We're on the terrace of the Falstaff Café on Place de la Bastille in Paris chatting with Claude! Come grab a seat, a hot coffee or latte and let's get started! Oh, don't forget to enter the contest at the bottom; Claude is giving away an e-book!
Deanna: Oh my gosh, this is gorgeous here, Claude. Thank you for talking with us this week! Tell us a bit about yourself...readers are curious!
Claude: I was very young when I was born but have grown older with time. Between then and now, I completed my university studies in management, worked a number of years in the corporate world, taught myself how to paint and play guitar and wrote seven novels. I now spend most of my time writing and selling my books. Life is good.
Deanna: Go back to those younger years, Claude, and share some memorable moments.
Claude: I loved going to the convenience store around the corner which had a penny candy display as well as Five-Star chocolate bars, Thrills gum which tasted like soap and Mr. Freezes for a nickel. My favourite ice cream bar on a stick was the (original orange) Creamsicle.
I got lost in the Canadian Pavilion at Montreal’s Expo 67 and was rescued by a gorgeous hostess who took me to the employee lounge where I was smothered with attention by numerous other gorgeous hostesses. When my parents showed up, I was surrounded by beautiful women while enjoying a huge bag of chips and a bottle of Coke.
My first bicycle had twenty inch wheels with balloon tires which I later customized by switching to mustang handlebars and a banana seat with a high backrest, the ultimate in cool.
Deanna: Wow! That does bring back a lot of memories! I’m sure many of our readers can relate also. Thanks for that! Back to the present. What do you do to relax?
Claude: I sleep. Seriously, reading, playing guitar and, to a lesser extent lately, painting are wonderful escapes for me. I also love to travel, an activity which my wife and I try to do as often as possible.
Deanna: With seven novels out and more on the way, you obviously have a creative streak. Is this limited to writing or does it spill over in other areas?
Claude: There is definitely spillover. As I mentioned earlier, I also paint and play guitar. I love to cook and often create my own recipes. Over the years, I designed and put in a complete bathroom, drew the plans and built a garden shed and finished the basement of our current home with ceramic tile steps and hardwood flooring. I like doing stuff.
Deanna: You sound like a Jack of all trades, something to be proud of, Claude! As authors, we’ve sometimes been accused of being several people. How many personalities live in your mind?
Claude: Unfortunately, this is information I refuse to divulge in case the government decides to impose a tax based on headcount.
Deanna: LOL I love your sense of humor and would guess that comes through in your characters! What is your strongest area in writing: plotting, character personality, dialogue, etc?
Claude: I like to think I fare well enough in the areas you mention. My plotting can best be described as real-time as the bulk of my writing is not mapped out or planned. The story is created as I put the words down. I can’t take all the credit for character personality as the people I refused to speak of in my response to your previous question have much input in who they are. This holds true with dialogue as well since it’s their words one reads, not mine.
Deanna: I’m not a huge plotter either. My characters help most of the time, which makes it more fun for me. We get just as surprised as our readers when the characters tell us things as scenes unfold. How many plots do you include in one of your books?
Claude: That varies from book to book. Each of my novels has one central plot though sub-plots are interwoven throughout the stories. Vigilante, for example, runs along a main storyline but each of the Vigilante’s ‘endeavors’, though related to the plot, is a mini-story in itself. The Homeless Killer runs with two distinct plots with some overlapping characters while Discreet Activities has one main story and numerous unrelated side stories aimed at demonstrating what the DA team does.
Deanna: How long does it take you to write a book?
Claude: This also varies from book to book. I wrote the first draft of Vigilante back in 1995 in eight weeks all while working 50-60 hours per week. Other books have taken six to eight months, depending on required research along the way coupled with how quickly the story develops itself as I write it.
Deanna: What is your editing process?
Claude: Since I don’t plan my stories before writing them, I often go back to adjust elements I’ve written to align them properly with current elements I’m writing. With 6 Hours 42 Minutes, I had about 30K words down and was feeling a lull so I went back to page 1 and started reading, correcting, editing and modifying things, working my way through until I reached the last I’d written and continued writing the book from there. When the writing is really flowing, I just keep on going until I’m done, sometimes having a hard time keeping up and wishing I could type faster. Then the edit runs begin, going through the MS several times before passing it on to my editor, proof-reading and so on.
Deanna: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
Claude: My day starts with sitting at the computer and getting required tabs and documents opened for the day. What follows during the next 10-12 hours is non-stop organized multitasking mayhem which involves writing, blogging, tweeting, emailing, website updates, Facebook postings, editing, cover designing, promoting and interview responding. Luckily, not all activities are required daily and, since I’m my own boss, I decide to do what I want, when I want and how I want. The next day, I start over.
Deanna: Sounds much like my mornings and then I add a few hours at the office each day. Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Claude: Both. The common theme in all of them is the battle of good versus evil but in a realistic sense. I don’t write bigger than life action hero novels where the protagonist must bring down the megalomaniac, Doctor Vile with his plan to turn the planet’s population into pink bunnies. My books deal with the monsters we know of in everyday life; violent criminals, rapists, murderers, gang bangers. This is the type of real evil my protagonists go after. However, each book is a different, distinct story, none of which could be considered a carbon copy of another.
Deanna: You’re quite active in promoting other writers on Twitter. Can you tell me about more about this practice?
Claude: A few things come into play about promoting others or, more specifically, cross-promotion. One can only go so long or often on Twitter spouting, “Buy my Books” before coming off as self-centered static. However, when one starts promoting others, the tweets become more varied and reflect a greater spirit of community which people seem to appreciate. As time went by, I came to know a growing number of authors who, along with their work, became subjects to tweet about. A year ago, I got involved with the World Literary Café where I met a bunch of wonderful writers and a year later, the same group continues to show mutual support, each helping others spread the word about a vast amount of incredible reading material.
One thing I wish I had more time for is writing reviews as some novels I’ve read certainly deserve the acclaim. I’ll cheat here and throw out a few examples of recent great reads which may reduce the guilt for not posting reviews. Blood Land by R.S. Guthrie is a definite five star work. Libby Fischer Hellman’s An Eye for Murder is another I highly recommend. Cruel Justice by Mel Comley was right in there with Jack Higgins and Peter Robinson and Russell Blake has yet to disappoint me with any of his action thrillers.
Deanna: Claude, I have to agree with you on promoting for others. The more we give regarding their promo, the more we get back and our readers gain in both areas by finding out about new authors and their books. Thank you so much for being my guest this week! We’ve enjoyed reading about you as an author.
Readers, don’t forget to get in on the Rafflecopter drawing for a Kindle copy of Vigilante. The drawing will be on the 17th! I hope you get a chance to visit Claude’s websites and check out all of his other books! Thank you all for stopping in to meet Claude. Leave a question or comment for him and please share the links below on your Twitter, FB and Google! Thank you!
Claude’s Site Links