Author Spotlight – Clare Lydon
Clare Lydon writes contemporary, compelling, romance and her books are frequently found at the top of the lesbian fiction charts. If you’re a sucker for romance, prepare to fall head over heels in love with the stories and the characters.
Clare has been chatting to us about her books, and what is next on the horizon.
Tell us something interesting about your last published book.
My last book was called Twice In A Lifetime, and it’s a second-chance romance based in Chicago. The main characters are Harriet and Sally, and my initial title for the book was When Harriet Met Sally. However, I ran this past a few friends and readers and they all universally rejected it as being naff. So I changed the title. I love Twice In A Lifetime, but there will always be a little part of me that wonders, what if I’d have called it the other title?!
What got you into writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was little – I wrote my first novel as part of a school project when I was 11. But it wasn’t until I was made redundant in 2013 that I thought about trying to do something with that lesbian romance I had half-written in my drawer. I got some money when I left my job, so I spent a year finishing my book, then wrote another. After going to L-Festive in Birmingham and meeting other lesfic authors, I decided to self-publish and released London Calling in February 2014. I haven’t stopped publishing since!
Can you tell us about your writing style? How do you decide on plots and characters? Are you a planner or a pantser?
I write feel-good rom-coms with lesbian leads, mainly based in London or the UK – my latest book was US-based just for a change, but I’m coming back to the UK for my next release.
I base my plots on real-life, sometimes on stories I read in the news (as with my flood story Nothing To Lose), and sometimes on snippets I pick up from the world around me and then develop over time.
My characters are all people you might know – they’ve all got realistic jobs and they’re not perfect. They swear, drink too much, trip up in love and have flaws, as well as eureka moments. My aim is for readers to laugh along with them, wince at their mistakes and connect with their triumphs.
For my first three books – London Calling, The Long Weekend and This London Love – I didn’t plot at all, I was a total pantser. These days I write an outline and fill in the scenes loosely, but stuff always changes as I write. The characters take over – it’s just the way writing is!
If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
I’d start earlier! I’m so glad I got made redundant when I did in hindsight, because it gave me the push I needed to give writing a try. I was a journalist for 15 years so I knew I could write articles, but fiction is a whole different task. However, being a novelist is what I’ve always wanted to be, and I’m beyond grateful that my dream is now a reality and I get to do this for a living. I really am so thankful to everyone who reads one of my books!
What is next for you? What is your next project?
This year I produced my first audiobook, and I’ve just commissioned the audio for Twice In A Lifetime. Plus, Audible Studios have bought the rights for the London Romance series, so next year there should be at least four more of my books available in audio, which is exciting as I love audiobooks! I’m currently writing the fourth book in the London Romance series – no title as yet – and after that I’m trying my first co-written book. Exciting times!
ROCIO’S TOP PICKS
London Calling is the first book in the London Series. It follows the story of Jess, and Lucy – Jess has just moved back from Australia after a break-up, and Lucy is about to go to Australia on a holiday. Will the fleeting spark they felt ignite to form something stronger?
The personalities of the main characters are well defined. They are funny, intelligent, and with that very typical British sense of humour.
One of the best things about this book is that apart from the two main characters, their friends, family and surroundings are an important part of the story.
Tanya, a lawyer recoving from a bad break up, is happy to be single, with no concerns other than her own life. Sophie is a free-spirited girl who thinks that being nice to people should never be too much trouble.
Tanya and Sophie meet in an elevator after a sour previous encounter. They both realise that they are going to be neighbours in the same building. They couldn’t be more different and opposites and as, it is said, “opposites attract”. What at the beginning was rude and tense, little by little becomes softer and, eventually, the two develop a mutual affection for each other.
This book is a true romance with great dialogue and characters that are funny, intelligent and strong. I was into the story from the first character and, once I started I couldn’t put it down till the end.
Find out more at clarelydon.co.uk