time to embrace the future of technology and leave the past behind.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
fantasy, romance, action adventure, paranormal fiction, horror, science fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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