Clara Winter grew up reading; Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and Alice in Wonderland, while watching Buck Rogers, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. Writing her own stories naturally ensued. She is a wife, mother, and former school counselor, with a master's degree in Counseling. Clara is from Colorado Springs, Co and currently resides in Mission Viejo, Ca.
MWS: Hello Clara! I'm so glad to talk with you today. How has your week been so far?
CW: Hi Melissa! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. My week has been pretty good. I was able to get a fair amount of writing done, so that's always a good week in my book.
MWS: Yes it is! That's a fantastic week! Have you been working on a submission piece or a novel?
CW: I'm working on a novella that will be released as part of a box set with The Enchanted Quill this August. It's a vampiric retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
MWS: Wow, that sounds really good. Before we get into your work I'd like to know more about you. Clara Winter is your pen name, how did you come up with it?
CW: I've been a fan of classic movie stars since I was little. Clara Bow was always a favorite, so that was easy. I thought Winter worked well for the paranormal/fantasy genre that I normally write in.
MWS: Love it! So I read in your bio that you are a Doctor Who fan. I, too, am a Whovian. My next question is; who is your favorite doctor and companion?
CW: I really do love all of them, from the very first through to the 13th. But, if I had to choose one it would be David Tennant's #10. My favorite companions are Rose and Donna. I grew up on all that stuff! Love it! Battlestar Gallactica
and Buck Rogers, too!
MWS: Yes, Donna! She's my favorite. I love the 4th Doctor and then 10th. My mother was fond of that also, so I grew up watching the same things. Twin Peaks, too, was a great show. What stories inspired you when you were young?
CW: Again, so many to choose from. I've been a big reader all my life. Anne of Green Gables is up there, along with Tolkien's books, the Narnia books, Nancy Drew, and The Secret Garden.
When I was fifteen, I read Interview with the Vampire and that series is really a big influence on me as a writer.
MWS: All fantastic books and authors. Now you said you normally write for paranormal/fantasy, what do you like most about writing in that genre?
CW: I would say that I love the freedom of it. You can follow the usual mythos surrounding fairies, vampires, etc. Or, you can completely blow those out of the water and create your own. There is nothing for me that is more fun to write. I am also drawn to the darker side of things, so writing paranormal allows me to explore that.
MWS: Great answer, and I agree as well. Is your family supportive of your writing?
CW: Oh, absolutely. My husband is very proud and loves to let people know about my books. It's sweet. Even my son, who is in middle school, talks about what I do at school. My parents are also supportive. When I have a book release, my mom buys like twenty copies. They're a great bunch of people, and I'm lucky to have them.
MWS: That's wonderful! It always helps to have support from loved ones. What tropes, if any, do you try and stay away from when you write?
CW: That's a good question, but I don't think there are any. I'm kind of down with them all, I guess.
MWS: Lol. Your story, Crystal Tide, can be found in the Magical Reality anthology, can you give the readers a little insight to it? No spoilers!
CW: Sure. When the call for this submission came up, I was really excited because I had a finished children's story sitting in my files that I thought I could adapt into a mermaid tale; something I had wanted to write for awhile. Although I don't name the exact location in the story, it takes place at one of my favorite vacation spots; Kalaloch, Washington. I've spent many a summer on those gray beaches and it's just magical.
MWS: It sounds like it. I enjoyed the story very much. All of them. Let's talk about The Kindred Immortal series. Can you give a quick summary of the series?
CW: Thanks! The Immortal Kindred Series begins with Deepest Midnight. There will be five books total in this series. Book three will be released by my publisher in July. Each book is a dive into a single character, with other characters in the series showing up in supporting roles. The fifth and final book will have all the vamps coming together for one final showdown.
MWS: I enjoyed the first book, but haven't had a chance to read the second. I look forward to them! Does writing energize or exhaust you?
CW: Thanks so much. A little of both! I'll be honest and say that when I'm nearing the end of a book, I can feel pretty exhausted. I'm feeling that way right now with this novella. But, I always feel re-energized when I write The End and dive right into the next one.
MWS: It's amazing feeling when you finish! What is your usual writing process?
CW: My usual process is to always start with a quick outline. I don't spend a ton of time of this. Then I explore my characters and the setting. Setting is important to me, especially in paranormal.
Then, I break out the plot board and fill in my plot details. I get much more precise here. Where are the turning points, the midpoint, the climax? I usually do all this over the course of two days, then I get straight into the writing. I write every day, Monday through Friday, except when my son is on break.
MWS: That is brilliant, actually. I outline but have never used a plot board. Lastly, if you could give one piece of advice that you wish you had known, what would it be?
CW: To not be so hard on myself. There's a lot of ups and downs in everyone's writing journey. If you love it, keep going.
MWS: Very good! Thank you so much for talking with me today, Clara! It's been very fun and insightful!
CW: Thanks so much, Melissa! This was great!
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