Author Spotlight: Claire Hastings
March 12, 2022 • News
CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?
CH: I have always loved to write and create stories. Even as a little girl, I had a pen name and would write short stories, stapling the pages together like a book. Then, somewhere along the way, life got in the way. A bunch of years ago my book bestie started to encourage me to write, since I still had all these ideas in my head, but I kept laughing it off. Then I went on a vacation and this idea came to me, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So, when we came home, I sat down, and boom…there is was. I had no intention of publishing it, until that same book bestie told me I was doing it and she would help. I agreed, saying it would just be the one book (10+ books later, she laughs at me about ‘famous last words’ lol).
CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?
CH: Rewarding: Hearing from readers who loved my books and characters. There are few things in this world that provide such an amazing feeling as someone telling you that they loved the thing that you poured your soul into. I love talking with readers about their favorite parts, and how they react to certain characters.
Challenging: I have to pick just one? Lol Writing a book is HARD. There are days I can sit down and the words flow out of me like a broken pipe. And other days, it’s like trying to get that last little bit of ketchup from the bottle, where no matter how hard you squeeze or bang it against the table, they aren’t going to budge. As an author you want to convey so much – setting, appearance, feelings (so many feelings!), and it can be hard to get right. And just because you think you nailed it, doesn’t mean that when someone else reads it, they are going to think you did. There have been so many times I’ve written a scene, thinking that I conveyed XYZ emotion and my alpha readers, beta readers, editors – whomever – come back saying that this scene reads totally different. Then there is learning to have a tough, thick skin to take the criticism of people not liking your work. As I said, we pour our souls into every story we write, so when someone comes back and is like “it’s crap” – that hurts. Not every book is for every reader. There are plenty of books out there I don’t like, and that’s okay. That’s the beauty of books, there are so many, and they appeal to all kinds of different audiences. Nonetheless, it still hurts to see that someone didn’t like your work.
Hurdles: this is going to sound cliché, but being taken seriously. I write romance, which isn’t everyone’s thing (again, totally okay!), but it’s also a genre that gets looked down on, a lot, from the outside world. There are very few people in my real life that know about my author life (I also have a day job working for the government), but even a few of them who do know have said things to me like “don’t you want to write a real book?”. It is a real book, just because there is kissing in it doesn’t make it less real!
CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?
CH: This is an unfair question, I love all my children equally! But, if forced to answer, Cakewalk. It’s different from my other stuff and I took some risks with it…and I’m very proud of how it turned out. Plus, cupcakes.
CJC: For first time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?
CH: Can’t Fight This Feeling. It’s the first book in the Indigo Royal Resort series, and kind of where it all started. From there, all my books are stand alones, but interconnected in some way.
CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?
CH: Is it weird that I’ve never thought about this? I would love to see the Indigo Royal Resort series on Netflix, so that the three stories could interweave and playout over a series of episodes. As for castings, the only one that is a *must*, is Dalton would have to be played by Scott Eastwood!
CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?
CH: Sit your butt down and do it. There are a lot of great books on there on craft, and story, and plotting – and if anyone wants a recommendation, I’d be happy to pass along titles that I loved. However, at the end of the day, you have to write the story. So, fingers to the keys and type!
CJC: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be and why?
CH: I would love the chance to work with Melissa Foster and have one of her super swoony heroes come hang out at the Indigo Royal Resort!
CJC: Favorite motto?
CH: “She was never quite ready, but she was brave. And the universe listens to brave.”
CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?
CH: Depends on how bad I’m “blocked”. I’ll talk it out with some author friends or play around with some other ideas. Sometimes I’ll read something else. If I’m really stuck, I take a shower and hope that the shower fairy shows up with the answer (don’t laugh – it works!)
CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?
CH: Quirky (just like me!).
CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?
CH: The blurb! Seriously, I will write the whole book all day long, please don’t make me condense it into 200 words of marketing material! Covers I’ve been very lucky that I have an incredible designer who I can toss things at like “I like these colors and this photo and make it beachy” and she comes back with the most amazing thing.
CJC: Which author inspires you the most and why?
CH: I have a list! I have been really lucky to be surrounded by some amazing authors – some of whom are names readers would instantly recognize, others who are still getting their start. I’m inspired by so much by so many of them – from their work ethic, to their style, to their transparency, honesty, and willingness to help others. This really is an amazing community.
CJC: What is your writing process like?
CH: I start with an idea (novel concept, I know lol). From there, I try to figure out my characters. Who they are, what they love, what they hate, why they are a certain way or have a certain habit. From there, I try to create a really rough road map of where the story is going to go, usually via a phone call of hashing out ideas with my book bestie. I’m a planster…and I like to use a road trip as an analogy. I know we’re starting in Atlanta and ending in Boston – and that we have to stop in NC, VA, PA, and NJ along the way (why? Maybe we have a relative to see, or a reservation somewhere, who knows, but stopping there is a MUST). But from there, I let my characters lead. Maybe we make it from ATL to NC without any issues…maybe we detour for the world’s largest stick of gum. Who knows! Then, somehow, by the grace of God, we end up in Boston.
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
CH: I am currently writing the last (maybe? I think…) book in the Atlanta Rising Football Club series, which if all goes to plan will release in September. In June, I am part of an amazing anthology called Hot Boy Summer, which is all about summer love, benefiting children’s charities (it’s currently on pre-order for 99 cents, so go grab it!). From there…well, I start writing a Christmas novella, and then from there….well, a girl has to have some secrets, right? 😉
CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
CH: Hi, it’s nice to meet you! If you are a romance reader who loves, fun, funny, quirky, love stories, I think I might just be your gal! I am also a part of quiet possibly the greatest girl-gang of romance authors ever, and we have a fantastic group on Facebook where we talk books, hot guys (and gals!), spicy memes, and soooooo much more! We would love for y’all to join us – just search for The Steam Room and look for the group with my name on the banner!
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