19 October 2019

Special Guest Interview with Clare Rhoden, Author of The Stars in the Night

Available of Amazon UK and Amazon US

Harry Fletcher is a confident young man, sure that he will marry Nora, no matter what their families say. He will always protect Eddie, the boy his father saved from the gutters of Port Adelaide. Only the War to End All Wars might get in the way of Harry’s plans…

I'm pleased to welcome Australian author Clare Rhoden to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

My Great War novel was published earlier this year. It’s unashamedly Australian and based partly on my own family’s arrival in Port Adelaide in January 1914, but mostly on my research into Australian WWI literature.

What is your preferred writing routine?

Anytime the dog is asleep, LOL! Luckily I’m a person who doesn’t need a strong routine – I always think that any spare ten minutes is enough time for at least one sentence. “I can’t do everything, but I can always do something” is my motto. I’m best in the morning, and I prefer to keep writing and editing separate. I write first – anything that comes along – and I edit another time.

What advice do you have for new writers?

I believe the basis of good writing is lots of reading. Written language is a particular dialect that you need to become fluent in, using your own voice. So the first step is to read.  Then, if you want to write, go and write. Write whenever you can, no matter the (perceived) quality or whether you write yourself into a corner and then have to find a way out. It will come.  Remember, nobody else can write YOUR novel…whereas anybody else can watch the TV ads or do the dishes/cleaning/whatever…

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Oh. So we need to talk about the Holy Grail: how to make readers aware of your books. Marketing is a mystery to me. I don’t really understand its ways. With that in mind, here are my suggestions.

My #1 Tip: I decided to enter as many competitions as I can: literary competitions for The Stars in the Night, and speculative fiction competitions for my sci-fi series The Chronicles of the Pale. It costs money to enter, and you need to send a handful of copies to each contest (more $$$s), but then again, the judges HAVE to read something of your book. At the very least, they will see the title. Spending money on online ads doesn’t give me any confidence that someone will look at them.

My #2 Tip: I also visit local libraries and talk to them about my books. I’ve had mostly good responses and good reader feedback from library patrons.

My #3 Tip: I try to be very active in the #WritingCommunity. I love interviewing other authors on my blog; I review books for my own website and for Aurealis Magazine; I do my best to support fellow writers. I’m with a small indie publisher and we have a nice little family of authors. I’ve also joined my state and national writers’ associations to keep connected.

My #4 Tip: (stop me if I’m going on too long!): Keep churning out short stories and flash fiction, and keep submitting. I think it keeps your writing fluid and puts your work in front of relevant people.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

I was surprised to discover that metal helmets (the Brodie helmets) weren’t introduced until the start of 1916. Imagine! The Australians at Gallipoli in 1915, and the British on the Western Front during 1914 and 1915, only had their slouch hats, bonnets or caps to protect their heads. So many novels, movies and illustrations mistakenly put helmets on WWI soldiers in the first two years.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

As The Stars in the Night is a novel that takes us from 1915 until 1970, and covers two wars, we can expect quite a bit of sadness. I struggled most (and I think I’ve done it) to show Harry at the side of his best friend in a death scene. I wanted to show the strength of the love between the two men without any mawkishness, melodrama, or overstatement. I had to channel the stoicism and laconic speech of the Aussie bloke, all the while tugging at the reader’s heartstrings. 
I still cry when I read over that scene.

What are you planning to write next?

The final book of my sci-fi trilogy is being launched next month (November 2019), and completes a dystopian tale of humachines, tribesfolk, and the canini (genetically modified talking dogs). I also have a Young Adult fantasy in the pipeline for 2021. That involves kidnapping, witness protection, and magic cats.  However at the moment I am writing a cosy mystery for older readers. The sleuth is a woman in her sixties with a pet poodle-X-wolfhound called Violet. There are murders and there is mystery, and I actually know who the villain is, which is a great relief.

Clare Rhoden

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About the Author

Clare Rhoden is based on Melbourne Australia and completed her PhD in Australian Great War literature in 2011 (her academic book, The Purpose of Futility, is available from UWAP Scholarly Press). She writes novels with heart and soul, based on love and hope in dark times. If you like to read historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy and/or mystery, you will find something to enjoy in Clare’s books. Find out more at Clare's website https://clarerhoden.com/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @ClareER 

1 comment:

  1. Bravo on your new release, Clare! What an intriguing plot. I love that you need to wait for the dog to fall asleep. In my case, I need to wait for the kids--and hubby--to either go to work or go to sleep before I can get anything done in my writing. In other words, I don't get much writing done, it's true. I'm a morning person, too.

    Thank you for these writing tips. Marketing is so hard, and I don't know the first thing about it. *Yikes!* I do like to read. I read everything except horror and explicit sex.

    All best to you, Clare, with your new release. Thanks for sharing this interview with your followers, Tony.


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