Author Interview: Claire McFall & "Twitter review"

Today I have author Claire McFall on the blog. Claire released her debut novel Ferryman this month. I had the prilvege of reading an ARC of Ferryman. Here is my quick "twitter review" i.e. 140 characters or less! 
"I loved it. Could not put it down! McFall has created great characters, a romance I loved and a landscape that is fresh. Highly reccommend!"
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The Author: Claire McFall
Hmmm… me. Well, as well as being a writer, I’m an English teacher in the Scottish Borders. I live with my hubby and my pooch in a teeny town with an awesome ice-cream shop (my favourite is the double fudge!). I like to run; outside when it’s sunny and warm, inside when it’s not – and that’s where I come up with a lot of my story ideas. I think running must be good for brain activity or something, because cool new stories just tend to pop into my head when I’m not actuallytrying to think! It’s just as well I like to run, because I have a really sweet tooth. I love cakes and sweets and biscuits and chocolate and toffee and desserts and – above all things – Haribo!

The green-eyed monster is an incredible motivator! I wrote all the time when I was at school, bashing out pages upon pages on an ancient typewriter (yes, really – a typewriter) before I graduated to an
ancient desktop computer that now probably belongs in a museum. When I went to university, however, I just fell out of the habit, and it wasn’t until a friend started writing and finished a novel, that I gave myself a shake and got back into it. I was jealous – I wanted to write a book! – and once I got started again, I remembered how great it was to disappear into a story-world inside my head. Now I can’t stop!

The Book- Ferryman!
The idea for “Ferryman” started because I couldn’t get a scene out of my head. It was a really small scene – a character waking up in the dark… all alone when they should have been surrounded by people. I kept imagining it over and over again, adding details, until I had it written in my head and it seemed silly not to put it down on paper somewhere. Then, slowly, it just grew arms and legs. Why was she there? Where did everyone go? What would she do now? What would I do if I was in her shoes? A tiny bit at a time, the story started to click into place until Dylan came to life, and then the wasteland. And finally Tristan.

Can you describe your protagonist Dylan in less than 140 characters?
A mass of contradictions! She’s tough but scared; confident but unsure; she thinks she’s antagonistic but really she’s sweet.Basically, she’s just like the rest of us! (That was way harder than I’d thought it’d be! 140 is not a lot of characters!)

Why should we pick up Ferryman?
Well, I’m biased obviously, but because it’s a really good read! It's got something for everyone, I think. The storyline is fairly epic: it’s an incredible journey that’s sometimes funny and sometimes
sad, sometimes scary and sometimes thrilling, and filled with tension. You get to go on this amazing voyage with Dylan, and watch her struggle… but grow. And then there’s Tristan. Sigh. It might be
worth reading it just for Tristan. I know I created him, but I couldn’t help but falling a little bit in love with him along the way (sorry hubby!).

Some fun book questions:

Favourite genre and why?
I like dystopian stuff – you know, where it’s end of the world as we know it and everything’s gone to ruin. I’m not an anarchist or anything (honest!), I just really like the idea of being stripped of
everything except our wits and having to survive without all the home comforts we’ve come to love. I also think it makes for great action and tension, because it pulls the safety blanket away and characters have to discover inner strengths they didn’t know they had.

Favourite YA author and why?
Just one? Okay, then: Malorie Blackman. I was first introduced to her books when I was at university studying a unit on children’s literature and one of the key texts was “Noughts and Crosses”. I couldn’t stop reading it, but more than that, the whole book was an emotional roller-coaster and I cried my eyes out. There are four in the series and, I don’t want to give too much away in case people haven’t read them (and if you haven’t, you should!) but over the course of the series you get to watch society change. The books are a really interesting look at racism, but more than that, they’re just incredible stories. Beyond the Noughts & Crosses series, she has a ton of other amazing books to check out.

Debut author/ upcoming author we should check out?
Not sure if this really counts as it came out last year, but someone put me onto Moira Young’s YA debut “Blood Red Road” and I absolutely loved it. It’s the first of a trilogy and the second novel, “Rebel Heart” was just released at the end of the summer. I put it on my Kindle today (doh! I didn’t realise it was out yet!) and I can’t wait to get stuck in and find out what happened. The novel’s written in a really different style and the dystopian world she creates is incredible. I have to admit I was a bit jealous reading it – I wish I’d come up with the idea! If you like Suzanne Collins, I’d definitely recommend giving Moira Young a try.

Favourite 2012 read and why?
When I joined up with Templar, Helen (my lovely editor) sent me a big pack of goodies, and in it was “Swim the Fly” by Don Calame. On the face of it, it looked quite like a boy-book and I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but I love swimming (though I hate the ‘fly!) and so I thought I’d give it a go. It was hilarious; I laughed so hard I got a stitch! I was on the train at the time, and I got some very funny looks from people frowning over their newspapers… Ah well. Anyway, it’s about a boy called Matt who volunteers to swim the ‘fly at a swimming meet to impress a girl. I can attest to the fact that butterfly is the most hideous swimming stroke invented and totally sympathised with his plight.  However, the funniest bits were the adventures he and his mates got into trying to fulfil their summer
challenge – to see a naked girl.

A book series you love and why?
I know it’s probably a fairly stock answer – but there’s a reason J K Rowling has sold so many books. I love the Harry Potter series. I must have read all seven books at least twenty times… and yet I keep going back to them. The story is incredible, the characters seem like real people, and I can just disappear into that world every time I read them. Genius.
Ferryman is available to buy now!

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