Over 100 books published - including the 2+ million best-seller 'Mavreen'
"Not just a good read;
It's a slice of life."
18th May 2015
Claire is interviewed on BBC World Service 'Outlook'
A lighthearted and interesting discussion on how Claire started writing and the influence of her mother (Denise Robins) and grandmother
Starts 13 mins and 55 seconds into the programme
27 March 2015
Claire is interviewed on BBC Breakfast TV!
"Still writing at 94!" Claire is interviewed on BBC Breakfast about her writing and work and her latest publications.
15th March 2015
In a big historical novel, how do you keep track of all the characters
I have a Character Book in which I list names, ages, colouring, relationships to which I can refer if later in the story I have, for example, forgotten whether the hero has blue/green/brown eyes. An invaluable time saver.
How canI find a publisher for the children's book I have written?
It isn't east these days, Jill, I advise you to get a literary agent who will promote you. You will find a list of agents stating what kind of books they handle from The Writers and Artists Year Book. Your library will have one. Good luck.
Have you ever tied yourself in knots when writing book, for example killed off a character who you later realise needs to be alive again?
Yes, I introduced a seventy year old family retainer in chapter 1 of a new book and realised much further on in my story that he was still serving the family aged ninety. In the same story my pregnant dairy-maid was still pregnant twenty years later. Ever since I have used a chart to prevent such shocking mistakes.
What is your favourite book that you have written and why
AG, New York
It's hard for me to select any one book: From my historicals, The Chatelaine or Frost in the Sun, and non-historical, my vignette The Garden, beautifully illustrated by my late brother-in-law Roland Chadwick
I have had a wonderful idea for a book but haven't time to write it because my job and family seem to take all my time.
I do realise how busy you must be but if you could manage to write the equivalent of a long letter - i.e.1000 words - a day, in sixty days you will have written your book! Editing it may take longer, but it will be done.
Is it true that you use a computer to write and can use email, at the age of 94? That’s amazing, how do you cope?
Yes. With difficulty. I have a large keyboard which makes it easier for me to type, but when things go wrong I have to bother two kind neighbours who come to my assistance and put either me or the computer on the right track again! Don't tell my computer, but I infinitely prefer my poor old typewriter which never let me down and only ever needed a change of ribbon, which I could do myself. I have to admit, however, that the computer saves a huge amount of re-typing.
Where do you get the inspiration for your books?
I don't! That is to say I don't believe in inspiration. Ideas come from a full time awareness of an unusual occurrence, or story in a newspaper or told by a stranger on a train or at a party and a vivid imagination seeing the potential for a story and developing it.
I have nearly finished a novel I have written. Is there a special way I should present it?
Ideally, yes! You will find explicit details on how to present your book in The Writer's and Artists Year book obtainable from your local library. Good luck!
How do you research the historical novels
In many different ways: By the internet; library books; my 1880 12-volume illustrated encyclopaedia; my 2-volume 1890 Medical Dictionary and 3-volume History of England in 19th century; and if necessary, from foreign friends.
Should I illustrate the floral arrangement book I am writing. I am an accomplished artist.
Publishers usually have their own artists, but in your case they might be happy to have them. I suggest you send just one or two samples of your illustrations so they can approve more if they like these and you have not wasted your time.
I have a wonderful idea for a book but I left school without any qualifications and my spelling, grammar and things like punctuation are really bad. It also takes me hours just to write a few lines. I feel very frustrated. Can you advise me what I could do?
Have you thought of dictating into a recorder? You could than 'tell' your story and ask a friend or pay to get it professionally typed from your recorder. If you could't afford this, maybe a friend would type it for you?
Why and how did you start writing books
I was given a portable typewriter by mother, the popular author Denise Robins, when I was eleven years old, her purpose being to keep me out of mischief. I wrote a story for my younger sister which was duly published a year later. I wrote stories during the war and started writing novels in 1946
I wrote three chapters of a novel and was quite pleased with it but when my sister read it, she said it was rubbish and I was wasting my time. Should I ask someone else's opinion?
You could do so, but unless your sister is in publishing maybe ignore her opinion or anyone else's. I suggest you write two chapters and a synopsis and send them to a literary agent who would be best able to advise you whether to continue or not.
Have you ever done any other sort of writing, such as poetry or short stories or magazine articles?
For several years I wrote the Children's Page for womens' magazines. I also wrote articles, poems, and serials as well as short stories. Some of the latter have been published in books, Variations and Emotions. I have also written pantomimes for my eight grandchildren, but not for publication.
I have been writing poetry all my life. Is it possible to get my poems published as a book? I have been told that it is extremely difficult to get poems published - presumably because there is not a big demand for poetry books.
You can always try! If not, had you thought of sending them individually to appropriate magazines? Just a thought! Or you could self publish.
EMAIL CLAIRE and submit a question that you'd like answered, either about her books, inspiration, characters and experiences or questions about your own attempts at writing. Not all can be published here, but the ones that are of widest interest may well appear.