Interview with Clare Lydon, author of the best-selling London Calling

10 Nov

Clare Lydon’s debut, London Calling, romped up the charts earlier this year and received rave reviews. She’s just published her second novel, The Long Weekend, and UKLesFic had a few questions for her.

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How would you classify your new book and what’s it about in a nutshell?

TheLongWeekend-640x1024The Long Weekend is a lesbian drama with a healthy dash of romance. It’s the story of nine friends – four couples and a single – who rent a house in Devon to celebrate 20 years since they met at university. Tension, fine food, booze and revelations stud the weekend, leaving relationships in the balance and friendships on the line. Will they all come through unscathed? It’s in the balance till the final pages!

What grabbed you about the story and what have your early readers enjoyed most?

I think we’ve all been away on a weekend that didn’t quite go as planned, so I hope that this strikes a chord with readers. Also, I love a good drama with a mix of stories, so I thought I’d stray from the traditional format of girl-meets-girl-loses-girl-wins-girl-back.

My early readers have all described the book as like being dropped in the middle of a lesbian soap opera, which sounds good to me! They’ve also all liked the fact that it deals with women in their late 30s/just turning 40, and that it rattles along at a pace.

Plus, apparently one particular sex scene made one of my friends blush on the tube. That has to be a good sign.

Can readers expect the same kind of humour and characters in your new book as your best-selling London Calling?

While there is humour in the new book, this novel is far more tense than London Calling. Everyone’s a few years older and if you put nine people in a house together for five days, fireworks are bound to fly. But there are still a good chunk of one-liners because even in adversity, humour is a potent weapon.

As for the characters – yeah, I think they’re fairly similar as I like to reflect the world I see around me. The key change this time around is that everyone’s lesbian or gay – I’ve left the families at home.

How do you think your work differs from other lesfic works of the same genre?

london callingMy books are quintessentially British, but I hope they appeal across the board. My aim when writing is to reflect the world around me – I’ve no plans to write a historical novel or set one in space. I like realistic characters, realistic situations, a generous slug of humour and snappy dialogue. I hope all of those things make me stand out from the crowd.

Are you nervous about following up such a well-received debut?

Yes! When you release your first book, you never know how it’s going to do – mine did incredibly well and I’m thrilled that so many people bought it and enjoyed it. I’m hoping they enjoy The Long Weekend just as much – fingers crossed!

How’s life as a writer?

Writing is fantastic and frustrating in equal measures, but when you’re on a writing roll you do feel invincible. Self-publishing two novels has been a tremendous learning curve, but it’s also an awesome adrenaline rush when things work out. I don’t think I’ve had a better year in my life than 2014, releasing two novels and getting married too.

What I’ve learnt is that writing the book is only half the battle – it’s the marketing that’s the next step. I’ve done a book trailer for this book with the help of a friend, and am going to try a couple of other new things too – we’ll see what works.

One terrific surprise has been the fabulous community of lesbian authors and readers who’ve been very supportive. If I ever have a question, someone can usually answer it which is a fab bonus.

What’s next in the works?

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropSo many people contacted me about my character Kate in London Calling – they all wanted to know what happened to her. So I’ve decided to write Kate’s story. It’s a follow-on from London Calling, not a sequel. Jess & Lucy and the families will be waltzing around the place, but the next book will concentrate of Kate’s search for love. I’m excited about it – I’m about a third of the way through it.

Where else can eager readers find your work in the meantime?

As well as my first novel London Calling, I’ve also got two short stories in two separate anthologies coming out this month too. Busy month, November.

First, my story A Champagne Christmas is included in Unwrap These Presents, an anthology from Ylva Publishing. Second, my story Once Upon A Caravan is included in L is For…, the charity anthology in aid of R U Coming Out which features oodles of UK lesfic authors.

Any readings coming up?

Funny you should ask! Myself, Angela Peach, Karen Campbell and Katie Bennett-Hall will be reading from the L is For… anthology in London on November 13th, so if you fancy coming down to Bar Titania on Charing Cross Road from 6pm, that would be awesome. If we’re not enough of a draw, there will be cocktails too. And possibly cake.

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Thanks Clare! Her new novel The Long Weekend is out now on Amazon. The paperback version will be available from Lulu.com from November 18th, and from Amazon in around four weeks’ time. You can find out more from her website.

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