By A.C. James
Today, I’m chatting with novelist Claire Baxter. If you like what you read, please investigate her books on Amazon.
A.C. James: Hello, Claire. Please tell my blog readers a little something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Claire Baxter: Hello, and thank you for inviting me. I’m an Australian romance writer. I started writing in 2003 when I left my job as a corporate communications manager to write a book, just to see if I could do it. After years of writing about the grim reality of sewage treatment systems and the like, I was so ready to sink my teeth into something fictional and fun. I quickly became hooked and knew I had to try for publication. I didn’t know that I was going to write romance, but every one of my early stories contained a central love story, so I did some research and – lightbulb moment! – discovered that I was a romance writer. I joined Romance Writers of Australia, learned about the market, and sold my first book in 2006.
A.C. James: I love romance—both reading it and writing it. Romance is a key ingredient in life. What genre do you generally write and what have you had published to-date? What do you think of eBooks?
Claire Baxter: Contemporary romance and romantic comedy. I’ve had several romance novels published, as well as numerous short stories. My current release is a fun category romance from Entangled’s Bliss imprint.
I love eBooks! I still buy paperbacks and hardbacks too, but I read all my romances as eBooks now, on either Kindle or Kobo.
A.C. James: I agree wholeheartedly. I love my e-reader but still love physical books. Have you self-published? If so, what lead to you to become an indie author?
Claire Baxter: It’s not an either/or choice for me. Having attended seminars by romance authors who have made a success of self-publishing while also publishing traditionally, I wanted to try my hand at self-publishing a series of romantic novellas. Two novellas in the Selwood sisters series are available so far, and it’s been fun to have control over all aspects of publishing an e-book.
A.C. James: A lot of authors find that being a hybrid author is the way to go. Do you have a favorite of your stories or characters?
Claire Baxter: My favorite story is always the most recent release because I’m most closely involved with the characters and their story at that time.
A.C. James: And which authors did you read when you were younger and how did they shape you as a writer?
Claire Baxter: My favourite book as a child was Swallows and Amazonsby Arthur Ransome. It was the first book in a series of twelve, and of course, I devoured them all, one after another. I told everyone I was going to be a writer when I grew up, but it was about 40 years before I made good on that promise.
A.C. James: Following your dreams and doing what you’re passionate about is important. I can understand and commiserate on leaving the corporate world completely. Do you manage to write every day, and do you plot your stories or just get an idea and run with it?
Claire Baxter: I write most days. I try to keep the weekends for family, but I often sneak in a bit of writing then too, especially when a book is flowing. As for plotting, it really depends on the story. My process seems to change constantly and I find it impossible to pin down. Even when I do plot, though, I don’t go into great detail, because that takes some of the fun out of the actual writing for me.
A.C. James: You’re a lot like me in that respect. I wish I could outline but I don’t. I plot but in very general terms and then just run with it. Do you do a lot of editing or research?
Claire Baxter: Again, it depends on the book. As far as research is concerned some books require very little and I’ll just make a note to check a fact or a setting detail after I’ve finished a writing session, but others need more than that. For my current release I had a long conversation with a firefighter so that I could get a really good feel for the way they spend their time at the station house, how the shifts are structured and so on. Unfortunately, the conversation was over the phone. I should have insisted on doing it in person J.
As for editing…well, yes, lots of editing in several passes. I’d love to be one of those people who can write a fast draft with no editing at all, but I’m not.
A.C. James: LOL… Yes, I would have demanded an in person interview for that as well. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Claire Baxter: Third person is my favorite. I wrote one book in first person which was fun to do at the time, but when I read it over I didn’t like it, and I immediately re-wrote it in third person. I’ve never tried second person, and I imagine it would be tricky to write. As a reader I enjoy both first and third person point of view.
A.C. James: What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Claire Baxter: The most surprising thing to me is my elusive process. I genuinely believed that as I wrote more books my process would become refined and consistent, but the only consistent aspect of it is that I slow down in the middle of a book, and that’s frustrating.
A.C. James: I love beginnings and endings but the middle is a… well it rhymes with witch. J Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Claire Baxter: I’ve just reached the end of a two-year term as vice-president of Romance Writers of Australia. It was both interesting and time-consuming. Until I joined the committee I had no idea how much work went on behind the scenes of a writing organization such as RWAus. Never again will I complain about new initiatives because I know that an awful lot of deliberation and planning will have gone into them, and they will not be knee-jerk responses to the changing climate of the publishing industry.
A.C. James: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Claire Baxter: Yes, lots of forums – local, national and international. And then there’s Facebook and Twitter. They’re all valuable up to a point, but when they take too much time away from writing, they start to lose their value. I recently installed the program Freedom to limit my time on the internet. Once I’ve achieved my writing goals for the day I’m allowed to visit forums and social media sites.
A.C. James: Hmmmm… I’ve never heard of that program but it sounds like a really useful tool. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Claire Baxter: Flirting With Danger is the first in a series about the Firefighters of Adelaide. I’m currently working on the second book in the series and it’s about one of the characters we met in Flirting With Danger.
A.C. James: Tell us more about Flirting With Danger and why it’s been such a big hit with your readers.
Claire Baxter: It’s the story of two firefighters who work on the same shift crew. They’re friends – Aaron even shares his dating stories with Jasmine – and she knows better than anyone that he’s incapable of commitment, so when they kiss at a wedding reception, she’s well aware that it can’t lead anywhere. Besides, she can’t risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing’s more important to her than her job. But when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it’s not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It’s their hearts.
When I started writing about firefighters, I was focused on the job being appropriate for Jasmine because she’s a tomboy. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how popular firefighter heroes are with readers J.
A.C. James: I’d love to read it. It sounds HOT (pun intended). Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Claire Baxter: At my website, http://www.clairebaxter.com. I’m on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ClaireBaxterAuthor, and Twitter: @ClaireBaxterAu.
A.C. James: Thank you for interviewing today on my Paranormal Passion blog! Good luck with the next Firefighters of Adelaide novel and we look forward to having you back when it’s released.
Flirting With Danger
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing – Bliss
Date of Publication: September 9, 2013
Number of pages: approx. 190
Cover Artist: Jessica Cantor
To be together is dangerous. To stay apart is impossible.
Firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always just been one of the guys. So no one’s more shocked than she is to find herself kissing fellow firefighter and all-around sinfully handsome playboy Aaron Parkes after a friend’s wedding. Jasmine knows she can’t risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing’s more important to her than her job.
Aaron never noticed how beautiful Jasmine was until he saw her out of her firefighter duds, but there’s something about the fiery woman that tempts him. Though he knows pursuing a real relationship is out of the question for a serial dater like him, when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it’s not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It’s their hearts.
About the Author:
Claire Baxter writes contemporary romantic fiction of all lengths. Her short stories have been published in commercial women’s magazines around the world, while her novels have been translated into 20 languages and have been nominated in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award, the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and the Cataromance Reviewers’ Choice Awards (Winner, Best Harlequin Romance).
Before following her passion to write full-time, Claire was an award-winning corporate communications manager. Earlier, she worked as a translator and a PA.
Claire grew up in Warwickshire, England, but for more than 20 years has called Australia home. She considers herself lucky to live near one of Adelaide’s beautiful metropolitan beaches where she loves to walk and think up stories.