Interview with Clare Lydon

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a huge music fan, having worked as music journalist for eight years and been in love with it all my life. I love going to gigs, singing karaoke and playing guitar. Clearly I'm a frustrated pop star! I'm also a huge fan of Tottenham Hotspurs and go to their games whenever I can. Plus, I'm a late convert to jogging, although my knees might not agree.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read a lot of different bloggers who review and talk about books, so that's one port of call. But my main recommendation source is word of mouth. If my friends like it, chances are I will too. I also check out the reviews on all the various sites if I'm trying to decide.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do. It was at primary school (I was ten) and our task was to write a novel. I wrote a story about a family who land from space and struggle to acclimatise to daily life on Earth, which is weird because as an adult I'm not a fan of sci-fi! I wrote the words, drew the images (pretty bad, I'm no artist!) and even painted on a bar code. I scored 9.5/10. I should have put some wizards in, clearly.
What is your writing process?
Sit at my desk, look out the window, stretch, make some coffee, do some washing, clean the bathroom, hoover the office, sit back down an hour later. Maybe do some writing at some stage. As any writer will tell you, writing takes discipline and dedication. The simple act of sitting and writing is the biggest hurdle to get over. Once you've stopped procrastinating and get into the groove, it's the best feeling in the world.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a huge fan of bold colours and graphic art, so I knew from the start how I wanted my cover to look. I also had my very talented designer friend Kevin Pruitt on my side who took my idea and turned it into something way better. I wanted a strong cover that jumped off the page and I think I achieved it.
Describe your desk
Strewn with chalk dust from the blackboard above it. Trusty thesaurus on my right, posh pens, tissues, clock that tells me what the weather's like outside. My desk was custom-made and built into an alcove in my office. I love it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Leigh-On-Sea in Essex, a coastal town just 30 miles east of London. It was a great place to live because I love being by water. I had a carefree childhood and being so close to London I was a regular visitor to the city - my parents both grew up there too. That's why I wanted to write London Calling - to channel the buzz and excitement of London and make it spring off the page.
When did you first start writing?
I've written ever since I can remember. When I was in school I used to write stories in the lessons I wasn't that bothered about - history, RE, maths. I got told off a great deal, but I wrote thousands of words back then. I wish I'd kept them! When I was at university I took up smoking to help me write but strangely, it didn't help. The only thing that helps writing is sitting down in front of a computer and doing it. There's no magic formula.
What's the story behind your latest book?
London Calling is about Jess, who’s just been dumped and moves back from Sydney to London. It’s the story of her putting her life back together, getting a job, a new flat & finding new love with no shortage of hiccups along the way. Does she find her happy ever after? Read the book and find out…
What inspired you to write London Calling?
I’m a fan of lesbian fiction but most of the books I’ve previously read were set in America, written by Americans. I’ve lost count of the amount of mid-west lesbian love stories I’ve read! I enjoyed them but also wanted to read a book that reflected modern-day London, the world I live in. So I put finger to keyboard. Of course, as soon as I started I discovered a whole slew of UK lesbian fiction writers but I thought I'd carry on anyway...
If you could be the love child of any two authors, who would you choose?
JoJo Moyes and Jeanette Winterson. JoJo's books are always heart-breakingly beautiful, while Jeanette has been a fabulous writer for decades. Her last book about her mother was so raw it almost bled off the page.
Published 2014-03-10.
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