Author Clare Carson joins me today to discuss all things bookish as part of the blog tour for her book The Dark Isle.
How important are the names in your book? Do you choose that the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you can recommend?
Some authors have a gift for names; John le Carré’s names always seem perfect to me – Richard Onslow Roper, George Smiley. I find names of characters hard to get right. Sometimes I choose a name because I like the way it sounds and sometimes I choose a name because of its meaning. I often change names several times between first and last drafts because it isn’t working. If I’m searching for inspiration, I might scour the index of a random non-fiction book, but I don’t have any particular source that I use regularly. I definitely avoid using the name of anybody I know.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I usually plot and plot until I think I’ve got it all sorted, and then I start writing and I realise my plot isn’t working. Then I freewheel and write and rewrite and push on until I reach the end.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them if they are particularly good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read reviews, despite all advice to the contrary. I am always really chuffed when a reviewer has read my books and gives them serious consideration. Obviously, I prefer getting good reviews to bad ones and I do find bad reviews upsetting. But then I get over it. Another author told me that bad reviews are a good way of helping you to identify what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd, because it’s often the unconventional part of your writing that will annoy some people, but attract others. As Steven King says about writing, you can’t please all of the people all of the time…
What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
My least favourite part of the publishing process is the waiting – waiting to hear back from an editor, waiting for a book to be published. The only thing to do then is concentrate on the next one so you don’t agonise about the reaction you’re going to get to the manuscript you’ve just relinquished.
What are your favourite and least favourite types of scenes to write?
The scenes I like writing most are the ones where there is fast action somewhere wild – rural or urban. I loved writing the marshland chase in The Salt Marsh and the scenes in the Dark Isle when Sam is riding her motorbike across Hoy. These scenes have their own adrenaline, so they usually arrive on the page easily. The scenes I find most difficult to write are the ones where I have to include some exposition. I have to slog away at those to make sure I’ve got it right.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Humanity’s destruction of the environment makes me angry and sad, so I’d love to be able to turn into a superhero who could control the weather, stop the icecaps from melting and reverse all the negative effects of global warming. I’d also like to be able to make it snow so I could go for a sledge ride whenever I felt like it.
Thank you for joining me today Clare!
Want to know about the book? Here’s the blurb …
Sam grew up in the shadow of the secret state. Her father was an undercover agent, full of tall stories about tradecraft and traitors. Then he died, killed in the line of duty.
Now Sam has travelled to Hoy, in Orkney, to piece together the puzzle of her father’s past. Haunted by echoes of childhood holidays, Sam is sure the truth lies buried here, somewhere.
What she finds is a tiny island of dramatic skies, swooping birds, rugged sea stacks and just four hundred people. An island remote enough to shelter someone who doesn’t want to be found. An island small enough to keep a secret…
Sounds great right?! Go and grab your copy over at Amazon now …
About the author …
Clare Carson is an anthropologist and works in international development, specialising in human rights. Her father was an undercover policeman in the 1970s.