Wordy Wednesday with Laura Clay

Hello WordyWednesday fans! Today I'm introducing and quizzing Laura Clay.

Her book, an urban fantasy set in 1980s Edinburgh, is looking for an agent/publisher as we speak.So feel free to grab her and snap that up!

And now onto the questions, *turns on the bright light and aims it at Laura*

When did you start writing?
English was always one of my favourite subjects at school and it frustrated me that creative writing didn’t seem to be a large part of the curriculum. The first piece I clearly remember was for the Standard Grade exam, and because I’m an 80s child it involved an adventure based on Duran Duran’s Save A Prayer video. I passed with flying colours.
I properly started writing fiction in earnest back in autumn 2012 when I won a place on a creative writing course (thanks to Twitter, of all things!). After that I was persuaded to take part in the annual National Novel Writing Month, where you’re challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in November. It’s all just sort of snowballed since then, and I’ve won NaNoWriMo three times now.

What 3 things (not including paper, computer, pens) would you like to facilitate a good day’s writing?
I can’t survive without music. It’s tied into a lot of what I write, so I keep big playlists of 80s synthpop, New Wave and punk. Caffeine’s also a must (or something more alcoholic in the evenings). And encouragement always helps, whether that’s from my long-suffering husband or virtually on Twitter and Facebook.

Do you write to a schedule, eg every day or three times a week, set times, etc or do you write as and when the mood strikes?
I try to write a little every day, aiming for 500-1000 words, but I always carry a notebook with me since the Muse can pop up and throw ideas at me anywhere! The word count target in Scrivener is really useful for motivation- the bar turns from red to green the more words you write.

Laura thinking about biscuits - the tricky question
What are your favourite biscuits?
It’s a toss-up between a crumbly Viennese finger and a dark chocolate Digestive.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee, generally. Instant, too, because I’m too impatient to get the decent ground coffee out.

Is writing your main source of income? I read lots of articles saying writers make no money, and my readers asked this question a lot! Can you survive on book writing alone? If not, what else do you do?

Sadly not. The pieces I’ve had success with didn’t pay, but on the other hand they’ve been good for getting my name out there. In my day job I’m a freelance proofreader and copy editor, currently I work with Raspberry Pi making awesome online resources for children (and adults) to learn how to do cool things with a tiny, cheap computer. I’m also subeditor of the official magazine, The MagPi.

Where do you do most of your writing?

I work from home so it’s usually my office, crammed full of books and musical instruments, or sometimes the conservatory where the birds keep me company. But Edinburgh is full of great bars, coffee shops and historic castles, so I sometimes take my tablet out with me. I once wrote a short story in the sunny grounds of Crichton Castle, a short drive from home- it was very relaxing.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I have a few on the go at once. Since my novel is Young Adult I read quite a few novels in that age range, so currently I’m working through Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz (a well researched, fast-paced teenage spy adventure), Remix by Non Pratt (painfully realistic account of love and friendship at a music festival) and Panther by David Owen (a moving story about a depressed boy and well worth tracking down).

Do you use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) to engage with your audience? Do you think it helps sales and do you find it fun or a chore?

I’m on Twitter all the time, and it does help with getting more views to my blog. It’s also fantastic for finding fellow writers, editors, agents and so on. There’s regular virtual meet ups, like #ukyachat for anyone interested in YA books and #wwwblogs run by the Women Writers, Women’s Books site. I’ve found some awesome people on these hashtags.

Do you own an e-reader? And do you prefer to read digital or paper copy?
I’ve got the Kindle app on a few devices- it’s handy for scooping up 99p bargains and taking on holiday. I still prefer paper books though. Edinburgh’s stuffed full of bookshops, and I go to my local library every week. It’s a UNESCO City of Literature and judging by my groaning bookshelves it definitely lives up to the hype!

If you could genetically cross an animal with a fruit or vegetable what would you choose and why? I'm currently thinking Horse Radish...impossible to ride, but feisty...

Hmm... I could have an animal from Celtic mythology, because several of my novel characters happen to be those sort of creatures. Maybe a citrusy selkie... a seal-lime?

If reading and writing were banned, what would you do instead?

Oh crumbs... I’d play piano and bass guitar all day, though I’d have to play by ear if I wasn’t allowed sheet music to read. Or I’d dive into my pile of retro games consoles, always a good way to pass the time.

If you could bring a dead person back from the dead for one day to have tea and a natter with them, who would you choose and why?

Tricky! It’d probably be someone from the 80s. Maybe Bob Holness from Blockbusters. I bet he has a few stories about what the teenagers were really like when the cameras weren’t running.

If you could pass one law what would it be?

I’d ban achingly trendy hipster bars, like that cereal one in London. It wouldn’t surprise me if that sort of thing’s already popped up in Edinburgh for the Fringe. We have enough red-trousered flat-capped folk in the New Town as it is!

Huge thanks to Laura for putting up with my silly questions.

Laura's most recent published work was part of a collaborative effort at the NineWorlds convention to write a novel in 75 minutes. The result was a novella, The Phantom of the Space Opera, she wrote chapter 14. It can be downloaded here: https://nineworlds.co.uk/

Her short story, A Story of Homecoming, is available in a free ebook from the Scottish Book Trust and can be downloaded from http://scottishbooktrust.com/

Laura also has a short piece, Diablada, which will be exhibited as part of the 26 Children’s Winters project at the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh from October- it will also be online as an advent calendar in December and published at a later date. Details are at http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/
And check out her blog where there is short fiction and other rambling at https://writingsfromotherworld.wordpress.com/

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