I’m delighted to welcome my dear friend, Clare Chase, to the blog on the day she releases her debut novel, You Think You Know Me. I really love the cover and can’t wait to get stuck into this one. Here’s Clare to tell us more about it.
Thanks so much for inviting me on to your blog, Jane!
Can you describe your new novel in one succinct but sensual sentence?
You Think You Know Me smells of dirty, arts-world money, the action moving from the glittering, icy streets of London to the eerie silence of the Lakes.
Who is your favourite character and why?
I became closest to Anna, who tells the story, as I was in her head for so long. She’s laid-back and ironic, but also full of uncertainty about where life’s taking her. Having said that, I also enjoyed creating the suspects, and working out how to muddy the waters.
Which authors have been your main inspirations?
Oh – where to start? I loved Mary Stewart’s mysteries when I was a teenager. I found her strong female leads, telling their own stories, compelling. They were ordinary women thrown into danger, and had to work out who to trust, often amongst people they were close to. That scenario definitely influenced the set-up of You Think You Know Me. Donna Leon and Sue Grafton also spring to mind, both for the way they handle setting and for the characters they create. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg!
How does your writing process work; confusion and paper flying everywhere or calm and ordered?
A bit of both, really. When I first get an idea I scribble lots of thoughts down on random bits of paper, and often never look at them again. The physical act of writing just seems to help. After that, I do quite a lot of planning, and, at that stage, I type everything into my laptop and back it up. There’s still a lot of paper around, but only because I haven’t tidied up from earlier…
What is your guilty pleasure when writing? (Chocolate, wine, coffee…)
When I’m actually writing I don’t tend to have any of those things. But once I’ve finished, that’s another story. Wine and chocolate, definitely! Baileys and gin and tonic have also been known (but not usually in the same glass).
Sounds intriguing, Clare. Thanks so much for sharing. Please share your blurb with us.
Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad …
Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is struggling to make a name for herself, so she’s delighted to attend a launch event for a hip, young artist at her friend Seb’s gallery.
But an exclusive interview isn’t all Anna comes away with. After an encounter with the enigmatic Darrick Farron, she is flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths …
Seb is intent on convincing Anna that Darrick is up to no good but, try as she might, she can’t seem to keep away from him. And, as she becomes further embroiled, Anna begins to wonder – is Seb’s behaviour the well-intentioned concern of an old friend, or does he have something to hide?
Clare writes fast-paced mysteries featuring ordinary women in extraordinary situations. Her writing is inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents into the stuff of crime novels.
Brought up in the Midlands, she went on to read English at London University, then worked in book and author promotion in venues as diverse as schools, pubs and prisons. More recently she’s exercised her creative writing muscles in the world of PR, and also worked for the University of Cambridge. Her current day job is at the Royal Society of Chemistry.
When she’s not reading or writing, Clare enjoys drawing, cooking and trips to the Lake District. Closer to home, she loves wandering round the pubs, restaurants and galleries of Cambridge, where she lives with her husband and teenage daughters.