Part one can be read here.
Part two can be read here.
Airship Ambassador: Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
Claire Humphrey: I’m in a writing group that meets once a month to critique each other’s works in progress; I’m also lucky to have a network of writer friends who I met through Viable Paradise and various conventions. It’s invaluable to have that kind of support and community.
AA: Writing can be a challenge some days. What are some of your methods to stay motivated and creative?
CH: I have little rituals that help me get myself in gear. Coffee, the right hat, particular music; going to my favourite coffee shop if I’m too distracted at home. Working out, most of all, especially going for a run. I think with my feet.
AA: If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
CH: Before starting university I was seriously considering medicine. I was in the Armed Forces Reserve and my plan was to go through med school that way. But I got a scholarship to the University of Guelph and went there instead, for English, and left the Reserves. I can’t even imagine now how different my life would have been if I’d gone the other way.
AA: That’s something to consider, how one decision, rightly or wrongly, can change our life completely. Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?
CH: I’m a buyer for Indigo [books]; it’s a dream job for a reader, writer, booklover. It has taught me so much about the market, for one thing. You can’t write just what you think is going to sell, of course–you have to write what you have to write. But I’ve learned a lot about how publishers operate, and why it’s still almost always the right choice to try to sign with a traditional publisher rather than self publishing, and how books get into the hands of customers, and all the little choices and moments that affect a writer’s career but are totally outside of their control.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?
CH: What time? In seriousness I don’t have much… but I do manage to work out regularly, and eat delicious food. I love cooking, microbrews, mountain biking, running, and watching sports. It’s a great week when I manage to get all those things in addition to writing and working.
AA: At least you have a balance of being physically active along with being very mentally active. How do those interests influence your work?
CH: I think I include more physical and sensory detail than some writers do, because my hobbies are focused on that; for instance, my writing group friends tease me about how often my characters have dinner.
AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
CH: Photography and calligraphy. Those used to be actual hobbies for me, and I haven’t touched either one in years. Someday maybe I’ll pick them back up, but not this year.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of (as a fan or participant) ?
CH: I wasn’t a fan of anything at all until recently–didn’t even really understand the concept, because literature has always been a thing I create as well as consume. Then I developed this intense obsession with the Pittsburgh Penguins. I always liked hockey but for years I didn’t have a particular team I followed–and it really changes the experience when you have a more personal stake. And now I know what it is to be a fan and not a creator: you have all these feelings but at the same time you’re not in the driver’s seat in this relationship, you just show up and watch and wear your colours and cheer and interact with other fans. It’s both energizing and relaxing.
AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
CH: My grandmother, Virginia Humphrey. She’s in her mid-nineties now and as recently as two years ago was still kicking my ass on the tennis court. She’s always been so full of stories and life and courage and energy.
AA: Three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite jello flavor, fictional world, and music style/form?
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
CH: Thanks for having me! Hope you all enjoy “Crew 255” and the rest of Clockwork Canada. And if you do, please consider looking for my novel Spells of Blood and Kin, coming in June from Thomas Dunne.
Thanks, Claire, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
Keep up to date with Claire’s latest news on her website.
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