I am so pleased to spend our day together with The Wild Rose Press debut author, Clare Austin .
Clare, thanks so much for being here today. To start, how was the idea for Butterfly born?
Like most of my stories, Butterfly came to me quickly and serendipitously. I had written three novels in 2007 and had no clue how to submit my books or even write to a particular market genre. I joined Colorado Romance Writers and was invited to a critique group. As I didn’t want to “fix” an old manuscript with the group, I started a new story just as an exercise. It turned out that Butterfly was so much fun, my heroine Flannery Sloane such a blast to hang out with, I kept writing. I marvel at how a writing “exercise” turned out to be my first sale.
What is your writing schedule and how do you make time to write?
I would have to divide my writing schedule into two categories…BP and AP…before publication and after publication. Before the sale of Butterfly, I spent my writing time solely on creative work. I wrote stories, edited, tweaked, thought up new ideas. After my sale…wow, what a difference. I spend my mornings on promo: writing a blog or two, answering emails, checking loops and blog sites and writing comments. I have to leave my desk (which isn’t really a desk, but a board over my lap in my recliner.) and go out to ride my horse or go for a swim to clear my mind for creative work. Right now I am working on the third book in my Fadό trilogy. Much of my afternoon is dedicated to that work…character building, scene brainstorming. Sometimes I write from the seat of my pants…pantser, but I am finding I can’t do that with this. It already has a hero and the history of the two previous stories. My evenings I have been reserving to spend with my husband. We read together. Right now we are reading On Celtic Tides by Chris Duff.
What do you love about The Wild Rose Press?
The Wild Rose Press did a great job on the production of Butterfly. The cover is beautiful, the pages bright and the print easy to read. They are sympathetic to new authors and helped throughout the process to keep me informed about the steps. I had a fabulous editor for Butterfly, Eilidh MacKenzie. She understood my Irish characters and was sensitive to my writing voice when she suggested changes.
What has your debut experience in publishing taught you about writing?
I now know that writing is not all about the creative process. I didn’t start writing with the goal of publication. I just wanted to see if I could write a book. When I realized people actually liked my voice and my stories, I had to concentrate on writing for a specific market. That, I think, is one of the biggest problems I see when I judge contests. New writers do not understand that the agent/ editor and publisher have a bottom line. If they cannot market your book, they are not buying it…sorry; even if you are the next James Joyce…it won’t happen. What I tell new writers is this—hook the reader in the first three paragraphs. That is hard, but it is how I sold Butterfly.
What is your favorite excuse you use to procrastinate writing related tasks?
I love to write, so I generally don’t procrastinate, but I also have a very full life outside of writing. I have three horses and love to ride and train. My violin teacher says I’m a total type “A” person. I don’t think so, but I do pick difficult goals and work my tail off achieving them. I’m learning the Irish language, an Gaeilge..try that for a challenge! I love to travel and I always have my laptop and my fiddle with me. With writing I don’t wait for my Muse to bless me with her presence. I chain her to my computer, feed her dark chocolate and squeeze the words out of her.
Considering news like Barnes & Noble buying Fictionwise and new publishing opportunities like Amazon Kindle and Scribd.com, how do you envision the future of publishing?
We will always have some sort of conventional publishing but I do feel strongly that electronic books, Kindle type download books and print on demand are going to lead the market in the future. I’m thrilled to be published in POD. I personally don’t like the idea of cutting down trees so that my book can be warehoused. I haven’t gotten into e-book reading as I am not inclined to sit at my computer to read and relax… that’s work to me. But I listen to audio books constantly and have asked for a Kindle for Christmas.
If it were up to you, what actors would play your characters on the big screen and why?
Butterfly is hard to cast. I know exactly how Flannery, Cade and the rest look, but one reason I didn’t want people on my cover was because I want the readers to see them for themselves. Angel’s Share, the next book in the Fadό Trilogy, is a little easier. The hero in Angel’s is Aidan Kennedy and he is Hugh Jackman. I didn’t know that until after I wrote Aidan, but it’s a grand fit.
She would love to hear from you and look forward to your comments about her books.
***Be sure to look for an excerpt of Butterfly this afternoon!***