This week I’m delighted to welcome Clare Chase to Inheritance Books. Clare writes for Choc Lit, but I’ve known her through the RNA and Twitter for years.
Hi Clare, welcome to Inheritance Books. (Have some carrot cake, go on. It’s good for you). Tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Rhoda. I write romantic mysteries and my debut novel, You Think You Know Me, was published by Choc Lit at the end of 2014. It’s set in the arts world, in London, with a denouement in the Lake District. I’ve always had a passion for both mysteries and love stories, and relish doubling the intrigue by interweaving the two.
My non-writing ‘career’ has been, let’s say, eclectic… Amongst many other things, I’ve practised creative writing in the world of PR, and done some Miss Marple-style studying of human nature whilst running a prison reading group.
I live in Cambridge with my family, and my current day job is at the Royal Society of Chemistry. (I’m actually an English grad, but I sneaked in to work for their fundraising arm!)
Which book did you inherit from the generation above? Why is it special?
When I was about twelve, my mother started to ‘encourage’ me to read I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. It almost didn’t become an Inheritance Book at all, she was so keen to get me to try it. I felt she must be over-egging its wonderfulness and didn’t think the title sounded that exciting. I’m so glad I opened it up and saw how right she was. Who could resist the first sentence: ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’? I’ve re-read it many times since: a wonderful, bitter-sweet coming of age story that’s both funny and touching. The feelings Smith deals with are universal, but the context she puts them in is out of the ordinary. The setting of a decaying house, grafted on to a fourteenth century castle, is just as memorable as the array of eccentric characters. From the major to the minor, they live on in my head in colourful detail. It was the perfect book to discover during my teenage years.
Which book would you leave to later generations? Why?
I’d like to pass on a classic of romantic suspense, Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart. For me, it has the perfect mix of love interest and mystery, and my spine still tingles when I remember the scene when Gianetta, the heroine, realises who the murderer is. Needless to say, she’s alone with him at this crucial moment… The final piece of the jigsaw slots in so chillingly. Stewart also made excellent use of settings, and you can travel the globe whilst reading her books. Wildfire at Midnight takes advantage of the rugged landscape of Skye, which is perfect for instilling a feeling of isolation. She made me fall in love with my chosen genre, and convinced me that escapism is good for you! I’d like to pass on that feeling of being drawn away from everyday life, into a world of excitement and adventure.