Today I welcome author Claire Buss to be the first person to feature in A Life In Books. She had her first published The Gaia Effect in 2015.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I am a stay-at-home mum, avid reader, cake baker and sci-fi & fantasy writer. My husband, little boy and I currently live in Barking but we should be moving soon, it’s all very hush hush! I love the hecticness of trying to be super mum, super wife, star baker, famous author and prolific reader – not sure I manage to tick all the boxes but that’s all part of the fun. My debut novel, The Gaia Effect, was released December 2015 and I am currently editing a humorous fantasy novel called The Rose Thief.
1. What was your favourite book from childhood?
Favourite books from childhood include all the Famous Five & Secret Sevens as well as anything else I could find by Enid Blyton, the Swallows & Amazons series, the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, Animals from Farthing Wood series & Watership Down by Richard Adams, the Chalet School series, Dr Doolittle, the Anne of Green Gables series, Narnia series, The Hobbit & LOTR, The Railway Children and those are just the ones of the top of my head!
2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?
I remember finding the Point Horror series and reading those whilst scaring myself silly! It was also at this time that I discovered the science fiction and fantasy section of the library so I began to read books by Piers Anthony, Greg Bear, I discovered Terry Pratchett, Katherine Kerr, Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, Sara Douglas among others and that genre love just grew and grew staying with me. I remember borrowing great big huge fantasy books that had six or so in a series and them being too big to fit into my school bag and having to juggle all these books on the bus on the way home – and of course starting to read one of them. Harry Potter came out while I was late teens, early twenties so of course I’ve read those, several times!
3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
I loved Shakespeare, I found him easy to understand and to critique, I excelled at English Literature coming top of the year at both GCSE and A-Level. We read Macbeth, Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing. I also remember doing Tess of the d’Urbervilles and enjoying that as well. I have to admit that although I read all the set books at school, I had usually finished them before class discussion began and so used to read something else within the covers of the set book. I’m sure my teacher knew but he also knew I would be able to answer questions intelligently so he just let me get on with it.
4. What is your favourite classic book?
My favourite classic book would be Great Expectations by Charles Dickens although I also loved reading The Pickwick Papers. Little Women by Louisa M Alcott had a huge impact on me as well.
5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?
There are a few. When you read fantasy series you do get very emotionally involved especially with something like Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, there are 14 books in the series and the last three were writing posthumously with Brandon Sanderson (another fantasy writer) after Jordan died from cancer. Then there was the final Discworld book by Sir Terry Pratchett which they released unfinished, yet you could see how brilliant it would have been. I really enjoyed I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh and April Skies by Ian Ayris. Red Rising, Golden Son and Morning Star by Pierce Brown, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, The Girl With All The Gifts by MA Carey, The Rosie Project by Don Tillman, The Martian by Andy Weir, On Writing by Stephen King, The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy – I could probably go on and on!
6. What book to you think you should read but never get round to?
I always see these list of 100 books you should have read and I always think to myself, I must have read loads on there but I never have. I only recently read To Kill a Mockingbird and have to admit to not thinking much of it. Grapes of Wrath is one that pops up a lot. And I haven’t read many of the books that got turned into movies, they always say the book is better don’t they.
7. What do you consider to be your favourite book ?
My favourite book is that one you read over and over and over right? Well it’s Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, book 1 in the Wheel of Time series. My favourite collection of books that I read over and over and over are Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.
8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
Several! Despite my leaning towards the sci-fi, fantasy genre I will read anything and belong to a more mainstream book club. A lot of what they pick I don’t finish, there are so many books out there I think if it hasn’t grabbed you in the first 100 pages then don’t waste anymore time on it – you’re not going to like everything.
9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you?
Ah! That’s horrible. Ok … well….I have 1800 books on my Kindle and the Kindle sort of looks like a book right? And let’s say this one is solar powered so I’ll take my Kindle and…Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, but not my copy as I don’t want it to get ruined.
10. Kindle or Book?
I prefer book BUT kindle has it’s place – great for trips when you can’t decide what book to take, great for the tube and also for reading whilst walking, which I do a lot.
Please see below for links to Claire’s social media and her book The Gaia Effect.