#AuthorInteriew: #Indie #Writer Claire Buss Chats About #HopefulDystopia, #ShortStories, and #Writing In the Midst of #Motherhood

Hello once again, my fellow creatives! While Wisconsin shivers beneath the hoarfrost, let’s travel over to the United Kingdom to meet a wonderful indie author who manages to balance writing and parenting on her own terms. She was very kind to host me on her blog last fall when I released my new novel, and now I’m excited to host her here. Please welcome Claire Buss!

Your bibliography shows you love crafting a wide variety of poetry and prose. For instance, your series The Gaia Collection explores what happens when the global environment is completely under commercial control. Can you describe your writing process for creating this dystopian setting?

The Gaia Effect, the first book in the series, was an idea I had for a long time just sort of kicking about in my head. I don’t know why it went the way it did, I’m a discovery writer not a planner and I literally had no idea what was going to happen next when I was writing. I just followed the characters. I realise authors aren’t supposed to admit that they don’t know what they’re doing lol. With each subsequent novel I write, I tend to plan a little bit more but then I have had two kids since I started writing so I find it harder to remember everything now.

After being an author for over five years, what would you say are common traps for aspiring writers?

Thinking that they know everything, I don’t think you ever stop learning about the craft of writing and storytelling. And also, not being able to take critique – figuring out that it’s different from criticism and that other people (writers and readers) can see things that you don’t. I do find it difficult to put that first draft out there and I often get highly defensive at feedback but that’s usually because they’re right and I just don’t want to admit I need to make the changes lol.

Ha! I get pretty defensive about my own writing, too, but you’re right–that feedback is crucial in ensuring a plot line, a character arc, or whatever else actually makes sense. Would you consider this to be the most difficult part of your artistic process, or would you consider that to be something else?

Not being able to find enough time to work on my writing. At the moment, I have to squeeze things in between being a stay-at-home mum and oftentimes I am super tired in the evenings so trying to be creative can be tough. Also, my kids get up at 5am so trying to join in the 5am writers club is difficult as well. But you know, if you love doing something, you find the time for it.

OH MY GOSH I KNOW JUST WHAT YOU MEAN. Seriously, I totally do. I started blogging in 2015 when my kids were teeny. That was likely a crazy thing to do, but blogging helped me preserve what little sanity I had left, and eventually helped me re-ignite my creativity. Even though my kids are older now (well, still 10 and under, but still), they are my writing Kryptonite just as much as they are my writing inspiration. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Ironically, procrastination! I am an excellent procrastinator. I have even cleaned the oven instead of sitting down to write. But then at other times I’m in the writing zone and nothing can stop me.

I have a feeling you and I would be friends, because that’s just what I do on some days, too. Suddenly the floor absolutely must be cleaned that day because in my imagination, I just haven’t worked out a plot kink yet and it’s easier to clean than to sit and stare at my notes about fantastical elsewheres. I noticed that you enjoy writing all sorts of fantastical stories like Ye Olde Magick Shoppe, but you also enjoy exploring the “commonplace” kind of life. Now most people–me included–write to escape this sort of place, but you found so much inspiration you created a collection called Tales From Surburbia. Can you share that particular inspiration with us?

I had released my first book The Gaia Effect and although I thought there might be another book in the series, I didn’t feel ready to write it straight away but I wanted to maintain the momentum I felt I’d created by publishing a book. I decided to look back over short stories, plays and blog posts that I’d written previously and grouped together those that had a similar theme. I wrote a couple of new pieces and voila! I had a shorts collection on the theme of humorous observation of life in the suburbs. All of it is inspired in some way by real events that happened to me or happened where I lived at the time.

Life in the suburbs certainly has its own wacky misadventures, like when toddler Biff decided to just join our new neighbors housewarming party and started tooting through their toddler’s toys. Heavens, that was so mortifying! The most common thread of the misadventures around our neighborhood, however, would have to be the animals. There’s a fox that occasionally wanders through our backyard; I like to imagine where he comes from and what brings him hunting about our yard. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

My writer mascot? Hmm… that’s a good question. I have absolutely no idea. Maybe a dragon, which is probably a little cliché. I’d actually love a dog

Ah, there is a history of beloved dogs among amazing writers! I’ll always remember my favoritest of favorite writers, Diana Wynne Jones, writing an entire fantasy novel inspired by her own dog. When we have the right inspiration, we cannot help but tell stories, you know? Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It depends – when the muse is with me, the words seem to run out of my fingertips into my keyboard and dance across my computer screen. Those are the days when I can write 2000 words in less than an hour and get to the end of the writing session feeling happy but wiped. Other days it’s a struggle and it feels like I’m pulling the words out. Those days are exhausting and filled with doubt. I think if writing doesn’t energise and exhaust you then you’re just not doing it right.

I completely agree, Claire. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, your stories, and your life with us! My friends, you can learn more about Claire and her work via the various social media links below.

~STAY TUNED!~

Let’s explore some worldbuilding in the mystery genre, written by an author who embodied a time, a mindset, a world that feels long ago, but for some of us is not so long ago at all.

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

35 thoughts on “#AuthorInteriew: #Indie #Writer Claire Buss Chats About #HopefulDystopia, #ShortStories, and #Writing In the Midst of #Motherhood

  1. What a lovely interview! You are a genius for getting the very best out of your guests, Jean:)). It’s the quality of the questions you ask – and the fact that you have clearly read their work and understand where they’re coming from, which I suspect is crucial. I loved what Claire had to say about getting feedback – I don’t think any of us like it much. But the longer I do this lark, the more vital I realise that process is… Thank you for sharing Claire’s thoughts on her work with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The methodology of pen to paper, fingertips to keyboard are, as it is clear to one and all, many. I find absorbing the ways and means of others an intriguing thing. I see twixt you, Ms Lee, and Claire, a similarity. You both have to find time in a busy world rather than say, my approach being that of plucking it out of thin air when the fancy takes. If there is one good thing for those, like me, the ancient ones, it is that while time maybe running out, it never hides away from us oldens, hence I feel a cheat in many respects. Time, to me, might carry with it a knife, yet it’s always there when I want it. Were it the case I could send you both a parcel full of time to do with as you please, rest assured I would. A fine post indeed. As ever, my regards, The Old Fool

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, many thanks, Master Steeden! I’m sure that when your brood were young and rash and all sorts of mischievous you and your lovely wife were like us–hunting time with a knife, never moving in for a kill, but to cut away a lock of its hair…I do believe I made a Biblical reference with that one…David and Saul, I think? Eh, I’m not looking it up.
      Where am I going with this…ah! That you, Friend, have earned your time with Time. Claire and I will reach that point as well, when we can sit with Time in a city park, a deck of cards between us–and perhaps a cribbage board. I like cribbage!–and allow ourselves a bit of leisure while those we miraculously got to adulthood are now chasing after little mischief-makers of their own. Hugs to you and your lovelies from Wisconsin, Sir! xxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great interview, Jean! I love to hear how other writers work. I have to say I have never been so desperately stuck that I’ve cleaned the oven, although in a different life I sometimes used to vaccuum when I had a report to finish 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great interview, Jean and Claire. Love the whole hopeful dystopian novel idea. We are dangerously close to being commercially controlled now so what a treasure to find a hopeful book about it. Good luck with your writing, ladies!

    Liked by 1 person

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