Author Celeste Barclay (@CelesteMBarclay) speaks about her debut novel, #HisHighlandLass, her new series #TheClanSinclair, and her writing process in her @bestindiebooks1 interview. Celeste Barclay website
Celeste Barclay, a nom de plume, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Celeste enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She’s an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. When she’s not writing, she’s working or being a mom.
- : A few years ago, I was recovering from surgery and found that I could only watch so much TV (Big Bang Theory was on at least four channels throughout the day). I returned to my passion for reading, but I wasn't feeling well enough for anything that required mental jumping jacks to follow. I hadn't read anything close to a romance in years, but I decided to give it a try. A few hundred romance books later (honestly), I decided to try my hand at writing my own book. I find it a creative release from the everyday hustle bustle of work and family.
- : The first story that I remember writing was in first grade, Mrs. Smith's class, and the room moms came in to help us create our stories and then bound them in beautiful wallpaper. It was a story about a girl who stepped on an ant.
- : I find myself most drawn to the Scottish Historical Romances (while I do still love a good Regency Romance). I could picture myself in each of these books. I can picture myself a little in my own novels. I wanted to write a story that included a strong sense of family and duty, along with compassion and fidelity. In His Highland Lass, the heroine, Mairghread Sinclair, has four older brothers. She is supposed to marry one man, the antagonist, but falls in love with the hero, Tristan Mackay. I wanted there to be a challenge and struggle to overcome before they got their happily ever after. In true romance style, there is a scorned lover and a jilted suitor.
- : I first started writing when I was a child and enjoyed it. I was an avid reader, and so, I think writing came fairly naturally. I began writing His Highland Lass in July 2017 and wrote more than half in about two weeks. With children and work, the school year took much of my attention. In January 2018, I committed to picking up where I left off.
- : I grew up in the Midwest, but my mother is English, and I was born overseas. With parents from Europe, we traveled to see family every summer. When in England, we visited medieval castles and various museums. I was enamored with British history and that grew to a general love of European history. I find that I enjoy historical romances because I can tap into my prior historical knowledge and imagine myself among all the things that fascinated me as a child.
- : I write mostly in the evenings as that's when I have time. If I'm on vacation, then I write whenever I have a free moment. I carry a journal with me most of the time, so I can add scenes or make notes of ideas as they come.
- : As of the end of July 2018, I am preparing to release the second installment of The Clan Sinclair. His Bonnie Highland Temptation is about Mairghread Sinclair's (from the first novel) oldest brother, Callum. Callum finds out that he is about to be betrothed with only a week's notice. Needless to say, he is not pleased with this unexpected news; however, he is somewhat awestruck when he meets his spunky soon-to-be betrothed. As with all good romances, it is a rocky rode their happily ever after. Jealousy, kidnapping, love, and loyalty, and above all else: family.
- : When I'm not being writer-me, I am working in education. I am a mother to two boys and wife--that alone is a full time job. In my leisure time, I am reading (of course), doing yoga/pilates, going for walks, and trying to fit in a swim whenever I can.
- : I find I am rather a character driven author. I have a plot diagram in my head and will map out the general direction of the story in parts. I then name my characters and develop their physical descriptions. I paint a picture in my head of what each character looks like and then try to get it into words. I consider the story in chunks and develop those further, adding them to the plot diagram. From there, I write. I write as it comes to me and follow the direction in which it takes me. I make notes for things to come back to or to insert. I reread and revise as I go, and then do at least two full printed out proofreads before I hand it off.
- : Beyond romances, I still love historical fiction. I began enjoying Philippa Gregory before she was hugely known. I also love Dan Brown and his novels (including the non-Da Vinci Code and Robert Langdon series). I read through all of Jane Austen and the Brontes before I was done with middle school. I suppose that's why I also enjoy Regency romances.
- : Currently, I work in public education and have for nearly 15 years. Before that, I was a coach, a personal trainer, a paralegal (in college). I've worked in sales and social media management. I suppose variety is the spice of life.
- : My husband bought me an iPad I can't even remember how many years ago. I put a Lifeproof case on it and have been using it ever since. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's been reliably running the Kindle app for years now.
- : I consider some of my favorite books and how they caught my eye. I have tried out a few different covers to see what gains the most traction. I have tried less traditional covers with just a couple on the front with a solid background. I now have a more traditional design that features Scottish plaid and the same couple with a nature background. I want a cover that fits with the conventions of its genre but still is unique.
- : As I mentioned before in the writing process, I do have a plot diagram--sometimes it stays in my head quite a while before it makes it onto paper. Once I have the main events mapped out, then I let the characters drive the story and just let it flow.
- : I find it cathartic to create an escape from everyday life. I enjoy spinning a tale that is fiction with just enough reality to make the reader feel like they can live the story themselves. Even if no one else were to read my work, just the time it takes to separate myself from my other responsibilities brings me joy, and it allows me a chance to have a creative outlet that I don't have anywhere else in my life.
- : I maintain a blog that features posts about my experiences becoming an author along with information and snippets of my books. My novel(s) are also available through Amazon/Kindle. They are part of Kindle Unlimited.
- : I appreciate reviews, all of them-- the good, bad, and even the ugly. I can only improve my craft and create stories that others will enjoy if I receive feedback. Please feel free to comment on my Amazon pages, my Goodreads page, or on my website.