Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver by Michele Brouder
Publication Date: September 2015
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance
When seventeen year-old librarian wannabe Claire Daly is dragged kicking, screaming and cursing from everything she loves—her mam, her cozy Irish village and the dreamy boy next door—to take up arms in the battle of good versus evil, she learns the hard way that sometimes you don’t get to choose your own destiny, destiny chooses you.
Claire’s life plan is simple: head off to university to get her degree in library studies, summon up the courage to tell her best friend Chas that she loves him and live happily ever after. She never once entertained the idea that she might possess divine powers, that she might be predestined to battle Hell’s demons, or, to complicate matters further, that another love of many lives past might turn up on her doorstep. But life doesn’t always go as planned, and when a co-worker is viciously attacked by a demon and her own family threatened, Claire must face the truth: she is called to a higher purpose and has no choice but to answer. Claire sets aside her dreams and begins learning how to deal with the Unholy once and for all. Armed with only a crash course in soul saving and her wits, she gears up for the ultimate show down in Hell. But will it be enough?
Hi Michele, welcome to Opinionated Cupcakes thank you for letting Kimmy and myself interview you. We are very excited to be able to have the chance to get to know you better.
When and what drove yourself to start writing/become an author?
I've known since I was 9 years old that I wanted to be a writer. I dabbled with it on and off for years, but in 2006, when we moved to Ireland, I made a lifechanging decision to buckle down and learn everything I could about writing. I joined WriteWords.co.uk (Chick Lit group) and from there I joined a splinter group which remains active today. I read books on the craft of writing and the business of writing. I wrote a couple of magazine articles and in 2010, I began writing posts for a blog out of Canada: Book in a Week. In 2012, I saw an article in my local newspaper that the Limerick County Council was calling all writers for their writer-in-residence series. The published writer who was running the program was generous with her instruction and enthusiasm. After a lot of rejection from agents, I submitted Claire Daly to 3 major publishers, one of them being Harlequin. Harlequin offered me a contract in Oct 2013. Unfortunately in late 2014, after I had worked with them editing the manuscript, they cancelled the digital line for which it was intended and thus terminated my contract. Even though it didn't work out, I am very grateful to Harlequin for the experience. It was wonderful. In the spring of 2015, I decided to publish it myself.
What is your favourite thing about writing?
I love the freedom of writing and the ability to work from home.There is something very satisfying in creating art: whether it be painting, music, writing. With writing you're able to create this whole other parallel world with characters that you've created. When the writing is flowing and it's easy, there is nothing like it in the world. I have to remind myself of this during the bad writing days. When I'm writing, I know that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. It's one of the few things that I'm absolutely sure about.
Can we have an insight into your writing process?
I like to think about an idea for a while. It can be years. I've had ideas for books that have been rolling around in my head for decades! But once I get a general idea, then I like to think about the characters and what the point of the story is. I always write the first draft in longhand as for me there is something about the physicalness of the actual writing of it. Then I rewrite, rewrite and rewrite. I will rewrite it many times. And the end product barely resembles the first draft. Then I'll give it to a few people in my writer's group to read for comments and critiques.Then I'll rewrite it again. And then it's off to the editor.
How would you describe your writing style?
I would describe my writing style as fast-paced and funny.
I think my one blindspot is dialogue in that I can have so much dialogue which quickens the pace of the novel (which I think comes from the fact that I am an Olympic talker). I love wit (humor is the balm of life) and I do like to write funny. I have been playing with a more serious piece of women's fiction which has been difficult as it is not funny but it's been a great way to stretch my writing muscles.
Do you have any fellow authors who inspire your writing or you enjoy to read?
I have so many: JoJo Moyes, Janet Evanovich, Ciara Geraghty, Clodagh Murphy, Jane Austen, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Dashiell Hammett, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Carl Hiassen, Phillipa Gregory, Angela Marsens. There are many more.
What was your inspiration or first spark of the idea to write Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver?
Quite simply I wanted to read about an Irish girl with supernatural powers, there was nothing out there, so I decided to write it myself.
How long did it take you to write Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver?
The idea first came to me in Feb 2009 but I didn't actually start writing it until 2010. I finished it in 2012 and in 2013, Harlequin was on board. I spent most of 2014 doing an edit with them. Hopefully, Book 2 won't take as long.
Do you have a personal favourite character from the book? If possible (without forcing you to spill spoilers J) could you tell us why?
Aside from Claire Daly, I loved Harry Bennett. He's had an interesting life and has a wealth of information. We learn more about him in the follow-up short story, The Face of His Beloved, which is available for free on my website, www.michelebrouder.com
Is there anyone from pop culture (tv shows, films, books, celebrities) that Claire is similar to? If so in which ways? Or did you base her on someone in particular?
I did not base her on anyone in particular. Physically, she is similar to the Irish actress, Susan Loughnane.
Did you have any difficulties whilst writing Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver?
Yes. The greatest difficulty I had was writing the scenes from Hell. First, I scare easy and 2nd, I wanted Hell to be about not only being scared or just about demons and trolls but also about how bad you could possibly feel about yourself.
How many books do you plan to have in the Soul Saver series?
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver that we might not already know or any advice to anyone planning to read Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver?
Although Claire Daly is YA, I'm getting a lot of feedback from women aged 35-54 telling me how much they loved it. That was a very happy surprise.
Do you have any advice for inspiring authors?
Learn everything you can about the craft, read, read, read, and never give up.
Lastly what are you currently working on/planning to work on?
I've got a Christmas rom-com that is in the final editing stages and will be out fall of 2016. From November 2015 onward, I'm focusing solely on the 2nd book in the Soul Saver series. I will use National November Writing Month to kick that off. The tentative plan is for Book 2 of the Soul Saver series to be out in late summer or early fall of 2016.
Thank you for your time and for answering our questions.
Rinny & Kimmy
About the Author
I was born in western New York, the oldest of 5. I've loved reading since I was very little. From the age of 9, I've wanted to be a writer. In high school, I wrote a lot of angst-ridden civil war dramas ala Gone With The Wind, knowing more about the Battle of the Bull Run than a normal teenager should know. I dabbled in writing after that but didn't get serious about it until 2006, when I decided that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I've had many interesting jobs but my passion has always been writing.
I lived in Ireland from 2006-2013 with my husband and 2 boys. We moved back to the US and settled in Florida briefly (2 years) before returning back to Ireland in August 2015.