May is here already. Can you believe it? I can hardly keep up and even on a day off I can’t get enough done. Bad news: I’ve not had as much time to write and participate in some great writer groups. Good news: When I do sit down, I’ve finally gotten a groove on with my work in progress and I really hope to have it ready by fall. I posted a long scene in my blog
recently and if you follow me on Twitter
, you been catching teasers. Have you pieced it all together yet? If so, please fill me in 😉
As usual, I have too many irons in the fire, but even as busy as I am, I feel like I’m slacking compared to this month’s guest, UK writer Clare Lydon. I never have as many steps logged as she (I’m getting lazy in old age), nor cups of coffee (I prefer whiskey. Oops! I meant chocolate milk), and lord knows its a challenge getting my blogs up on time (once a month), yet she has books, videos, audio books, blogs, and podcasts. Phew!
Standing ovation for all her hard work. Her witty newsletters are great for laugh and her novels include the best selling London series, which always put a smile on my face. And let’s face it, who doesn’t need to smile more?
I hope this little chat will make your day. I know it made mine.
Hello Clare. Thank you for joining me this month.
We’ve had a Twitter convo regarding the epic “I Will Survive” cover by the band Cake, what other bands do you love and do you have a preferred writing jam?
This is a question that could go on for days! I love so many bands, music has always been a huge love of mine. Plus, I was a music journalist for 8 years before I started writing books, which allowed me to play out my childhood dreams, meet a whole host of pop stars and go to see bands as part of my job – hooray! I love old-school indie – Pulp, Suede, Blur, Cake, Divine Comedy, Beck; I love cheesy 80s and cool 80s; I love a bit of country/folk – big fan of the Indigo Girls, Brandy Clark, Maren Morris, First Aid Kit; I heart old-school hip-hop and current artists like Kendrick and Macklemore; I also love modern stuff like Lorde, Janelle Monae, Drake, The XX, Matt & Kim, Ellie Goulding. All-time favourite artist is probably George Michael – I shed a tear when he died. A worrying amount of my brain space is taken up with pop lyrics. When I write, I like silence – no music at all.
And while we’re on the subject of cake, do you have a favorite kind?
What do you like most about writing romance?
I came to romance reading late, and romance writing even later. I love the fact we can write stories of real-life lesbians falling in love and put them out to people – if I’d had access to that when I was growing up, it would have made a huge difference. Lesbians are so under-represented in popular culture that writing our stories is almost a political act. But that’s not what I’m thinking about when I write my romances – then, I’m immersed in the world and thinking about nothing but the characters and the stories.
What inspires your writing?
When I first started reading romance, everything I read was based in the US. I enjoyed reading them, but I wanted to read about lesbians in the UK, specifically in London. And then I thought, ‘I can do that!’ So I did. I was inspired to write because I wanted to read about the lesbians I hung out with, the lesbians I knew. Every book I write is a love letter to UK lesbians, and I hope to lesbians all around the world.
I enjoy your newsletter. It always makes me laugh. How did the coffee and steps counter come about?
Thanks, that’s great to know! I decided I’d like to do a regular newsletter to my subscribers, to keep them up to date with what I was doing in my worklife and general life. I like having the connection, and people seem to respond well. It’s something I really enjoy doing, too. When I was thinking about what to put in it, I wanted something light that would keep people coming back – something silly but relatable – and I came up with how many cups of coffee I’d drunk, and how many steps I’ve walked that day. I get so many people giving me their step and coffee counts too, and I love that! I think it gives a human connection, and at the end of the day, that’s what we’re aiming for with all our writing – be it a book or an email.
What prompted you and Harper Bliss to write together? I have to admit I’m excited to read that one.
I’d thought about doing a co-write, but wasn’t sure about it as I’m a control freak! However, Harper asked me if I’d be interested, and we decided to give it a go. We were both very open about our fears going into it – the fear of the unknown. But it turned out that the reality was far better and more surprising – we loved working together and would do it again in a heartbeat! I’ve learned stuff working with her, and vice versa, and the key to a successful relationship was being open and honest. We’re still in second draft, but so far, it’s working well and we’re pleased with the book. It should be out at the end of May if all goes to plan.
Who has been your favorite character to write so far?
Difficult question. I will always love Jess as she’s where it all started in London Calling. The character I most fell in love with is probably Kate – she’s every cool, attractive lesbian I’ve ever met rolled into one! I also love Meg, so This London Love is favourite book, too. I have a soft spot for Scarlet from Nothing To Lose – she goes on quite the journey in that book. Plus, the redemption of Tanya in the London series is a cool transformation. That’s far more than one, isn’t it?
Is there anything else you aspire to do? (Writing or otherwise?)
I’ve spoken about how The Long Weekend would be a good basis for a play – I might do that one day. Right now, I have many more books to write, and am currently pondering writing a memoir. I think I will do it, but it might take a few years to happen.
What’s up next?
The book I’m writing with Harper Bliss is due out at the end of May. Then The London Of Us, the fourth book in the London Romance series, is due out on June 27th. Audible are currently recording the audiobook and we’re releasing ebook, print and audio all together. Exciting! After that, I’m writing book 5 in the London Romance series – London, Actually. That should be out later in the year. I’m also doing a couple of non-fiction projects, so lots in the works!
You keep a steady writing schedule. How do you work through writer’s block?
I give myself a little time in between each book to reset and replenish the creative well. If you keep the creative well full, writer’s block is never an issue. Also, if you do enough research, writer’s block isn’t something to worry about either. I go to see gigs, plays, the occasional film, and I also walk a lot – all of this gives me ideas and inspiration. When I’m writing I have a set amount of words to complete every day, and I don’t stop till I’m done. As the old adage goes, creativity is 5% inspiration, 95% perspiration. All true!
CONNECT WITH CLARE:
Clare Lydon is a London-based writer of contemporary lesbian romance. She’s a No.1 best-seller on lesbian fiction charts around the globe and if you’re a sucker for romantic comedies, prepare to fall head over heels in love.
Clare’s books deal with the lives & loves of modern lesbians in the real world, and her characters live life in 3D: they laugh, cry, trip over their words, crash into love, say the wrong thing and drink too much. Her books are packed with British wit and bursting at the seams with lesbians, so why not give them a try?
Thank you again to Clare for participating and to all of you for reading and supporting the writers featured here. You’ve given some wonderful feedback, so I am happy you are finding great new reads. Next month, I’m excited to feature author Lila Bruce, so be sure to check back in.
Until then, all the best,