10 questions with author Rachel Clare: ‘Set yourself weekly and monthly goals’

Rachel is an author who impresses, not just with her writing, but her enormous determination and will – just look at that work schedule. She was kind enough to guest on my radio show and I found her incredibly inspiring. Living with the condition cerebral palsy meant Rachel learned at an early age she would have to overcome obstacles – the main one of which was writing with a pen. But she learned to touch type as a child and it opened up a whole new world, paving the way for her to gain a string of academic qualifications before fulfilling her writing dreams.

Here are 10 questions with.. Rachel Clare.

1. What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Rachel Clare Evans but I go by the pen name Rachel Clare because I think it fits the historical romantic fiction I write. I live in Lancaster, Lancashire, but have travelled extensively in Europe and America. I always take a notebook with me on holiday and have incorporated descriptions of Marrakech and Krakow in my two novels. My novel in progress is set in Amsterdam and on the Dutch coast. I love evoking places and atmosphere.

2. Do you write fact or fiction and in what genre?

I write fiction set in a dual time – the present and the 1940s. my writing generally focuses on themes of identity as well as familial and romantic relationships.

3. Are you traditionally or self-published and which route do you consider best?

I went for traditional publishing. I have friends who self publish and I am in awe of them for all the extra work they put into publication and afterwards. Working full time, I like to do my final edit of a novel and then more on to the next straightaway.

4. What’s your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I work full time as a teaching assistant in a primary school. I come home and write for two hours Monday to Friday, have Saturday off and write for about 7 hours on a Sunday. When I reach my final edits my writing time doubles as I write every spare minute to get the novel finished.

5. What advice would you give to budding writers?

Persevere with the novel you really want to write. I scribbled in notebooks for fifteen years before knuckling down to write the novel which had been burning in my heart. Set yourself weekly or monthly goals about what you want to achieve.

6. Who/what are YOUR favourite authors/books?

My favourite books are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Outsider by Albert Camus. But I also read widely in the genres of historical and romantic fiction. I love Santa Montefiore, Rachel Hore, Nicholas Sparks and Pam Jenoff.

7. Are you a plotter or a pantster?

For Roses of Marrakech I was a pantster. I had a theme, characters and setting but not much direction. It took me 3 years of writing and many rewrites. I plotted The Woodcarver of Krakow meticulously and it took just over a year to write. My second was far easier to write this way but being a pantster taught me valuable lessons too.

8. What helps you focus?

To focus, I write at an uncluttered desk in a silent room. it’s been a bit tricky in lockdown with other members of my family working from home but they are very good and will turn the tv down if it’s annoying me!

9. How long did it take you to write your book/books?

It took three years to write Roses of Marrakech, 18 months to write The Woodcarver of Krakow and I wrote the first draft of my third during lockdown . So I’m definitely learning from experience.

10. Where can we find your books?

You can find my books at www.thebookguild.com, Amazon, Waterstones and Barnes and Noble websites. 

My colleague at the Lancashire Post wrote this feature about Rachel if you would like to find out more. N

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