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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Claire Hastie talks about her new book, The Missing Grimoire, and what inspired her story.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

www.jjbarnes.co.uk

I interviewed author Claire Hastie about her life and career, what inspired her to start writing, and the story of her new book, The Missing Grimoire.

Tell me a bit about who you are. 

Claire Hastie on The Table Read
Claire Hastie © Julie Broadfoot – www.juliebee.co.uk

Hi, my name is Claire Hastie, and I live in East Kilbride, Scotland. I am a mother to my teenage son, Evan, and to Chihuahuas, Oshin and Diego, and long-term partner to Will Gray. We are both Celts, with Will being Irish.

When did you first WANT to write a book?

 Ever since I was a child.  I have never wanted to do anything else but be an author.

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When did you take a step to start writing?

I started writing short stories after my mum and dad bought me a typewriter at the age of eleven. I would write these for close family.  But it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties, when I attempted my first novel, Bad Trip, a paranormal thriller. It ended up being 180,000 words long! Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately – it remains on my hard drive never to see the light of day.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

Based on my YA fantasy novel, The Guardians of The Athame, the idea came to me back in 2013.  I would scribble ideas down, but it would be a few years later when I actually began to write it. The book was finalised after a few changes to the story and characters within the next three years.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

The Missing Grimoire only took me a year to write. I found it easier than the first, as I had pre-planned my series ahead. I guess this is another reason why it took so long for The Guardians of The Athame to be written – I had used that time planning the next four in the entire series. I wrote during the first lockdown in the early stages of 2020. Although I worked all the way through lockdown, being a key worker, I am proud to say I made the time and effort.

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Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Missing Grimoire?

This is hard, as the fantasy genre is not what I intended to write! I read a lot of psychological thrillers and horrors and have written three (unpublished) on this genre, so this was unusual for me.  But whilst visiting Glenariff in Northern Ireland, where my book is based, it brought out my inner child, reimagining all of the magical stories I loved while growing up.

What were your biggest challenges with writing The Missing Grimoire?

I guess with every writer, it has to be finding time along with a full-time job and looking after the family and home. But writing a book based in another country can also be challenging. But thankfully the beauty of fiction and fantasy, is having your imagination to create your own world wherever you may be.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

The Missing Grimoire by Claire Hastie on The Table Read
The Missing Grimoire

I wanted Luna Green to be different from the other children at Blackhill Manor. Being a Wiccan myself, I had to have witches as characters so I could relate to them. I guess Luna reminds me of myself at that age. Although she is half witch, there is more to learn about her heritage.

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Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

Being a fan of vintage horror, I had this vision of Vincent Price playing evil warlock, Jonas Schmidt, crossed with occultist, Aleister Crowley. Jonas is a powerful occultist himself, who learns from his mentor, Bastian Hans, discovering the evil realms and the ancient powerful athame in which to reveal them.

What is the inciting incident of The Missing Grimoire?

The children’s search for the missing crystals, leads them into ‘other’ dangers, as well as meeting new beasts, good or evil upon their travels. But one major incident leads Luna Green into a life-threatening situation, after she is bitten by a shapeshifter. This leaves her with the creature’s venom running through her veins. If a cure isn’t found in time, then she will slowly turn into the evil much like her enemies.

What is the main conflict of The Missing Grimoire?

The children are still learning of their magickal powers, when the damaged portal inside the Dead Forest is seeping out dark entities. It becomes a race against time for the children and their teachers to find the ancient athame and its missing crystals, in which found together will close the portals. Each book in the series, sees the children’s progression as well as a variety of monsters escaping from the damaged portal. These include the shadow walkers and vampiric creatures, the vetalas, whose favourite cuisine just happens to be childrens’ blood!

Did you plot The Missing Grimoire in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I always plan my books ahead of writing, but I usually find as I begin to type, it doesn’t go the way I had intended! But thankfully in my opinion, it usually works out better from the original ideas.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Missing Grimoire need?

My publisher, Cranthorpe Millner has amazing editors, and with my latest book, The Missing Grimoire, I wrote it within a year of lockdown – so yes, I did need help from my editor!

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Just do it, and don’t stop until you have finished your first draft. Even writing the first sentence is an achievement! We all have a story inside us urging us on. And remember, procrastination is part of who we are. There is no such thing as perfection, unless you’re an editor! But seriously, the more you write, you will discover your own style of writing. Don’t try and be your favourite author, just keep being you.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you are planning to write?

I am currently writing book three in the Blackhill Manor series. All in all, there will be five. Hopefully then I can return to my shelved manuscripts. But honestly, I’m having so much fun writing fantasy. And you never know, I might do a follow up series on Luna Green’s adult years, or maybe write about the next generation of magickal pupils at Blackhill Manor.

And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment?

I am very proud. But I won’t lie, there are times where I constantly procrastinate over my work, but this is minuscule compared to the end result. There is no better reward after months of reclusion and tears, to finally holding your very own published copy.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

clairehastieauthor.co.uk

@clairehastieauthor  Facebook

@clairehastie12         Twitter

@clairehastieauthor. Instagram

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