We have a very special treat today – an interview with Lucy Clark! Besides being an awesome and prolific author for Mills and Boon, Lucy Clark is my awesome and prolific Critique Partner (makes sense, right?)
Without further ado, here’s Lucy!
Cassandra Dean: Lucy, thank you for joining us. First up, how do you develop your ideas into novels?
Lucy Clark: As I write as part of a team, we usually just start discussing an initial concept. This concept can come from something we’ve heard or read etc. As an example, I got lost on a Doctor Who site one day – clicking from one thing to the next and came across an old interview Michael Parkinson did with Billie Piper – who of course played “Rose” on Doctor Who. Michael asked her about the anorexia she’d suffered as a teenager and why she’d starved herself. She’d said that back then, as a pop star, her entire life had been controlled and that the only thing she’d had control over was what went into her body. This started us thinking about control issues and how something like this can seriously affect a person’s life. Then we start with the usual expanders of What, Who, Why, When, Where and How. From this, the clay-idea starts to take form beneath the masterful talent of the serious artiste!
CD: What was your inspiration for choosing romance as your writing genre?
LC: I’m a sucker for a happy ending. That’s it, in a nutshell!
CD: As you’ve already said, Lucy Clark is a partnership of husband and wife – how do you go about working in a partnership? What are the advantages and difficulties?
LC: The partnership is great, especially when the ideas are new. It’s fun to discuss and formulate and plan and mould. It’s great when I’m not sure where next to take the characters or how to accurately convey an emotion because I have someone who knows as much as I do about the story to just talk things over with. I think the most difficult part is when we disagree. This usually happens when my “right-brainedness” clashes with his “left-brainedness” and it can take us quite some time to find the correct path for the characters to take. In the end, whether we agree or disagree, it’s the path that’s going to tell the best story that wins. Usually, if we can’t agree, we’ll throw it to our editor and let her decide but for the most part, the partnership is quite smooth. We’re able to separate work and private life so that’s good, too.
CD: What would you say is the most important aspect of a successful story?
LC: Characterisation. Good, well rounded, three dimensional characters. You can have the best plot in the world, the best setting, the best grasp of the English language but if your characters don’t come to life, then all you’re left with is typeface on a piece of paper.
CD: How do you inspire yourself to keep writing when the Evil Spectre of Procrastination raises its head?
LC: Coffee. Berocca. Vanilla Coke. Loud music. If none of them help – get out of Dodge or in other words, leave the house, meet a friend for coffee, change the scenery and refresh the mind. Bum-glue helps too.
CD: As I understand it, you are totally obsessed by Doctor Who and Buffy! What is about these shows that fascinates you? Also, what is it about the writing of the showrunners (Doctor Who – Russell T Davies and later Steven Moffat; Buffy – Joss Whedon) that particularly draws you?
LC: Obsessed? Hmm… I don’t know if I’d say I’m “obsessed”! Oh hang on a second, if you mean thinking about it, watching it, analysing it, buying the merchandise etc etc… then well yes, I guess I’d use the word “obsessed”. Basically, it’s brilliant writing. It all starts with the writing. The writers for these shows work incredibly hard (as do all writers of course) and they’re 100% committed to making the best show possible. I love the way they don’t take the easy road with their characters, that they take time to delve into the emotions that are important in creating three dimensional characters, that they understand their demographic and don’t pander to the studio execs who are usually only interested in making money. For a writer – a true writer – story is key. These writers understand that and apply it to the shows they write/direct/produce.
CD: What advice would you give about writing?
LC: Keep writing. Every day. Even if it’s just a shopping list. Be creative.
CD: Would you tell us about your next release?
LC: The next release is a Medical Romance Duo – two stories in one volume, out in UK and NA in August 2011, Australasia and France in August/September 2011. The first title is: “Wedding on the Baby Ward” – which is a story about Janessa and Miles. Both are neonatologists and are involved in caring for and separating conjoined twins, Ellie and Sarah Woodcombe. Oh and Janessa flies a bi-plane. Good stuff. And the second title is: “Special Care: Baby Miracle” – which is a story about Sheena and Will. Sheena is the mother of conjoined twins, Ellie and Sarah, and Will is an old flame who’s come back into Sheena’s life right when she needs him the most.
Thanks, Cassandra, for the opportunity to chat. It’s been superfun as always.
And thank you, Lucy, for a wonderful, informative interview!