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Welcome to South Coast

By Claire Merchant

Welcome to South Coast—or should I say, ‘Welcome to the inside of my mind’?

To you, it may be the setting for a novel that you read—or eight that you have read since I have published seven paperback novels and an eBook in the last three years. To me, South Coast is my entire world. It is a place that makes sense to me and where all my friends live. I may have published seven books, but I have written a total of twenty-five; plus, I am currently working on four new stories too. I don’t know how many words there are all together, but it’s a lot.

Where do my stories come from? How do I think of them? I get these questions a lot and they are something that I find really difficult to answer without sounding crazy. It’s true that some ideas spark from the world around me, but it’s not often that an entire novel just occurs to me. It takes work and it takes knowing who you’re writing about. My stories are not books, they are characters. My main characters are my stories, and whatever happens in the story only happens because the character makes it happen. They exist. They are real. My characters are figments of my imagination before they are written into a book. I know them and they talk to me, they tell me their stories, and they trust me to put into words the things they have experienced.

People have asked me a lot over the last few years if I ever get confused since I’m always mulling over several ideas at the time. But no, I don’t get confused because they’re different voices, they’re different friends. For sure, sometimes I lose track on what I’m up to since I think faster than I sometimes have the opportunity to write. But on a whole, I can focus on each story at a time—unless of course another character is visiting the other story. This tends to happen a lot in South Coast because it’s a small city, just like the one I live in. Perth, Western Australia. You know how people say there is six degrees of separation in the world? Well, in Perth, and in South Coast, there is probably only three degrees.

It’s funny though, because even after twenty five novels, I’m not worried that I’ll ever run out of stories. Stories are what keep me alive, they keep me going. Like a shark who drowns if it stops swimming. The world is filled with stories, and as I grow, my ideas and characters develop and change—they evolve. I am different writer now from when I first started writing when I was twelve. I have experienced more so am better able to write about more. One thing that I rely on in life is change, and through change, my ideas flow like water. I am a writer, I bleed words.

_______________

Claire Merchant’s newest book, A Lady Born, A Pirate Bred, was released on May 26th. She is also the author of Mistry by Moonlight, Midnight Mistry, Forever Ruby, South Coast Son, Knowing Nora, and Foresight, with more books coming out in 2016! Claire’s books are published through Pegasus Publishers.

 

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