Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Claire Wingfield to Chat About Books 🙂
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I live in Scotland and write novels and non-fiction as well as working as an editor and literary consultant, so my life is filled with books! My novel Saving Francesca Maier is contemporary women’s fiction. Set in Berlin when a couple take their teenage daughter to her father’s home country for the first time, it explores the secrets every family hides and the choices we make in a volatile world.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Saving Francesca Maier was inspired by own trip to Berlin as a new graduate, to take up a traineeship at a publishing house there. Arriving in the city, it felt as though I was truly on my own for the first time in my life. I’ve tried to capture that sense of immense possibility – but also danger and vulnerability – in Francesca’s experience of the city.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
This is the question authors dread – or at least, I do! There are certainly traits of people I’ve met in some of the characters I’ve written. These will invariably be changed in some way – heightened, mixed up – during the writing process so the final character is always at a remove from real life. Friends and family always scan a new book for traces of themselves, and I’ve come to realise that sometimes it’s almost impossible to separate fact from fiction.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Some characters have names I felt very strongly about; others were changed fairly late in the draft. Writing an international set of characters was interesting as although we tend to borrow names from different cultures it seemed important to use names that easily linked the character to their nationality.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I work as an editor so I’m a comparatively slow writer as I edit as I write rather than getting one long draft down and then revising in the next draft. I made use of workshops to help me get back into writing after breaks. I did several wonderful yoga and writing day retreats organised by my friend the author Noelle Harrison. So there is at least one scene in the novel inspired by a yoga pose! I also enjoyed workshops with the author Regi Claire, who is a wonderful short-story writer and novelist and quite inspiring in her precision.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes. I was quite shy as a child and always had a book nearby to retreat into. Then somehow all that reading has given me a level of confidence, so I’m glad I found books when I did.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing a follow-up to Saving Francesca Maier, which sees one of the German characters come to Edinburgh as an au pair, becoming embroiled in the secrets of the family she works for and caught up in their outrageous demands of her. The family is connected to Francesca’s mother Imogen, so we’ll also see how the rest of Francesca’s story unravels.
What did you do to celebrate on publication day?
I was on holiday in Aviemore and we visited Loch Morlich to toast the book and take some publicity shots. One of the scenes in the novel takes place on the lake at Berlin’s Wannsee, so Loch Morlich was a pleasing mirror to the book – and to the past.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Readers can sign up to my author newsletter at www.clairewingfieldauthor.com,
Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/clairewingfieldauthor/
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/clairewingfieldauthor/
Twitter at https://twitter.com/ClaireWingfield
See my books at my Amazon author page here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Wingfield/e/B00DLC6J04 or ask in a favourite bookshop.
Information on my editorial and literary services can be found at www.clairewingfield.co.uk
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Claire 🙂
‘Just gorgeous. Captures fraught relationships with subtlety and wisdom.’ Julia Gray
‘Moving and beautifully written…explores the complex ties of family and friendship with insight and compassion.’ Tracey Emerson
Can you leave the past in another country?
Francesca Maier knows little of her father’s home country or her parents’ life together before she was born. A summer in Berlin brings the past – and its secrets – alive. Adrift in a foreign city, she finds an unexpected friend in east Berliner Antonio – but what will he sacrifice to save her?
‘Saving Francesca Maier’ probes the secrets every family hides and the choices we make in a volatile world.
Contains writing prompts and author interview, making this the perfect Book Club read.
happy reading 🙂