5 Questions to Know You Better…
Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?
Tea first thing (possibly chai or cinnamon – but usually just normal builder’s style, with milk and sugar), but I have to have a cup of real coffee before I start work at 9 ish in the morning, and then again after lunch to perk me up.
Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?
I think it would have to be Vi, in The Night Raid. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and stick two fingers up to authority, but she’s also brave, kind, and loyal, and fun. She’s the sort of woman you’d like to have as a best friend.
Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?
I write in bed. It’s the warmest place to be at this time of year (I’m certain my window cleaners think I’m the laziest woman in the street, though, because every time they clean my windows I’m lying around like Lady Muck).
Apparently I’m not alone in favouring the horizontal. Other writers who preferred to work in bed include Mark Twain, Vladimir Nabokov, William Wordsworth and Marcel Proust. Edith Sitwell is reputed not just to have written in bed, but remarked that: “All women should have a day a week in bed.”
Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?
Memoirs, poetry, photographs, paintings, old films, and sometimes, real life (my debut, The Gunner Girl was inspired by my mother-in-law’s time on the anti-aircraft guns in WW2, for example, and the real-life Nottingham artist Dame Laura Knight is one of the main protagonists in my current book The Night Raid).
It’s always useful to do a bit of ‘optical research’ too. My second book, The English Agent, was partly set in Paris, so I spent a weekend wandering round the Paris streets, soaking up the sights and scouting for suitable locations, which was really inspirational, as well as being a wonderful experience.
What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?
I’ve just sent off the manuscript of my fourth book, The Escape, to my agent for feedback. She’ll probably suggest a couple of tweaks and then it’ll go onto my publisher later this month.
The Escape is a two-timeline story, set partly in 1945 in Germany, as the Red Army moves in and the so-called ‘iron curtain’ falls, and partly in 1989 as the Berlin Wall falls and the iron curtain rises. The 1945 timeline is a classic love story, but the 1989 timeline is more of a love-gone-wrong story (although it ends hopefully – I can’t say more without giving too much away!).
I’ve never written a two-timeline story before, so it’s a bit of a departure for me. It was also quite a challenge as it involved two lots of research (including a trip to Poland in February last year – brrr! – and a trip to Berlin in June). At the moment I’m keeping my fingers crossed that both my agent and publisher are happy and don’t ask for too many changes, especially as I’m champing at the bit to start work on book five…
The Escape is due out in hardback in July 2018, and you can find out more here: http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Escape/Clare-Harvey/9781471161872
And discover more about me, my books and my writing life on my website: https://clareharvey.net
You can also follow me on my author Facebook page: ClareHarvey13, or on Twitter @ClareHarveyauth.