Apr 30 • 33M

C. S. E. Cooney Talks Saint Death's Daughter (Part 1)

Julia Rios
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I invited the amazing C. S. E. Cooney to talk with me about her journey to publication (a journey that lasted 12 years!) for Saint Death’s Daughter. We had a long talk, and she answered a lot of questions from my patrons and subscribers, who had the chance to send in their specific questions ahead of time. Here is the first part of the interview, which you may listen to, or read a transcript below!

The cover for Saint Death's Daughter, showing the profile of a woman with flowers and knives and a padlock in her hair
The cover of Saint Death’s Daughter by C. S. E. Cooney

If you have not already devoured Saint Death’s Daughter in one day, like I did, I encourage you to check it out! It’s available as a printed book, an ebook, and an audiobook, and Claire does her own narration for the audio version!


Julia
Hello and welcome to the OMG Julia Podcast, where we talk about creative lives and processes. I'm your host, Julia Rios, and with me today is special guest C. S. E. Cooney. Welcome!

Claire
Thank you Julia! It's lovely to be here.

Julia
So C. S. E. Cooney, also known as Claire, is a wonderful writer of fantasy short fiction, long fiction, and, most recently, the novel Saint Death's Daughter. Claire, do you want to introduce yourself a little bit and tell people a little bit about your writing career as a whole?

Claire
I feel like I have been writing fantasy since I was pretty young—fifth or sixth grade, I would go around in circles around the playground with the two friends that I had and just tell them stories that I would then fill notebooks full of. The first ones were like, one was called My World and the sequel was Animal World.

And then, in high school, I would name all my friends ridiculous, long, elven names made out of all of the words they liked the best. Like, what's your favorite color? What's your favorite jewel? What's your favorite flower? And then I would Smush them all together and then they'd get names like Erazellalzenarayneraniananamavario. And they'd come from a house and they'd have this backstory, and they all thought that one day I would write this epic trilogy called The Elven Story. But what I guess I was doing is what most people were doing: playing D&D with their friends. But I didn't know about D&D, so I was sort of doing the same thing like with my own imprimatur. It was more like out loud oral storytelling, having adventures or like parallel lives to the lives we were leading as high schoolers.

But I think when my father introduced me to the person who became my mentor, I was about 18. I'd, you know, been writing and rewriting two or three different novels throughout high school, and one of the gentlemen who was in my father's congregation—my dad is a director of music and liturgy at St. Anne's church—one of his congregation members was Gene Wolfe, who was a renowned science fiction and fantasy writer.

But of course me at 17 or 18, I don't know from Gene Wolfe!

Actually, that's not true. You know you’ve got the stack of books your friends lend you, and my friend Lydia had let me one, and it was on the top of my book stack, and I was flying out from Phoenix to see my dad in Chicago as I did periodically summers and winters, and I grabbed the first one off my book stack, read it on the plane, and it happened to be Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe! But at that time I never paid attention to authors because they didn't matter. The stories mattered, and the only time I tried to remember an author's name was if I liked the story enough and wanted to get more of that. Then it was sort of more like a tagging system, you know, but I never thought of them as people…

So he introduces me to Gene and we go to dinner with Gene and Rosemary and my dad and my stepmom, and Gene made me feel so comfortable that by the end of the evening I was like, “Can I send you my novel?” Just like you do when you're 17 or 18, and I just remember the look on his face so clearly, which was like this minor hesitation, and then this warm, “How about you send me the first three chapters? And I can't promise I'll have anything to say about it.” Just like very gentle, and it had me back pedaling, like, “Oh, no, I could just send you one chapter!” You know? Or, “You don't have to!” And he's like, “Go ahead, send three chapters.”

And then I think he only ended up reading one chapter, but he wrote me a five page letter about it. Or three pages. You know, it was a significant letter, and it was typed and it was it was chock full. And that started a correspondence when I went back to Phoenix, and when I moved to Illinois eventually to go to college, our correspondence kept up. We would go to conventions. He took me to my first convention. He taught me how to write short stories. You know, he's like, “You know, novels are great, but in order to build up your byline, you have to write a lot of short fiction. You have to get some credits to your name, and then you can get an agent.” Like, it was the kind of the old fashioned trajectory that he knew that worked for him that he was teaching me.

And it took just about as long as you'd imagine—about 20 years of trial and error. But, you know, in 2015, Mythic Delirium published my first short story collection. Four pieces had been previously published, and one hadn't. It was called Bone Swans, and Gene wrote the introduction for that. And that was maybe I think 15 years after I'd met him, so.

I would say maybe the publication of Bone Swans and the fact that it got the World Fantasy Award was the beginning of my career as it is now, though it took 15 years of doing a lot of different stuff to get to that point. Doing a lot of short stories, writing a lot of novellas, just going to college and going to school for writing and figuring all that out, reading a lot, failing a lot, you know. And then that small press success seven years ago. It's hardly like, hardly seems it could be seven years, on both ends, you know? Both too short or too long.

But I think having having an award and having a collection was what got me, eventually, an agent who could eventually sell the novel I'd been working on for just about as long as I'd been writing anything else, and which is now Saint Death's Daughter. It wasn't then.

It's too late now for Gene to read it. He passed away a few years ago, but he always liked the idea, and at one point several years ago he's like, “That's a good idea. Are you still writing it?” And I'd written a lot of things in the interim, but that one, I think partly because I started writing it as I was still teaching myself to write (which is an ongoing process), but there's a very big difference between you know, 26 and 36, or 40, as I am now.

And you could write a book perpetually, but at least I think the final version of Saint Death's Daughter as it is—I just narrated it, so I now know beginning to end what it is, that it exists as a single unit and not as 16,000,000 ongoing fluid units—I thought, “Okay. This was the best I could do in all the years that I gave to it, and it constantly got better, and it's out in the world, and it is a good and fine work and I'm proud of it. Now, moving on!”

So that's my career in a nutshell.

Julia
I asked my patrons if they wanted to ask specific questions, if they were curious about specific things. So one of the reasons we're doing this interview is I allow my patrons to vote on the kind of content that I post and also, if I'm doing something like this, ask questions of their own. And when I asked them recently what would they like to see more of, they all said, “We would really like to see more writing process posts, and we'd love to see like you talking to other authors, or giving us your own stuff.”

I had done a process post of my own recently, and they were like, “We'd like more stuff like that, and we'd love to hear you talk to other authors.”

Well, I had your book pre-ordered, and I listened to it all in one day, and I was like, all right, this is clearly a good one. I'm going to see if Claire is willing to talk to me about Saint Death’s Daughter. I know that it has a long and complicated process leading up to it and this will be really interesting.

So, I knew that, personally, but I was like all right, what do my patrons want to know? So one person, who doesn't know you at all, asked how you came up with the title of the novel. I thought that was fascinating because, of course, when I first read the draft of it that I read years ago that is not the final version at all, It was called Miscellaneous Stones: Necromancer [Note, after the fact: I think actually it was called Miscellaneous Stones: Assassin the first time I read a draft], and I don't know how many titles you've had, and I don't know how you landed on this one, but if you want to share the story of how this book came to have its title, I'd love to hear it.

Claire
Well, originally it was called Miscellaneous Stones: Assassin, which was meant to be ironic. And the interesting thing I'm learning about ironic titles is that, well, I was never very good at irony anyway, but. I was like trying to be ironic and sophisticated, but you'd have to read the story first to know that it was ironic, and usually a title is part of what gets you to read the story in the first place. So I think that I was going about it a bit backwards in my desire to be more sophisticated and ironic. So, initially, it's the name of the character, Miscellaneous Stones, and the word assassin because she's from a family of assassins. But it's ironic because she's allergic to violence.

So she thinks (this is in the early drafts) that she has to grow up and be like the rest of her family, a slick, awesome, sophisticated assassin, but really, she just projectile vomits anytime like somebody swats a fly near her. You know that was the idea like way back in the first draft the NaNoWriMo draft.

In the interest of not being so obfuscating, I was like, well she actually is not an assassin and the way that the drafts turned out, everybody knows she's a necromancer from birth because of her allergy, so there's really no chance she'd ever think she'd grow up to be an assassin. So let's just call her what she is. She's a necromancer, Miscellaneous Stones: Necromancer.

Of course later as I was researching the word necromancer, the mancy part of mancer is more about prophecy and oracles. And it's like it's prophesying through the dead, like you know some people scry through birds, and some people scry through cards like cartomancy. You know, there's all the mancies and it's really about like trying to tell the future. So necromancy is really about trying to tell the future through the dead, which I think she can do. It's one of her powers.

But really, she's like a death magic. But in this world magic is is part of the religion. It's the more you pay attention to the gods, the more they pay attention back at you, and their attention is what magic is. It's what's called the panthauma, the all-marvel, and panthauma’s what makes good stuff happen. So there's like a give and take, so really, a really good magician is a saint, in that sense that they are devoted to their god and the god is super super devoted back. That god's just pleased somebody's paying attention, because a lot of people (like in our world) in that world, are like yeah, the gods. Whatever. We'll pay attention on the holy days, maybe. Mostly dress up and eat good food, but a true saint is as rare as it ever was, or as nonexistent. At least in this world, they actually exist. That they're devoted. It's like vocation. It's almost fanaticism in some ways.

All of which to say, the truth is it went out on submission as Miscellaneous Stones: Necromancer, and I never even call her Miscellaneous! I call her Lanie because it's easier, and that was an edit that happened perhaps from my agent. It may have been either my current agent or an earlier agent who'd been looking at it was like, “These are mouthfuls. Why don't you shorten their name?” So really, Miscellaneous Stones, it's only when she's talking to herself or somebody's like being very stern who knows her very well, they might call her Miscellaneous Stones, but mostly she's talking to herself, and to everybody else in the text, she's Lanie.

And I know this is a lot. Okay, but so it went out on submission when it was accepted, everybody was super excited, and the editor at the time at Rebellion. Kate Coe, who was a darling and just like would respond to me in all caps in her emails, which was exactly how I think so I was like, “Ooh all caps. We're best friends!”

But one of her suggestions was like, “We're super on board. We like the title, but you really have to know what you're reading in order to understand it. Do you have anything else?”

And I think that I probably had been prepared in some way, like, I had a notion for years possibly that this wasn't exactly the right title. But maybe I was too lazy, or you get really attached, so I had the title almost right away. Knowing that Lanie is a devotee of the goddess of death, Doédenna, and her nickname is Saint Death, and their relationship is that of like best friends, or acolyte and divine, or mother and daughter.

Lanie has a very complicated relationship with mother figures. So. In this grand scheme of the idea of Lanie and her arc that hopefully will have other books in it. But even if it was just this one book, I wanted to give her in this book: she's a daughter. And when you're the daughter of a celebrity, like a god, for example, who you are is defined by who you come from. So it's like, “You’re Saint Death's daughter.” That's how people think of you. That's why you're important.

And I feel like, in that sense, it defines her. It's also something to chafe against, like what else is she besides a necromancer? This is one of the questions. You know, who are you when you're not your vocation? But the the whole arc lends itself to the title. Saint Death's Daughter, Saint Death's Herald, Saint Death's Doorway is a progression of character and duties and power, I think, until you become the doorway through which the dead have passage basically into the god. That's her trajectory in my head, even if she never gets there on the page, which I hope she will.

At least I know, and it makes sense, and I proposed that as a series of titles for a proposed trilogy and they leapt on it. And so there might have been even more titles out there, but that was the first thing that I thought, “Oh I think they'll like this.” And they did! And I didn't have to think about it anymore.

Julia
Okay, so you said you have already future titles planned. Do you actually have book deals for those, or is it something that you're hoping might happen sometime?

Claire
I don't have book deals. I think a few things are just up in the air and I kind of talk to my agent about it a little and he's like let's just see what happens, so it's sort of that. Also, Kate, who was the one who acquired Saint Death's Daughter, has since moved on from Rebellion to do her own thing.

I think that I'm just going to see where this book goes. If Rebellion doesn't end up wanting it for whatever reason, and I'm not sure, I haven't written them yet, then I probably will still write them because I want to. And thanks to you, Julia, you have taught me of the wonderful wide world of self-publishing, which I have dabbled in mostly because of you. Also I have some really great connections with small presses that maybe if I made really big eyes at them and came like a small mouse skeleton with, you know, shiny, dead, undead eyes and blinked my bony eyelashes… Maybe they'd be like, “Okay, Claire I could just maybe do this for you.” Or at least or at least help me package it somehow. I'd probably hire a team or do a Kickstarter or something you know, um maybe not Kickstarter. Whatever is the least evil at the time.

If it comes to that, I feel like I want to tell the story and so… but until I know I'm just going to wait a few months and then I'll ping my agent again see what he thinks. I'm also working on so many other things so it's sort of like, “But I've made a promise in Saint Death's Daughter. I've tried to do two things. 1) I've tried to give a full complete book that stands alone and that, if it leaves you wanting more, it also leaves you satisfied which is a trick, you know. Like, did I pull it off? Did I not? But I feel like I've told a whole story, and left enough threads that, if I never write them, then hopefully there's a team of like fan fiction writers who could take it and run with it. You know? But if I do write it, I've given myself a lot of threads into the future, which, in my head, I have followed out to many different conclusions.

Julia
Yeah, I mean, I think I definitely felt like the ending did tie everything up that really needed to be tied up, in that there weren't so many burning questions that I had at the end that I was like, “Oh no, and now I'm at the end of the book and there's nothing I can do!” Which I feel like happens when you have books that are a series that end in Cliff hangers a lot of the time.

Claire
Yeah I don't like cliffhangers because you know many of our beloved fantasy writers have had these long book deals and then life got in the way and people get bitterly bitterly angry. But there's nothing —you can't force somebody to write, and this one took, you know, twelve years. I don't think the other two will take twelve years, but how many more sets of twelve years do I even have, you know? And at what point will this story not be pertinent anymore? You know, as far as the one I need to be telling as a writer.

Julia
Great questions. So, you mentioned that you're working on a lot of other things, and I know that you're always working on a lot of things. Ah, but this is interesting. I don't know how you're going to answer this one. It's another Patron question. They ask, “What do you do when you're low on ideas?” and I was like I don't know that I've ever known Claire to be low on ideas… But do you get low on ideas? And if so, what do you do?

Claire
I can answer that because up until 2019, I would say, maybe 2015 to 2019, I don't know if I was low on ideas, but it felt… it was that burnt out, like charcoal in the back of the mouth feeling that writing feels like sharpening your teeth on cement, you know? Like that terrible feeling of, “I don't want to, but if I don't, then all of my life to this point has been wasted.” That’s just a terrible place to write in. You know like the burnt out thing.

Um, but once Saint Death's Daughter, which was not Saint Death's Daughter at the time, had been drafted to the fullness of its ability and turned into my agent... So, after eight drafts I sent it to an agent who finally liked it enough to say sure, asked me for two more drafts, took me another year and a half to do… So, that was turned in. And it was also at the end of 2019 when my novella, Desdemona and the Deep, came out. It always ends up that no matter how you try to space them, all your deadlines end up in the same week for projects you've been working on for a decade and a half, or five years, the last three years. It's like it doesn't matter. They just all end up due that same week.

And so Desdemona had gone through its rewrites and its copy edits and it was coming out that July, and for a little bit, there was nothing impending on my plate that needed to be done that anybody wanted and that I had been working on for years already. So I was like, “I am not going to write again until I can do it in joy.”

And I was seriously, like it had been so long since I'd felt joy or had been allowed to work on a new thing. “Allowed” you know in quotes, right? Because you have to finish what you started or else, again, you've —well this is for me; this is my voice in my head— you've wasted the last twenty years of your life and all of the money you spent on college.

But it was a firm like, “I'm not going to sit down every day and try to be disciplined and try to write for the sake of writing. You know? just I don't want to do it. I don't. I don't want to waste my life in that way anymore.” And so I just kind of like didn't for a few weeks. You know, I can't remember how long, but I stared out a lot of windows, and I read romance novels and mysteries.

And, you know, I alarmed a lot of my family who are like, “You can't stop writing! What will you do?”

And I'm like, “Well, something that makes me happy, hopefully!”

And then on the way to an event for Carlos —Carlos is my husband, and it was that was the year Sal and Gabi Break the Universe came out, I think. Either Break or Fix. I think it was Break came out in 2019 and Fix came out in 2020 because it was a pandemic book— it was a Disney event, and it was in the Bronx, it was the Bronx is Reading Book Festival, and I was staring out the window in this car that had been called up for him, very fancy-like, and we were passing rows and rows of houses and the thought came to me. It was a random thought. It was just like, “What if houses were people?” Like just very random, very gentle. And it was that what if moment that I hadn't felt it in so long. I was so surprised by it. I was so delighted. My brain, it was in that feeling of it was so hard to concentrate on anything else with the story that was building almost like a dam behind my eyelids.

I went to bed, wide-eyed in the dark that night, fell asleep, woke up. We were getting coffee and tea in the kitchen, and I was like, “And then this happens in the buh buh buh buh…” But I told Carlos the whole story that had just occurred to me in the last twelve hours or so, and he asked me a lot of questions, and then I sat down and I started writing it longhand, which I hadn't done again for years. And took the time I wanted to. Stopped when my hand got tired. And in a few months, I had a whole novella drafted.

Then I was like, “I'll type that when I feel like it.” And so was like, again, “I'm not going to write anything till I feel like it.”

A few weeks later I had a really cool, funny romcom dream where a girl who was a severe introvert had to go to three different weddings in a single day, and she had to like change into a different bridesmaid outfit for each of them and they were all across town from each other, and I was like, “That would be a really fun plot for a novel if I could manage it.”

And of course me being me, I write fantasy more than romance, though I often have romance elements. And so I was like, “Oh, I could set it in the world of Desdemona and the Deep and Dark Breakers! Ooh, but what if it wasn't in the gilded age equivalent that those stories are in? What if it was like in their 1980s? So what if there are like boomboxes and like space travel? But she's a goblin!”

And then it just went on, and she's a severe introvert, and goblins are sort of —in that world— have a lot of spider-like attributes. So, it's like what if she's like a brown recluse? But like she's super, super introverted. She'll bite you if you come up on her unexpectedly. She's kind of a computer nerd. She grinds lenses. Like you look through the lenses and each lens does different things. So anyway, I just fell in love with her and I wrote this RomCom. Again, just typed it out. It was supposed to be very light and funny, and I did the first draft, and it was done in like two months or so.

And that was 2019.

So I guess that what I do now, if I'm feeling low energy —well, then the pandemic happened and a whole different thing happened— but I try to do a couple things, like 1) write when it feels joyful, but 2) since I often want to write but have low energy, what has worked for me lately is making writing dates with other writers to do a silent Zoom together, like a cafe.

There are whole cafe kind of —like my friends in Chicago have this virtual cafe where people go and they are kind of like hosting for hour sessions and on the the top of the hour everybody chats for about 15 minutes, then they do a timed sprint for 45 minutes that's quiet, and then they'll do that. Maybe that will last 3 hours.

And there's another one that some playwriting friends started, but it starts very rigidly 9:00 every morning and very rigidly closes at noon. And when I need more pressure than I give myself, just like constraint and pressure, I set my alarm for 5 minutes before 9:00, check my email for the link (it comes every day regardless of whether I sign in), and get my butt in the chair so that I'm kind of responsible to somebody. And then I sit and write for that time because those constraints, nobody's making me but the constraints in place, or this kind of social aspect, even though there's not a lot of interaction, have really given me the little energetic boost to get my butt in the chair —sitzfleisch— and to do to do some of that work.

Julia
Okay, so I feel like all of this was amazing and fascinating. But if I boil it down to bullet points, what I've got is if you are feeling overwhelmed because everything has become too much and you can't find joy in your writing, the best thing to do is to actively take a break and not write. And then your ideas will start flowing again once you've actually allowed yourself to relax.

Claire
That's the hope, sure.

Julia
But that seems to be what happened for you?

Claire
Yes.

Julia
Because rest is part of the cycle, I think. I mean, that sort of goes along with the theory of fallow fields and crops. You need to not harvest every single season because if you do your field will just run completely out of rich minerals in the soil.

Claire
Yes, my father called it fertile boredom.

Julia
Okay, so there's that, and then the second thing is: it helps you to have community accountability, and so having friends that are also writing at the same time as you is helpful.

Claire
Yeah, and that's a recent development. That was a pandemic development. I think it started a little bit before, but I didn't notice. It was when Carlos and I both had drafts due at the same time, and we started working together. So, suddenly to have two people and a deadline, it's almost like being in college where right after college it was really hard to write for a little while because there was no expectation of turning anything in, or a certain page number, but before college I wrote all the time! 8 to 10 hours, just for fun, and it was really hard. Like, how do you do that again? How do you want to do that again?

And I never have gotten back to that level of desire and losing myself, except for moments, but like once you have the pressure and the deadline and the expectation. It's really hard to do it just for fun for me. But and with Carlos and I both writing together, it was so pleasurable and so much easier.

And I recently learned a friend, not a friend, an acquaintance. A friendly acquaintance, who I was doing a podcast with through Rebellion, was telling me that she has ADHD and that when she sits with her partner and he's working and very focused and she's writing, she suddenly can focus a lot easier, and that her therapist called it body doubling. And I realized that's probably what was happening with me and Carlos. We were body doubling. And it seems to be what has been helping me the most now, in that kind of… this scattered, like, what day is it? What even is time? Who am I? I was like, “Oh. Other writers are in the world! Dee dee dee dee dee!” You know?

Julia
That's really interesting I find it's this is sort of the opposite for me, and I bring this up because I know that people listening to this are wondering about different processes, and I'm just here to tell you there are so many different processes! And the correct trick is just finding whatever works for you, and it might be different from time to time, but like don't feel like anything is how it always works and has to work that way and if it doesn't you're wrong.

Claire
Yeah.

Julia
But for me, I find that when I try to do group writing type things where it's, you know, 45 minutes of writing and fifteen minutes of chat, whether it's in person or in video or whatever, I am usually way less productive. It's hard hard for me to get into a good zone for work, and I kind of have to do stuff being on my own.

Claire
That's historically been true for me too.

Julia
Before the pandemic, I used to go to my local coffee shop, and I was a regular! The entire staff knew me. They all knew what drinks I liked! Like, I could walk in the door and they'd start making me a drink because they already knew what I wanted. That is how much I was in there. And I would just spend all day.

Claire
I Love that.

Julia
But I would do it on my own, and I just kind of let the the roar of people chatting and drinking coffee around me be background, but I wouldn't have to pay attention to any of it. If I'm there with other people who are there for the same purpose, all of my focus goes out the window. And I don't know why. That's just always been the way it is. So like the body doubling thing doesn't—it's like a distraction instead of a.

Claire
Well, it's so interesting because historically I never could write in a cafe or a library. Carlos is really good at that. But I look at too many people. It's really like I could do it if I put earphones on and made like ocean sounds and almost a shade over my eyes. It's too much and and generally, historically, I've always written alone, so this new development during the pandemic, like something else was happening that was even bigger than my need to isolate and focus, which was always a big need for me.

So the other thing that I do, when I don't want people, is make it beautiful. So, like, light a candle, sometimes I do essential oils, or a smell, or like clear off my desk. Right? Handwrite, use a different ink, you know. Or like just something that makes it different. And make it beautiful. To make it ritual, almost, so that it's a different space. So that it's pleasurable, or sensual, to do the thing rather than drudgery.

Julia
That's really interesting. Do you find that the environment that you create for your writing affects what you put on the page?

Claire
I don't know, but I would say that it's harder or easier depending on the environment to write at all. I like having a window to look out of. It's harder for me to pay attention if I'm looking at a wall. So, I would say all of the things that make it easier to get my butt in the chair. It's sort of like if it's attractive to be in the chair, then it's easier. But if it's sort of like, ehhh, I have to settle, and I have to be here, and I have to like shade my eyes and hide my ears, and like not pay attention to all the people around me. You know, I can get stuff done, but historically, I would say it's easier to do nonfiction blogging administrative work in that situation. Like, I can do administrative work at a cafe but fiction really really hard to do.

I am audience motivated just like I'm food motivated. So if I know like my mom has heard the last chapter and she's like, “What's going to happen next?” That also motivates me to write because I've always read aloud my work. The instant I've written a sentence, I'm like, “Listen to this, guys!”

So that's another thing that works for me, but some people would be… like I think for you, the idea of somebody immediately listening to your first draft would be so horrifying that it would stop you from writing, so that's where we're different, too.

Julia
I'm a “not sharer” so I did the recent process post about one of the stories that I had written, and that was a really big step for me, because it was, “Okay, well, you want to know about what I was thinking, and I'm going to share with you things that feel very close and personal about like my process and my life.”

Claire
Yeah. Yeah.

Julia
And my first drafts feel that way. I'm like, “What, you want to see… you want to like open up my insides and look at them? I don't think that sounds comfortable.”

Claire
And for me, it's like, “Look at me! It's all sequins in here!”


And that is where we’re leaving off for this episode. Next time we’ll get into how many drafts Claire typically writes for a project, what her agent search was like, how the final version of the book changed over time, and what it was like to narrate the audiobook version. Thanks so much for listening. If you want to have the chance to ask your own questions, or request specific kinds of posts from me, consider joining my patreon which is at patreon.com/juliarios, or my substack, which is at omgjulia.substack.com All patrons and subscribers get early access to every piece of creative work I commission from other creators in my Worlds of Possibility project, and your pledges and subscriber fees go directly to help pay for those stories and poems and things.

I just wrapped up my first open submission period for that project, and there are SO MANY cool stories in my second round consideration pile. It’s going to be really hard to choose which ones I can actually accept, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you next time.