Interview with Claire Cook, author of Time Flies

time fliesClaire Cook has just had her 10th book published! She stopped by to talk about Time Flies (which is on Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List 2013) and many, many other things!

Claire will be back on Friday- to reveal her #literaryconfessions, #literarycrush and some of her favorite authors!

My review of Time Flies will be posted on Thursday- so stay tuned for that as well!

Interview with Claire Cook

Claire, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed!

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Tamara!

Time Flies is your 10th novel. How has the writing process changed from your first novel to the 10th? Has the writing process gotten any easier?

Wouldn’t you think by the tenth novel it would get easier? Sadly, it’s not, except for the fact that since I survived the first nine, I knew I was probably going to live through the tenth one, too! Writing a novel is a leap of faith, and it’s still a mystery to me how it all comes together. I think my inner reader saves me every time. I don’t think you can be a writer unless you’re an avid, joyful reader, and I believe that as you read and read, a template forms somewhere in your brain that somehow helps you write your own books.

Must Love Dogs was made into a movie. After writing the book, and then having the movie made- would you like any more of your books to be made into a movie?

Of course! I’d like all of them to be made into movies – it was a totally awesome experience! And every time the Must Love Dogs movie plays on TV, which is a lot, new readers discover my novels, which is the biggest gift of all. I’ve had other books optioned for film since, but it’s rare that they make it through all the Hollywood hoops and onto the big screen. My fingers are crossed that lightning will strike twice though!

Time Flies has earned spots on several summer reading lists. One of the lists is Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List. How did it feel seeing Time Flies on a list with Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, The Time Between by Karen White and Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews?

It was such thrill to make Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading list! As a recently transplanted Northerner, I’ve been shouting it out at all my book events and saying, “Wow, they let me in – I finally feel like a Southerner!” Beth and Karen and Mary Kay are all writer pals, so I’m as happy for them as I am for me, and truly honored to be included on the list with so many talented authors.

How long did Time Flies take to write?

When I’m writing a first draft, I write two pages a day, seven days a week. So, essentially, I’m living in the book, thinking about it all day long. I’ve noticed my best ideas come in the shower, on the elliptical machine at the gym, at red lights when I’m driving, and when I wake up in the middle of the night. I jot things down all day long – on notecards, in notebooks, on the backs of receipts.

I don’t outline, because it would make it feel like a term paper. I try not to think too much or try too hard, because when I do, my writing goes flat. I have a sense of who my main character is, and because my books are written in the first person, my entry point tends to be capturing my protagonist’s voice. Then, because I’m essentially writing slice-of-life novels, I think about what makes the book begin today instead of another day. Once I find that little explosion, then I have my jumping off point. The characters react to that and there’s a ripple effect. I just keep following those ripples and in about six months or so, I have a first draft. And then the real work begins since the truth is it’s the rewriting – again and again – that makes your novel truly come alive. I delivered my first draft of Time Flies just before Wallflower in Bloom came out last June, so the whole process takes me about a year – and lots of hard work!

Do you have a favorite character in Time Flies?

I have to be able to love all my characters, even the unlovable ones, or I wouldn’t be able to write them convincingly. And I never pick favorites – I wouldn’t want to hurt the other characters’ feelings!

Claire, you are very active on social media and often ask your fans questions as you are writing your books. How much does talking to fans help in your writing?

I think social media is a great way to help new readers find my books, and I’m lucky that I really enjoy it. The challenge is not getting so sucked in that it encroaches on my writing time.

I love asking my readers questions to help me with my books, and I know they enjoy being a part of the process. While writing Time Flies, I asked everybody to share their favorite songs from high school, as well as old clothing and makeup memories. It was fun for all of us and also gave me some great authentic details for the novel.

I also love hearing what resonates for readers in my books, and I think it’s helped me become a better writer. So if you’re reading this right now, I hope you’ll connect with me on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Goodreads and at ClaireCook.com, where you can sign up for my e-newsletter, Must Love Readers.

The cover of Time Flies is beautiful. It makes me think of carefree days and leaving worries behind. How do you decide on a cover?

Thank you! I think I’ve been really lucky in getting great covers, though I can’t take any credit for it. They’ve all been designed by talented cover designers hired by my publishers. If I don’t think early cover concepts would resonate for my readers, I speak up, but other than that I stay out of it and leave it to the professionals!

Claire- what are some words you would use to describe Time Flies?

I hope it’s fun and funny and poignant and real and ultimately uplifting.

Are you working on a new novel? Taking a well-deserved break before you write again?

Ha! A break – what’s that?!? I delivered a draft of my next novel to my literary agent the week before Time Flies came out, and I’ll jump into my first set of revisions moments after I finish this interview. Stay tuned…it’ll be out sometime next year!

*Special thanks to Claire Cook for agreeing to be interviewed!

claire cookClaire Cook has just published her 10th novel, Time Flies. She’s having too much writing to take a break! When Claire is not hard at work on her next book (and even when she is!) she can be found on social media sites interacting with fans. To find out more about Claire, visit her website, Facebook and Twitter.

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