CLAUDIA CONNOR: I NEVER CONSIDERED MYSELF A WRITER
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Claudia Connor’s debut novel Worth The Fall gained huge positive criticism by readers. The book was released in September and received a well deserved praise. Currently, the first part of The McKinney Brothers series is averaging 4.7 stars rating in Amazon (430+ reviews) and 4.3 stars at Goodreads (780 reviews). Apart from the writing Claudia is a professional children educator. For me, as a father of 2-year-old daughter, it was very interesting to hear some useful advices about communicating with kids.
– Claudia, your last book Worth the Fall is very highly rated in Amazon and Goodreads. Would you tell the future readers what they may find inside?
– Sure. Worth The Fall is a love story, plain and simple, though love is never simple. Abby and Matt are two people with no other reason to be together and lots of reasons to be apart. Matt’s a Navy SEAL hero with skills, badassness and an intense sense of responsibility, but he’s also a man with so much love to give. He’s just never found anyone he wanted to give it to. Until Abby. But Abby’s been left all her life and knows she can’t watch another person walk away.
So it’s about falling in love, making choices and taking chances. It’s also about believing you’re enough, believing you’re worthy of what’s being offered. I absolutely LOVE these characters. I spent three years with them before I ever considered writing their story, then almost three more years writing it. Any minute of any day I can pop into their lives, be a fly on the wall. It’s like watching your favorite movie that never ends! Hopefully when people read the book they’ll feel the same.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I never considered myself a writer or even wanted to be a writer, but I’ve always had stories in my head. I see them in a flash like I’m watching a full color movie. I’ll catch myself staring out the window, smiling. Or even crying. One day I described the above to my friend, thinking everyone did that. She gave me a really strange look and said, “No. That’s not normal. Maybe you should try writing it down.” So I did.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Wow. There were many challenges. For me, I tend to struggle with whose point of view a particular scene should be in, which would be best. Then I start changing my mind, rewriting, pulling threads, because once you change one thing, it all starts to unravel. If we’re not in his head then we don’t know he’s thinking this, and if we don’t know that then what he does next doesn’t make sense and if he doesn’t do or say that then what she does or says doesn’t work, then the next scene is messed up and on and on I go.
– Tell us something more about your main characters? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– No, my characters have nothing to do with anyone in my real life. All the characters in my head just come to me. I see them doing something, I hear them, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– Well, this relates to #4 in that I don’t feel like I sit down and make up a story, I see it, bits at a time. This process might change as I go on, but for now it takes a LONG time. Like I tell my editor, it has to simmer, not boil. I spent about three years writing Worth The Fall and about fifteen months on the second one. So I am getting faster. But who knows how long the next one will take.
– Who are you?
– Who am I? Hmm…I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, daughter, sister. I’m kind of weird. I can’t drink water from a glass, only plastic. I like ice cream but not in a bowl, only a cone or cardboard cup. I over think everything and I don’t like change. I laugh a lot, cry easily, and still sleep with the same baby pillow that was in my crib when I came home from the hospital. I rarely get mad, mostly because I immediately and without even trying imagine something horrible that might have happened to that person to make them so crabby. I hate leaving the house unless I’m going on a trip with my husband. Going on a short get away with him to some tropical paradise when it’s freezing cold outside is my most favorite thing to do.
– What are your writing habits?
– They’re different at different times, or maybe I haven’t written enough books to really know what works best. I typically work from 8am-2pm at the beginning of a story, but I ALWAYS have pen and paper with me because I get bits here and there twenty-four / seven. In this stage I try to write 3,000 words a day, knowing some of them are notes and some I’ll never use. After I’ve been over it several times, and gotten close, I send it to my editor. When it comes back from her I’m usually working on specific edits and rewrites with a hard deadline so I work all day and then more in the evening, 8-10 hours a day. The closer I get to the deadline, the longer I work. The last 2-3 weeks are more like 10-14 hours a day.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– Yes, I’m extremely happy with book sales. I didn’t have a huge expectation for my first book as a first time author, but it’s way exceeded my goals.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– First of all, I had to overcome a lot of fear of failure and make myself tell people in person and on Facebook. I have some incredibly talented and extremely popular published critique partners and they really got the ball rolling for me. After that I think it’s just word of mouth. Bloggers are wonderful and if they like your book, they can open many many doors you would never have access to.
– Your next novel Worth the Risk is set to be released on February 3. How does the story of McKinney brothers continues?
– Stephen is one of Matt’s younger brothers and I think readers will love him, though he’s entirely different from Matt. He wasn’t around much in Worth The Fall and there’s a good reason for that. Matt is a concerned older brother and a guiding force for Stephen in Worth The Risk. Readers will get glimpses of Matt, Abby, and the children.
– You have a master degree in childhood education. Would you give your top 3 advices to parents who are raising their kids?
– Wow. I taught kindergaten and first grade for ten years and the number one thing I told parents was, one, don’t be afraid to tell your children no, and two, don’t be bothered or surprised when they’re unhappy with that answer. We can’t always get what we want, and many times, when looking back, we’re glad we didn’t. The third thing, and this comes from being a parent of three teens, is read to your children every day and don’t make the mistake I did. Don’t stop when they become nighttime self sufficient. There’s a period of relief when children can finally get themselves in bed and to sleep on their own, but then you hit the teen years and you want back into their room. You want to talk and to know things. It’s really hard to bridge that gap of time. So keep tucking in and keep reading, even if it’s just five minutes or a thirty second poem. Characters are a great stepping stone to so many topics. Keep it a habit. In my experience, they won’t come to you if something is on their mind, but if you’ve insinuated yourself onto their bed every single night since they were born, they will more easily accept it, and they just might talk to you.
– With three kids around you how you find time to focus on your writings?
– I didn’t start writing until all my children were in school. I have a lot of driving to activities in the evenings, but I also have three girls who all know how to cook. 🙂
– Did you have some previous works like short stories or unpublished books?
– Nope, nothing.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– Ooooh…tough question. Hmm…What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
I ask this because hearing other authors’ stories helped me so much, gave me the courage to try. The advice I got on how to be a successful author, how to write a good book, or how to get published was always the same: WRITE. That’s it. You have to write words and then you have to string them all together and move them around a thousand times, and then redo everything ten times and THEN you might be close to finished. When I finally figured out that all the best authors I had ever read went through the same struggles with every new book, no matter how long they’d been writing, even Nora Roberts and Stephen King, I found the courage to try. So try.
Thank you so very much for having me here. I truly enjoyed it and I’d love to hear from you.
Take a look at her books: