Claire Kann has released several award winning novels on Wattpad. Let’s Talk About Love is her debut YA release from a traditional publisher. I am completely enthralled with its cover. Recently, Claire was gracious enough to agree to an interview. I think you’ll appreciate getting to know her and will look forward to reading Let’s Talk About Love as much as I am. Claire tells us on her website that she “hails from the glorious Bay Area where the weather is regrettably not nearly as temperate as it used to be. She has a BA in English/Creative Writing from Sonoma State University, works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she’s paid to do it.” And, she writes.
Congratulations on your YA debut! How did you celebrate the release of Let’s Talk About Love?
Thank you so much! I live a fairly low-key lifestyle. No parties, no alcohol, in bed by 7pm on work nights, etc. I say I’m like that because it keeps my skin clear and youthful looking, but really, I’m just a homebody. That being said, I spent LTAL’s release day living my most extra life: I spent about four hours driving to every single Barnes and Noble store near me all so I could take pictures of LTAL on the shelf and have dance parties in the aisles. Seeing my book directly under that green and white “Teen Fiction” sign for the first time was an experience I’ll never forget. Literally. I documented the entire day’s journey on Instagram…
I’ve read that you didn’t really think about writing as a career until well into your college years? What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I have very distinct memories of saying I wanted to be a doctor as early as five years old. I don’t remember if I actually wanted to be a doctor or if I had begun parroting my parent’s expectations for me. Anyway, that lasted until I was about twelve and I discovered the sight of blood and wounds made me physically ill. And that was about it.
I had zero career goals or even ideas. Fresh out of high school, I went to college for a single disastrous semester, declaring the major my dad picked out for me. I returned home and worked at various places with no real direction, other than I liked having a place to live and food to eat. I had no drive to better myself. No dreams to aspire to. Nothing. I floated through my own life until I was well into my twenties.
How do you improve yourself as a writer? What are the exercises and activities that you find make you a better storyteller?
This is going to seem counterproductive, but one of my favorite ways to improve my writing craft is by watching movies. I’ve always loved books and reading. However, my visual imagination is quite weak.
While watching (and studying) movies, in all genres, I challenge myself to figure how to translate what I see into words. How can I capture the unnerving tension in a horror film and put it on the page? What words would best describe the perfect first kiss in a romcom? How can I unravel the emotions of a protagonist who reacts to devastating news with only a watery smile? I also think this is why I’m so loyal to the three to five-act structure typically found in screenplays when writing my books.
What gets your creative juices going; what motivates your creative imagination?
Asking: ‘what if?’
Contemporary fantasy and horror are the loves of my creative life because I can never resist infusing magic (and despair) into the world as I know it all so I can travel along with my characters as they seek out and cling to hope. All of my stories must end with hope.
I am completely drawn in by the cover of Let’s Talk About Love! From her posture, to her hair to her ebony glow, I’m with her 100%. Tell me, who is Alice and what give her so much joy?
This seems like a cop-out of an answer, but she’s just naturally happy. She’s still young, sheltered, and a little childish. She has an intense desire to learn, grow up, and be her own person. She’s not afraid to ask for help and is figuring out how to protect he heart without locking it away forever. She wants to live her best life, no matter how that looks, and surround herself with people that she loves and who love her.
Love is the absolute driving force in her life.
Black girl sexuality just hasn’t been a topic of conversation in YA literature in the United States. Let’s Talk About Love opens 2018 with an asexual, African American girl who not only is a main character but, who also represents herself on the cover of her book. How tough was it to write about her sexuality? How do you decide how much of an issue to make it?
Writing about Alice wasn’t hard at all because I knew her. Writing the book itself and building the world she had to navigate through was where I ran into trouble. It’s a contemporary novel so the world of the book reflects the world as it exists and this world is not kind to Black girls, doubly so for queer Black girls. To write what I believed to be an authentic experience, there had to be some struggle involved, but I made damn sure Alice was never defined by it. She is her own person, whole and flawed and joyous.
For whom do you write?
Queer Black kids, fat girls, the odd ones out, and all the intersections in between.
Readers who need to escape their lives for a few hours.
What are you looking forward to reading in 2018?
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert
The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Connect with Claire
- Website: clairekann.com
- Instagram: @KannClaire
- Twitter: @KannClaire
- Wattpad: @ClaireKann