Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's How She Does It featuring Mae Clair

.How do you create your characters? Do you have a special system?

They tend to pop in my head on their own, usually vague and shadowy, demanding to be fleshed out in greater detail. It’s hard to say what initially sparks their conception. I studiously avoid patterning characters after anyone I know, so they certainly don’t germinate from life experiences!

Usually, once I have that initial ghost of character life, I create backstory and motivation, and then begin constructing relationships with other characters. That eventually leads me into the playground of plot.

2. Do your characters come before your plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let your characters develop the route to the end?

Definitely characters before plot. They control the reins, leading me into the plot as we work along. I generally have a vague idea of where we’re headed when I start writing, but the twists and turns along the way are often unexpected and lead to threads I hadn’t anticipated.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general or a specific way?

Hmm. I seem to be leading into your questions with my previous answers. J I rarely know the end of a story when I start, other than wanting it to have an HEA with the hero and heroine ending up together - -after much conflict and many hurdles, of course! That’s about as specific as I get when I start a new novel.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses on your book shelf?

A little of both. For the most part, I sculpt settings from areas I know. I live in Pennsylvania and so set the majority of my books there. But I’m also extremely comfortable with eastern coastal settings and will frequently pull from that familiarity. I’ve travelled a bit across the country and will occasionally reference an area I’ve visited as well. For the last 20+ years, I’ve worked in the real estate industry and have toured properties that range from cottages to historical homes, B&Bs and multi-million dollar mansions. That background has been wonderful in creating diverse home settings!

5. Where do you do your research? From books you won, the library or the internet?

I rarely venture to the library these days. Most of my research is done online but I have several favored books on my shelf, I reference for historical and myth-related topics.

6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along?

I’ve never developed the knack for being a draft writer. I’m constantly revising as I go along so by the time I reach the end, the book is pretty polished. That’s not to say I don’t do several more read-throughs for tightening and editing before calling it finished.

Thanks for having me as a guest today, Janet. I enjoyed answering your questions!

Mae Clair


Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks & Lyrical Press


Coming August 2013



Anonymous said...

Hi, Janet! Many thanks for having me on your blog today. It was a pleasure to be featured.

I noticed my links didn't come through so I thought I'd mention my website is, blog and I can be found on Twitter @maeclair1

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I love reading how the writing process works for other writers. Especially if it mirrors my own! And I can't wait to read TWELFTH SUN. :)


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Donna! Fantastic to know I'm not the only one who writes like that, LOL!

L.J. Kentowski said...

I'm the same way with liking to read about how others do it. Oftentimes when I get stuck, I tend to seek out how some of my fave authors do it. Now I have a reference for another fave of mine - you! :)

JL Walters said...

Mae Clair, So glad to have you here. Looking forward to reading one of your books soon, Will be working on my interview at your place.

Anonymous said...

Hi, L.J.! Aww, that's such a sweet comment. Thanks :) I love learning how others do it too!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Janet! Lovely to hear I'm on your TBR list. And, of course, I'm excited about your visit to my blog the end of June. Thanks again for having me today!

Anonymous said...

I feel kind of sad that us writers don't visit libraries to do our research these days. Online info is so handy, but there's something about musty books and sitting in a vast library that's romantic.

Melissa Keir said...

I always enjoy reading about other authors. My characters come first too!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Emma. I agree with you about libraries. I always used to enjoy those excursions (of course, time has become an issue too). My niece is a librarian, and some of my fondest memories of childhood involve visiting the library.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Melissa! Many thanks for commenting. Isn't it great that our characters determine our stories? I love hearing I'm not the only one who lets them have control! :)

Jessi said...

Nice interview Mae. Good luck with Twelfth Sun!

stanalei said...

Now I know I'm not the only one who doesn't have the ending when I start. And I'm a plotter first. But that ending always feels like a moving target.
Great questions and answers, ladies!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jessi. Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Stanalei. It's interesting to hear you're a plotter yet the ending is never clearly in sight. Even when plotting, I guess there are surprises that intervene and switch things around! :)