I always planned to write- life just got in the way. Recently I found myself losing my joie de vivre. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I needed to completely change my life: I needed to be open about my diagnosis. I am usually very self-sufficient, but I refused to give the depression the isolation it craves. I feared judgement, instead I have found gentle compassion and support. I made time to write again. Writing soothes and grounds me; exhilarates and stimulates me.
Darkly Dreaming came to me as nightmares- entire scenes dreamt. I started writing them down, and quickly Rae and Layla’s characters introduced themselves and took over, and the whole book flowed.
Chloe can be found at the following sites:
Darkly Dreaming, Book 1 of The Darkly Vampire Trilogy
They discover that she and the other vampires have special gifts which are different for everyone, and not always immediately apparent. Rae and Layla are Pretty ones, which means they can beguile other vampires with their Glamour. They soon, and embarrassingly learn that unchecked this Glamour causes the Need- intense and uncontrollable sexual desire- on contact with another vampire, any other vampire. Rae also discovers that vampires don’t dream. She has lost her escape, just as life gets so terrifying. Then she finds out that fresh blood can fill her mind with narcotic mists of her victim’s memories. She is determined to retain her humanity and refuse to kill, but how can she resist such temptation?
She falls head over heels in unrequited love with Guillaume, and goes into battle against the rebellious vampires. The consequences are immense, and mean the whole Pride faces the death penalty from the Vampire High Council.
Q&A with Chloe
I found lots inspiration for my vampire’s gifts in nature documentaries. When the Rage hits Rae and Layla their fingers extend so the bones poke through the skin, and their ribs dislocate and spike through their sides. Both of these ideas came from nature- The Cameroon frog breaks it’s own bones so they protrude through it’s skin as a defence; and the Spanish Ribbed Newt juts it’s ribs through it’s flesh to protect itself. Both creatures heal very quickly too.
Working with the vulnerable for the last twenty years allowed me to meet a lot of the survivors of abuse, as well as sharks themselves on occasion, and this knowledge, and the deep anger I feel towards these monsters allowed me to write Rae’s hunting plan realistically, and even take great delight in concocting Thierry’s demise.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Write. Don't worry about doing it well, just get words onto the page. Once you hit your stride you will find the natural beginning to your story, sometimes a couple of paragraphs in, sometime a couple of chapters. On the days you can't write, edit. Once it's finished, put it away and ignore it for a few weeks. Take it out and edit it, now you're doing the stuff that makes you a good writer, not just a writer. Put it away again, leave it alone for a couple of weeks, then take it out and edit it again. Once that's finished it's about ready for your first readers to have a look- you need to select these carefully. You need them to be honest but kind. Prepare to be terrified. Once your readers have read the book, ideally you want to sit together and discuss any areas that need strengthening together. talk together so your characters become completely 3 dimensional- you might not write about all the stuff you discuss, but it'll flavour how you write. Re-write again to include suggested changes. Put away for a few weeks. Take out and reread, make any further tweaks it needs. Send back to original readers, and some new ones, these can be a bit more brutal. Consider feedback, include the bits you like. Repeat this process until you feel your novel is ready in your gut and heart. Don't be afraid to ignore it for several months if necessary.
What was the hardest part about writing and publishing your book? The marketing and promoting, I've had to learn lots of computery things which doesn't come naturally to me, and neither does blowing my own trumpet. I'm very lucky that I found some great people along the way to help me. Don't rush into this, take your time, chose people you would chose to be friends with, your trusting them with a chunk of your soul. And if you're not, you need to rewrite again!
If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living? I love writing, but don't earn a living from it yet. If I could not write, but could choose any other job in the world, I would be a fairy godmother- helping people find clothes they look good in, and can afford, and helping them create the home of their dreams in a way they can afford.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Barbara Kingsolver. She writes incredible books, full of passion and history. She takes immensely important, and often over looked sections of history, and writes about them from one persons viewpoint, so they become real to you as you read about them. She's fascinating.
Do you have any unique talents or hobbies? I used to Belly dance! I wasn't terribly good- I don't know my left from right, and I'm useless at remembering routines, but I had great fun and it's brilliant exercise. Apart from that I am an excellent cat bed, Coco will happy sleep on me all day while I write, if she's given the chance.
What can we expect from you in the future? I've started writing Darkly Dancing, Book 2 of The Darkly Vampire Trilogy, it's darker than Darkly Dreaming, and builds towards Book 3, which is going to be extremely exciting. Then I've got ideas for a book about an Angel who argues with God, and Ghost story. In the meantime I will continue to submit writing to the Cake and Quill charity anthologies, I've just started a short story
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? My marriage, by nature I am a commitmentphobe, but we've just celebrated our 11th anniversary. Also the young people I've supported, both as a support worker, and a foster carer. When I was a child I wanted to change the world, but as I grew up I realised I could only change one person's world at a time, but that that could be enough for that person.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I remember being about 7, and my teacher had read us a poem in class, an all that weekend I played with words in my head until I'd come up with my own poem. That was it for me, I was hooked on getting words to say exactly what I wanted them to, on using them to make other people feel something. It's like magic what words can do, and I love the conjuring.
What do you think makes a good story? It needs to be believable, and consistent. I hate it when an author sets out the rules and then changes them to make telling the story easier. That's cheating. The most important thing of all though is a character I can care about, I don't like them to be over perfect.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? I wrote it for anyone who grew up enjoying the escapism of dark adventure, who wants to relate to an imperfect heroine and laugh out loud at her escapades with her best friend. I wrote it for anyone who feels left out by books that are written about young, perfect characters, who don’t have blemishes or make mistakes.
It's for grown-ups who want to discover a new set of characters to root for; who want a new series to lose themselves in, like they could when they were teenagers. I think it will appeal to women most, because it’s character driven. However there are lots of fight scenes, and adventure, which means their boyfriends, husbands and brothers will enjoy it too, if they pick it up too.
What literary character is most like you? Terry Pratchett's Esme Weatherwax.
Are your characters pure fiction, or did you draw from people you know? I started writing using people I know as personality templates so that my characters were realistic, but like a lot of writers my characters took on a life of their own very quickly and took over, giving me little choice in what they said when, and they quickly moved away from their real life inspirations and soon started mischief that their real counter-parts wouldn’t contemplate. They started planting seeds of trouble which will come to fruition in Books 2 and 3.
I have written my novel as multi- cultural, and variously sexually orientated as my circle of friends are. I needed to write what I know.