Interview with Claire Gager

What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle or the Kindle application for Androids and Tablets.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Social media, sidewalk chalk art with my Twitter hashtag, business cards, flyers, and seeking out face-to-face opportunities for people to meet me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a beach city in southern California, where it is easy to get lost in the emotions of the sea and the scenery. I was born and raised in a very traditional Filipino family that loved talking about our religion. It took me a while to accept it, but the journey to accepting it once I was an adult is what influenced my writing. Because of my fondness for being by the beach and outside, as well as my love of stories and storytelling, it seemed natural to become a writer some day.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing shortly after completing my college degree back in 1997, but I didn't become serious about publishing my work until 2012. I've always encouraged others to pursue their dreams, and I figured by 2012 it was my turn to go after my own dreams.
What's the story behind your latest book?
As part of a five-book series, this third installment was inspired by recent encounters I had with people who had various addictions. The story in particular continues with the protagonists from the first two books, but we meet yet a third angel who is known for his healing powers and for his companionship on journeys. I wrote the story about a young man who has an addiction to self-mutilation and adrenaline, who undergoes a healing process with an angel. The young man's healing is part of a greater mission for the prophet introduced in the first book of the series. This third book of the series sets the tone for how the series will end in the fifth book.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords was one of the first online publishing sites that sold my first book in the series. It continues to be sold through Smashwords, and it is a viable and affordable option for those readers who do not wish to go to the big-name online book retailers.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is seeing how my characters develop. While I usually have an idea of who my characters are when I begin writing, as the stories progress these characters seem to develop their own personalities and their struggles, failures, and triumphs come to life as well. It's hard not to love them because they are very much like the average person living today. There's at least one character in my novels that any person can relate to.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am a fan of my fans. Odd as it sounds, I really admire the fans I have and who engage me both through social media and in person. I get a lot of feedback from them and they are not only my best critics (because of their honesty), but they are also the inspiration from which I draw to write my stories. Some have shared their own life struggles and I incorporate those into the books I write. My fans are my muses, if you will.
What are you working on next?
I am continuing with The Last Prophet series with book four and book five in 2015, and plan to do a few book signings as each new book in the series is released. After this series, I plan to do a follow up series continuing with where book five ends, but the series will be titled something different to reflect the major changes. I am also toying with the idea of writing a paranormal romance series that is more fantasy fiction rather than spiritual fiction. It's not too drastic a change in my eyes, but I think my readers may be open to the shift in storyline.
Who are your favorite authors?
Frank Peretti, Terry Brooks, Matthew Kelly to name a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My children are my inspiration... as well as my alarm clock. They are the first ones to go to bed and the first ones up. I rise every morning at the sound of their laughter or the sound of their verbal prompting for mommy to get up. They are my inspiration because they are not only my children, but they are both autistic and have taught me the importance of understanding the struggles that each individual goes through, even when we don't understand it fully.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I try to spend as much time with my children and husband as I can. I'm a very busy, multi-career wife and mother, so I live by a tight schedule and packed calendar. When I am not writing or being an educator, I spend my time with my family. They are the reason I do what I do and why I fight for certain social justice causes as an advocate. Add to the mix the fact that I have varied interests as well as talents in different areas of the arts, I just have a very full life.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I am an active member and author on Goodreads, and a lot of the recommendations I get from that site are what I end up reading for my own pleasure. As an author with many other author friends, we often exchange books to review with each other. Many of the books I've reviewed and written reviews for have become favorites which I have recommended to others as well. When I am not reviewing a book, I look at what is recommended by Goodreads based on my current library or interests or my published work.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first attempt to write a story (as an adult at least) was a romance novel set in the Philippines. It was also one of the first attempts at self-publishing I made back in 2012 until I decided to try publishing spiritual fiction that same year with a publisher. I am still very fond of that first novel and continue to promote and market it through Amazon and other sites.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1) This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti - It was the first book on spiritual warfare as a fiction novel that I read and I was hooked from the start. It was this book that encouraged me and made me believe I could write about the same topic, but with my own style to it. I have been a fan of Frank Peretti's work ever since.
2) The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho - As a spiritual fiction author, I appreciated many of the theories the author expressed through his characters, while at the same time not necessarily agreeing with all he wrote. It was close enough to spiritual fiction that I enjoyed it immensely and would read again.
3) Holy Bible (New American Bible version/Catholic version) - I not only use it as spiritual guidance and inspiration, but also as a historical reference for many of the characters I make mention of in my books. There are beautiful stories in it as a whole that not only teach life lessons, but also worthy of storytelling.
4) The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff - Although I first read it as a textbook for a Philosophy class in college, there was a lot of wisdom gained, and from the most simplest of characters. It serves as a reminder that life does NOT have to be so complicated, and the great wisdom can come from the humblest of people.
5) Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly - Although this is non-fiction and deals with spirituality, it is really a book about how to live. I take many of my life lessons from this book as well as from the Holy Bible, and the book and its lessons are still relevant today.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read a variety of genres, but they range vastly. I read contemporary romance (and even in that genre I read varying levels of it as well including paranormal), spiritual fiction and non-fiction, fantasy fiction, sci-fi, mystery, and biographies and autobiographies. What I am not too fond of is horror. I have a vivid imagination, and to read it would keep me up for days at a time.
Published 2015-02-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Searching For Sabrina Fair
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 90,160. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Gannon Sterling from S.E.I., USA, is in the Philippine Islands to bid on a security system for Philippine National Powers, but he lacks the cultural knowledge of how to do business within the country. Add one curvy and sensual Filipino woman named Sabrina, niece to NP's Executive Director, and soon have fiery attraction. With twists to the bid, betrayal, & a kidnapping, a search for Sabrina is on.