Cate: Please welcome Clare Austin. Clare, will you please share a short bio with us?
[Clare]: Hi, thanks for having me here today. I currently live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with my husband. We are enjoying a hard earned empty nest after raising a big, loud and musical bunch of sons. I love horse riding and we have three lovely horses who “own us” and a cairn terrier, Maggie. I play violin and love to travel, swim in the sea, and walk in the hills of both Colorado and Ireland.
Cate: Tell us about Butterfly and where it's available.
[Clare]: My first fiction work was just released by The Wild Rose Press. The title is Butterfly and it is the first story in The Fadό Trilogy. Fadό is an Irish word meaning “once upon a time.” It is available from the publisher at www.thewildrosepress.com or from Amazon, Borders and B&N websites. I will have it in brick and mortar stores later this month.
Cate: Oo wonderful, a series.
At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Clare: I submitted my first manuscript to Doubleday when I was eight. I don’t have it now, nor do I have the rejection letter. But I remember the kind person who told me to keep writing and someday I would be published. Four years ago I wrote my first novel. Then I worried that I didn’t have another story in me so I wrote three more. Butterfly was my fourth book and my first sale. It all happened very fast. I had some rejection letters, but I think I was lucky because I have not had to wait years to be published.
Cate: My, you were a girl who knew what you wanted! That's great. I'm glad you received proper encouragement.
Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
[Clare]: My husband writes non-fiction for magazines and he has one published book about mountain climbing. Our youngest son writes complex scientific articles for journals associated with his field of study. So, perhaps there is a gene for writing that we passed on to him. I prefer to think it is just because we have always had books as part of our lives and children learn what they live.
Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
[Clare]: Lyrical, passionate, humorous.
Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
[Clare]: Lately my routine has been a wreck because of the time it takes for promotion. I generally write for a couple of hours in the morning and then again in the afternoon or evening. When I am really into a story, I am hard to rip free of my keyboard and can write for eight or ten hours straight. I try not to do that because I once had eye and neck strain so bad my face went numb!
Cate: Oh dear! But I understand the drive, believe me.
How do you pick the character’s names?
[Clare]: When I am writing about the Irish, the names I pick almost always have a deeper meaning connected to the story. Flannery, the name of my main character in Butterfly, has meanings that come out as part of an admonition from her sister near the end of the book. I like to play with names, use them to tell you something about my character, their background, heritage and traditions within their culture and family.
Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
[Clare]: By far the most challenging aspect has been promo. I am new at it and the learning curve has been steep. Writers by nature are a bit reclusive. We don’t like to talk…we like to write. When I did my first book talk I was terrified. It gets easier, but it will never be my favorite thing.
The easiest thing for me is story ideas. I’ve got about a million of them. Some are on the desktop of my computer. I’ll get to them someday.
Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
[Clare]: I just love it when people enjoy my writing. I like to think that someone would pick up Butterfly and have a good laugh…and maybe shed tear or two as my characters work their way into her heart.
Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
[Clare]: Absolutely. And, I loved living with Flannery, Cade, and the folks at O’Fallon’s Pub. My next book, Angel’s Share was much harder. One of the characters is a very creepy guy and I actually got a bit depressed because getting into the head of a criminal was difficult for me. Just like you get along with real people in your world, you either get along with your characters or you tolerate them until you can get them locked up.
Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
[Clare]: Once, early in my writing career, a woman told me I write like Nora Roberts! I’m not sure she knew what she was talking about, but it was a great boost to my ego. The most frequent word readers have used to describe my work is “lyrical.” That’s nice, especially since I’m writing about musicians.
Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
[Clare]: Right now I am reading a lovely book called On Celtic Tides by Chris Duff. I read just about everything Ken Follett writes. I love Diana Gabaldon’s stories and her writing style. I have read The Time Traveler’s Wife three times, but I’m not sure I want to see the movie. Maeve Binchy is an inspiration to me not only because she is Irish, but she can really spin a tale. I like to read outside the genre I write in. I read a lot of non-fiction and I love stories about Irish history…true or speculative.
Cate: Loved Time Traveler's Wife! Can't wait for her new one. I'm hoping they treat the movie well too.
What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
[Clare]: I want a Kindle for Christmas. I listen to audio books everywhere I go and I think electronic is here to stay. Save a tree, read a POD. That’s my mantra. It’s ridiculous to print millions of books and put them in warehouses.
Cate: What's next for you?
[Clare]: I am currently working on the third book in my trilogy. After that I have a couple of fun ideas I will develop. One is a time travel Irish story. It takes the heroine from 21st century Wall Street to a 1916 County Kerry cow path. The historical center piece is the Irish Revolution and the Easter uprising. The other book I will continue to research is called Ground Effect and it is a novel about the Women’s Air Service Pilots during WW 2. It is more mainstream fiction than romance, but it is a story I would love to tell.
Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
[Clare]: www.clareaustin.com is my website. I am on Myspace at www.myspace.com/clare_austin, I am also on Facebook and Twitter, although I don’t understand how twitter works. I have played around in Second Life, but I tried to change my clothes, couldn’t figure out how to put new ones on and am wandering around in my knickers!
If anyone has a question or comment and you would like to email me, my address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
[Clare]: Sure. What do you look for in a book? If you have read Butterfly, what made you buy it? And, what about it would encourage you to read the next one?
Cate: Readers, Clare is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner at the end of the tour, so please make sure you leave a way to contact you.
Flannery swung through the door into the dining room with a flourish but nearly tripped over a bar stool when she saw the now familiar profile, broad shoulders, and curly dark hair of the man who had come to see her sister.
“Sufferin’ ducks, and if it isn’t himself come to brighten the day at O’Fallon’s.” Cade was as
compelling as she remembered. Today he was dressed in jeans, a black knit shirt, leather bomber jacket, and a slow smile that would stop a saint in her tracks.
“What can I get you?” She thought a couple of shots of good Irish whiskey would sort him out.
“I’d try the fish an’ chips if you would join me?”
She gave him one of her best smiles, turned toward the kitchen, and yelled, “Hey, Jamie, I’m taking my break. Give us a one an’ one, a serving of the bangers and mushy peas, a couple o’ Harps, and an Inishowen, would you there?”
“Anything for the love of my life,” Jamie called from behind the door.
“Stow it, Jamie Mac!” Flannery shot back, then turned to Cade. “He’s always good fer craic, our Jamie.”
“Craic? Inishowen? One and one? Would you like to translate?”
“Whatta ya mean ‘translate’? You speak English don’tcha?” she teased. “Okay...I’m just giving you a time. ‘Craic’ is fun, ‘Inishowen’ is a whiskey from County Donegal, and a ‘one and one’ is what we, the feckin’ Irish, call fish ‘n chips.”
Flannery’s pulse quickened at the way his dark eyes, shaded by long lashes, swept lazily over her, undressing her, right here in a public place. Yes, as her girlfriends back home liked to say, “He was a ride.”