Author Spotlight – L. Ann and Claire Marta
August 13, 2023 • News
CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?
Claire – I’ve always made stories up in my head since I was small. It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom that I ever considered publishing them. It was a huge learning curb but I was lucky to find other new authors and old to give me the advice I needed to publish my first book.
Lee – Like Claire, I’ve always made up stories. I’d tell my friend stories after school or write them down. When Twilight came out, a friend said I should seriously think about publishing one of my stories. It became a bit of a challenge. Finish a book, and publish it. See what happens … so I did!
CJC: You’ve each written solo projects, how did the idea of co-authoring come about?
Claire – Lee and I had been talking for a while and we’d chatted about co-writes. We did try to collaborate previously but our schedules just weren’t aligned until the end of last year and well, the rest is history!
Lee – Samantha Lovelock showed us a cover she’d designed. I asked Claire if she wanted to write a 30K novella with me, aiming for a Halloween release. We bought the cover, and started writing. Four books (and covers) later, and we had Churchill Bradley Academy.
CJC: What was your writing process like while working on The Red Creek Ravens series?
Claire – First there was a lot of brainstorming and then we batted some ideas around. Lee would write a chapter and then I would roll from there. It’s fun, especially when one of us throws in a twist or two!
Lee – I think we nailed down our process during the writing of CBA. We went through a phase of leaving our chapters at an awkward place, then sitting back to watch how the other would wrap up the scene one of us had left the characters in. That continued through to RCR. Some of my favourite scenes came about because we challenged each other to finish a scene.
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?
Claire – Seeing the readers’ reactions to stories is very rewarding to me. We create whole worlds and hope people will love them as much as we do.
Lee – The most rewarding is definitely seeing people embrace the stories we publish, loving the characters. Possibly getting 3am messages yelling and crying and demanding to know what is wrong with us 😉 It can be challenging dealing with imposter syndrome sometimes, especially when those negative reviews end up in front of you, and you start questioning whether you’ve made a mistake. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often.
CJC: If Filthy Puck / Broken Puck were made into a movie, who would you like to star in it?
Claire – That’s a tough one. I think maybe some fresh new talent to bring our characters to life.
Lee – Can we just get Eric to play Rush? And the guys coming on the covers for the rest of the series, and call it done? They’re now how I see the characters, so I don’t think anyone else would ever fit for me!
CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?
Claire – Don’t stop writing. Get the first draft written down. Don’t think too much about it, just focus on finishing it before you go back and go through it. Have people you trust read it through and give you honest feedback.
Lee – Write that first draft. You can’t do anything with a blank page. Write it, get some trusted people to read it. People who won’t tell you it’s fantastic and wonderful, and pat you on the back. Get people who will give you solid advice and constructive criticism. Grow a thick skin. Our books are not for everyone, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible writer, it just means they are the wrong audience.
CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?
Claire – Writer’s block can be a challenge from time to time but working through ideas can help a lot to get where you need to go. I also find walking helps to clear my mind.
Lee – It’s not really something I’ve ever struggled with. I jump between different stories, so my mind is always actively thinking about different things.
CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?
Claire – For me it’s the Blurb. It’s hard sometimes to condense an entire story into a paragraph. It can take a while to come up with the perfect words to embody the book.
Lee – Definitely the blurb. That’s why I get someone else to do it (shout out to Tami!) Most of the time, I just throw the book at my cover designer and leave it up to them to design the cover, or I come and bother you to find me the perfect photograph.
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
Claire – More books in the Red Creek Ravens. Solo projects at the moment I’m not sure.
Lee – I have the second book in my Black Rosary Rockstar Romance coming out in September. I think we’re hoping to release the next book in Red Creek Ravens toward the end of the year.
CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
Lee & Claire – Being an author is hard work, putting yourself and your words out there for the world to see, love, and/or criticise, but it’s worth every second (especially the sobbing and screaming messages at 3am 😉 )
Special thanks to you (Christopher John) for putting up with the “Hey, so I’m looking for ….” random messages and managing to supply us with exactly what we need!
And a special thank you to Lee Ann and Claire for featuring Eric and I on these projects.