I had the chance to interview Clair Yezbak Fadden, author of the new release A Corner of Her Heart. When she’s not playing with her granddaughter, this Pennsylvania native is writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature strong women who overcome life’s challenges, always putting their families first.
A Corner of Her Heart is her debut novel and I have links at the bottom of this post where you can find it AND a special announcement (ahem, GIVEAWAY) from the author herself.
First, get to know Claire and hear about her about the rhyme and reason behind her writing. Enjoy!
1. Where do you get the inspiration from for your writing? Like most writers, I draw my initial ideas from life happening all around – a news article in the paper might spark an idea for example. But when I sit down and begin putting words on paper, the characters tell me their story. I’m a pantser more than a plotter. I know where I want the story to go, but often my vision isn’t the same as my protagonist’s. I show up each day to find out what will happen next. Often, I will be writing a scene and things don’t come together the way I think they should in my mind. I revisit those pages in a day or so and usually discover: I had the wrong people in the scene and/or what I had the character doing/feeling wasn’t what he or she wanted. Sometimes, I discover that a scene I thought was necessary, the characters didn’t need at all.
2. “A Corner of Her Heart” is your debut novel. What are the best 3 tips of advice you can give to any newbies out there who are getting started… words of wisdom you wish you knew? when you began? I’ve been fortunate to receive so much great advice from my writing friends. My first tip would be to get yourself a writing friend or two – find a trusted a critique partner who has been where you are or is there right now. Your spouse may love you, but no one understands the writing life like a fellow writer. It may take a few tries to find the right partner or writers’ group – just like it takes time to find Mr./Ms. Right. Joining a writers’ association --RWA, Sisters In Crime and others, is a great place to start. November is NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) – you might find some local, like-minded writers taking the challenge.
Second tip: I’ve finally embraced showing up every day and writing. (For years I denied this bit of genius, the same way I used to discount ‘eat less-lose weight’). You hear this tip from lots of accomplished authors because it is true. There are days when cleaning the dust bunnies under the bed is a more attractive option than writing even 100 words. I try to sit at my desk at approximately the same time each day and see what spills out. Surprisingly, most of the time, the characters show up and lots happens. Even if you just sit there looking at a blank screen, you’re training your brain to get to work. And that’s a good thing.
Lastly, but maybe most importantly, don’t be your own editor. I’m not referring to grammar, spelling, punctuation. I’m talking about letting the words appear on the page, letting the story out. Believe me, there will be tons of folks with their own opinion of what you should have done, could have done and need to change once you get your story finished. Often these kind critics have competing opinions. Stephen King said “write with the door open, edit with the door closed.” And he’s a man who would know.
3. In this book, we get to know Monica, one of 3 sisters. From what I've read it looks like we’ll also get to meet Julie and Kate, her other sisters, too. Are these characters based on anyone you know? I suspect most authors would confess that each of their characters has a little bit of themselves inside, sprinkled with bits and pieces from people they know or have observed. The Begin Again series theme is abandonment, although each of these three sisters is abandoned in a different way. You can’t go through life without some sort of disappointment whether it’s being abandoned, losing a career or some other life-changing crisis. My series reveals women who overcome deep pain, embrace their lives and move forward to a better place. These are stories to fuel the strong woman inside each of us. My mother symbolized that spirit better than anyone I know. Perhaps there is a piece of her never-quit soul inside Monica, Julie and Kate. I know her mantra lives on in me.
4. Writers have a “process” - some like Scrivener, others use MSWord. Some need music, others need silence. Tell us what it looks like when you sit down and wake the muse for writing. My process is a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle and I only have about 100 pieces so far. Every day, month or year, another piece drops in my lap or is uncovered. So far, what seems to work (in addition to bum glue) is having a dedicated space where I can leave my notes, research and bits of paper splayed across my desk. The next day everything is waiting for me, seamlessly allowing me pick up the story where I left off. I mentioned earlier that writing every day at the same time is immensely helpful. When you’re a writer, other folks don’t seem to understand that this is work. I write early in the day, so I’m able to accomplish a lot before other life demands of seep under my office door. Another reason I write early in the day is the quietness. Peacefulness, before the trash trucks start clanging, works better for my mind.
5. What flavour margarita do you like? This might be my favorite question. I’m a purist. Give me a Cadillac margarita on the rocks – no salt and I’m your friend for life. No fruity flavors. Same with my tea, no raspberry stuff – black tea, neat.