A few months back I invited CH Clepitt to my Scribble page to share her Fantasy Bookshop with you (click here to see more about her Fantasy Bookshop). Today, I’ve invited CH back for an interview to share more about her writing, her life and her new book Curtain Call. Let’s get going shall we:
Welcome CH to my Scribble page.
Hello, and thank you for having me.
Of course. Before we get started congratulations on the new book.
Now, if you don’t mind how about you refresh folks on who you are and your writing.
Well, I'm C H Clepitt and I write across multiple genres in a variety of story lengths. I don't like labels, and therefore find it really hard to label my books! I will say that if you like one of my books, you will likely enjoy the rest. The thing they have in common is realistic characters that you can relate to, humor and a serious message. I also write a mean action scene, even if I do say so myself!
Does this mean you enjoy writing action scenes? Personally, I find them really difficult to write.
I love writing action scenes. I used to do Judo (before I became old and broken) and I played a lot of sports, so I have a good understanding of movement and meles, and can write a pretty good action scene. I know what works and what doesn’t, although most of my characters are fitter and more bendy than I ever was!
(Laughs) I can relate. My 'bendy' days are far behind me too. You mentioned that you don’t like labels but we all have genres we fall into so how and why did you chose your genre?
I don't really have a genre. I write what I like, and label it because I have to!! I have written SciFi, Fantasy, Comedy and everything in between! My stories tend to genre hop, though, so don't get too comfortable, or bogged down in the label, just appreciate them for what they are. I write the kind of stories and characters that I would want to read, and hopefully, other people will want to read them too!
Considering how talented you are I'm sure finding readers isn't too hard. Like you, I cross genres’, so getting pigeonholed into one genre can be tough. So, let’s keep them guessing.
If people spent less time worrying about the labels and just looked for things they might enjoy, everything would be much easier! Ah well, we don’t rule the world, do we?!
Sadly we don't. Now, let’s talk about Curtain Call its your latest book, tell us about it. Where did you get the idea for the book? What excited you about this story?
Curtain Call is interesting. It's not at all the usual sort of story I would write. There isn't a single vampire or monster in it! A friend and colleague, A. M. Leibowitz was doing an anthology call. The brief was "women who love women within the theatre". I know, pretty specific, right? Anyway, I wanted to support their project, so I set about writing a short story. It turned out my short story was four times longer than all the other short stories... yeah... awkward... and I still felt it had more to say, so I withdrew it from the anthology selection process and turned it into a novella. All in all the process took me about three months.
Wow! Three months?
I know, it is the quickest I have ever written a book! Once I started writing it, the characters completely took over, and I couldn't stop writing. I really enjoyed rereading, editing and improving it, too. That was exciting.
That is so cool. I love when the words and the characters jive. It makes for a great story and a fun writing experience.
This was almost like an addiction. I had to spend every spare minute on it until it was done.
Considering how easy Curtain Call was to write. I’m not even going to ask what was the hardest part. However, for you, what is the hardest part about writing in general?
The hardest part is finding a concept I like. I'll sit and stew on it for a while before I come up with the right idea. Then I need to come up with a title. I can't start writing without a title, and this rarely changes. I don't know if anyone else comes up with the title first...
Really, you come up with the title first.
I didn’t with my first book, A Reason to Stay. I wrote that the traditional way, plotted it, edited it, redrafted it and agonised over the title. Ever since that I have come up with the title first, and I find it much easier.
Wow. I don’t think I ever know what the title of my book is going to be until after I write the thing and even then I’m never totally sure.
I think that’s because titles are tough. Like blurbs. Selling your own stuff is hard.
Boy tell me about it, but that is a topic for a different day. Okay, moving on. Including Curtain Call how many novels/books/short stories do you have out there?
Er... good question... *counts on fingers*... 15... yeah, that's more than I have fingers... is that a lot?
Fifteen. That’s great. I think it’s a lot, but I only have three out there so far. So, compared to me that is a lot. How long have you been writing? When were you first published?
I think I’ve always been writing. I published A Reason to Stay in 2011, though. Before that I’d written articles, done some community and music journalism.
Community and Music Journalism that pretty cool. Okay, I’ve got to ask which author(s) have inspired your writing? In what ways?
I think everyone you read inspires you in some ways. I read a lot of fantasy, because I like the escapism. I love Phillip Pullman, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I really like the classics, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, The Bronte Sisters. I think everyone who wants to be a writer should get a good grounding in the classics. Also, modern classics like Virginia Woolf and Silvia Townsend Warner. I like to read a voice I can relate to. I also love Sarah Waters writing, she makes me want to be a better writer, although I've had to stop reading The Little Stranger because I have a horrible feeling that the dog dies. Who does that? A dog will never die in any of my books. People, sure, but never a dog...
Yep, I agree. I don’t think I could ever kill off a dog, or any pets. That’s just mean.
Yes, yes it is. And unnecessary!
Well on that happy thought tell us what do you have in the works? What's new? What's exciting? What are you currently reading?
In the works? Well, I'm working on a new story. It's Urban Fantasy and it's called My Dream Woman. I'm quite excited by it because it's completely different from most everything else I've written. It's first person present tense. I usually hate present tense, but it just seems to fit the style somehow. I am also in the process of turning all my books into audio. If you visit Amazon you will see a few of them are already there. I have a great team of narrators, some of whom are working on series with me, so we are getting the audio done almost as soon as the book is released.
I would love to get my books turned into an audio book. I think that would be amazing. I’m going to have to work with my publisher on that. Anything else?
I have an enormous to be read pile. I will choose a new book this weekend... eeek, decisions! You can follow the reviews section on Newsnibbles (click here) if you want to see my most recent reads and what I've made of them.
Well, that was my last question.
Whew! We made it! Thanks!
Yep, that’s it. Not too bad I hope?
No, this was fun. Thanks for having me!
Of course. Well Scribblers, I hope you got to learn a little more about the amazing CH Clepitt, the Grumpy Badger herself, and her new book Curtain Call. You can find it here.
C H Clepitt has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of the West of England. As her Bachelor’s Degree was in Drama, and her Master’s Dissertation focused on little known 18th Century playwright Susannah Centlivre, Clepitt’s novels are extremely dialogue driven, and it has often been observed that they would translate well to the screen.
Since graduating in 2007, she gained experience in community and music journalism, before establishing satirical news website, Newsnibbles in 2010 (click here). In 2011 she published her book, A Reason to Stay, which follows the adventures of disillusioned retail manager, Stephen, as he is thrust into village life and the world of AmDram. Clepitt’s feminist fantasy, The Book of Abisan not only crosses worlds, but confuses genres, and has been described as a crime drama with magic. She has often said that she doesn’t like the way that choosing a genre forces you to put your book into a specific little box, and instead she prefers to distort the readers’ expectations and keep them guessing. Her 2016 work, I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse does just that, as just like the characters, the readers won’t know what’s going on in this laugh out loud satirical scifi.