Claire Fayers is the author of The Accidental Pirate series, a swashbuckling MG adventure series with a sprinkling of magic, and a great sense of humour.
Today Claire has put down her cutlass to answer My Book Corner's questions...
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
Welsh gardener, crazy cat lady, lover of dinosaurs and beasts with tentacles. Spent 20 years freelancing for magazines before landing a book deal.
What makes you happy?
My husband (he made me say that!) Going to my allotment on a sunny day and finding that everything is still alive. Music – I’m learning piano and it’s very satisfying to take a piece that I haven’t a hope of playing and spend two or three months on it until I can bash through it with reasonable competence. I’m not sure the neighbours enjoy it as much. Sorry, neighbours!
Where is your favourite place to write?
I’m lucky enough to have an office at home. It has a door opening onto the garden so the cats can wander in and out, and a big squishy armchair for reading in. Pride of place is given to a battered, leather-topped desk I bought off ebay with my first publisher’s advance payment.
I’ve also started meeting a friend for writing sessions in a lovely independent café in Cardiff. They do the biggest mugs of coffee you’ve seen in you life and the staff know us so well now they bring the mugs over when we arrive. Writing can be very solitary so it’s great to get out of the house and interact with real people and not just the ones in my head.
What's on your TBR pile at the moment?
Some great middle grade novels…
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
Strange Star by Emma Carroll
The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman
And also The Noise of Time, by Julian Barnes, which is about the life of Shosotakovich. I’ve been promising myself I’ll read it for ages.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I used to work at Cardiff University science library and we had lots of strange questions, especially in the summer holidays when random people would wander in because they thought we weren’t busy. In my first week working there, a very lovely gentleman explained he was writing his autobiography and trying to trace a student he’d worked with in the 1950s at Aberystwyth University. He didn’t remember the student’s name but he thought that as we were also a university we might have some list we could consult.
I gave him the contact details for Aberystwyth University and he went away beaming. He came back several times to give me updates on his autobiography – I hope he managed to finish it.
What's your worst habit?
I sing to my cats. Because talking to my cats would be silly. It’s made worse by the fact that I make up the tunes and words as I go along, and I always try to end with a rhyme even if it makes no sense.
Your favourite word?
A Welsh word: Llongyfarchiadau, which means ‘congratulations’. I love the way it sounds, and that the literal meaning is ‘joyful greetings’.
What are your top tips for budding writers?
Don’t try and get everything right in the first draft. This is impossible and will only make you hate yourself. You will do many more drafts before you’re truly finished. Read a lot, and connect with other writers where you can. Join SCBWI, find a writing group in your genre, enter writing competitions. The writing community is very friendly and helpful. Above all, don’t give up. Writing is a fickle business and there are many paths to success but you only fail if you stop.
Can you give us a glimpse / hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake & biscuits!)
I will do anything for cake and biscuits. My WIP, which will be published in 2018, is a creepy, Victorian mirrors-and-magic fantasy – Good Omens meets Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.
Did we forget anything?
The Accidental Pirates book 2: Journey to Dragon Island will be out in May 2017. The crew of the Onion are back, facing man-eating plants, dinosaurs and death by explosion.
Just for fun
Tea or coffee?
Both. I’m fickle when it comes to hot drinks.
Paper books or e-books?
Paper (but e-books are very useful on holiday)
Cake or chocolate?
Ooh, tough question. Cake, by a whisker.
Write or type?
Type. It’s faster, and my handwriting looks like octopus scrawl.
Poetry or prose?
It depends on my mood. I tend to read more prose but that’s only because poetry is more intense so you need less of it.
Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin?
Hot or cold?
Cold. Stick me up a snowy mountain with skis on my feet and I’m happy.