Author 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)
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 ~
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.
Alaskan Dawn, first in Pacific Horizons series. Link to video trailer – first version was featured on USAT blog.
Never Buried, is the first in the Leigh Koslow Mystery series.