My Best Friend Is A Published Author!
In today’s Storytime Wednesday I interrogate my friend Claire L. Smith about her novel! I’ve compiled a list of questions revolving around her novella Helena, dealing with publishers, as well as what it was like having people read her published work for the first time.
I’m so curious about all of this and I’m sure you are too. So without further chatter, I’m going to introduce you to Claire then get right into the questions!
Claire L. Smith (Author & Artist)
Claire L. Smith is an Australian author and artist. Her debut gothic horror novella ‘Helena’, following a female mortician with a strange gift, was released via CLASH Books in 2020 with her second novella, ‘When We Entered That House’ due for release in October 2021 by Off Limits Press.
The Questions (no spoilers!)
I sent Claire a variety of questions – far more than I had expected to really, my curiosity just got the better of me – which mainly revolve around her first novella, Helena and all the behind the scenes goodness you’re dying to know!
Why is gothic horror your favourite genre to write? What draws you in?
‘I just love the creepy, dark aesthetics of it, plus the themes of isolation, mysteries and secrets always intrigued me as a reader and a writer.
Plus, I find the history of the genre so very interesting as well. Back when the genre first became popular, a lot of women writers (some having to use male pseudonyms) used it to express their feelings of oppression and voicelessness during what was very much a man’s world. I think it can still be used in such a way.’
How long did Helena take to write and why? Is there a story behind this?
‘It actually came together rather quickly, I think it took me a few months to write the first draft. I was going through a really hard time whilst I was writing it so it kind of became a survival project almost, like something to focus on and push forward with as I was sorting everything else out.’
If you could go back and change anything at all about Helena would you? What would it be?
‘I was so worried about rambling on that I think I could’ve spent more time on the characters. I’ve also gotten a few queries about some of the characters’ sexuality that I blame my painfully closeted self on that I would’ve liked to expand on more. I like Helena as it is and I’m very proud of it, but it’s definitely something I’d love to revisit someday.’
How have you found the response to Helena? Has anything surprised you/ exceeded your expectations?
‘Since this was my debut, I was really nervous about the response plus I didn’t want to expect too much in case I was disappointed in myself. But, overall, the response has been very positive and enriching, even the criticism has been helpful in being able to analyse my writing and improve for future books.’
What is the coolest part about having a book out in the world?!
‘Definitely hearing from people who have read it and liked it. It’s so weird when you have this idea in your head for so long and then you have people asking you questions about it or bringing it up, like it’s a ‘real’ thing. It’s very Twilight Zone-like.’
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
‘If your goal is to get published, just keep pushing. There’s no age limit or time cap to that kind of success, plus every rejected manuscript can be seen as a learning opportunity. There isn’t really a thing as ‘failure’ in that journey as long as you just keep trying, as tiring as it can be sometimes.’
Are you currently working on anything??
‘Yes! I’m working on another horror novel and have a few more ideas I’d like to develop soon. I also have a few art projects on the back burner that I can’t share right now, unfortunately. You can see my progress on my Instagram :)’
Author & Artist! (*mind blown*)
Thank You (with love x)
I want to once again thank Claire L. Smith for allowing me to be snoopy and for taking the time to answer all of my curious questions on such short notice! And a huge thank you to you (yes you reading this), for checking out this post.
Please do be sure to go and visit Claire over on her socials and give her some love xx Tell her I sent you over and most of all, support your friends in their creative journey and support small authors.
See you back here on Monday’s (book reviews), Wednesday’s (storytime/ writing updates) and Saturday’s (other bookish content).
This is not in any way a paid or requested promotion of Claire’s works. I just love my friends and want to support them in any way I can. I also purchased Helena with my own money (if you were wondering).