Friday, December 27, 2013

Claire comes to share...find out why today matters.

You came here to meet the lovely and talented Claire C. Riley, author of Odium, so I will just get out of the way and let her tell you why she is not just another pretty face.

What are some of the best and worst things about being an author?
The worst is that damn empty page. It freaks me out every single time. It’s so empty and I swear it’s mocking me.
But then it’s also the best thing too. I mean, the empty page represents so much: the possibilities are endless when you’re faced with that big scary white abyss.

What are some of the lessons you have learned as a writer that caught you off guard?
How vicious some people can be. It’s a murky world out there. In the same regard, I’ve also been touched by how kind some people can be. I always try to go out of my way to help people, but not everyone is like that. I guess I was very na├»ve when I started out. People promise you things and then never hold up their end of the bargain.

What can you share about your writing process with new or up and coming writers?
Edit, edit, edit, take a break, and then edit some more. Seriously, try and get an editor. It’s so important. Some readers aren’t too fussy when it comes to grammar and punctuation, but others are very critical on it. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just something that you should be very aware of.
Personally, I think that ANYTHING that pulls a reader out of your story is a bad thing. Well, if they have to take a vomit break because you just write a particularly disgusting scene, I guess THAT’S okay.

If you were to change genres, what would be your next choice?
Well I read pretty much anything. I love all genres, except sci-fi, I just can’t get into that, but anything else is a go. My first novel Limerence is a dark paranormal romance so I think I could take out the paranormal element and go straight to romance/erotica. I love writing zombie books though. That’s my favourite. The freedom that it evokes is fantastic. As long as you do your research on the technical things, then literally ANYTHING goes, and that really gets my imagination going.

What could traditional publishing learn from the Indies? And how about the other way around?
I think that traditional publishers need to look at it this way. If an Indie writer can write, publish, market, and earn decent royalties on their books, then I think that publishers are going to have to start offering something more worthwhile than just their publishing house logo on a book. What relevance do they hold other than the gratification that you were traditionally signed?
However, a lot of Indie writers need to take a look at what traditional publishers do in regards to cover and editing. A lot of books are rushed out without a full edit and shoddy covers, and it’s a shame because the story is actually so damn good. That’s where traditional publishing comes in. They take their time. They have proofreaders and copyeditors, and it goes through many, many hands and gets lots of eyes on it before it goes up for sale.
I don’t think that people realise how important a cover is, and how it has to look good in thumbnail as well as large.

The writing community can be its own worst enemy at times. What are some of the issues you see cropping up? Solutions?
Bitching and backstabbing can be a huge problem that I’ve personally seen happen to a lot of writers. I think it’s hard over the internet though, things can be taken the wrong way. Social media has opened up a world of possibilities for both readers and writers, but it’s tricky to navigate it and not put your foot in it. That and people like to hide behind the security of the internet, and think they can get away with anything.
The important thing I think is that writers should be sticking together—working together. If X has 300 readers who enjoy zombie horror, it makes sense that Y who has 300 fans should help X and then X can help Y. You literally swap readers. It’s a win-win for everyone. The reader gets a new author, and the authors reach new fans. But then I could just be getting confused with algebra here?

The social media is…
An amazing possibility for readers and writers to connect with each other when once they wouldn’t normally be able to. It can also be as confusing as watching your Aunt Nelly dressed as Frank from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, drinking a large Scotch out of a hip flask and dancing the Copacabana on a Sunday evening.

Share some information about your work with us: 
Well, I write dark paranormal romances, zombie horror, and generally anything a bit different. I like to write old school horror mostly, you know, when vampires were Bram Stoker esq and zombies were slow and shambling. I like to write very character driven stories, and take readers by surprise, so that the reader feels something strong for each and every character, but never knows if I’m going to kill them off. I like books that surprise me, and that’s something that I try to do in my own writing. Catch the reader unaware. I also have a very sarcastic and dry sense of humour so I throw a bucket load of that in at inappropriate times too. Not that I ever intentionally tried to be funny, but it’s just my thought process. Many of the things that my characters think come straight out of my ‘things Claire shouldn’t say out loud’ bin. (Everybody has one of those, right?)
I have a couple of short stories and two full length novels out at the moment. My first novel is Limerence. It’s a dark paranormal romance. Think vampires but when they were scary and dangerous.
My second novel is Odium. It’s a dystopian, post-apocalyptic zombie novel. I had so much fun writing it, and I think or I hope that it shows. It’s old school zombies, you know the ones, slow, shambling and brain eating. Well, generally anything eating, but I think they like brains the most.
I’m also just about to publish Odium Origins. A Dead Saga Novella. Part One. (That comes out on the 27th December)

What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you write?
Why do you want to write about ‘dead things?’ followed by an eye-roll.
I mean seriously, why do you like cheese? Why do you hate skinny jeans? Of course there’s things you can say, ‘well I like the taste of cheese, and my butt looks great in these jeans’, but we also know that the cheese clogs your arteries and makes your breathe stink and the jeans may make your butt look good, but they are not comfy at all. So there’s a downside to the things you like too. You like them because that’s just who you are. I like writing about the dark and creepy, and the ‘dead things’ because although the scare the crap out of me, they fascinate me too. They give me a bad taste while I’m reading or writing them because they cross the boundaries that you’re not supposed to cross, but damn it’s fun. So yeah, people who ask me that question, there’s your answer, don’t ask it me again, ha!

How do you deal with negative reviews?
Pitifully. I wail, and cry, stamp my foot and… Ha, no really, I don’t mind. Of course I want everyone to love my books, but everyone has to have an opinion, and I’m grateful to hear all of them. Sometimes I want to explain things to the reader, things that they have pointed out as an error and I know for a FACT isn’t, but then it can come across as argumentative, so it’s best to thank them and walk away graciously.
It would be a boring world if everyone thought the same way.

How much reading do you get in, and can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?
Just my personal opinion, but I think a writer needs to read to grow in their expertise. They learn as they read, by picking up tips and ideas, new styles of writing. And it keeps the mind active and the imagination gates open.
I read a lot. Probably not as much as some, but I’ve read maybe 50 books this year of varying genres. I think considering I’m a mother of three young children (8,7 & 2) a wife, I work and I write, I don’t think that’s a bad number at all.
Of course, that’s just my opinion.

When does self-promotion cross the line and become a nuisance?
When it’s just post after post in every single group of ‘buy my book’ It’s just irritating, and does anyone really read those things?
I try to be reader when I’m promoting, and think about what I would like to see. On my author page and blog I promote other writers, and I try to share tips, daft pictures, free books, sales, cover reveals etc I want my readers to be happy, and I love pimping others work out. It’s not just about saying ‘buy my book’ it’s about showing that you read and basically give a shit about the skill that’s involved in producing a novel. Social media has made it so that readers can connect with their authors, and they don’t want to find out that you’re an asshole.

What projects are you currently working on?
I just finished working on Odium Origins. A Dead Saga Novella. Part One. It’s part of the Odium brand, and is an accompaniment to Odium. I’m now working on the sequel to Odium, which I hope to get out around March/April and the sequel to my first book Limerence. There will also be a second Odium Origins book after the release of the Odium sequel.
I also have a crime horror novel which keeps bating me to write it, and about a million and one short stories I really want to get out at some point next year, I just need to find anthologies to put them in.

What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers who do not know you personally?
Ummm, I guess that I’m really shy. Extremely. But I talk and ramble and swear like a sailor when I’m nervous. And I’m dyslexic. Or maybe I’m just really bad at grammar?

Is there anyone you’d like to give a mention?
All the wonderful people that help make this possible for me. From some of the amazing authors that I’ve met – Eli Constant, Ken Mooney, to my awesome funny as hell editor Amy Jackson, to the really cool readers which keep coming back and reading more of my work. Every one of them rock my world, and I couldn’t do any of this without each and every one of them.

What is in your “to be read” pile right now?
Okay, so these are some of the books that I have purchased in the last couple of weeks and are waiting for me to read them. Though this is about a quarter of the actual pile. I really need to stop ‘one-clicking’. Bear in mind I read a mix of genres.
1.      After Death by Derrick Lacombe
2.      The Book of Riley by Mark Tufo
3.      After Life by Jaron Lee Knuth
4.      The Complex by J.Rudolph
5.      Dead Drunk by Richard Johnson
6.      Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
7.      Good Side of Sin by K.S. Haigwood
8.      I Zombie I by Jack Wallen
9.      Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy
10.  A Shade of vampire by Bella Forrest

Claire C Riley, is a mother first, a wife second, but a writer at heart.

Her first novel Limerence is a dark paranormal romance. Claire likes to break boundaries with her writing, incorporating an old school style of horror and romance. Sexy and dark. (Think Bram Stokers Dracula, but for the 21st century!)

Claire’s current novel is a dystopian post-apocalyptic zombie novel called- Odium, and it focuses on survival, and how it would change us.
She has also written several short horror stories, with more coming in the new year. Her newest creation is Odium Origins. A Dead Saga Novella. Part One. It releases December 27th 2013 and is an accompaniment to Odium.
She is currently working on the sequel to Odium with a tentative release of March 2014, the sequel to Limerence creatively named Limerence II: Mia and a horror romance novel titled Chance Encounters.
Claire is an avid reader of all genres, a book collector, general procrastinator and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for her.
She can be stalked at any of the following.

Purchasing links for Odium.
UK Amazon Link
USA Amazon Link


  1. Thank you Todd, awesome interview!

  2. Love the interview! This was great, Claire. :-) Congrats on the new release!

    Many blessings and best wishes for both you and Todd and your families in 2014. :-)

  3. Excellent interview!

  4. Great interview and keep writing about dead things!

    Richard Johnson