I'm super excited to introduce another wonderful New Zealand author to you today and honoured to be included on her blog tour for her shiny and spanking-new debut book, All Over the Place. Please welcome Serena Clarke as she shares a glimpse of what makes her tick!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ll happily admit to being a wide-eyed optimist and (according to my biography, so it must be true) a believer in magic, possibility and second chances. A mother of boys, baker of chocolate slice, and occasional freelance writer, editor and proofreader. A lover of snappy dialogue, triumph over adversity and happy endings. Like lots of New Zealanders, a keen traveller. And, like all writers, a burner of candles at both ends!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s an interesting question! You could say a ‘writer’ is anyone who writes. It doesn’t depend on being published – as long as you’re putting pen to paper/fingers to keyboard, in a creative process, you’re a writer. One thing I’ve noticed is how supremely single-minded a lot of writers are. It definitely takes a certain strange kind of obsession! This picture has been doing the rounds lately – I think it sums it up nicely!
Hehehe - that is does! Do you remember what inspired you to write your first book?
It was a looming birthday. I won’t say which one – a lady never reveals her age, of course. But it was a big enough roundy number that it got me thinking – when exactly was I going to to write this book?!
I love call stories. Can you tell us about yours and your reaction?
Mine is very unglamorous! Because of the time difference between NZ and the USA, by the time we get out of bed the Americans have been working away for hours. When I started submitting to the States, I’d wake up every morning and immediately grab my laptop, with crinkled pyjamas, hair on end and smudgy morning face. So that was how I looked when I opened the fateful email!
Oh! Not only do we have the same last name (although yours is more exotic with the extra 'e', but we mirror each other in the 'after submission syndrome' :) What drew you to write your chosen genre?
It chose me! I had a good idea of the plot for All Over the Place, but I didn’t know quite how it would ‘sound’ until I started writing. It turned out to be a contemporary story with a chick lit feel – the kind of book I like to read myself. It’s as much about Livi figuring her life out, as about the romance – but there is a gorgeously happy ending!
I can't wait to get my copy - it sounds great! And I adore your cover. I bet you're thrilled with it! What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Finding time to do it at all! Usually once I’m underway, I’m okay. If things aren’t flowing, I’ve learned to skip to another scene and work on that, then go back to the tricky part. And dialogue often saves me – I let the characters talk amongst themselves, and madly take notes, then go from there!
Has anything coincidental happened in the real world while writing one of your books in terms of the characters, scenes or world you’ve created?
Yes, lots of things! It seems like a kind of synchronicity goes on in the universe. I’m constantly finding something in the newspaper, or seeing something on TV, and saying to my husband, “That’s in my book!” It just goes to show that ideas are out there for the taking.
Which one of your books is your ‘baby’ and why?
All Over the Place is my first book, so it’s my baby. But there is a sibling on the way, and I have to say I’m getting very fond of it…
What are you working on right now?
The sibling! It has the same feeling as All Over the Place – a story with adventure, friendship and true love. And a happy ending! London, California, matchmaking, bees, Iggy Pop, loss and acceptance, secrets and sandcastles. A hostage drama, flash mobs, people power in a hyper-connected world, true love, and the trials and joys of sisterhood. Hopefully it’s not far away now…
That sounds fabulous! I'm intrigued by the mention of flash mobs...What fun! Latest news?
I’m on tour! At my website you can see where I’ve been and what’s coming up to celebrate the release of All Over the Place. I’m having a great time visiting with writers and bloggers all over the world – yes, all over the place! And you should see some of the questions they’ve asked!
Where can we find you and your books?
At all these places – and I’d love to hear from you!
Find Serena here
Buy All Over the Place here
Contemporary romantic fiction with a chick lit feel – available now!
Livi Callaway has fled back to London after a reality TV disaster in New Zealand. Safely anonymous in the big city, she’s determined to stay under the radar from now on. But her attempts to build a new life are complicated by unexpected visitors from her old one, and new dangers and temptations lie in wait.
Late one night, she meets a mysteriously sexy American on the Underground – and the events that follow take her from Pooh Bear to the golden lights of Paris, via a trail of rock stars dead and alive. A family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian and a childhood friend (who might yet be more than that) have her all over the place as she tries to discover the American’s secret – while keeping her own.
With help – and occasional hindrance – from her friends, what she eventually finds is something unexpected...sometimes, running away can lead you to exactly what you didn’t know you needed.
About Serena Clarke
Serena grew up in a family of itchy-footed readers and dreamers – not concentrating, reading the atlas and Narnia books, and planning to escape somewhere magical as soon as she could. When she was 16, she went from New Zealand to live in Sweden for a year. It was the beginning of many travels and adventures – and quite a few disasters! She didn’t know it at the time, but eventually she’d be grateful for all the downs as well as the ups. As writers say in the face of adversity: “I can use that.” She’s now living back in New Zealand, where she writes stories reflecting her determined belief in magic, possibility and second chances – and happy endings!