Claire Highton-Stevenson is here. Woot!
She’s giving away a signed copy The Promise to one lucky winner. More details are below.
Please welcome Claire Highton-Stevenson.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
You are very welcome, this is all quite exciting for me… I have only ever been interviewed for a job before! haha
Where were you born and how did you end up in West Sussex?
Well, I was born in London…I should say that’s South London, because it’s the best bit haha but I haven’t lived there for almost twenty years now. Firstly, moving to Kent and then when the commute became ridiculous and I met the woman I would later marry, West Sussex became home. We love it here, we live right between London, Brighton and Gatwick, So its perfect for all kinds of exploits.
Tell us about working for the National Blood Service. What is it and what role did you fill?
So, the NBS is part of the NHS and deals specifically with the collection and delivery of blood here in the UK. My job as a driver was to either collect blood from donor sessions and bringing it back for testing. Then it would be allocated to hospitals around the south-east (sometimes further afield) and we would deliver it. On many an occasion though, it could be an emergency delivery with blues and twos. Never a dull moment really and a job I really enjoyed.
Are any of the characters you’ve created anything like you?
I guess for many authors we all leave an imprint of ourselves within our characters. I don’t deliberately set out to, but I know when my friends have read my books they will often comment that something reminded them of me…
How did you break your leg and how did the unfortunate incident impact your writing career?
Oh gosh, breaking my leg had a huge impact really. Firstly, id never been in hospital for anything more than a sprain before so it was a big deal to have to go through an operation. Though, I was impressed I had managed to get to 40 before needing one! But, I was doing a good deed, helping a friend deliver leaflets for her business and I simply slipped on some ice. The leg that didn’t slip, broke. I had a compound fracture to the fibula and my ankle dislocated. So, now its all held together with pins and plates.
I was off work for nearly 6 months and it gave me time to really start writing a lot. And it has given me the basic first drafts of a lot of stories to work on and maybe publish sometime in the future. It also meant that driving for long periods became painful and I had to make a decision. My wife was hugely supportive and has backed me the entire way with my writing.
I hear you’re an award-winning photographer. Tell us about the award and did anything interesting happen the night of the ceremony.
Haha Yes!! I like to tell people that. To be fair, it was just a local competition, but it was the first one I had entered and I won! So, I am quite proud of it. They had this huge awards ceremony…(about 50 people turned up! Haha) and I had to go and collect my award, but I was still in a cast, so my cousin had lent me a mobility scooter…so there I was on my little scooter collecting my award.
This was the same scooter that my friends insisted would be fantastic to use so I could go with them on a walk, until the battery died and they had to push me back to the car!!
What aspects of LA do you like and why have you set most of your books there?
So, originally, I set OUT in LA simply because of the Hollywood aspect of Michelle’s career and then, it just seemed like a whole universe of characters developed in my head, so I went with it.
I have a lot of friends in LA that I met via the Rizzoli & Isles show. We spent three weeks there in 2016 and had such a fantastic time. Its very eclectic, whatever you’re into, you can find it there. All my ideas about what it would be like went out of the window instantly. And its SUNNY!!! And has a beach!! I just love it…
Tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write it.
The Promise is about a couple, Ali and Susan Jenkins and they are very much in love and planning their future together. That is until Susan is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The story takes us through their journey together and then onto Ali’s journey as she strives to try and move forward. But before she dies, Susan gets Ali to make her a promise, that one day she will open her heart again and let someone else in.
In 1999, my dad was diagnosed with Cancer. He was 49 when he died and my mum never got over it. So, I kind of wanted to write a story of what if? How many other people out there lose a loved one like that? And could they move on and find love again?
Are you attending Ellcon this year and please tell readers who haven’t heard about it yet, what it is?
Yes! Oh I can’t wait, though I am a little nervous because I am intrinsically shy, which I hide well behind being fantastically funny! 😉 So, EllCon is the European Lesbian Literature Convention… Its going to be like a huge Lesfic festival of women talking about books… Glastonbury will have nothing on ELLCon! If you don’t have your ticket yet… get one! Don’t miss out on meeting so many fabulous authors, panels and dare I say… coffee!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Lied to my wife… for a good cause!! Haha, it was her birthday recently and she’s had a rough time of things with one thing and another and so, I thought maybe a surprise party would be fun…and that meant a lot of fibbing in order to get her out of the house for the day while our friends came around and set everything up. It was a great night.
What type of movies/stories do you hate and why? And what’s your all-time favorite book?
I don’t watch anything with animals in it. Dumbo, ET, Bambi… none of it… At school in the UK, when it rains at playtime, they make you watch a video in the hall… it was always The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or, Watership Down!! I was traumatized… I used to cry my eyes out. And don’t get me started about Lassie!!!
But, my most favorite book is The Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl. I just loved how they always got one over the farmers.
Would you consider yourself an honest person?
Haha yes, unless I am organising a surprise! My honesty can get me into trouble at times because I really struggle to lie. Honesty is a really huge thing to me. I think, if someone can lie to you about silly stupid things then they can do it with the big things. Its one thing telling fibs to do something nice for someone, but outright lying for the sake of it… that’s not a trait I like in a friend.
Thanks so much for chatting today.
Thank you for having me, its been fun! And wasn’t half as scary as I thought it might be! Haha
Available in Kindle Unlimited
Release date: March 8, 2018
Ali and Susan Jenkins have it all. Their life together is mapped out on a one-way path to happiness, that is until Susan is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Ali refuses to accept it – her world is shattered.
Susan’s last act of love is to make her wife promise that one day she will open her heart again and let somebody else love her.
But will Ali keep her promise?
MEET THE AUTHOR
Claire Highton-Stevenson is the author of OUT: A Cam Thomas Story, Next: A Cam Thomas Story and, The Promise. She is currently working on her next stand alone and will also be finishing the third installment to the Cam Thomas Serial.
CONNECT WITH CLAIRE HIGHTON-STEVENSON
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Thanks so much for stopping by today.
Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.
Have a fab weekend!