Interview with Claire Genevieve

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I am delighted by the experience of seeing a piece unfold, watching the story as I hope my readers will. To be immersed in a story or a poem, late at night, with a storm lashing the house is a joy, a guilty pleasure.
Who are your favorite authors?
Sheri S. Tepper, J.G. Ballard and the poet Dorothy Porter. None of them were willing to write within established limits, they have taught me to be unafraid to break new ground and write what nobody else will. Whenever I read something by one of those three I lose myself and then spend months going over nuances in my head.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read, really read (as opposed to learning to read) was the Lord of the Rings, the single volume edition when I was 9. I had found it and started to read it, there were not many books in my house. It was such a huge volume that I was almost unable to hold onto the book. I suppose it was a bit advanced for me at that age but I devoured it and since then I have had a passion for story and a desire to redraw the boundaries of what can be done with language. Without that book I would not be the person I am now.
What do you read for pleasure?
I tend to read pure old school sci-fi or fantasy, the kind of books that make you believe the fantastic is possible, guilty pleasures that are too shallow to drown in. That or the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett that seem shallow on the surface but are so deep you need a diving bell.
Describe your desk
It's the dining room table, when I am in a home which is not too often, there is no room here for a desk. The rest of the time it is the dining table in my caravan, or a table in a picnic area. Sometimes I have nothing but my lap. If you really want to write you will write anywhere.
When did you first start writing?
I think I have always written in my head, my mind was afire with stories for as long as can remember. The first time I wrote it down was likely when I was 15, I started obsessively writing poetry. Sometime ago my old friends were discussing a photo of me. It was asked "what is she doing" and someone answered, "writing poetry, what else?". That sums it up really.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The publishing industry has, like most media, become financially driven. Virtually no effort is made to find and promote new artists. In indie media the artist can promote themselves and not be beholden to somebody in a highrise. I want control over my works.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
In no particular order:
The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein - What is not to like about this book. No story has been more groundbreaking or powerful.
The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter - It's a verse novel written in minimalist free verse. Very brave, incredibly powerful and mind-bogglingly inspiring.
The Complete Short Stories by JG Ballard - Nobody else has written short stories so unexpected. You can learn more from Ballard than from any other author of short stories.
The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper - Never has a book of sci-fi taken me away so far and for so long. It is impossible to predict and impossible to explain. Just read it.
Papillon by Henri Charrière - One of the best adventure books I have ever read. On top of that Papillon is one of the best anti-hero characters ever. I cannot truly love a character without flaws.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a tiny forrestry settlement in Western Australia, just a dozen houses in the middle of a forrest. I was never truly comfortable around people and there were not that many kids there at all in that tiny village so I spent a lot of time alone either exploring the bush and telling myself stories or reading. Maybe I wouldn't be a writer if I had grown up in the suburbs.
What are you working on next?
I am collating a book of my old poems, the pieces that are lonely, the pieces that don't go with any others. Although there is no theme to the book there is a direction of sorts. No matter how hard I try to do otherwise my poetry is mostly about pain, that's just how it is. My life has not been ordinary and my poetry was always catharsis, a way to cope with the life I have had thrust upon me.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
An alarm clock. I keep thinking I am not good at mornings but other people tell me I am. In fact I have been told it would be nice to have me shut up first thing in the morning.
Published 2013-11-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.