From Beta Reader to Book Launch

I had the pleasure of attending a very special book launch a few weeks ago. My friend Claire Buss is officially an independent author with a published book!

I’ve known Claire for years now – we met through our book group – and she is my hero of the moment.

Claire entered a competition at Barking Library, called the Pen to Print Book Challenge and wrote her debut novel The Gaia Effect in only five months after being selected as one of the eight finalists. She won second place in the competition, and her prize was a self-published book deal using New Generation Publishing.

The book is about a group of friends living in a post-apocalyptic society where everything is controlled by a corporation -- including the continuation of the human race. But when women start falling pregnant naturally it raises questions about the corporation and the interaction between the characters and the natural world.

Here is Claire answering probing questions about her book and her life as a writer at the launch:

She asked me to be a beta reader, so I read her novel twice – once in the summer of 2015 when I was floating down the Nile on our cruise ship and again this past summer after she had made significant revisions. It was a great experience to give her feedback and see how her writing and the book had evolved.

Claire’s a full-time Mum to son Leo and now she’s also a full-time author, killing it on marketing her book and herself as an indie author. Oh, she’s also an amazing baker, and made a tea loaf-cake thing that was super delicious for our last book group meeting. I don’t know how she does it.

I learned her secret at the book launch: she absolutely loves her new author life. It’s been her dream and you could hear the excitement in her voice as she talked about all the ideas she has for new books, including the one she just finished drafting called The Rose Thief. How much do you love that title? I can’t wait to read it. Hopefully I did a good job as beta reader and will be asked again…

For more information and to buy her book, click here.

Claire is really inspiring me at the moment. I had the day off Friday, straight after the launch, and I got up and wrote first thing. The fact that she’s done the hard graft and is selling books – to people she doesn’t even know – is incredibly inspiring.

In other news, one of my other friends, Thomas Mogford, who’s traditionally published, has a new book out too. It’s the fifth in the Spike Sanguinetti crime series, called A Thousand Cuts. You don’t have to read the other four first though – this one works as a standalone – so buy it and if you like it, you can go back and read the earlier ones. What I like about Tom's work is that his characterization is brilliant - I am really attached to Spike and his clan. And this novel has a fascinating historical fiction element to it as well.

Don't you love the cover? You can judge a book by its cover in this case. I was reading it on the tube and this man across from me kept looking at it, trying to see what it was. I hope he buys it. Check out Tom and his work here.

What clever friends I have. Thanks for the inspiration Claire and Tom!


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