By Clare Chase.
Thanks so much for inviting me on to your blog, Holly.
Novel writing – teasing out the initial idea
I love all aspects of writing a book, but one of my very favourites is the stage just after the initial idea strikes. It’s ideal if there’s no mad rush at this point, and I can just let it swirl around in my head, gradually getting more definite. It’s the ultimate excuse for daydreaming.
With You Think You Know Me, the central idea was very simple. I wondered what it would be like to fall for a man you’d just met, only to find he’d lied about his identity.
I liked the premise because it posed immediate questions, and could lead me in all sorts of directions. When I’m at that stage, I start scribbling on bits of paper, thinking of all the different scenarios that could lead to my chosen situation. Because my books are mysteries, these always involve plenty of intrigue!
If the ideas aren’t flowing, I often find mulling my premise over whilst doing something really mundane helps. Cleaning the bath has never been so rewarding! For me, the other perfect time for solving a plot question is during a lie-in; things often click when I’m half-awake. Unfortunately I then have to haul myself out of bed to write my thoughts down.
Once I’ve listed all the potential scenarios behind the premise, I decide which ones I like best. And then it’s a case of homing in on each one, unpicking what that particular set-up would entail. At that point I start to consider the clues that could give away the truth, too. I love creating the moment when the heroine finally has enough information to get a real handle on the mystery. That’s also when she’s in greatest danger, since she becomes a major threat to my villain. Once I’ve completed this stage, I’ve usually fallen in love with one story line, and am ready to write the book.
I know a lot of crime writers don’t plot in advance at all. I gather that’s true of Minette Walters and Donna Leon, and I’d never guess it from reading their books, which are satisfyingly intricate. For me, I find planning ahead is the ultimate antidote to getting stuck in the middle. The plan often changes, and that’s fine; I just have to have one, to give me the confidence to move forward. I also find my writing flows because I don’t have to worry that I’m marching up a dead end street.
If I get stuck again at any point, I have a bath, which often seems to be almost as good as cleaning it. (And of course, it’s a lot nicer too.)
A huge thank you to Clare and to Lu at Choc Lit. ♥
Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is struggling to make a name for herself, so she’s delighted to attend a launch event for a hip, young artist at her friend Seb’s gallery.
But an exclusive interview isn’t all Anna comes away with. After an encounter with the enigmatic Darrick Farron, she is flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths …
Seb is intent on convincing Anna that Darrick is up to no good but, try as she might, she can’t seem to keep away from him. And as she becomes further embroiled, Anna begins to wonder – is Seb’s behaviour the well-intentioned concern of an old friend, or does he have something to hide?
Clare writes fast-paced romantic mysteries, using London and Cambridge as settings. Her influences include JD Robb, Janet Evanovich, Mary Stewart and Sue Grafton. Brought up in the Midlands, she went on to read English at London University, then worked in book and author promotion in venues as diverse as schools, pubs and prisons. More recently she’s exercised her creative writing muscles in the world of PR, and also worked for the University of Cambridge. Her current day job is at the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Her writing is inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents into the stuff of crime novels. It would be impossible not to mix these topics with romance and relationships; they’re central to life and drive all forms of drama.
When she’s not reading or writing, Clare enjoys drawing, cooking and trips to the Lake District. Closer to home, she loves wandering round the pubs, restaurants and galleries of Cambridge, where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.
You Think You Know Me is Clare’s debut novel.