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Interview with Claudia Blood

Her love of epic fantasies led her from life as a research scientist right into that of an award-winning author. With works such as the Relic trilogy, Merged series, and the Supernatural Detective Agency. Claudia Blood’s works cover a wide range of genres and themes that have captivated many.

Juggling her roles as a wife, mom, and pet wrangler doesn’t leave much free time, but what Claudia has is filled to the brim with creating sci-fi and fantasy novels set in worlds that may be slightly familiar and some that are totally unique and new.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
Before kids, I ran a marathon and did a bicycle event that went 103 miles because they messed up the route. And then I had to bike home. It was definitely a pizza for dinner that night. Even though I am not as fit as I had been, post kiddos. I still want to hike the Superior hiking trail from beginning to end. If that goes well, I want to hike the Appalachian trail the same way.

Q.2 What inspired you to write The Relic Trilogy?
I tend to get scenes in my head. If I am curious enough, I write to find out what happens. In this case, I had two scenes that inspired me. The first was a team hacking their way through the jungle. They were desperately looking for something called a Relic, and they had a crazy plan to get some.

They uncovered a vine-covered ruin in a weird/haunted part of the jungle. They broke into the building to find it full of future tech equipment. The one guy, new to the team, figured out how to start it. Sparks of pink and blue lightning filled the room. A ball of lightning grew on the central platform, but instead of a Relic, an 80s aerobic instructor popped into view. No one expected that, and their building started to collapse.

This scene caught my imagination and eventually found a home in the trilogy's second book.

The second scene was of the bad gal, Ravenne. She was on a space station with a whirling vortex behind her. It was a time rift. She wasn't alone in the room. There were people from the crew and an older, colder version of herself. It was a stand-off. Both scenes were enough that I wanted to find out more.

Q.3 Are we going to read more from you shortly? Any new project you’re working on?
I am working on a prequel series to the Relic Trilogy. It's called Renegades Rising, and it is all about Ravenne and her friends. I am still fascinated with Ravenne and what she went through to save her daughter. The phrase "you are the hero in your own story" made me want to find that story she was the hero of.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I actually think it is harder to write types of characters over their sex. I am a believer in bell curves. So all attributes are on a continuum. If you put everyone's attribute on a graph, it would probably form an angle.

Think of it like men are stronger than women on average, meaning their bell curves have the men's peak slightly higher than the woman's. Not to say that there are not women stronger than men, but that, on average, men tend to be.

So I think I have a certain range of things that I am pretty good at writing because I'm in the same part of that curve for that characteristic. So a geeky character is far easier for me to write about regardless of whether they are male or female. But someone who is super alpha is harder for me to get into and write well.

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I do not plan books in advance. I have a seed idea(s) and start writing. Once I have some facts, I use a modified flashlight method. Since I have a vague idea of where I am going and then go from where I am to the next point.

Once I have written enough, I have to go back through and align the structure and thread through the things that have changed since I started writing. I have tried outlining numerous times, but I end up with an outline I have little interest in writing.

Q.6 How long, on average, does it takes you to write a book?
I start and stop on books. So the duration is 6 months to 10 years, depending on the book. Once I get focused and work out what is happening with my crazy process, the actual writing part doesn't take too long.

Q.7 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
Six books so far with five mid-flight. I am going to admit that my favorite book depends on my mood. They each have things I like about them. Today, I really love the last book in the Relic Trilogy, Time Rift. I love how twisty it was. I got to play with time and all the threads from the other books.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would read and play D&D more.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
I could see Duff being played by someone like Justin Long.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing. Tell us about your marketing campaign?
Marketing is hard. I have tried several different tactics for gaining visibility. It's hard to target my readers because I like to mix genres together. My latest attempt is working with Michael Evan to construct a more robust marketing campaign.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
Ohhh, this is hard. I tend to put myself in whatever world I am reading, and I play D&D, so there is a wide range of fantasy races I get to dabble in. If I had to choose, I would love to be a dragon. One of the shifting varieties. I love the idea of flying and having innate magical abilities.

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books at home, who would it be and why?
I think it would be interesting to talk to Atticus from Kevin Hearne's The Iron Druid Chronicles. He's just lived such an interesting life.

Q.13 What three things a reader can expect from your books?
Adventure, mystery, lots of characters

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
I have a soft spot for Rin from the Relic Trilogy. She's labeled a ninja librarian in my head. She is so cool and robotic on the outside and very passionate on the inside. I love how knowledgeable and just kick-ass she is.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
A. Kelly Lambert Greer
did the cover art for all my books. She has been a photographer for almost twenty years and ventured into cover design and virtual assistant services in 2018. I love her and can't recommend her enough.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
I do one of two things. I look up baby names with the meaning I want until something strikes me or use a random name generator until something pops.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do read them. It's hard not to. Imposter syndrome comes out with the good ones, and the bad ones make me want to do better. Well, once I get over the sting.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
So this is going to sound dumb. But I don't actually want to meet many famous people. The issue I have is I know the person I think they are and who they truly are and have no relationship. I'm afraid of ruining my love of the person's work, be it art or writing, by meeting them.

I did have one great experience meeting Darynda Jones. She came to a writing immersion I was at. She was just so down-to-earth and wonderful.

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) have you excited about? What are you reading right now?
I am about to start reading By Demons Possessed by P.C. Hodgell. I very much loved her previous books, so I'm looking forward to reading them.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
I spent much time wanting to write but not writing. It was a constant struggle to make myself write. I decided I needed deadlines and feedback. Over time I found various editors that would work with me. I sent WIPs and tried to learn as much as I could. That spanned years. I also signed up for Nanowrimo to have the challenge of writing a 50k novel in the month of November.

Then a group of my friends decided the best way to actually publish was to push each other to do it. My first story got done-done with that effort. I really wanted to write novels. It's very daunting, considering I'd managed 6k with difficulty. Especially as I tend to complicate things with supernatural elements, science, romance, and mystery all mushed together.

The only reason I think I got my first book done-done was I took out everything but the mystery. I edited At the Cabin to add the supernatural elements that I loved so well. It reassured me at some level that I could complete a longer project. I will confess each book, at some point through the process, is a complete PITA, and I have to trick myself into getting it done.

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