Buy Claire Gem's Books: Amazon
I recently enjoyed an exclusive author interview with the talented Claire Gem! Claire is the author of Phantom Traces, Hearts Unloched, A Taming Season, The Phoenix Syndrome and Spirits of the Heart. Find my interview with Claire, below...
Tell us a little about yourself...
I’m a 59-year-old mother and grandmother who works full-time in scientific research for Tufts University. Writing is the “other side” of my life, where I get to express my creativity.
I’m the author of 5 novels so far in the genres of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and supernatural suspense—the latter being my favorite. I’m presently working on the third of my Haunted Voices novels, Pigments, which I hope to have out by midsummer. My hobbies are raising freshwater angelfish, exotic orchids, and hanging out with my horse. I’ve been an accomplished equestrian all of my life. I live in central Massachusetts with my husband of 39 years, my own personal happy-ever-after.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in the seventh grade and my English teacher, Miss Prather, called me up to her desk to discuss my latest creative essay. I approached the front of the room trembling, self-conscious. What had I done wrong? She looked me straight in the eye and said, “You have a very special talent for writing, young lady. Don’t waste it.” That’s when I knew, someday, I would pursue a writing career.
Can you share your journey to becoming a published author?
I’ve been writing feature articles for magazines for years, but my first published books came out in 2015—my memoir, and my debut novel, Phantom Traces, both from small publishers. I’ve also had some short stories published by Centum Press in two of their anthologies. In 2016, I decided to “go rogue” and self-publish. My first indie novel, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge, as an author?
I’m great at coming up with the ideas—the premises for stories. I love to create characters and design settings. But I’m a pantser, meaning I don’t outline the plot. Many times I get 1/3 of the way into a book and get stuck. I know how it ends, I’m just not sure how to get there.
What do you find most rewarding, as an author?
I’m a tour guide: I take other people on virtual journeys without ever having to leave their comfy reading chairs.
Share with us a daily habit of yours, that helps you reach your goals.
I start out my day very early, usually before dawn, with a cup of coffee and some soft instrumental music playing in my office. I spend about 15 minutes on social media promoting my books…then I’m in the frame of mind to get to work.
What is one piece of advice you would share with an aspiring author?
Read, read, read. Read the kind of books you like to write, not just the bestsellers. You will learn more from the poorly written books than you will from the good ones. I also highly recommend listening to audiobooks. The ear hears what the eye misses—rhythm, awkward phrasing, repeated words. And never, ever give up.
I am most grateful for...my own and my family’s health and successes in this life. The ability—and the tenacity—to pursue my dreams.
If I could give my 18 year-old self one piece of advice it would be...Start writing NOW. Don’t wait until you feel like you’re “good enough.”
My favorite thing about being a writer is...meeting my readers. I absolutely LOVE book signing events, and I do a lot of them. I’ve done signings everywhere from museums to craft breweries to a dinner cruise ship on Lake George!
My least favorite thing about being a writer is...not being able to outline. It cramps my creativity, but I think the process would be so much easier if I could be a plotter, not a pantser.
My goals for the future are...retire, move to Florida to be near to my kids and grandson, and write full-time. Do lots of traveling to book signings.
I love living a creative life because...it’s as essential to my well-being as breathing.
The last book I read was...Dr. Sleep by Stephen King. The sequel to The Shining, it was a great one.
My favorite book, ever, is...A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. I still have the original, 1970s tattered paperback on my top shelf.
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is...riding and training my horse for competition in local dressage events.
The most important thing to do if you want to achieve your goals is...DON’T GIVE UP. And believe in yourself. If you don’t, who will?
Tell us about your books (genre, where we can find them, etc.) My books are all available on Amazon. I write contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and supernatural suspense (my favorite).
Where can readers find you (i.e. website, social media, etc.)?
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2nabvbm
Anything else you'd like to add...
I recently released an author resource book titled The Road to Publication. This is the book I wish I could have found when I started out my writing career. It’s an overview of the industry—your choices when it comes to pursuing a writing life. A roadmap. The trailer is here: http://bit.ly/2ngGWkG and you can find it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2mJ0Hyu
Ritz writes the following genres:
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