#Read about Guest #Author Claire Luana…

Claire Luana SMALLHi, I’m Claire. I like to color inside the lines. Writing my first young adult fantasy novel has one proverbial scribble across the page of life…and you know what? It feels pretty good! 

I grew up in (and still live) the Pacific Northwest, which I analogize to a dysfunctional relationship. Nine months out of the year, you wonder why the heck you stick with this person when they treat you like crap, but once summer arrives, and the sun hits the snow-capped peaks of the Olympics and glints off the blue water of Puget Sound, you know you could never, ever leave. Most of my hobbies revolve around being outside and enjoying my lovely home state of Washington. 

So, what should you know about me? I’m a disciplined, Type-A, achieving type. Ergo, I went to law school. I hate the sight of blood, so a law degree was the obvious choice. Currently, I’m a commercial litigation lawyer at a mid-sized law firm. That means I fight over money for a living. I do a lot of work helping banks get money back when people don’t pay their loans, which is just as un-sexy as it sounds. But I do get to write a lot. Way more than you would think! Which is the best part of being a lawyer. I also get to be in court, which, though it’s nothing like tv, is still an adrenaline rush and pretty fun. I get to say things like “I object, your honor.” So it has that going for it.  

But I’m also a millennial. Which means that I want my profession to fill me with meaning and inspiration! I want to “have it all.” And helping banks get their money back from people, though important and necessary to an orderly working of society, isn’t as inspirational and meaningful as you might think. Shock, I know.

Which brings me to my author alter ego. I’ve always loved to read. When I was a kid, my mom had to limit my weekly library haul to 20ish books, because that was all we could carry. It was tough to choose just 20 books for the week, but what can I say, I suffered through it. So when I was pondering what to do with my life if I wasn’t practicing law, being a fiction writer was the obvious choice. And, because us millennials have been told we can be an astronaut dinosaur or whatever we want to be when we grow up, when faced with my new-found revelation, I said: I’m going to do that. Be an author. But of course I still need to make money (see above re: coloring in the lines), so I decided to both.

It’s almost exactly two years since I decided to write my first novel. I had no experience or background in writing novels. I did a lot of google research. I still do a lot of google research. I discovered a lot of surprising things about my process. (What, I’m a pantser? How is that possible? I’m such a control freak!) I tried to take it one layer at a time. Step one: Figure out plot! Step two: characters? How do I do those? And so on. I wish I had more time to study craft or get some more formal training. But my time is limited, so I have chosen to learn by doing. 

LUABAMOONBURNERkindle     LUABABURNINGFATEkindleFIRE

To date, I’ve written two novels, one of which is being published this month, and a prequel novella which I am giving away for free if you sign up for my mailing list at www.claireluana.com (a little plug there!). Moonburner, my debut YA Fantasy novel, is being published through Soul Fire Press, a division of Christopher Matthews Publishing. CMP and Soul Fire are hybrid publishers, and I’ve had a really positive experience. I decided to go the indie route mostly because I am impatient. I didn’t want to wait years to get an agent, then more years to find a publisher, with no actual promise of either. The hybrid route has been great for me because I got the nice ego-stroking of someone saying “this is good,” (hey, you totally need that as a first-time author!) and I didn’t have to spend the time to hire all my own freelancers and figure out the self-publishing process. Just figuring out how to launch a book is stressful enough!  

Time definitely comes at a premium for me. It’s a constant struggle to find time to write and edit on top of a full time job. Sometimes it is discouraging when I have to pass up fun activities or sunny days to sit in and write, but giving it up isn’t an option! It’s that thing they say about finding your passion, right? (Which mostly just makes people working jobs they don’t like feel even more depressed about not finding that magical unicorn job.) But…I think there is something to it. Even when I am most grumpy and resentful of my author obligations, I still LOVE it. 

I know so many other authors out there feel the same way. They are slaving away at two jobs, getting up at 5 am to write before the kids wake up, staying up late to market or help each other out. There is a community and camaraderie about the indie author scene that is fantastic. So kudos to all of you. I can’t wait to meet more of you, and I’m happy to be among your ranks!

Find me online at:

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