Monday, 11 February 2013

A Ferry Journey

“Claire McFall's work is, in essence, all about first love and difficult decisions. Her novels take straightforward romantic narratives and hurl them into unusual and extreme settings, blurring accepted genre boundaries and creating new sub-genres of her own. She then charts her characters' reactions to these unfamiliar situations and the new and confusing feelings that beset them in a hyper-real, engaging, deeply poignant and literary manner. Claire is a teacher and lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband and is currently working on her next novel for Templar Fiction.”
  How long have you been writing?
Wow... forever.  I had a typewriter when I was a child and I’d bash away on it writing “the great novel” until I bruised my fingertips.  I gave it up when I went to university (I was too busy exploring life) but when I started teaching, I got the literature bug again.  For a while it was just reading, then a friend of mine wrote a book and I just thought: I could do that.  I used to do that.  Why aren’t I doing that?  And the writing madness was reborn.  Now I can’t stop! 
 Do you write in the same genre all the time?
No.  Or at least, I hope not.  I do stick to YA, although I fluctuate between younger stuff and books that are definitely edgier.  I don’t like to do the same thing over and over again, and I never know what’s going to grab me.  When it does, though, I tend to just roll with it.  I confess I love dystopian literature.  I’ve tended to stay a little away from the paranormal – or just skirted the edges – but that’s because I’m not too sure I could bring anything new and fresh.  If I came up with the right idea, I think there’s nothing I wouldn’t try.
Is there any genre you would like to try?
Oops, I guess I kinda already answered that.  I’d like to do something more adult maybe... someday.  But I think I need to grow up first ;)
Where do you get your ideas from?
Anywhere and everywhere.  Quite often they are dreams (I have a bizarre imagination), but it’s been a film, a song, a news story...  Something just hits me and percolates.  Then it tends to haunt me till I give in and write it.
How did it feel to get your book deal?
Stupid excited.  I did my happy dance.  In school.  And pupils saw me.  It was not my finest moment. 
What was the hardest part of the process?
Definitely editing.  I’m kind of a first draft and move on kind of girl.  I don’t like to go back and fiddle with sentence and chapter breaks and all that itsy-bitsy detail stuff.  I can appreciate that it’s better afterwards – but the process itself is torture.  Slow, painful torture. 
What has surprised you about working with a publisher?
How friendly and approachable everyone is!  I didn’t really know much about the whole scene, and lack of knowledge tends to breed fear, so I was a bit apprehensive at first, but the people at Templar (my publisher) have been very friendly and looked after me very well.  I was also surprised about all the different steps of the process (like I said, I didn’t really know much about publishing at all) and I now understand why it takes so long from writing a book before it appears in a bookstore.
I know that there have been articles in newspapers about your success. Is that a happy feeling or scary?
Both.  Definitely both.  It’s all very exciting, but I guess the thing about writers is we specialise in hiding ourselves in little rooms and typing away.  Putting yourself out there and schmoozing and chatting and selling and bragging doesn’t really come naturally.  Plus, I’m double-handicapped because us Scots aren’t good at talking ourselves up.  If you want me to insult myself and provide you with a list of my faults, I can.  At length.  But my plus points?  Eek!
The first of your 3 books is called Ferryman. Tell us about it.
Well, the main character is a girl called Dylan and she’s 15.  She’s just about to connect with her father – who she hasn’t seen since she was teeny-tiny – but on the train on the way up to Aberdeen something goes horribly wrong and there’s a crash in the dark depths of a tunnel.  When Dylan wakes up she’s completely alone.  She climbs her way out to find the only person around is Tristan, a boy who claims to have been on the train, too.  However, as time goes on it becomes very clear to Dylan that Tristan isn’t all he seems, and that they are no longer in southern Scotland.  They are in the wasteland – the space between the land of the living and the dead – and Tristan is her Ferryman, the one who has to guide her over to the other side.  Only, along the way, things start to get really complicated because Tristan, well he’s just perfect.  And Dylan doesn’t want to leave him.
And that’s all I’m telling.        
When is the book due out?
First of March.  Which is really soon!
Double eek!

I want to thank Claire for doing my interview - she is crazy busy with the launch fast approaching.
If you want to find out more about Claire visit her website

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Put the date - 1st March -  in your diary to pick up your copy of Ferryman.

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