Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to host Claudia R. Dillaire in our Author Spotlight blog. Claudia will be visiting the store with her latest novel, The Talisman of Tehuti, this Friday at 7 PM. She is a passionate researcher of ancient civilizations and their religious practices. Using her twenty plus years of material, she has written three books on Egyptian magic and two historical mysteries set under the reign of Ramesses III.
Thank you so much for joining us, Claudia! I know you do a lot of research for all your books, so can you share with us a little bit more about it? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
My research is as varied as the kings of Egypt. I mix scholarly texts with juvenile titles – each one has a wealth of information which can be woven into a novel. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned the ancient Egyptians had a criminal justice system quite similar to our own; twelve magistrates, from all occupations, sat in judgment of the accused. There were no jails, punishment was swift, often involving servitude of some sort. Some cool facts involve the occupations women had – they could even be magistrates. And, some of the stuff I found out I cannot reveal, since I’m saving those choice bits for later books in the series.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I have always been a fan of the mystery/detective genre. I read Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Earle Stanley Gardner, and Jim Thompson. Raymond Chandler is also a favourite. Plus, I am fascinated with how the criminal mind works. Historical mystery is fabulous for an author. I can take real historical characters, invent additional characters, and use actual events to create crimes. However, there are difficulties – crime solving techniques were basic. And, I must always be aware of patterns of speech and how long it took for news to travel. I think readers enjoy being transported to another place and time, especially readers today. They are savvy enough to spot inconsistencies, so historical accuracy is tantamount.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
My favourite part of being a writer is the creation of character and story. I have planned a twelve-novel series in the Qaa Mysteries. And, I get to work with some of the most incredibly knowledgeable people at Pendraig Publishing. I have been very fortunate with all the publishers with whom I have worked. Each has been respectful of my opinion and my input into my vision for my books. I love the challenge of a blank screen and letting the words flow – the editing is where I find the errors in judgment, or the phrases that just don’t work. My greatest lesson is that nothing is impossible. I have received my fair share of rejection letters, but each one only made me want to write better.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Don’t be afraid. I have contacted famous people out of the blue, even before the publication of my first book. The worst thing you can hear is “no.” Another good piece of advice is to reach out to other writers, either online, or by finding a local writers’ group. The process of writing is a solitary occupation – interaction with like-minded people who can critique, but not criticize, can only make you a better writer.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
This question goes hand-in-hand with another, “What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?” I work hard to balance my writing life and my non-writing life. I belong to the Rising Tide Writers in Harwich, MA, which meets one morning a week. I play Mah Jongg at least once a week. I have been a philatelist for more years than I care to disclose (LOL). I am addicted to Sudoku, Wordoku, cryptograms, and Jumbles. I also love to do counted cross stitch and have a passion for languages. I have so many hobbies and interests it’s hard to cram them all into a week. Some of them are waiting patiently for the day I can retire and spend more time in leisure pursuits, along with my structured writing schedule.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW, of course.)
My work is available on amazon.com and several of the titles are ebooks.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
You can follow me on Facebook…
…and I am planning to start a blog soon on WordPress.com.
Thank you, again, Claudia, for the lovely interview! We look forward to your visit this Friday!