Oh, the weather has been frightful around here, especially yesterday. Rain, rain, rain…and gusts of wind that would gladly turn your umbrella inside out…whew!
Good thing it’s Friday once more, and the sunshine has returned just in time to welcome this week’s *Kindling Friendship* guest, author and publisher Claire Plaisted.
Me: Claire, welcome, how nice of you to drop by, and you brought sunshine with you. Now as we chat, would you like a cup of tea? Or perhaps coffee?
Claire: It depends on what time it is. I’m a tea drinker first thing in the morning, and i love a rich coffee…cappuchino is the best.
Me: Well, you’re in luck. It’s mid-afternoon and I have a hearty French roast coffee, and how about a couple of cookies on the side?
Claire: Homemade…they smell wonderful. I love a good cookie
Me: And where would you feel most comfortable, here at my kitchen table? Or in a comfy chair in the livingroom?
Claire: This lovely comfy chair would be great to sink into.
Me: Ah, now that we’re settled, and mmmmm I’ve got my ginger-lemon tea, tell me a little about yourself. What part of the country do you live in?
Claire: Well now, that’s an interesting question. Technically i don’t live anywhere at present.
Me: Oh, how is that?
Claire: Officially I have an address up in Cheshire, England at my daughters rental were we all used to live until our family was forced to split up. At present I’m down in a small village in West Sussex, England working. Prior to living in the UK, I was in New Zealand with my whole family.
Me: Oh, my,that’s interesting. Have you been there long?
Claire: I’ve been living in the UK for the last 14 months and have travelled quite a bit in the South of England with work.
Me: What do you like best and least about living there?
Claire: The best is seeing my happy parents. And i’m looking forward to visiting family and friends before returning to New Zealand. The worst…well that is easy. I loathe the way life went due to my husband’s visa being denied which split our family apart. My husband and son are now back in New Zealand.
Me: I’m so sorry to hear that. It must be so difficult to be apart. Is your writing influenced in any way by your current situation?
Claire: No, not really. I have muses who whisper in my ear…”Open a document, write…” i’m sure they take control of my fingers to get their stories written
Me: Can you describe your writing process for me?
Claire: I’d call it Free flow writing. I write what is there when it is there.
Me: And do you have a certain time of day you find most productive?
Claire: Due to working outside of writing, I have no special time. I just write when the muses mother me
Me: and what about a special place where you find inspiration?
Claire: Inspiration. Hmmm. Stories are just there…some may have things I’ve seen, remembered or experienced in life…occasionally TV has shown something and it’s like…Yes.
Me: So what got you started writing?
Claire: Easy this bit. I’m a family history researcher. In 2011/12 i was working on collecting data for a family history book for a client. I became bored with waiting, so I opened a word document and wrote three chapters of a regency mystery romance which got a bit erotic..It has never been published. I also never looked back and have over 100 draft manuscripts on my computer and approx 26 books published. I also own my own publishing company called Plaisted Publishing House which assists Indie Authors in getting their books up online for sale with a professional look.
Me: So your muses get you going…and what keeps you writing?
Claire: I have no real idea. The words pour out at times. I don’t have much control over what the muses want. I like words, i enjoy reading and sometimes i can’t comprehend… I suppose I write because I can.
Me: And now a few more “creative” questions, if you don’t mind, so I can get a better glimpse of you as a person. What kind of fruit or vegetable would you say best expresses your personality?
Claire: Pineapple at the moment–a bit prickly on the outside with the false strength and sweetness and emotion on the inside wishing I had the strength the outside shows.
Me: What do you like to do on a rainy day?
Claire: I love to be in the rain, dancing, singing, jumping in puddles, raising my face and letting it fall, letting it wash away any anxiety or negative feelings I may have.
Me: Oh, you sound just like me! When the rare thunderstorm comes our way, I get all excited, open windows and doors and want to feel it in my face, hear the thunder rumble, especially late at night. Sometimes I feel like such a child that way. Would you say children have played an important role in your life?
Claire: I’ve had a lot of children in my life, various ages, cultures and skills. They have been a delight, be them my own or someone elses. I’ve volunteered on a school board, worked with heart patients, been a parent, and a support person. I suppose i have been surrounded by them.
Me: How about in your writing?
Claire: My experiences have come in handy I suppose. I have a few children’s books and some storylines which come from life.
Me: Do you have a favorite fairy tale or children’s story?
Claire: The Narnia Chronicles by C S Lewis is a set of books for children of all ages…and we are all children, whether 1 or 101 *and her face brightens even more* Each time you read the books you find something different. They are an amazing read, and i’ve always wanted to hug the Lion – Aslan.
Me: Oh, I know you need to get back to your busy life, but before you leave, tell me a little more about your writing, won’t you?
Claire: My writing comes from a place i can’t imagine. It is like having pixies on my shoulder telling me what to write. I have several muses and write all different kinds of genres for all different ages. The scope startles me when i read back and go “wow, did i just write that?” then i have a laugh because i know i did. I’ve been writing since 2012, though I slowed down when I started my publishing company and began assisting other indie authors. Today, thanks to a good friend, my focus is back on track, work and writing wise.
Me: And where might I read your work?
Claire: Most of my books are on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Noble etc Some are in paperback some are ebooks only (at this stage) I write under my real name and also Beth Bayley…who writes
contemporary romance with a twist.
A few of my links are:
Me: Well thank you so much for visiting with me today, Claire. I hope you’ll come back very soon.
Claire: Thank you for having me for this interview. It is much appreciated.
And with shadows expanding all around me, I hug my guest good-bye, and close the door after her. It’s the winter solstice today, the shortest span of daylight for the year. And that means the light is
returning…little by little, a couple of minutes each day, the light and warmth and sense of hope which surpasses winter darkness… is returning.
The air sweetens noticeably around me. Light will be returning. For now it is up to each one of us to do our part to kindle a spark here and there. I take a deep breath, another…straighten the candlesticks on the mantle and reach for the candlelighter. The flame catches on the wick, the room brightens, and I feel it. Christmas and New Year’s are around the corner, And the river of Time seems to be moving in a good direction, a brighter, holier direction…even though I know Time to be an illusion and Holiness to be All.
I close my eyes, and feel the sweet flow move through me, circle me and expand outward to my family, friends, the world.
And I sigh: Blessed are You, Beloved Source of Holiness and Light, who enables me to kindle the light of Shabbot.
And let us say: Amen.