Q&A with Claire Sheldon

What is ‘perfect’ trying to hide?
Jen Garner tries her best to be ‘wife and mother of the year’. She helps organise school plays and accompanies her husband to company dinners, all with a big smile on her face.
But Jen has started to receive strange gifts in the post … first flowers, then a sympathy card.
It could just be a joke; that’s what she tells herself. But then the final ‘gift’ arrives, and Jen has to question why somebody is so intent on shattering her life into pieces …

Back in 2018 I mentored Claire Sheldon as she wrote the first draft of her first novel. Today that book is out in print for the public to buy and enjoy and I highly recommend it – it’s a fascinating crime novel with some very interesting characters (and I have to admit to having a bit of a crush on the DI).

To celebrate this here is a little publication day Q&A with Claire.

1. What made you decide to write a police procedural?

Crime Fiction was what got me back into reading again, I used to read a lot of James Patterson’s Alex Cross, then when I was bought a kindle for my birthday and I started to explore other authors such as Rebecca Bradley and Angela Clarke’s social media series. Coupled with my early dosing of The Bill and, later, Spooks I saw writing crime as something I thought would be easier to do as I had a keen interest of that sort of thing. I had always day dreamed about being an undercover cop or someone with a second identity to the one everyone knew so it all  came from there.

2. Where did you get the ideas for your characters from?

The character of Jen originally came from that notion of someone who was an undercover detective and was the best at her job, but she made the mistake of failing in love and in turn James gave her a different type of stability.

James, was just born out of being perfect, all those things us girls want from a man, loving, caring, supportive. I have also often wondered about being married to someone who lives that corporate management lifestyle the lavish evenings out…. He has it all and the “perfect” wife and the kids to match. James is the extreme other end of some of the guys I have worked with over the years.

And as for Chris well, he is the opposite end of the policing scale to Jen. Like me grew up watching police dramas so when he was old enough all he wanted to do was join the police force… Again something I did consider in the past, but life went a different way.

Most of my main characters have key character traits such as the father figure, the vixen who has been doing the job for so long she has forgotten who she really is underneath the sex appeal and the annoying PA with her different colour gel pens and highly coloured spreadsheets.

3. Who would play your main characters in a film of your book?

Jen would be played by Eliza Dushku in her Buffy the Vampire / Angel character. I always thought  James Van Der Beek in the CSI Cyber character would make a good James and Chris would be Danny Pinto as I have a major crush on him from his Law and Order SUV character.

4. What is your writing routine like?

I started writing my novel when I suddenly found myself with loads of time to fill after changing my working hours and joining a local creative writing class, as I’d been inspired by other authors whose books I had devoured such as Mark Edwards and C L Taylor. Then it took over my life and as the kids got older I started writing in the evenings while hubby was at work and I have also been known to write while I am at my real job… during lunch breaks obviously… (Obviously, me too…my first book was written on lunchbreaks at work….just lunchbreaks…honest…. – Rachel)

5. What are your favourite writing snacks?

Cadbury’s chocolate buttons!

Claire Sheldon lives in Nottingham with her family, a cat called Whiskers and a dog called Podrick.
She suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and as a result of the disease had to reduce her hours working in insurance for an Insolvency Insurer. This spare time enabled her to study a creative writing course which inspired her to write her debut, Perfect Lie. When Claire isn’t working she enjoys reading crime novels and listening to music – the band Jimmy Eat World is her biggest muse! Claire is also an avid reader and book blogger. The inspiration for her novels comes from the hours spent watching The Bill with her grandparents and auntie; then later, Spooks and other detective programmes like Morse, A Touch of Frost and Midsummer Murders.

@ClaireEESheldon / https://www.facebook.com/clairesheldonauthor

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