Lucky #7

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24th, 2012 by ClareWilson

Check this out for a great idea… I was invited by my good friend @mariam_kobras to get involved in the Lucky #7… It’s where you invite 7 of your writer friends to post 7 sentences from page 77 of their current WIP, starting from the 7th line on the page…

My Lucky #7 contribution is below. It’s from a story currently called ‘Heaven’s Waiting Room’, which is about a dead girl called Portia. Dying before her life really got started, she has to learn how to exist as a ghost here on earth, with heaven getting full she didn’t make the cut! Coping with her living family’s problems, as well as falling in love for the first time, she has a pretty confusing ride…

It was a glorious afternoon and we were both lying in the long grass of the walled garden, while some way off, we could hear Beth singing to herself somewhere in the distance. The lilting refrain was the perfect companion to the mood I was in, everything around me seemed beautiful.
‘What are you thinking?’ David asked, rolling over onto his front so he could look into my eyes.
‘Nothing much,’ I replied wrinkling my nose. ‘I’m just content. Although, I wish I could feel the heat of the sun, it still seems rather strange to me, not being able to physically feel the warmth.’
‘We still have that,’ David said, pushing a hair from my face. ‘We just need to get it from one another.’ He placed his hand on my cheek and I felt the burning heat from him flood through my system.

The Seven friends I have chosen to invite are:








I hope you find this as fun as I did!

The Kindle Experience… I think I survived!

Posted in News & Events on April 19th, 2012 by ClareWilson

A small fry writer with a small independent publisher, I was recently charged with getting my book ‘The Long Staff’ up as an ebook online.

I did some online research and received some great advice from great fellow writers on Twitter, and decided that I would go with Kindle first. It seemed like a good place to start, and I figured that I could always go to other electronic formats later. Since its rise, I have read many articles on Kindle and Amazon, and generally find myself swaying between thinking they are the rebel alliance, helping to free poor writers kept down by the traditional publishing establishment; and thinking that they are in fact the evil empire, slowly trying to destroy the publishing industry from the inside out…

I’m sure that neither statement is actually true, but there are a lot of people on both sides of the argument, and since I sit somewhere in the middle of traditional publishing and being self published, I find it easy to sympathise with both sides… Therefore, I was slightly torn as I took this tentative step towards my majority share royalty payments… surely there’s a catch?

I put these worries aside, it would be a good way to reach new readers, especially some of the great people I have met from outside the UK through Twitter and Facebook. Also, the version of the book being uploaded is a new edition of the story, with some minor changes made and, hopefully, almost all of the technical errors picked up… Ask any author, sometimes the little buggers just hide until you see the book in print, then they jump out and shout ‘Ha, ha!’

I tried my best to read through the Kindle Terms and Conditions thoroughly and carefully tried to gauge a fair price for my work. This again, is an issue I have come across on other writer’s blog posts. Is the ‘Buy this for $0.99’ the right route, or is this simply undervaluing your work? Also, with the amount of completely self published work out there on Kindle, does the ‘$0.99’ approach simply brand you as being cheap and cheerful? I decided to go with a similar amount to some of my peers, half what the hard copy costs, but not ridiculous.

So, with bated breath, I pressed the submit button, and now my baby is available electronically for all of you lovely people out there… I hope that if you do decide to invest in a copy of the book, you enjoy it. Also, if you use this function, the book is available in the Kindle Lending Library. Feel free to post any reviews on Amazon, or send them to me directly and I can post them to my site.

Go on, you know you want to!! Order now for only £3.99!

Inheritance… The End of an Era!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11th, 2012 by ClareWilson

Well… it’s finally happened. Today I finished ‘Inheritance’, the final book in ‘The Inheritance Cycle.’ As I sit here on a train from London to Glasgow, I decided to muse upon how this has made me feel. I haven’t had a series like this, where I’ve been waiting on books being published, since Harry Potter or Ink World…

I can’t lie, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a read, and given my last rant on here, Paolini did something very simple that I think all high fantasy authors should… he had a short summarised catch up at the start of the book.

When I tentatively picked up the book, I was fresh from finishing the ‘A Dance of Ice and Fire’ series (so far) and didn’t relish the thought of having to go back to ‘Eragon’ and work my way through before the final book would make sense. Paolini didn’t disappoint. Within twenty pages I was right back in the heart of Alegaesia with Eragon and Saphira, and it was as though no time had passed since the cliff hanger ending of ‘Brisingr.’

So… what are my thoughts now that the epic YA series has been concluded? My first comment would probably be, READ IT! They are compelling books and the characters really make you care. Plus, his style of switching between varying locations in short, sharp chapters, keep you glued to the page.

I must be honest, there were some plot twists throughout the series that I did see coming before they happened… but hey, I’m almost clairvoyant when it comes to plot twists. I told Mr Staffwielder who the murderer was at the interval of ‘The Mouse Trap.’ Speaking of which, I’m still owed a shiny penny…

I won’t give away any plot points, for those of you who haven’t made the right decision and picked up these books, but this Tolkien-esque epic series definitely has what it takes. I can’t wait to see what Paolini will commit himself to next. At such a young age and having reached this milestone, he’s a fantasy writer to watch!

The Epic Fantasy Series… Can they be Exhausting?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12th, 2012 by ClareWilson

As an avid reader of fantasy, I find myself musing on this point…

I am currently reaching the end of the final book in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series… or at least, reaching the end of the final book released so far. While I now think of the characters within the books as old friends, I can’t help feeling frustrated at the amount of my time I have given to the series… At the moment, I have no idea when the next instalment will be released, never mind when the story will finally be concluded.

The series has taken up my reading time over the past few months, and has left me with a rather weighty pile of books which I still have to get through. One of these is the last part of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle… I know before I read it, I’ll at least need to re-read Brisingr… will I be the same with George R R Martin? When the next instalment of Ice and Fire is released, will I need to re-read the last book? The last two? That’s a lot of reading!

It makes me contemplate the nature of the epic fantasy series… What do you think?

I have now ranted at you for long enough… and even though this has seemed slightly negative… I will still read fantasy series. With Ice and Fire, it’s worth it for Tyrion alone! Bring on some more Peter Dinklage when it returns to Sky Atlantic next month!

Cliff McNish – A Journey into Everything Ghostly

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24th, 2011 by ClareWilson

Cliff McNish, a seasoned young adult writer, met a small yet determined group of readers on a rainy afternoon at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

As we huddled together listening to the rain battering off the canvas roof above us, Jane Sandell who introduced Cliff admitted, ‘After reading Cliff’s latest book, The Hunting Ground, I know what it means to have your skin crawl.’

During the hour, we were taken on a journey through the history of ‘the ghost story’ as it has evolved over the last couple of centuries. Where does our obsession with the supernatural come from? Does every story have romance at its heart, even if the lovers are dead?

Cliff used amazing imagery and encouraged the kids attending to consider their own bookshelves in order to prove his theories about why we love to be frightened.

Why is it that no horror film can ever truly live up to where our own imaginations take us, when we are sitting peeping with one eye through white knuckled fingers at the seemingly harmless page before us? It’s because of people like Cliff McNish; a true inspiration for writers and readers alike. If you’re brave enough…


An Interview with A Wielder of Staves…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14th, 2011 by ClareWilson

Good Afternoon guys!

I hope that the spring weather is still with you wherever you are… I know here it seems to be spluttering a bit, but I have faith that she’ll return.

For this blog, I thought I would post an interview I had with a great journalist, Becky Paul. She did this interview with me around the time of my book launch last year. I thought you might find it interesting to delve into the weird and wonderful workings of a Staff Wielder’s psyche.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and brought up in Hamilton as the youngest child of four. I attended St Mary’s Primary School and then Holy Cross High School in Hamilton. I stayed in Hamilton until my, now, husband and I relocated to London in 2005.

In what ways have your surroundings inspired your book?

Hamilton is in some ways the starting point for my main character. While the book is set in the Highlands of Scotland, it’s briefly mentioned that Tom, my main character, was born and brought up in Lanarkshire. I think coming from a town like Hamilton with such a fabulous library, gave me the perfect inspiration for a character who was obsessed with stories.

Have you always wanted to write a novel?

No, is the honest answer. I’ve always had a hungry passion for literature and reading. From a very young age I spent a great deal of time in the local library and could constantly be found with my head in a book, something my brothers teased me for. After looking for career satisfaction in many different nooks and crannies, I decided to try writing as a hobby; it was just to give me a bit of escapism. I loved how easily it came and can’t imagine myself doing anything else now.

Do you have any more projects on the go?

Yes, of course! When possible, I have been working on the second instalment of The Staff Wielder Series, ‘The Ancient Exile’. This should be released in the latter half of 2011 and follows Tom on his second adventure. I also spend a great deal of time writing short stories and coming up with ideas I’d like to develop further in the future. As a writer, you end up spotting ideas everywhere you look. For example, after watching a documentary about a well preserved dinosaur found in the US, I decided to try to write a sci-fi graphic novel called ‘Dinosaur Mummy’. The premise would be that the dinosaurs were wiped out by disease, and that through messing around with the DNA left in this mummified dinosaur, we end up re-awakening the deadly virus. I’m still trying to talk my current artist and illustrator, Paul Gildea, into that one…

I have a bag full of ideas just waiting for the time to be written. Next time you’re sitting in a coffee shop, listen to the conversation at the table next to you, or guess where someone’s going when you see them in the street. The world becomes an amazing place when you ask yourself ‘what if…’

What do you think of JK Rowling?

I love JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series. It’s one of the series I know I’ll read and re-read my entire life, along with the Chronicles of Narnia or Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld books. The Harry Potter series has ensnared a generation of readers and I hope that a lot of them, like me, are still reading young adult fiction. Some of the best stuff coming out these days is for younger readers. They’re smart and expect a high level of quality in the books they read. If you sit on the train of a morning, it’s amazing the number of middle aged commuters who are sitting with Harry, Twilight or one of the Dark Materials books. Books written in this genre are for the age group 10 – 100.

I think these days, if you’ve written a young adult fantasy based story, people always ask, ‘Is it like Harry Potter?’ I don’t think mine is, but I think that all books of the genre will forever be compared to the Potter franchise now, either that or Twilight! If you are a pure fantasy writer that already happened when Lord of the Rings was published. Try writing an elf without there being a comparison made!

I know your protagonist is a keen reader, is his character drawn from your love of books?

Totally, as I said, I have loved reading from a very young age. My mum, a retired primary teacher, inspired me to read and also listen to audio books when stories were too advanced for me.

They did become an escape for me as a child, not from any unhappiness in my life, but as a tool which allowed me to go anywhere. In Tom’s case, I would say there is an element of escaping what’s happening to him. He freely admits that since his father’s death, he has actually become reliant on his stories. The ideas of heroism and adventure are fundamental to who he is, even if he doesn’t learn what they truly mean until he’s forced into an adventure of his own.

I think that nothing can best the world that waits on a printed page. Children especially, have the ability to create entire universes when presented with the right story. Very few adults can do this. I think that Tom is the story-hungry part of me that didn’t grow up.

Being a girl, do you find it difficult writing a male character?

Not really. I’m the youngest of four children and the only girl in my family. I grew up in quite a male dominated environment and enjoyed quite a lot of movies and games which would be more stereotypically associated with boys. Being born and bred on Star Wars and Star Trek has a lasting effect. At the same time, Tom is a sensitive character. I don’t think he’s the kind of character that a female reader won’t be able to relate to. I hope that he’s believable for an adolescent boy, while also showing that we shouldn’t all grow up too fast.

What are your favourite kind of books?

The question upon which an entire thesis could be written… I love reading and I suppose in the main, I do tend to read fantasy fiction. As mentioned, I love Harry Potter, Cornelia Funke, C S Lewis etc… I also greatly enjoy reading classics like The Secret Garden or Wuthering Heights. There are some great Scottish young adult writers on the scene just now, like Nicola Morgan, Barry Hutchison and Sam Wilding.

I would say the only genre that doesn’t sit too well with me is Crime Fiction, and that’s because I’m a bit of a coward. I don’t mind watching crime shows on TV, but reading about grizzly stuff can set my imagination into overdrive.

Where would you like to be with your writing in 10 years’ time?

The most straight forward answer is, still writing, which isn’t always easy. It’s a difficult career path to follow. I don’t know whether it will still be the same kind of fiction, but this definitely feels like the most natural job I’ve tried to do in my life. I don’t have any glamorous notions of being the next ‘JK’, I would be happy with a reasonably successful career that allows me to carry on doing what I love. Whether I’m still with Tom, or whether I’m off in a different universe with someone else, I’m sure it’ll be somewhere cool.

Does living away from Scotland make it difficult to write about it?

I wouldn’t say so. I’ve lived in London now for five years, but I don’t think it’s changed my identity. I think my vision of the Scottish landscape from holidays as a child, or even recent visits, is very vivid. I also have a wealth of family and friends, who bring a great big piece of home with them every time they come to see me (in my mother-in-law’s case it’s a bag of tatty scones and a whole black pudding). Obviously it would be nice to be four hundred miles closer to my publisher and all the other lovely Scottish writers I have met since starting out on this new career path.


I hope you enjoyed the interview, until next time folks, Keep Wielding!

An update from my base in Cairn Holme…

Posted in News & Events on April 5th, 2011 by ClareWilson

Hi there guys,

I realised that I hadn’t put a little update on here in a while and thought it would be nice to check in.

So, since I’m steeped in the World of Staff Wielder, I thought I would write to you from my base here in Cairn Holme. I’m currently sitting in a lovely wooded clearing, listening to the birds singing in the tree tops above me. Two jolly squirrells are flitting from branch to branch having a wonderful time. (Obviously this means I’m actually sitting at my laptop in London, where the sky rather gloomy and I’m contemplating another cup of Lady Grey.)

I have had a great time lately between finishing the first draft of book two in the series, ‘The Ancient Exile’, and also visiting some more schools. I went round four Glasgow schools for ‘World Book Day’, and had an amazing time. We created some amazing characters and I was really impressed by the imaginations of the kids at: St Denis’ Primary, Haghill Park Primary, Oakgrove Primary and St Ninian’s Primary.

So, since the school holidays are now in full swing (yippee I hear you cry), I am now back to writing for a couple of weeks. It’s been fun so far, getting back to my roots so to speak.

I couldn’t write here about everything I’ve been doing, without mentioning the following blog, to which I am now completely addicted. Kristen Lamb’s blog: is a must for any of you budding writers out there. A former editor and now writer, she gives us all a little insight into what publishers are looking for in a story. She also does it in a very easy going and humorous way. I now await the next installment dropping into my inbox with glee.

Whether you’re considering writing your first short story, or you’re sitting down to write your first full length masterpiece, she’s definitely worth checking out.

Anyway, toodle pip!

I must get back to my writing now. I’m working on a cool new story about a teenage girl, Portia, who’s dead. She can’t get into heaven because it’s full… Between trying to get used to life as a ghost and also trying to sneak her way into heaven, she gets up to all sorts of shenanigans. I also finally found a place to insert a character I have wanted to use for a long time. In this case, a ghost cat called, ‘Mr Fibbers.’

Keep wielding guys!

Holy Cross School Visit

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20th, 2010 by ClareWilson

Well… today I had a wonderful visit a Holy Cross High School in Hamilton. It was wonderful to return to my old school for the day, even if they are in a new posh building… There were plenty of familiar faces as well as the new ones.

After some reading sessions and workshops with the S1 and S2 pupils, I definitely hope to go back in the future. Thank you to all the pupils and teachers who were involved in the sessions. I look forward to your book reviews and maybe getting some copies of the fabulous pictures that you drew for me.

We had two headed alien robots and cannibalistic evil plants that live beneath the forest floor and lure you to your death… fantastic characters thanks to the imagination of the kids at Holy Cross. I had a ball.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas and I’ll let you know as soon as any new school/ book store dates are arranged.

Until then, Keep Wielding!

NaNoWri Mo… Ho, ho ho…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22nd, 2010 by ClareWilson

I have greatly enjoyed the challenge this month with NaNoWriMo, but find myself falling behind.

I think it’s a combination of getting ready for Christmas, trying to arrange promotional events for the book and also trying to finish book two which is getting in the way.

I absolutely love the story I’m writing, but it’s starting to feel like a guilty pleasure. Something which I really shouldn’t be thinking about during office hours.

I’m likely to fall short of the target if things keep going as they have been, I’ll probably get to about 35k. Not bad in such a short period of time, but no-where near the 50k limit for the challenge.

On a brighter note, Christmas is coming! I’ve been trying to gear up for all the festivities and have also arranged to visit: Windyknowe Primary, St Denis’ Primary and Holy Cross High School before the holidays are upon us.

Getting into the old book stores at this time doesn’t seem as easy, but I’ll keep persevering folks and let you know when there are some sessions organised.

I hope those of you who are on NaNoWriMo have been enjoying it as much as I have…

Keep Wielding!

Clare x

NaNoWriMo… Is It Crazy?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10th, 2010 by ClareWilson

I too have been drawn into ‘National Novel Writing Month’ after reading what some of my tweet buddies had to say on the subject. For those of you who have never head of this, the challenge is to write a 50k word novel in the month of November. No easy task.

By chance, I had started a new short story the night before I discovered this strange annual event. So, I decided to role up my sleeves and expand upon the idea I had been musing over. So far it has been very good fun, although I’m restricting my writing time for this project, only working on it during the evening. It’s a bit like doing something naughty… I’m working on a project which currently has no purpose…

I have heard mixed opinions about this event from people on twitter. From what I can tell, authors think it’s a great way to challenge them and possibly come up with the bare bones to something which could be quite good. The agents/ publishers think this is the worst thing to have ever happened. They are currently preparing themselves for a barrage of extremely poorly written manuscripts over Christmas.

Personally, I have stumbled upon a set of characters that I really love. I think this will definitely give me the basis for something which could be rather interesting. Don’t worry agents/ publishers, it will be thoroughly redrafted before it wings its way to your waste paper bins!

Are any of you trying to write a novel in a month? I’d love to hear your thoughts.