Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I first fell in love with books when I was very young. My grandfather was a bookbinder by trade, so I grew up around old presses and ancient books. There was something magical about his workshop that sparked an interest in literature for me at an early age.
Authors like James Herbert, Richard Laymon and Christopher Pike caused my addiction to all things paranormal, and authors like Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and Douglas Adams influenced my love of comedy.
You’ve got some very…unique characters in your Demon Diaries Series. Where do these characters come from? Do they just appear to you?
Dora just came to me. She popped up in my head one day as an idea for another story that I was working on. She wasn’t right as the side character that I’d originally intended her to be, but the idea of her was so strong, I just knew I had to write her a story of her own.
Usually, I just get an idea for a story. A ‘what if’, which is the story idea. Then I form the characters around that idea. The character’s then develop from there. But with Dora, she appeared first, and she demanded a story.
All the other characters appeared because of her. Kieron wasn’t fully formed. He developed as I wrote him, as most of my characters do. Pooey was an accident. He was small joke in the story, who ninja’d himself a starring role. How did I not see that coming?
I usually decide my character’s motivations and conflicts before I begin writing. But after that, they usually develop on the page. Dora was the only exception. She appeared in my head fully formed.
What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about authors?
I think the biggest misconception about authors that I’ve seen is that they are rich. I can’t count the amount of readers I’ve spoken to that assume I live in a big mansion with classical music playing behind me while I scribe my stories with a fountain pen or a steampunk typewriter. Sadly, that’s not the case. Most authors are poor, have a day job, and can be found bagging up your shopping for you at the local supermarket when they’re not dashing home to tap out another chapter on their half-dead laptop.
I work three jobs: Writing, website design and graphic design for clients. I’d love the mansion and the classical music montage, but I’m afraid most authors earn less money writing stories than they do bagging up your shopping for you. Sad, but true.
Since you live in England, has it been hard reaching your American audience?
Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I seem to sell more books and have more fans in America than I do in the UK. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m very grateful for all the readers I have, and I try to write my stories so they can be enjoyed by everyone, anywhere in the world. America gave me a warm welcome as an author, which I am eternally grateful for.
Do you have any plans to come to the US any time soon?
I do plan to visit the US in the future. My fiancé is originally from California, and I’m really looking forward to meeting his family. I also have many friends in the US, so I’m hoping to see all of them too. It’s really just a case of time and money. If I ever have both of those at the same time, I’ll hopefully get across the pond to see everybody.
Have you ever been to the US?
The closest I’ve been is Dominican Republic in the Caribbean.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was sixteen years old, so that’s *cough* twenty-two years now.
If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why?
I’d love to meet Queen Elizabeth I, because she was a force to reckoned with in a time when women were supposed to be powerless. Of course, she’d probably kick my ass or take off my head, but when it comes to strong female leaders, I think she’s my all-time favourite. Against all odds, she changed her world.
Is there anything you think your readers would be surprised to know about you?
I’m deaf in one ear. No one can tell. People usually just think I’m ignoring them, but I’m not! The plus side of it is that people think I’m very honest when I look them in the eye, but I’m actually just lip-reading. (Wait, no, I am honest! lol).
The biggest bonus is that when my fiancé snores in manner that would wake the gods of Olympus and causes the earth to tremble, I can just roll over and bury my one working ear into the pillow.
Oh also, I was once run over by a bus. I guess not many people know that about me. I don’t follow danger. It follows me. :p
What is your most embarrassing book related moment?
I wrote a sexy story once in a private criticism group, which I believed was only read by other sexy story authors and editors. That was until some random guy showed up and started commenting on it *deletes*. On a bright side, I learned that I wasn’t meant to write sex scenes after that *fades to black*.
What do we have to look forward to from you and your books?
This year, I’m hoping to finish The Demon Diaries with the third book in series coming out in 2014. I’m also working on a new book with Harlequin that is action/comedy/romance. On top of that, there are a few other stories that I plan to write this year, and hopefully release. Some are paranormal fiction, and others are action adventure. My plan this year is to put out as many books as I can, so you can expect many stories from me.
You recently won a publishing contract with Harlequin in November, what did you do when you found out? Did you completely freak out?
I went into shock lol. I couldn’t believe I’d won. During the competition, I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t going to win. I’d written my ‘Ode to the Ice Cream of Pain’ in preparation for getting knocked out of the competition. So, when I found out I’d won, I didn’t believe it. Everyone around me was cheering. Meanwhile, I was nursing my tub of ice cream, shaking my head and saying: “It’ll be an admin error or something. I don’t believe it.”
It took about a month for the good news to sink in, and then I jumped for joy and danced around my house. Of course, the day I did that was a month late, so my family didn’t really understand why I was dancing that day. I think they thought I’d gone insane.
Has working with Harlequin been much different from what you are used to?
It’s more focused and less hectic. There’s a structure to what I’m doing, and my purpose is clear: my job is to write books. As an indie author, your job is to do everything, and that can be exhausting. I love the feeling that I can just write books now. In the past, I’ve been the writer, the editor, the graphic designer, the e-book programmer and the marketer. After all that, writing a new book can make your head explode. I’m really looking forward to knuckling down and writing a lot of books this year, and being more focussed on that because of Harlequin’s help with everything else. Also, it’s Harlequin. It’s really exhilarating working with such a professional publisher. Right now, I’m getting over-excited at the idea of seeing the cover they come up with for Hustle.
Can you tell us anything about your debut novel with them that will be coming out this year?
The book is called Hustle and it will be released in the summer 2014. It’s an action-adventure, comedy romance about a hustler and a treasure hunter, who are in competition with each other to find pirate treasure. The story spans from England to Costa Rica, and as always, my heroine is a bit of bad girl when it comes to breaking the rules.
The winning version (unedited) is available to read for free on Wattpad right now, here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/8634982-hustle
You can also find out more about the story here: http://www.claire-chilton.com/romance-novels/hustle
And, anyone interested in hearing about my book releases this year can find out when they are announced by signing up for my newsletter, here: http://eepurl.com/L1orT
Ice Cream Flavor: Mint Choc Chip
Vacation spot: Any white sanded beach near the Pacific.
Halloween costume: Vampire
Comic hero and heroine: Wolverine and Wonder Woman
This or That
Beach or mountains: Beach
Cats or dogs: Both
Paperback or e-reader: Both