Author of Amazon’s Best-selling novel, Gratification, Clara Grace Walker grew up knowing she wanted to write. She is thrilled with the release of her second novel, Gossip, Book #2 in the Desire Never Dies trilogy. This trilogy provides an inside look at the love stories of three couples finding their way to happily-ever-after in a corrupt world of wealth and power. Be prepared for sex, scheming and, oh yes, a bit of murder, as the lives of these three couples intersect throughout Gratification (Book #1), Gossip (Book #2) and the upcomingRedemption (Book #3). Clara takes her readers on a ride filled with sensuality, intrigue and strong characters, only some of whom possess a moral compass. Buckle up. The ride’s a bit bumpy! When not bringing to life her stories of greed, desire and danger, Clara enjoys spending time at the pool. She calls it her “summer office.” She also enjoys scrapbooking, travel and above all, her wonderful family and two very spoiled cats. Look for Redemption, Book 3 of the Desire Never Dies trilogy to be released this June. After that, Clara is set to begin work on a brand new 4-book series, Sex and Secrets. She hopes to bring many happy days of reading to her fans in the future.
1. What got you into writing/what made you sit down and actually start something? My wonderful 4th grade teacher made it a point to read to the class every day. I had loved books since I was able to read, so I was probably always inclined in that direction. It was my teacher’s absolute dedication to books, however, that not only deepened my love of reading, but ignited the desire to write as well. I wrote my first short story at 9 years old and spent my teen years scribbling poetry…most of it dorky and awkward. As I entered my 20s books seemed the natural progression. The more life experience I accumulated and the more I wrote, the richer my stories became. I started writing as a young girl, and I don’t see myself ever stopping.
2. What is a usual writing day like for you? How is it structured? The only real structure to my writing day is that I will endeavor to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard almost every day. I have a lot of irons in the fire though, and I am never working on only one project at any time. For example, my writing day today looks like this: 1) Answer interview questions for Sophia Valentine; 2) Prepare for an upcoming TV interview; 3) Finish plotting Exploits, the 1st in my new 4-book series, Sex and Secrets; and 4) Go to the pool and write…because I work best at my “summer office.” J
3. Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it? I’m pretty sure writer’s block in the bane of every writer’s existence. I even devoted one of my blog posts to this subject, (and I don’t post that often, so that’s saying something). My basic strategy is just to unleash the stubborn beast inside me and keep writing anyway. Even if what I turn out is junk, at least I’ve fired the synapses in my brain and created something to start editing.
4. Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I plot and plan my stories, but only to a point. When I first sit down and start writing, (or in warm weather, when I stretch out in a lounge chair by the pool), I know who my heroine and hero are and what their basic conflict is. I know where the story opens, and because I write romance, where it’s going to end. The journey to happily-ever-after, however, is not always clear. I like to leave enough room in my stories to allow for the unexpected plot twist. Sometimes writing the story is as much of an adventure for me as it is for the reader to read it. J
5. What was the publishing process like for you, and any advice to aspiring authors? I find the publishing process itself a long road filled with lots of hard work. It’s a whole lot of reading/editing/proofing/formatting, followed by a whole lot of marketing, marketing and still more marketing. Writing is the fun part for me, but I suspect that’s true for every writer. Which is why I believe it’s important as writers to tell the stories
that our hearts won’t stay quiet about. It’s what gets you through the hard work and frustrations that crop up along the way.
6. What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? A few things have really made the publishing experience special for me. Seeing my books for sale online, downloaded onto my Kindle and holding printed versions of Gratification, Gossip and Redemption in my hands have made all the hard work worth it. Hearing back from my readers, knowing I’ve brought someone enjoyment with my words has been even better. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything. Nor would I trade the wonderful, genuine friendships I have made with some other writers through social media. There are some people I’ve met on this journey who have become very special to me, and I really bless the day I met them. J
7. Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish? I really love this passage from my latest book, Redemption, because of the emotional punch it packs:
Like so many times before, her thoughts flashed back to a memory now ten years old. She was fourteen. Two months shy of her fifteenth birthday. Malia had picked her up and brought her home from the hospital, because Mama had refused to get her. She winced, remembering Malia. Her only real friend. Malia, who’d been the unintended victim of a drive-by shooting two weeks later. Aside from Mama, Malia was the only one who knew about the baby. Mindy had stopped going to school in March when Frank was arrested and she’d started to show. Mama told the school she’d contracted mono. The baby had been born in late July, the 22nd day of the month, just in time for Mindy to go back to school, as skinny as if it had never happened.
I also love this passage from Gossip, because of how well it delves into Nick’s character and his antagonistic relationship with his publishing rival:
Nick nodded in response to Danny’s question. The front page showed an unflattering photograph of him as he left the police station, punching Peter Arnold in the jaw. The story that followed was filled with rumor and innuendo, also unflattering, quoting unnamed sources who fingered Nick as the prime suspect. A small inset picture of Janelle’s corpse outside the country club accompanied the story inside. He’d nearly lost his breakfast seeing it. “Yes.” Words finally found him. “I’ve seen it.”
And this is one of my favorite quotes from Gratification, because it displays a hint of suggestiveness and makes me smile:
He stood staring at her like a little boy at a peep show, his eyes nearly as wide as his gaping mouth. Good grief, he looked like he was about to start licking her. “Good-morning,” she said. Her entire body warmed with a blush. “And you can close your mouth now. As I recall, you’ve seen me in less.”
8. Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I really enjoy creative endeavors, such as photography, scrapbooking and when I’m in the mood, baking and decorating cupcakes. As I’ve mentioned, I also love hanging out at the pool, lake or ocean. And I’m a champion shopper. J
9. What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base/get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do): I think the best thing to do to build a fan base is just be yourself. I believe readers are interested in getting to know the real person behind the words and are very good at discerning authenticity. Naturally, you’ll want to craft some marketing pieces and tweet/post them occasionally on social media. I think it’s important, however, to make sure the marketing pieces are not the sole content of your social media engagement, or even the majority of it. It’s much better, IMO, to make a genuine effort to get to know people.
10. Tell us about your book cover/s, how the designing came about: I love the chance to talk about my book covers, because I actually designed them. The girl in the bikini on the beach represents Florida, where all three books (Gratification, Gossip and Redemption), in the Desire Never Dies trilogy take places. It also gives just a little bit of edge to let the reader know at a glance these are mainstream contemporary romances. The symmetry between the three covers is a visual cue that the books are part of a continuing story. Beyond that, each cover connects with the title: Gratification with the man holding the woman from behind, Gossip with the girl holding a drink in one hand and a cell phone in the other, and Redemption with the hands in prayer. I have a similar concept planned for the covers in my next series, Sex and Secrets. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!