Are you a daydreamer too?
Yes. It’s part of the job!
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, deep down, though I didn’t start writing seriously until I was in my 30’s.
Tell me about your novel:
The Coffin Path is a gothic novel set on the Yorkshire moors in the 17th century. The story follows Mercy Booth, a somewhat unconventional woman who runs her aging father’s sheep farm. Her isolated world is rocked by the appearance of a mysterious stranger, and even more mysterious events. It’s a ghost story of sorts, with a big nod to Wuthering Heights.
How did you get the first flash of inspiration for this book?
Inspired by writers such as Michelle Paver and Sarah Waters, I wanted to try my hand at a historical ghost story. I’d moved back to the north of England, where I was born, and was reconnecting with the landscape in and around Brontë country. One day, I was out walking the moors when a fog came down very quickly. I was alone, it was almost silent and very eerie, and I thought – this is the opening scene of the book!
How extensively do you plan your novels?
I always start with a plan, but it changes as I go.
Do you ever use dreams as a source of inspiration?
Not yet, though I do sometimes get ideas in that halfway space between sleeping and waking.
Where do you write, and when?
Preferably first thing in the morning, somewhere quiet with natural light and a view of greenery and sky. Once I’m editing I can work anywhere, so long as it’s quiet. I’m not one of those writers who can concentrate in cafes or on trains; I’m too distracted by other people’s conversations.
What is your favourite part of writing?
I love the beginning of a project when it’s all about research and fresh ideas, before a word is even written. It’s so exciting. I also like editing, when I know my characters inside out, the bulk of the work is done and it’s all about making it as good as possible.
What do you do when you get blocked?
Go for a walk, do some exercise, call a friend. Move my body and do something to get outside of myself.
How do you keep your well of inspiration full?
Reading mostly – fiction and non-fiction. Last year I made an effort to read outside my comfort zone. I picked up books that were recommended to me, authors I’d never tried and different genres. I enjoyed it so much, I’m continuing. Also, getting outside in nature, visiting museums, galleries and historical sites all helps.
Do you have any rituals that help you to write?
Lots of tea.
What is your advice for someone dreaming of being a writer too?
I’d repeat the advice that a good friend gave me early in my career when I was contemplating writing the novel that would become my debut, The Crimson Ribbon: just write the book. There is no short cut.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a novel set in New Orleans. It’s too early to say more! Last year I received a Fulbright Scholar Award, which enabled me to relocate to New Orleans for 12 months, so I’m spending a year researching and learning as much as I can about the city, its history and culture. I hope this amazing adventure will result in a trilogy of novels. Check out my Instagram to see what I’m up to! @klclements
Read my review of her latest book here: