Today I am delighted to welcome Claire L Brown! 🙂
Claire’s twitter bio states: ‘Independent author; Movie fan, dog lover, Home design junkie. Experimenting in beauty & fashion. Making my way one page at a time.’
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Hi my name is Claire L Brown, I was born in Sunderland, Northeast England where I currently live with my dog Hero and my family.
I’m a BA Honors Graduate in Media Studies with American History from Sunderland University and was an exchange student attending Western Washington State University, USA for period of time.
As well as writing her novels, I’m a blogger charting my lifestyle and I’m the Chief Executive of The Poppy Garden Appeal a charity established to fund a recuperation centre for service personnel and their families.
My latest book, The Poppy Garden is a romantic drama based on how my grandfather developed his own methods of coping with PTSD following his experiences in WW2. I used his example and inspiration from the women in my life who have dealt with caring for their partners through times of trouble.
The book has also inspired the set up of a charity to support veterans and their families by providing support and recuperation assistance.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Life is like a book with every day and every experience you have filling in another page to your story. While I know some of the pages in my grandfather’s book there were many that are left blank. I know the basic outline of the pages but not the detail and unfortunately I can no longer ask him directly to fill in the blanks. I always wanted to tell his story but while I have some of the facts a lot of the detail isn’t available to me. So one day while working in my own garden I was thinking about him and realised all the times I spent with him as a child in his garden was part of his way of coping with what had happened to him. He focused his stress, his fears, his upset and channelled it in to his garden creating his own safe haven and his own place of sanctuary.
As I worked I realised there was a different side to his story I could tell just in a different way.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Elements of my two main characters, Sky and Nick, come from My grandfather and my grandmother. I also looked to my mother and other strong women I knew who had dealt with situations that needed them to be strong in ways they had never imagined.
How do you pick your characters names?
I have chosen the names in this book carefully as I wanted them to be characters in their own right but also have links to the people who were involved in my grandfather’s story, in a way dedication to thank them for the sacrifices they gave which ensured I am living my life today and am able to write freely.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I would call myself an organic writer. I tend to work in the best way that suits the story. For this book, I started with an outline roughly jotted down after the spark of the idea. I then developed the characters and kept a profile for each of them which I added to and edited as I worked.
The chapters were written without much planning – I knew the major themes and a rough outline but generally the story just flowed and grew as it went.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Arthur Conan Doyle
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would love to chat to Agatha Christie about her characters and how she worked out her mysteries also I would love to know what happened in the missing week of her life that still remains a mystery!
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes, I was taught to read by my Parents and Grandparents at an early age. I used to read all the time and also had a large collection of audio books. I loved fairytales and still do but the story from my childhood that stays with me to this day is the Phantom of the Opera – not a children’s book but it was something I loved to read.
When did you start to write?
I don’t remember a time that I didn’t write. I was quite a lonely child and filled my time in telling stories to myself. I would also rewrite a book if I didn’t like it’s ending or if there was a character I thought deserved their own story. My best friends were book characters and my greatest adventures were in the pages of the books I read.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I always thought as a child I would change the ending of the Snowman – Raymond Briggs – as I didn’t want him to melt!
There are so many stories where I wonder what if -what if it worked out differently. IN fact that is the theme that runs through my second novel Jonah Axe and the Weeping Bride which takes place on board the Titanic.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I think The Poppy Garden is the book I’m most proud of so far in my career and I hope that I have a lot more stories to tell. While other writers inspire me, I don’t think there’s a book that I covet as my own. I just hope I can write as well as some of my favourite authors and inspire others to write they way they have inspired me.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I think it would be Miss Marple – I would take her to an old fashioned tea room, for tea and cake and listen to all of her stories. I always imagine her the way Geraldine McEwan played her on TV and think people often over look the unassuming grandmother sitting knitting where as she sees everyone and notices everything.
What are you working on right now?
I’m just starting on my forth novel, and I’m venturing in to the Chick-Lit drama, it’s not a genre I’ve tried to write before so I’m challenging myself to try something new and develop my self as a writer.
Do you have a new release due?
The Poppy Garden was released on the 11 November 2016 and is available for Kindle and in paperback from amazon
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’m on social media and can be found at the following;
My Life as a Writer Blog – http://clairelbrownauthor.blogspot.co.uk
My Life as a Writer; When I’m Not Scribbling – http://myifeasawriterwhennotscribbling.blogspot.co.uk
Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/clbrown34author/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/clbrown_author/
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Claire.
The Poppy Garden
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (31st October 2016)
What would you do if the love of your life didn’t know who you were? What if he forgot you? Forgot the first time you met, your first kiss, the day he proposed and the day you married? What if six months after your perfect start it was all taken away in the blink of an eye? Sky Flynn thought she had it all, she was the happiest she’d ever been from the moment she met Nick Robinson until the moment a military officer showed up at her door, then things changed. Fighting to save her marriage and help her husband recover from both physical and mental scars of war Sky has to find away to cope and overcome. Inspired by memories of her grandfather and how he channeled his PTSD into his garden she sets out to create somewhere for recovering service men to go, to assist in their recovery and create a place of beauty to share with their families. But will the beauty of the garden heal her husband’s wounds and bring him home to her forever?
I will certainly be adding The Poppy Garden to my reading list and I’m sure you will want to also. You can buy your copy HERE
You will find all of Claire’s books on her Amazon author page