Interview with Author Edie Claire

Edie Claire for RWF post 4Author Edie Claire

In April of 2017, Avery Cove wrote a blog post on writing romantic women’s fiction.

She needed to know if there was a difference between writing women’s fiction and writing romantic women’s fiction.

One of the references she sited was http://www.edieclaire.com/rwf. Edie Claire had not only a definition but also a video clip.  

Today RWF is excited to present an exclusive interview with Edie.  

RWF: How long have you been writing? What genre(s) do you write?

EC: I sold my first mystery novel to Penguin-Putnam’s Signet imprint in 1998. I published five mysteries with Signet, then sold two contemporary romances to Warner Books’ Forever imprint and two plays to Samuel French. I republished all the novels independently beginning in 2010, and now there are twenty-four – including mysteries, romance, women’s fiction, and humor. (You could say I get bored easily!)

RWF: Why did you decide that what you wanted to write was Romantic Women’s Fiction?

EC: I was frustrated by the expectation that anything called a “romance” should meet certain criteria and fall into a particular subgenre bucket. I wanted to write about people falling in love, but didn’t want my plots to be constrained or the scope of the book to be limited to those two people.  Women’s fiction appeals because it explores family and friend relationships and the plot can go anywhere… but as a reader of that genre I found myself frequently depressed by heavy subject matter and emotionally unsatisfying endings. I knew what I wanted to write – a book that includes a romance, but also has a bigger story involving multiple characters… and a happy ending. Hello, Romantic Women’s Fiction!

RWF: You are self-published and traditionally published. Is self-publishing really profitable vs the money you’d receive from a publishing house? How do you feel about the markets today?

EC: Personally, I have had significantly better success self-publishing than I ever did traditionally publishing. I was very fortunate in timing, in that I was able to make a name for myself in traditional publishing first. That helped me get a leg-up in the self-publishing world just as the e-book boom was beginning. Today it is much, much harder to get established, no matter which way you start out. But the advantage of this market is that it puts readers, not employees of publishing houses, in the judge’s seat. We can make our product available to the audience for which we’ve written (no matter how small a niche!) without having to pass through the filter of corporate approval. That allows the work to succeed – or not – based on its own merits.

RWF: Would you say your inspiration comes from a setting or characters talking in your head? What I mean is what comes to mind, first—character(s) or a place?

EC: I’m most often inspired with an idea for a book by being someplace new. That’s why I love to travel. Every new place I experience makes me ponder fictional events that could happen there. I envision the characters who could bring the place to life, and slowly they begin to flesh out as real people. THEN they start talking in my head!

(Edie – Mountain birding at Haleakala Volcano in Maui)

Edie Claire Mountain Birding 3 for RWF post

RWF: What do you find as the most difficult part of creating a novel?

EC: The earliest stages of writing, when the characters are not quite fully formed. When the book is finished and I go back to edit, I always have to redo much of the dialogue in the opening chapters. “Oh, please,” I’ll think to myself. “Mei Lin would never say THAT!”

RWF: Do your books have a reoccurring theme?

EC: The series do, yes. The mysteries have been running since 1999, when a single Leigh turned thirty, and now she’s in her late forties and is married with two teenage kids. During that time, every extended family member has followed an arc of growth and change. That’s tremendously fun to write. So are my Pacific Horizons books, where a variety of characters find inspiration in the beauty of the natural world.

RWF: Do you save bits of your story that you’ve cut from your book or just delete them?

EC: With every book, I have a separate file called “cut outs,” because I figure I might use that particular section later, and I hate thinking that I’ve wasted my time writing it. But in reality, almost everything that gets cut eventually gets scrapped.

RWF: What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

EC: Emotionally separating failures on the business end from reader appreciation of my writing. Sometimes they are related – most of the time they’re not. That’s why hearing from readers is so important to me. If I’m down because I was rejected for an ad or because sales on a particular site have tanked for no apparent reason, having someone in Arizona or Australia tell me how much they loved Alaskan Dawn will turn my mood around in a heartbeat!

RWF: Do you read the genres that you write?

EC: I used to. But nothing kills enjoyment of a novel more than realizing you are subconsciously trying to analyze it!  Luckily for me, the one genre I never write is historical, and I love them dearly, so that’s where I indulge myself. My favorite books for leisure reading are family sagas that stretch across multiple generations and continents… the longer, the better!

RWF: Would you mind sharing some of your writing process?

EC: I change my process with every book. Seriously. I’ve written by starting out with a chapter and having no idea where I was going, and I have come up with a fully-formed book idea that was totally outlined in my head and only needed to be written down. I have used no notes, and I have filled notebooks with chicken scratches. Most books fall somewhere in between. The one thing I’ve never been able to do is decide how to write a book and then actually do it that way!

RWF: What are you currently working on?

EC: Glacier Blooming, the fourth book in the Pacific Horizons series. It’s been going very slowly, I’m afraid, due to worsening of my migraines, but I hope to release it by the fall of 2018. It takes place around Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska, one of the most beautiful places on earth – and home to one of the rarest mammals, the “blue” Glacier Bear. It’s an unusual romance (aren’t all romantic women’s fiction novels?) wrapped up in the discovery of a decades-old family secret that leaves our protagonist with an impossible choice… to be continued!

~ Wow! Edie’s Polynesian Room desk ~

Edie Claire PolynesianRoomDesk for RWF post

RWF: What is the best way to reach you and learn more about your books?

EC: My website! www.edieclaire.com

Edie, thanks so much for spending time with our group and sharing some aspects of your writing life. 

Novelist and playwright Edie Claire is a former veterinarian and childbirth educator whose three children have recently flown the nest, further indulging her compulsion to write cozy mysteries, humor, and romantic and women’s fiction. Pick up an Edie Claire work and you can be assured of intrigue, humor, a touch of romance (or a hefty dose of it, depending on the book!) and an ending that will leave you with a smile. 

RWF: Where can we find your books?

EC: Currently Alaskan Dawn and Never Buried are free on Kindle.

Edie Claire bk 1 for RWF blog  Alaskan Dawn, first in Pacific Horizons series. Link to video trailer – first version was featured on USAT blog.

Edie Claire bk 2 for RWF post Never Buried, is the first in the Leigh Koslow Mystery series.

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The Power of Words

For MaryG's blog post

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

I heard that a lot when I was growing up when someone called me names. Today we call that bullying and encourage our children to tell someone so we can hopefully stop it.

I remember repeating that phrase hoping to make it true. It never became true.

As an adult, I realize it is one of the biggest lie I was ever told.

Words don’t just hurt you, they have the power to destroy you.  They can cripple your motivation, creativity, and emotional wellbeing. Families have parted ways, friendships have been destroyed, marriages ended, jobs lost, and careers ruined all because of words.  Heck, wars have been started because of words.

We all understand that words are a powerful weapon.  So, who are these enemies that use words against us?

One of them would be the person you talk to the most, right?  And who is the person you talk to the most…yourself.

We talk to ourselves more than anyone else every day.  We are often our worst critic.

We don’t really set out to harm ourselves. Maybe we just repeat what someone said to us at some point in our life and we’ve internalized the words over time. Sometimes these negative words are born from an unnamed fear.

Everyone has said “I can’t do ___” at some point in their lives. At least, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said it to themselves or even out loud.

Okay, so I really can’t stand on my head. I know adults who can, but I’m not one of them. But frankly, I’m not willing to put the effort into practicing standing on my head until I’m able to do it. So, the real truth isn’t that “I can’t stand on my head”, it’s “I don’t want to stand on my head.”  There is a big difference.

What we say to ourselves can be so toxic that we defeat any good that is in our lives.

If we say we can’t do something, pretty soon we are convinced that we can’t do it, and then we give up before we ever try. All because we believed what we’ve told ourselves.

“I’m stupid.” “I’m not good enough.” “I don’t measure up.”  The list is endless.  Some of those things may keep people in very unhealthy relationships and keep us repeating bad habits.

As a writer I fight my Evil Internal Editor (EIE) every time I sit down to write. Sometimes I begin fighting my EIE when I start thinking about sitting down to write.  “I’m tired.” “I’ll do it later,” “I’m not motivated.” Or my favorite.  “I’ll do it after I get X, Y and Z done.”

Do you KNOW how many Xs, Ys and Zs I can come up with?

There are books written about the power of words. I’m not even going to try to list them here. But visit a self-help section of a bookstore or online and you’ll find plenty of resources. There are so many books written because turning negative words into positive ones isn’t easy.

It takes five positive words to replace one negative word.

The first step is to acknowledge the negative things we think or say. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

Second, take every one that comes to your mind and turn it into a positive. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Yes.

At first you may be tempted to say “I can’t ___” and turn it into “I can ___” followed immediately by “Who are YOU kidding?

Every time I catch myself saying “I can’t write this book” I stop myself because “I can write this book.”  If you catch yourself saying “I don’t know how to write this book” turn it around to “I am learning more about writing every day.”

It takes daily effort to turn our negative self-talk into positive self-talk. It’s not a quick or easy fix. Remember that it takes five positives to erase one negative.

While words can be negative they can also be life giving.  If you’ve had a parent, teacher, friend or family member say, “you look nice” or “you did a great job” then you know it made you feel good.

As your words become positive, your attitude will grow more positive, and soon you will be able to accomplish the things that are important to you.

Good luck on your journey of changing your self-talk.

It will be worth it!

Mary's Bio picture

Mary Gardner wears many hats as a Christian, mother, grandmother, writer, reader and manager of her homeowner’s association. She writes romance and romantic women’s fiction with small town settings. Although she is not yet published, she has been a finalist in several contests and won her category in a few. She was a 2007 RWA Golden Hearts finalist and the 2nd runner up in the 2008 – Harlequin Superromance® Conflict of Interest Contest. Mary is a member of RWA and is a RWA PRO. She lives with her cat near her family in a small town in Indiana.Her website: www.maryrosegardner.com