Today it’s the turn of Claire Morley to answer my Author in the Spotlight questions. Claire’s novel Tindog Tacloban was published on 26 August 2015. You can order a copy here: Tindog Tacloban
First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I live in North Cyprus, having moved here from Edinburgh 13 years ago. In my past I have worked as a freelance marketing consultant in the IT industry. Since moving to Cyprus I have worked here as a journalist and now as a wedding planner.
What inspired you to start writing?
While volunteering in the Philippines following the devastating super typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) I interviewed many survivors, volunteers and aid workers and took thousands of photographs with a view to writing articles to raise awareness. When I returned back to Cyprus, my partner suggested I write a novel using all the material I gathered and my experiences. Having seen the effects of a typhoon on the people of Tacloban and finding out about a relatively new form of child trafficking, I wanted to find a way of highlighting them to people and so I started writing Tindog Tacloban.
Tell me about your journey to publication?
Like many authors before me , I daydreamed of agents fighting over the chance to publish Tindog Tacloban. Of course the reality these days is that agents taking on representation of new authors are very few and far between. So I decided to try self-publishing, which these days has become a very real alternative for authors. The growth of sales in electronic books has been phenomenal. We are now able to access a book with a couple of clicks of an iPad, PC, Kindle. Before leaping blinding into it, I took a course on how to self-publish and what to do to make it successful. I think many authors think they can upload a book to Amazon or other self-publishing platform and sales will happen and this really is not the case, it actually takes a huge amount of work.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
In the aftermath of the fiercest typhoon on record to hit land, banners bearing the words Tindog Tacloban started to appear all over the city. Meaning Rise Up Tacloban, they were a testament to the determination and resilience of the Filipino people as they tried to rebuild their shattered lives.
For many, things would never be the same:
Izel Sombilon watched in horror as two of his children were ripped from his arms and swept away by the huge storm waves
Eleven year old Lika Faye was plunged into the sordid underworld of Webcam Child Sex Tourism
For Helen Gable volunteering in the typhoon ravaged area was a chance for her to come to terms with her own personal tragedy.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I do, although it’s not a book! Following my experience of self-publishing, I have started up a business to help authors who want to self-publish, but don’t have the time or knowledge to do so themselves. My ePublish Book is an online service where authors can choose as much or little support as they need to get their book published and marketed.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden, I really enjoy reading Jonas Jonasson, I usually read crime, thriller and psychological books, so it’s a different genre from my normal choice.
What are you reading just now? (December 2015)
At the moment, I’ve finally found time to start reading Anne Hamilton’s A Blonde Bengali Wife. Anne was my tutor at mywritingclasses.co.uk when I first started writing TIndog Tacloban and became my mentor, proof reader and editor, so it’s lovely to be able to read her book now.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
Living in North Cyprus I don’t have much access to hardcopy books, so the Kindle gives me the opportunity to download and read books I wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. I am not someone who can pick up a book and read it over a period of time, I usually get engrossed and will almost read non-stop until I finish, so holidays are the main time I get to read these days.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
My Twitter address is: @clairemorley15
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/clairemorleyauthor/
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Actually that’s quite difficult for me to answer. If you had asked me what film character I would want to be, it would be easy, Lara Croft, I love the idea of a badass, intelligent, adventurous woman. No one in particular comes to mind from the books I’ve read recently.