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Friday, April 15, 2016

The Writing Life with Mystery Author Rosie Claverton

Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. She then moved to London to specialize in psychiatry. Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm.  Between writing and practicing medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series.


What’s inside the mind of a mystery author?

It's not all bodies and conspiracies, honest! Though I confess I'm always on high-alert for story ideas. I clip articles to my Evernote app, I take pictures of weird signs, and I have the Google search history of a mass-murderer. But it's mostly tea and hedgehogs really.

What is so great about being an author?

You get to share the strange parts of your brain with other people! When they say they liked the story you told them, that is the best feeling in the world.

When do you hate it?

When I have to let the book go and let my publisher do their thing. It's a frustrating, anxious time – you know you've written the best book you could've written (hopefully), but how it finds its readers is then mostly out of your hands.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

When I have the luxury of a whole day of writing, I write in 25-minute bursts with 5-minute breaks, which is known as the Pomodoro technique. It also works quite well for editing, but isn't as good for the early plot stages. However, I'm usually writing bits and pieces in the evenings to eventually make up the whole.

Do you think authors have big egos? Do you?

Most writers I know are very insecure about their work. There's a psychological term called “imposter syndrome”, where you think you're a fraud and are waiting for people to find out you're just faking it. I get that and I have many writer friends who also feel this way. I heard JK Rowling speak on relaunching as Robert Galbraith, and how she had the same feelings. I'm not sure it ever goes away. That said, after writing a few books, I feel have some sense of when the writing is going well or not – but that's all!

How do you handle negative reviews?

I read them but I don't respond or acknowledge them. They're often either a matter of opinion or a legitimate criticism of the content. Review spaces are primarily for readers, not authors.

How do you handle positive reviews?

I love reading them – and I save the best for future blurbs! However, I only acknowledge them if they're written by a friend or a reviewer I know well. Again, that's not my place to intrude.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

I try to avoid it! People either think I'm earning a bucketload of cash or plotting their murder. However, my day job is as a psychiatrist, so I usually avoid talking about that too – for pretty much the same reasons!

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

If I'm on a deadline, it has to get done. Sometimes those reluctant, pressure-cooker moments produce some of my best writing. Sometimes it does take a few paragraphs to get into it, and those will need a hard edit later. The only exceptions are when I'm unwell or too tired to focus, because self-care is more important than writing.

Any writing quirks?

I prefer to write at my bureau with my laptop, but I can write anywhere – in fact, I do my best work on a train! In my writer's voice, I have a serious problem with hyphens, the Oxford comma, and sentence fragments. I try to pare them down in the edit, but it's also what completes my style.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I find that people go one of two ways – they think it's just a hobby, or they think I earn a fortune from it. I just try to answer their questions honestly at the time, and then chat with my writer friends later. It helps to have a social community that understands the same struggles you have with your craft.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?

I enjoy it 90% of the time, to be honest. The other 10% is remembering it's a job for which I get paid, so that's why it feels like work.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

Nope. I know a number of name-recognisable authors who have day jobs. My goal as a writer is not to write full-time, but to reach readers who will enjoy my books.

What had writing taught you?

We learn more about ourselves through writing. There is always something of the author in every book they write. My writing tends to deal with issues around identity, which is a topic that fascinates me in my own life. Writing is a reflection of the author.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

If you write, you're a writer. Own it, embrace it, even if your writing never leaves your laptop.


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Title: Captcha Thief (The Amy Lane Mysteries #3)
Genre: Mystery
Author: Rosie Claverton
Publisher: Crime Scene Books

About the Book:

Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane is recovering from her last case when her ex-con assistant Jason Carr finds a new crime to solve – a murdered security guard at the National Museum of Wales and a stolen Impressionist painting worth millions.

Ice-cold National Crime Agency investigator Frieda Haas is on the trail of the missing painting and charms Jason into following her to North Wales. He abandons Amy for new thrills, driving her to desperate measures to keep her panic under control and to stay on the track of the killer.

Nothing in this case is what it seems and Amy’s investigation takes her and Jason down a dangerous path – playing games with a murderer.

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