Claire Buss is a wonderfully supportive author. She writes for an author magazine, she runs a Facebook group (Sparkly Badgers of Facebook) for her fellow writes - and she's darn good. I've been lucky to be in a couple of books with Claire, including the Halloween anthology she edited recently, Haunted (available free at mybook.to/HauntedSparkly by the way).
She has a new book out - The Gaia Solution, which is the conclusion of her Gaia trilogy. A little while ago, after her book The Intergalactic Poker Tournament was released, she stopped by the blog for a chat about her work, her life and more. Read on!
The third book of the Gaia series is available here - I really enjoyed book one, it was a dystopia about a world where pregnancy is impossible... until it happens, and what stood out for me about it was the friendships on show between the main characters. Time for me to catch up with book two for a review!
Tell us a little about The Interspecies Poker Tournament – what is it called, and what is it about?
Ah, my humorous fantasy novella, The Interspecies Poker Tournament. There’s a fae-murdering, moustache wearing cult that need to be stopped. Only it’s not a cult at all and Jenni the sprite is caught between a rock and a hard place in trying to solve the murders without telling her boss, Ned Spinks, whodunnit. She convinces her Fae Queen Momma K that a poker tournament is the best way to lure the serial killer out and Ned ends up playing at the high stakes table. Oh, and the dealer is an octopus. I mean, come on, what more could you possibly want?
What inspired the story?
The novella was inspired by a throw-away line in The Rose Thief from Ned where he says he owes the mermaids for the Interspecies Poker Tournament. As soon as I wrote that line I knew I’d be back to fill in the details at some point. I initially had no idea what the favour would be – don’t you just love being a discovery writer?
Without spoilers, what was one of your favourite moments of the story to write? What was it that made you enjoy that section so much?
I roped my husband into a poker game with some teddies so that I could record the actual hands that were dealt and give the poker tournament some realism – that was lots of fun and tense as we played the roles of Ned and *spoilers*!
What are your favourite genres to read – and what is it about those genres that draws you in?
I love reading fantasy books with magic and adventure and a quest – those for me are the ultimate get away from the real-world books. I enjoy the science in science fiction, but I can’t read horror because my imagination is too hyperactive. I like a crime novel because I’m rubbish at guessing who the killer is so usually, I’m still in suspense by the big reveal. I enjoy reading 19th century literature – Dickens and Austen in particular. There is something about the way they wrote, their social commentary is so fascinating, and the beautiful language is so captivating. I don’t enjoy non-fiction very much, so I push myself to read a couple a year and I belong to several different book clubs to ensure I don’t get stuck in a genre rut. It’s important to try new things!
What were some of your favourite books to read as a child? Which were the first books you remember falling in love with? Who are your favourite authors to read? And whose writing do you feel has inspired your own work most?
My favourite books as a child were all the Enid Blyton books plus the Swallows and Amazons series – I dreamed of adventure! My first introduction to the Fantasy section at the library came in the guise of Katherine Kerr, Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony. My favourite authors to read now are Sir Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch, Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan, Sara Douglass and I’m continually finding new favourites which is wonderful.
My humorous fantasy is influenced no doubt by Sir Terry with nods to Douglas Adams and Piers Anthony but not in a conscious, I must copy these authors kind of way. I just write that way. They are so good - they have influenced me indelibly.
You'll find me in these books alongside Claire Buss
What’s next for you as a writer? What’s cooking in your literary kitchen?
I am spending the rest of 2019 putting into practice what I’ve learnt as a self-published author which means improved book covers for some titles, rewriting blurbs, improving book formatting and testing the water by going wide with a couple of titles. I have plans for more audiobooks in the future as well so that’s exciting.
Currently the third book in my hopeful dystopia series is going through beta readers with a view to releasing in November 2019 (EDITOR UPDATE: It's available now!) and I have titles for two new novels in my humorous fantasy world – The Silk Thief and The Bone Thief. There is also a new multi-book series that is clamouring to be heard but it hasn’t quite worked out its kinks yet and I don’t start writing until I am kink free – my way of planning lol.
Away from books, what are your loves when it comes to TV and movies?
As you wish, I’m a big fan of saving people and hunting things, copious use of Mr Pointy and brooding plus I will have second breakfast whenever I can.
Are your books available in audio format? How have you found the process of transforming it from the written page?
Tales from Suburbia and Tales from the Seaside are both available on audiobook – and I have free Audible codes if anyone wants one, just get in touch.
You get stuck on an island and had only one book packed in your travel bag before the ship went down – what book do you hope you have in there?
My one-of-a-kind solar powered kindle with over 900 books on it…
Ha! That's cheating! I have to ask for readers who might want to know: Is this a kissing book?
Where can readers follow you to find out more about your work?
I’m on Facebook at facebook.com/busswriter and Twitter @grasshopper2407. My website is www.cbvisions.weebly.com where you can find more information about me and my books.
A traditional question here at Altered Instinct – what are you reading at present, and what is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
At the moment I’m reading The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton and the best book I’ve read so far this year is either Bird Box by Josh Malerman or Snap by Belinda Bauer but you can read all my reviews on Goodreads and I read at least four books a month, at least - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16197976.Claire_Buss.