I’m back with another A Second Glance interview, this time featuring science-fantasy mash-up author Claudia Blood. All her answers were a joy to read, but I especially like her response to the “best piece of advice” question. As usual, I’ve inserted some of my thoughts, in italics and brackets. Enjoy!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Hi, I am an introverted, D&D playing, science geek, renaissance faire lover, military mom who happens to like making stuff up. [Yasss, D&D nerd myself here, so awesome to meet a fellow player!]
What got you into writing?
I read to escape (even now). I loved how I could experience things that were not possible in the here and now. I could be anyone and do anything. I wanted to do that for someone. There are some crazy adventures going on in my head. I wanted to help a reader live someone else’s life for a bit.
What genres do you write in?
I tend to do mash-ups. Science Fantasy – which is like Jim Butcher and Anne Macafferty (aka Dresden with Dragon Riders of Pern). Supernatural suspense – which is D&D and mystery/thriller/suspense. Urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic and some dystopia all mashed up.
Do you write standalones or series?
How many books do you have out right now? Tell me about them!
Three books in the Relic Trilogy. This is my science fantasy series about time coming apart at the seams.
- Company Assassin: He’s an orphan recruited by assassins facing tech-eating demons. Can he uncover the truth before it claims his life?
- Horizon Found: He saved the orphanage. But his enemies are circling. One wrong move and everything he loves will disintegrate.
- Time Rift: With time coming apart at the seams, they have to sacrifice the impossible. Will they destroy innocence to save the world?
A spin-off quartet is coming called Renegades Rising which is about the bad guys in the Relic trilogy. I’m hoping late 2022 the first book will come out.
Two books and a short story set in the Merged world. This is my Urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic and (some) dystopia series.
- Book of Secrets: He protects humans. A deadly artifact. Can he prevent the Great UnMerging?
- Thorn of the Rose: She’s undead. Town magic protections gone awry. Can she uncover the truth before it kills them all?
- Marked: A lost sister. A terrible secret. Can she control her magic before she kills again?
- Feather of Prophecy – later 2022 (fingers crossed) which is about Wren and his sister.
The first book in the Supernatural Detective Agency, At the Cabin, is my supernatural suspense. I also have the next book in this series for late 2022. Strangers set-up to die; an arsonist on the loose; can an ex-FBI agent and dog rescuer survive the supernatural threat? [I love, love how imaginative and badass these stories sound!!]
Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time?
Book of Secrets was the hardest to write. It started out as pure romance. I figured out I can’t write romance to save my life. I love romantic subplot, but what I wrote didn’t have the correct beats. This one was rewritten a lot and I resist the urge to rewrite it again.
The best time was At the Cabin. It was the first book I finished and then I rewrote it to add in the supernatural elements.
Why do you keep writing?
I just had a conversation with a fellow writer wondering why we write. My life would be a whole lot simpler if I could give it up. 🙂 The way the market, social media, and the state of the world makes everything even harder. I missed out on the days of just writing a book and someone else does everything else required. The short answer is I feel compelled to.
Which character of yours is your favorite?
I have a soft spot for Joshua Lighthouse from the Merged Series. I understand feeling lonely and very different from everyone else. My second favorite is Ravenne, the bad gal from the Relic Trilogy. I found it fascinating how far she was willing to go to “save” her daughter.
What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes?
I both love and hate “chosen one” trope. [It’s a love-hate relationship, yeah.]
What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing?
I play D&D and read as my main hobbies. The day job and kiddos take time, so I had to focus my energy. I used to make jewelry and I’ve dabbled in different art mediums. I was not a good artist, but I liked doing it. [Focusing energy is so important!]
What is your writing process like?
I also almost always have a series of cheater stories going on in my head at the same time I am writing. What generally happens is I get a line of dialog or a scene. I’ll explore all around it unearthing the story. So many times I’ve started a series in the middle and had to dig my way back. In writing that’s called pantsing.
For example, for the Relic trilogy I had this scenelet of a jungle with an ancient relic. A band of explorers opened it up and turned on the alien machine inside. When the electricity cleared, there was an 80’s aerobic instructor blinking up from the platform. It took me a book and a half to figure out what was going on.
Book of Secrets started with a machine that was used to tell if you were human. There was a man being tested that everyone thought was going to fail the test. He had no clue why they thought he was going to fail. This was halfway through the book.
At the Cabin started with a “scene” with mistaken identity. The woman did NOT expect the man she found tied to her bed. Nope, not at all!
Have you ever traveled as research for your writing?
I have not. I wish I could. Hubby works overnight rotating shifts, Day job and young kids make travel hard.
Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
The concept of “Not your cookie.” So picture you make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. It has the right mix of chips and cookie and is baked to golden brown perfection. If the person eating the cookie doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies, there is literally nothing you can do to make them like it. It’s just not their cookie. The same thing applies with books. I can’t read anti-hero journeys or unreliable narrators. Every reader has their own set of expectations and likes. You have to find your readers. The ones who like the cookies you bake. [This! This is awesome.]
Thanks to Claudia for this fabulous interview! It was lovely chatting with her, and I hope you enjoyed the interview too.
P.S. – If you have two or more books out and would like to be part of A Second Glance, fill out this form and I’ll contact you!