1. Tell me about your book The Rose Thief and where you got your inspiration for it?
The Rose Thief is a humorous fantasy set in a fictional world where magic exists and people live alongside fae creatures. Someone has been stealing the Emperor's roses. The only trouble is that the red rose has been magically imbued with love so if it's removed from the rose garden, love will be lost to everyone. It's up to Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher and his motley crew of catchers to find out who the Rose Thief is and stop them. Things don't go smoothly and they end up on a quest to solve the crime and defeat the bad guy. I have always loved reading fantasy books, especially the Discworld series by the late Sir Terry Pratchett and I was inspired to start writing this book during NaNoWriMo in 2016. I had so much fun writing this book, I can't wait to write more in this world.
2. What are the top three books in your TBR pile?
This is a tough one because I have 4306 books in my TBR pile *blushes* but I am determined to read these 3 this year:
1) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2) The Long Earth series by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
3) A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
3. What is the longest you’ve gone without writing?
I used to write all the time as a child but when I hit my late teens, life took over and I started working full time and stopped writing for a long time. It wasn't until I joined a local writing workshop in 2015 that I really got back into writing. That led me to the Pen to Print competition through which I wrote my debut novel, The Gaia Effect. These days I try to make sure I write every day whether it's a short flash fiction, continuation of a longer piece or time spent editing. If I can get up in the morning and get at least an hour done then I feel like I've managed something.
4. Mountains or the beach?
I am just about to move to the seaside so I guess I'd have to say beach, although I am not a big fan of baking hot weather lol. I do love spending time in nature so as long as I get to visit those mountains from time to time, I reckon I'll be alright.
5. What do you think Victoria’s secret is?
Victoria's secret is how to get a normal shaped bottom into those tiny little scraps of material she calls knickers. Just because I enjoy a cake from time to time...
6. What is your best childhood memory?
My best childhood memory is spending holidays with my grandparents on their farm in the middle of nowhere in Wales. We would have early morning cups of tea & secret biscuits - don't tell Mum! They had an Aga so the kitchen was always warm and inviting and my Nana was a wonderful cook, she made everything from scratch and there was always cake in the tin. My Grandad would read books to me, doing all the voices, and we'd snuggle down in the sofa with the real coal fire, wonderful memories.
7. What motivates you to succeed as a writer?
I enjoy writing. I love being distracted by random ideas and getting excited about where the story could take me. I love talking books with other people and getting away from everything by adventuring in my imagination. I want to give people stories they enjoy reading, encourage people to remember their love of books and most of all I want to keep doing something I love for as long as possible.
8. How would you survive a Zombie apocalypse?
I would definitely rely on my husband. He is a big zombie movie/tv show fan so he's done all the research on how best to survive. He already has a few gadgets like a special fire starter stick and we had a discussion the other day about how much fun (!) it would be to do a wilderness survival trip with Bear Grylls. Having said all that, I am a Mum so I'd like to think I'd fight like a wild cat to keep my kids safe.
9. What makes you cry?
All kinds of things! A soppy movie, a beloved character dying in a book, hearing about the nasty things that happen in the world, stubbing my toe, my husband eating the last chocolate digestive. I'm probably a bit of a wet lettuce to be honest.
10. Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
I think covers play a huge part in the buying process. I often choose books I've never heard of based on their covers, sometimes even without checking the blurb on the back. If the cover doesn't catch my eye then I'm never going to look at the back so unfortunately I'm afraid I do judge books by their cover, if I'm browsing in a book shop or library that is. If you recommend something to me then I'll take it on faith that you think it's good and that I'll enjoy it.
11. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion of a book, there are plenty of different books available so there should be something for everyone. Constructive reviews are helpful to an author as they highlight negative aspects a reader has come across that the writer may decide to work on in the future. However saying a book is awful and giving no reason why isn't very helpful at all. It's important to have a thick skin when reading reviews because you are bound to get negative ones. You can't please everyone all the time.
12. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
My characters are definitely in charge. I have no idea what the story is going to be when I sit down and write. I am just the conduit from sub-conscious to fingertips on the keyboard and often I am surprised at the twists and turns in the story. I don't plan my novels, I prefer to see what happens naturally. Often that means there are big changes in the latter half that have to be explained at the beginning or we end up with lots of plot holes but that's what editing is for.
13. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my books and write a review telling me what they think. It is lovely to know that I've been able to entertain people and give them an enjoyable book. I hope they stay with me on this exciting writing journey.
14. Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?
My day job is a stay-at-home mum and housewife so it can be difficult to juggle quality time to sit down and write, that's why I try to get a good hour in first thing in the morning. The important thing is to do as much as you can each day and not beat yourself up if you don't manage to tick off every single thing on your to-do list. Having a diary to write reminders in and having some sort of routine certainly helps. Cups of tea and biscuits are good too.
Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor's roses. But that's not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It's up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn't exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?
Claire Buss is a science fiction, fantasy & contemporary writer based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 setting her writing career in motion. The Gaia Effect, the winner of the Favourite Fantasy/Sci-Fi book Raven Award, was published in 2016 and Tales from Suburbia in 2017. Her latest fantasy novel, The Rose Thief, was published November 2017.