Claire Plaisted is a multi-talented author from New Zealand, who has written several books in different genres and for totally different audiences. Just looking at a list of the titles can tell you a lot — Garrett Investigation Bureau – Malachy’s Unit, Rosetta’s Lot, Joseph’s Story, Ryan’s Madam. And still to be published — Mascosta’s Dreamgirl & Renegade Jones. Other titles. – Zoe’s Journey, Charlie Girls First Summer Christmas, The Diary of a Psychotic Killer.
It’s great to have you here on my blog, Claire. Could you give us a little more info about the various genres do you write?
Historical Romance Mystery, Mystery Romance, Sci Fi Young Adult, Children’s. I haven’t settled into any one Genre, and probably never will.
Are you a pantser? (You write by the seat of your pants and the story is all there in your head.)
I’ve always wondered what to call myself! My fingers do the talking. I open a word document and write whatever is there.
How about plotting? Have you ever tried it?
I sometimes chuck ideas around with friends if I get a bit stuck. I have never really plotted anything,
Do you think it’s important to write a detailed list of your character’s habits, likes, dislikes and family members? Why?
I did try this once at a suggestion of another friend who is also a writer, it didn’t really work for me. These days when I write a book draft I sometimes open Notepad to write their names down and what they look like.
Writing in first person, present has been controversial in the past, but now it seems to be the trend for best-selling authors. (I look into the closet and recoil when I see what looks like a dead body.) Do you think it is more powerful than other tenses?
Is it more powerful? No I don’t believe it is. Some people enjoy reading a book as if they are doing the deed; others enjoy reading a book as if they are watching a movie. I do have one draft where one character is in first person and all the others are in third. It can get complicated, though it’s been fun to do.
What do you think today’s readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?
In many books I read I must admit to getting bored from all the descriptive writing. I like to read a book which has twists and turn, lots of dialogue. Entertaining, taking you out of your own life and into another world. As a writer I want you to see what is happening. My readers wanted sex scenes, so I gave them what they wanted. Going back even fifteen years and those types of scenes were not acceptable. The English language has also change a lot over the years, especially with the different types of English used in different countries.
I totally agree with you and I think it’s something a lot of authors don’t seem to get. Readers today don’t have time for long-winded passages that don’t advance the storyline. What book are you going to feature in this post? Tell us its genre and write a short paragraph about it.
“Girlie and the War of the Wasps.” This is a young children’s story which I wrote for a friend’s grandchild. Since then I have had young beta readers who have been enthralled with it.
Girlie is a bright blue Ladybug who sees her best friend Grassi the Grasshopper kidnapped by nasty wasps. Girlie follows them to their hive where she finds all different types of insects been used as slaves to look after the Queens and her babies. Girlie has to find a way to save all the insects and stop the war. She goes on a quest to find a healthy diet for the Queen so her worker and drone wasps behave and do their own work. Along the way she meets Sammie the kitten, Pedi the Centipede and many more. She even drops in at an orphanage where there are many different coloured ladybugs. (The book cover below is a concept drawing and as you can see, it hadn’t been completed yet.)
Can you tell me about your ideal reader? You probably have a few different ones.
Yes. With writing all different types of genres, my market is quite wide. My children’s books have been well accepted by 6 – 10 year olds so far. Parents saying to me “They won’t put it down, it’s amazing.” One parents has a daughter who dislikes reading, I gave her a copy of my book “Zoe’s Journey,” her daughter read two chapters every night, and loved it. ‘Zoe’s Journey’ is about myths and legends, strangely enough, the young girl’s class at school had studied this topic a few months prior.
My adult books are suitable for anyone who wishes to read about murder, mystery and mayhem. Suitable for anyone over 18 years.
Also, romance readers want steamy love scenes. Do you agree? Do you think your books meet their expectations?
Well you can certainly get steamy love scenes in my adult books. The first time I was so embarrassed, it took a while to pick up the courage to self-publish one of the books. I can however, write without steamy sex scenes as well. Yes my books met the expectations of those who have read them so far. All I get is – “I want more!” Though I think that is more to do with the twisted plot rather than the sex scenes.
Children’s books usually include pictures. How did you find an illustrator/photographer?
For my first little children’s book, which I hope to publish by Christmas, I have done my own drawings and with the help of a local Artist enhanced them, at present he is doing the colouring. I met him at a networking meeting for local businesses. Another idea I have looked at is helping art students at the local college and schools to build their portfolios, helping to build their experience.
Do any of your books have a message?
The only books which will have messages in them are my little children’s books. The first story called “Girlie and the War of the Wasps, is about eating healthy and playing nicely with others. The second in the series is about biting and kicking and how unkind it is. They are both adventure stories in the garden world of insects.
I like that. If you could choose one character from the book, what would he/she say to you if he/she was to meet you?
Out of all my characters I would like to meet Yuri. I have no idea why, he is a good man caring for his boss and his staff. I’d like to hug him and thank him for all his hard work. What he would say to me? I’m not sure he would, I thinks he’d just smile and salute with a twinkle in his eye.
Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work and how did that work out for you?
With my very first book, I did try and find an agent and get it published the old fashioned way, without any progress. It taught me a lot about setting my work out; it didn’t help with my English or Grammar due to the fact they give no feedback whatsoever. They never tell you why your book is not acceptable. Since that time I have taught myself how to format books for eBook and Print versions. It has been a hard road though enjoyable. I no help other local authors get their books online.
What do you do to promote your writing?
I mainly use social media, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Smashwords. I will be adding a few more sites as I gather experience. I also have a Writers Website, Blog and a Business Website. On a local base I contact the local reporter and ask if they are interested. I have participated in one article this year though my name has been in four articles with various clients.
What advice do you have for your fellow writers/authors?
Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t write. Find someone who will help you perfect your writing, use a program like “StyleWriter” to help with grammar and sentence length. I have seen some great stories, though they needed a lot of work to get them publishable. Be it the flow or grammar. YOU CAN WRITE. Get positive feedback and feed forward. I dislike negativity it is not needed. Read “On Writing” by Stephen King. It is great. It certainly helped me a lot.
Tell us about your next project.
I have several projects on the go at any one time. I don’t concentrate on any one story unless I am in the mood to do so. My fingers do the talking. I have around 20 drafts on the go. My aim though is to finish my little children’s book, “Girlie and the War of the Wasps,” and publish my next book in “Garrett Investigation Bureau” (GIB) series, called “Mascosta’s Dreamgirl.” Hopefully by Christmas time.
Wow!! Prolific is not enough to describe that! But why should we buy your books?
I write a good book, with a good storyline; they tend to twist and turn when you least expect it. They finish with a reader usually wanting more. I’m good at keeping people on the edge of their seats. This is with my adult book series (GIB) They are interesting to read, you can learn a few things from each book even though they are fiction I try and get my facts right. They are entertaining, romantic and in some cases horrifying. They are also well priced in print and eBook versions.
They kind of sound like mine. Perhaps readers who like my books would also like yours, and vice-versa. Thank you so much again for this wonderfully entertaining interview. I hope readers will go to your sites and check out your books.
My name is Claire Plaisted. I am married with three children and live in Rotorua, New Zealand. I have been writing novels since 2011 and have self-published 7 in that time.
I fell into writing whilst waiting for Family History Research information from a client. I wrote a Regency Romance which is still to be published. Since then I’ve not stopped writing. At first I was writing for me, I first published for my own satisfaction. The feeling of having your first printed book in your hands is amazing. It was only at friend’s insistence that I published for everyone. Hobbies can vary these days. I love to spend time with my family and two cats. I like to garden in the summer and reading is a must. I like to cook and bake, crochet and knit. It depends on my mood. In the past I have supported. Heart Children New Zealand, Parent to Parent and I was a Trustee at a local school for 6 years. Today I write a community newsletter and volunteer a half day in a local charity shop.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?