An interview with Clare Lydon
Updated: Jan 12
1. Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
If I’m writing and I need the loo, I can go hours ignoring it. It’s not big or clever. I’m not sure how unique that is!
2. If we opened your browser history, what would we find?
It’s Black Friday, so a lot of clicks to companies who’ve sent me emails with amazing (honest guv) deals. This week I bought a kettle for my parents, some natty socks and some chocolate for my sister. In my most recent history, there are links to pages on my website as I’m trying to work out where to put my translations. No sex toys or bottles of advocaat. Soz.
3. What is your favourite genre to read, and why?
Romantic comedy or contemporary fiction. People who can make me laugh are my absolute favourite. Sophie Kinsella is great at it. Sarah Morgan has her moments. Most recently, I discovered Kirsty Greenwood and I’m now devouring her books.
4. What are your favourite pizza toppings?
Tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, ham.
5. Sing in the rain or dance in the streets?
Can I sing in the street? The rain messes up my hair and I get very grumpy when that happens.
6. If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
George Michael, because he’s my very favourite singer of all time and he was also the most lovely human according to everyone who knew him. David Ginola because he’s one of my very favourite Spurs players, plus he owns a vineyard so he’d bring fab wine. My mum’s grandmother who I never met. She was a fishmonger in Ireland in the 1930s. I’d love to have dinner with her.
7. What is your motto in life?
Just keep going. Also, never lick a steak knife.
8. Tomorrow I absolutely refuse to…
Look at my laptop. I’ve just launched my festive romance, Christmas In Mistletoe. It’s been a pretty full-on week. Tomorrow will involve a walk, a spot of Christmas shopping, then a celebratory seafood & champagne meal for my launch week.
9. Tell us a funny incident/embarrassing moment in your life.
I once won a company raffle at a Christmas party. It’s the only thing I’ve ever won in my life. I was invited up on stage, and I was giddy with excitement. I walked up the stairs, tripped on the final one and fell flat on my face in front of the entire company. Hundreds of people. Yeah, that was a bit embarrassing. But I did win a £500 travel voucher. And a split lip.
1. How long have you been writing for and when did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Stories since I could hold a pen. Journalism since the late 90s. I stopped and started many novels before finally finishing London Calling in 2013. I published it in 2014, and haven’t stopped writing since. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t writing stories. It’s always been in me.
2. What comes first, the plot or the characters?
They work in tandem, but normally I have the germ of an idea for a plot first. Then the characters come to me as a start to write. I often change character details like hair colour, job and name as I go. I started out as a pantser, but now I’m more of a plotter overall. Plot is also one of my favourite words. I think it sounds delicious, like some sort of expensive delicacy from Norway, served on a fancy cracker.
3. When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?
I try to put myself in the character’s shoes and really channel what they’d be feeling. It can be draining, but it’s my job as the writer to do the best by the story and the characters. I don’t light a candle, put on music or drink wine. For every scene, I just try to cut out distractions and get in the zone. If it’s not perfect (it never is), I can always edit later.
4. When writing a series, how do you keep things fresh for both your readers and also yourself?
Introduce new characters and locations. This really stumped me when I was starting out, but I learned it as I wrote (and re-wrote!) the All I Want series. Honestly, I wrote All I Want For Summer about three times from scratch. For my London Romance series, every book is linked but is also a standalone novel with fresh characters and locations, so I hope they’re satisfying as individual books and as a whole.
5. What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself/or a new writer?
Just keep going. If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about anything else apart from finishing your novel. Finishing is key. If you can write and finish one book, you can do it again. You’ll get quicker at doing it, too. My first book took six years from start to publish. I can now write and publish a book in four months. But it takes practice and patience. Writing is a long game, not a get-rich-quick scheme. And remember to enjoy it and celebrate the small wins.
6. What’s your next project?
Hot London Nights, book seven in the London Romance Series. It’s written and back from the editor. December is me doing draft three and four, then it will hopefully be out at the end of January. I’m really pleased with it, and I plan on writing the first draft of book 8 very soon.
ABOUT YOUR BOOKS:
1. Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
London Calling. It was five years in the writing, another year to build up the courage to publish. But I did in 2014 and I never looked back. Pressing the publish button first time was very nerve-wracking, and it never gets easier! When you do, you have no idea if anyone will read it. But people did, and I was amazed. I had support from other indie authors which was invaluable, and it’s been a wild ride ever since. I’ve now been doing this full-time for nearly five years. If someone had told me that ten years ago, I’d never have believed them.
2. What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
I used to worry about running out of ideas, but now that doesn’t concern me in the slightest. If you live your life, take notice of stuff around you and listen when people speak, ideas are everywhere and can come at the weirdest times. Never when I’m in the shower. mind. They usually turn up when I’m in a situation that’s a little unusual and I ask, “what if?” Asking that is the best way to come up with plot twists and plots in general. What if this happened? What if that happened? Nothing is too outlandish. Life is always way more bizarre!
3. Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?
She’s not my favourite, but Jess from London Calling is where it all started for me, so she’ll always have a special place in my heart. She’s annoying, does stupid things and is flawed, but that makes her human. I love Scarlet in Nothing To Lose because she has to overcome so much: I was on the journey with her. I think because her story was based on a real-life story I read about, when she got her HEA I was so pleased. Plus, Abby and Jordan from Before You Say I Do are up there, too.
4. Where can readers purchase your books?
Go to my website (www.clarelydon.co.uk) and click on Books. If you click on the individual titles, you’ll see the range of options for buying in ebook, print and audiobook. Most of my books are available across all platforms: Direct from my website, Kindle, Kobo, Apple, B&N, Google and also Bella Books and Ylva Publishing.