Interview with Claire Gem

What's the story behind your latest book?
The Phoenix Syndrome actually had its roots in an actual experience. I happen to be fan of heavy metal music, and attend concerts regularly in Manhattan, NYC with my brother and his family. We had just seen the Finnish group, Nightwish, and when we got out to the street, my nephew was teasing me about "running off with the roadies." I snapped back, "To hell with the roadies, but I'd run off with that yummy drummer." And so began the idea for The Phoenix Syndrome...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After being contracted by several small publishers, and experiencing frustration, not only with the quality of editing, book cover design, and dismal royalty rates, I decided I could do it better myself. I am a control freak by nature. I am fortunate to have a sister who is a graphic artist, and she designs all my covers. And I did do it better: all three of the books I self published in 2016 either won or made the finals in a major literary competition.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has shown me there is life beyond Amazon, allowing my books to be distributed worldwide and in as many different formats as exist. And they make it so easy, converting all the files for me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Reading my own work when it's done and crying at the sad parts, laughing at the funny parts. It proves to me that I'm getting that crucial emotional factor woven into my work. I even get anxious at the crisis point...and I wrote it! I know what's going to happen!
What do your fans mean to you?
Each and every fan is precious to me. I often include questionnaires in my newsletters asking my fans what they'd like to see more or less of. I think cherishing and listening to your fans is the key to success for any author.
What are you working on next?
I am working on a supernatural suspense, the third in my Haunted Voices Series, called Pigments. My heroine is a DNA analyst with a unique gift/curse: she can access the memories of people whose DNA has become embedded in the matrix of paint and oils in paintings. It's actually an ability called psychometry. But as a result, she has become phobic of museums and paintings.

My hero is a curator who comes to her aid when an unexpected visit to his museum overwhelms her - and they instantly connect. But she's terrified of paintings. He's a museum curator. How can this ever work?

And then there's the heroine's boss, who wants Rachel for his own, but mostly to use her unique powers to secure his fortune. No matter what the cost.

Pigments. It's all in the touch.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have many. Nora Roberts has a musical quality to her writing that amazes me. Kay Hooper and Heather Graham have written some amazing ghost/psychic stories. Simone St. James as well. The list goes on and on...
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The knowledge that today might be the day I create something really wonderful.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work full time in scientific research, so you might say that satisfies the "other half" of my brain. I also am an equestrienne, and enjoy spending time with and riding my horse, Samson. It's a sport my husband and I have enjoyed all of our lives. And of course, there's my hubby, my soulmate, my own personal happily-ever-after hero of going on 39 years. Time with him is always precious, no matter what we're doing.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first fictional story I ever wrote will someday become a novel. It is a time travel story that starts in contemporary times and then zooms back to the Middle Ages. I'm a big fan of Medieval History, but I'm also a stickler for research and getting the facts right. When I get "good enough," TIME IS A RIBBON will make its debut.
What is your writing process?
I start out with a concept - sometimes it's a snippet of a scene that comes to me in a dream. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a character speaking to me in my head. Mental illness? Or muse? You decide.

Once I have the concept, I go looking for my characters, or wait until they find me. I search for their pictures, and then I virtually interview them. By the time I've interviewed my major characters, I usually have what I need to write a rough synopsis. But it's rough, and although I usually know the ending, I never outline. So you might say I'm a hybrid pantser and plotter.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm lucky to have a sister who is a graphic artist, and she designs all my covers. I research the genre of the book, and try to make it "fit" within that genre so the reader knows what kind of book they are getting. Then I tell my sister the general story idea and she runs with it.
What do you read for pleasure?
I try to read books in whatever genre I happen to be writing in at the time. Since I write in several, that doesn't limit me much! I also usually have three books I'm reading all at the same time: I'm a great multi-tasker! I have one in paperback or hardcover, one in eBook format, and another I listen to in audio on my daily commute.
Published 2017-07-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Taming Season: A Love at Lake George Novel
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 99,060. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
At her therapist's advice, a scarred widow heads out of the city to her family's cabin on beautiful Lake George in an attempt to reboot her broken life. What she finds is a crumbling shack. The last thing she needs is to become the target of the sexy playboy next door for his next summer fling—or is it?