Clare Chase writes fast-paced romantic mysteries and her debut novel, You Think You Know Me, is published by Choc Lit. Her stories are inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents
into the stuff of crime fiction.
She grew up reading everything from Jilly Cooper to Sue Grafton, and finds romance complements crime perfectly, doubling the intrigue.
Clare wrote dodgy whodunits in primary school,
read English at London University, and honed her creative writing skills whilst working in PR. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and the Crime Writers' Association.
In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, cooking and
wandering round the pubs, restaurants and galleries of Cambridge, where she lives with her husband and teenage children.
so much for having me on your blog, Julie! I loved reading Sophia’s Secret, and it’s great to be visiting your website.
I thought I’d address a question
writers are supposed to hate being asked:
Where do you get your ideas from?
It’s a topic that’s always interested me. When I first
started to write seriously, I worried that my ideas might run out, although now I think finding them is a knack. You get your eye in, and with practice, something clicks. Suddenly, ideas are everywhere.
All the same, I’m a bit of
a worrier. I like the thought of having some craft to fall back on, in case my inspiration dries up!
I write romantic mysteries and suspense, so my radar’s tuned to situations that will cause conflict. Of course, stories across all
genres tend to demand that, albeit in different ways.
For my writing, I need two sorts: conflict within the developing relationship/s in the book, and conflict that’s severe enough for a crime – murder or the threat of it –
to be a believable outcome. Relationships are part of everyday life, from agony columns in magazines to the people we know, so ideas for conflict there are laid out in front of us.
But observing criminal minds doesn’t normally come
into my life experience. Nonetheless, an individual’s quirks of personality are usually at the root of my mystery plots. I tend to look out for traits in the people I talk to, read about or watch on the news, say. Then I imagine what it would be like
if that attribute could be controlled by a dial. What would happen if I had a character with a strong need for respect, for instance, and then turned that up a couple of notches? And what if they were living with someone who’d had enough, and threw that
need back in their face?
Of the characters in my debut novel, You Think You Know Me, one has a personality trait that’s outside the normal parameters, and the
effect is frightening. As for the romantic conflict, my heroine has to decide who to trust, and her life depends on getting it right.
Locations are another source of ideas and inspiration for me. My novel is set in London and the Lake District.
London’s a city of huge contrasts, of course, but the party-going, wealthy side of the city made me think of characters who might get too fond of luxury to let it go without a fight.
And I love the eerie beauty of the Lakes. When
I first saw the towering fells, and experienced that feeling of isolation, I knew I wanted to set the denouement of my novel there. Practical issues, like the patchiness of mobile coverage, were also important. Of course, getting to go back for research, and
to eat lots of the local speciality – sticky toffee pudding – made the idea all the more appealing!
My book trailer features both locations, and hopefully shows why I found them so inspiring: