An Interview with Claire Daines
Claire Daines has just had her first Sherlock Holmes novel published and I caught up with her recently.
I very often find it hard to find the time to write, but you have a young family, now extended by one to care for. How do you find the time?
I hold it up at gunpoint! It helps that the three eldest are at school and pre-school five days a week, and I’ve gotten very good at typing one-handed with the baby on my knee.
Are you a structured writer, writing at a set time and place? Do you just open up the laptop and let it come to you?
Not structured in the least, but my family always knows where to find me: constantly tapping away on my laptop at the dining room table, one of the few spaces available for writing. I hate to feel like I’m not achieving anything, so I usually keep several projects on the go at once. If I run out of steam for one, I can switch to another. I also make sure to carry pen and paper with me if I’m going out anywhere.
Why Sherlock Holmes?
You know how certain characters just stay on your radar all your life, and you can spot a reference to them a mile off, no matter how slight? For me, Sherlock Holmes has always been that character. The very first Holmes story I ever read was ‘Silver Blaze’ when I was still in primary school. It was in a book of various mystery stories: Father Brown, the Thinking Machine, and so on. I must have read that book a thousand times while growing up – it’s probably still in my parents’ attic somewhere. Funnily enough, the next major ‘Holmes moment’ that I recall was at 10 years old, watching Michael Caine blunder about beside Ben Kingsley’s Watson in ‘Without A Clue’!
I love Sherlock Holmes because of his brilliant mind, but also because he is so obviously not a mere ‘brain without a heart’. His humanity is clear in every story, despite the cold, logical façade he tries to present – which itself is such a very human thing to do!
Your novel ‘A Study in Regret’ has now made its way into the world. How did the premise of this work come to you?
To answer, we have to travel back in time to the beginning of 2012. I had recently found a certain fanfiction website, and was blown away by not only the sheer quantity, but also the quality of some of it. After reading Discworld for several days straight, I turned on a whim to the Sherlock Holmes section in the hope that it would be just as good… and oh, it was! Some of those authors, I could barely tell the difference between their writing and Doyle’s, and I loved being able to read all those wonderful new adventures. With one particular writer, ‘Aleine Skyfire’ (who is now my best friend and co-author!), I was waiting impatiently for each fresh installment of the Holmes serial she was writing. After reading one chapter in floods of tears, I found myself idly wondering what it would be like for Holmes if Watson hadn’t survived Reichenbach…
Read the full interview here.
Sherlock Holmes and A Study In Regret is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone).