Oh, that’s a long story. I published my first work nearly twenty years ago and won a few awards along the way. In between then and now, I’ve written over two hundred stories, although most aren’t in print anymore. So, I guess I’m an old-school author. However, it’s only recently that it’s all started to take off in a big way with the online publishing phenomenon. Right now, it’s a very exciting time to be a writer, and I absolutely love it. It was worth the long journey getting here.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
Sharing the adventure is my favourite part. It’s a lot of work to write a novel that can take readers on an adventure, but the most fulfilling part is going on that adventure with them. I laughed a lot while writing Demonic Dora, so it’s great when the fans of the book tell me that they laughed a lot too and share their experiences with me.
Which part do you hate most?
Editing the book is always the worst part. Writing is this creative and exciting experience, but editing is all work and no play. It’s vital and important, but sometimes your brains do dribble out of your ears mid-edit.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
I don’t think I’ve ever been given advice about life that I regretted not knowing earlier. A good friend advised me how to reverse the effects of Type 2 diabetes with a low carb diet and saved my life, but I only had it for three months because of their great advice.
I think on this one, I have to go with editing again here. Out of all the lessons I’ve learnt, learning to structurally edit my books was a gift from the gods (well, actually it was from two very famous Irish authors, but they’re gods in my eyes). For years, I was writing without that knowledge. Although it’s a lot of work to learn about novel structure, I do wonder if that twenty year journey would have been shorter if I had learnt those lessons earlier in my career. There were many missed opportunities in my life because of lacking that knowledge. My late lesson was to get a structural edit, bite that painful bullet and be open to learning as much as I could. It helped bring my stories to life for readers and helped me become a better writer. So, I suppose the lesson is to always be open to learning more. There is never a time when you know everything.
If you could have a magical power, what would it be and why?
I’d love to be able to fly. Along with being able to travel anywhere I wanted and explore unreachable places, I’d never fall off anything ever again, thus saving myself from tripping over and landing face-first on the floor with my skirt over my head at public events (yes, that did happen). It would also be good for a quick getaway from said event. :p
Dora appeared fully formed in my head one day and refused to go away. I originally came up with her as an idea for a side character in another novel I was writing, but she wasn’t right for that story. Still, she was larger than life and wouldn’t go away. In the end, I decided to give her, her own story because her character was exciting and different. I’d always wanted to write a character that broke all the rules, and she was wonderfully dark and funny in her own special way. Her wacky story and how far I could go with it also appealed to me, along with the opportunity to have a bit of fun with so many different themes. I was watching re-runs of ‘Father Ted’ and ‘Misfits’ at the time, so I’m pretty certain that they also offered some of the inspiration for her story.
If you could be a supernatural creature – what would you be and why?
I can list what I can’t be lol. I’d make an awful vampire because I’m a vegetarian. Werewolves require far too much maintenance—all that hair removal and vacuuming the couch would be a nightmare. I’m just not sexy enough to be a succubus. Mermaids are great, but I can’t imagine me with flippers. I think I’d be best as a witch. The ability to conjure things would probably be something I’d enjoy. ‘I want a cookie.’ *mutters a spell and one magically appears.* Yep, I could live with that. :p
Vampires – romantic leads or monsters that have lost their literary way?
I think it depends on the story. The vampire has always been a creature of seduction. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula could seduce the ladies. Horror itself doesn’t just address fear. Even from the first English gothic novel (Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto) the genre was meant to thrill and excite readers by using fear and sexuality. I think there will always be a place in gothic fiction for sexual themes, just as there will always be a place in it for pure terror.
I think it’s why I love the horror genre so much. It’s the most flexible one in existence. My only gripe is the sickeningly sweet vampire. If he’s not a bit dangerous, then he’s neither sexy nor scary. So when it comes to a leading role, I believe a vampire needs a bit of darkness in his character. But then, the flip side is comedy horror. A comedy vampire can be a peace-loving vegetarian who likes to crochet. In the end, I think it comes down to the type of story and the kind of readers it is aimed at.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and we’d probably just eat forty-two sugared mice. :p
Who are your favourite authors and why?
Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, Derek Landy and Eileen Gormley – all for their amazing wit and ability to write stories that are addictive to read.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently editing the second book in The Demon Diaries, which is called Deceased Dora. I’m also finishing off a new story called Frenzied, which is about shape-shifters.
Where can fans find you online?
The best place to seek me out is at www.claire-chilton.com because all the links to Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad and places like that are listed on there. Also, everything appears there first, so it’s kind of my central hub for online activity.