It’s a rare occurence to find a book that is so loved not only because of the story it tells, but even more because of the message it conveys. Claire Kinton has not only written a book, but she is creating a legacy which will endure through many generations to come. Her love and devotion for her friends and others in need is translated into the deeply touching and amazing story of DEAD GAME… I took some time getting to know Claire better, but I want her to be your guide through her own story.
”Dead Game is the most wonderful read. I couldn’t put this book down, it grabbed my attention from the first page. It is a fantasy but again much more than that. It is a story of bravery, heroism, friendship and love. It’s a believable and poignant allegory. It’s a story of loss but also of hope, and I guarantee you will walk every step of the way with Archie Fletcher on his journey through Transit.” – Amazon review
E.P.M.: Your biography sounds fascinating! Please tell me more about what made you decide to write a book. Was it spur of the moment or a dream you have cultivated since school?
Claire: I’ve been writing since I was a child and seem to have turned to it, as a comfort, throughout my life during times of trouble. It’s how I express myself best.
My inspiration to write Dead Game ignited following the tragic death of my cousin, who served in Iraq 2003 with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Stricken with grief and pregnant with my first child, I found writing my way of coping with my bereavement.
I don’t know about all writers but for myself writing Dead Game felt a bit like opening a vein. I tore this story from my heart, with every word, every sub-plot and every twist. My part in writing Dead Game and its concept was not easy; most things are easy to say, it’s what we’re unable to say that’s hard. Writing Dead Game was an emotional and grueling fight at times but I was compelled and driven to write it.
I don’t think writing my book Dead Game was a spur of the moment thing or even a dream. At school I didn’t have the confidence to visualize my future as an author but as time has gone by and my writing continued my confidence has grown. Some people love horses, some people love running, I love writing. I have always done it. It is a passion. I could even go as far to say, it’s a necessity, a bit like breathing. I couldn’t imagine my life without writing.
E.P.M.: As a mother of two, I find that writing time comes very sparingly. I would love to hear about your writing experience with your own three children and what tips you would have for our fellow authors about time management in that respect.
Claire: My days are jam-packed with my children so I write at night when the children are in bed. Occasionally I can sneak my laptop into the ‘Wendy House’ for a quick half hour of writing when the children are playing happily. Reality does just continue on around me when I decide to immerse myself in words. I zone out of reality and into my story, I get lost in my work, it’s almost like a form of meditation. Like I said before, writing Dead Game was very much a necessity, a tonic as well as my escape from baby blues, my Prozac. It is tough having three small children, the disturbed nights and early mornings causing extreme exhaustion. I’m not sure how I do it to be honest; it’s a bit of a blur. If you love doing something as much as I love to write you make time and suffer the tiredness. Though enjoying the children is strong competition. My eldest child has now become inspired by what I do and has started to write himself, I can see my passion in him. So in the long run, I see my writing motivating the future, which is just incredible and what I aspire to do.
E.P.M.: DEAD GAME has received amazing reviews that would make many authors jealous. With such a strong manuscript and feedback, what made you chose the self-publishing path versus the traditional publishing?
Claire: Thank you. Dead Game has been well received, which has been so uplifting and has really boosted my confidence. Some say, everyone has a book in them and I genuinely believe this to be true. When it comes to publishing that book… well if your story is good enough and in this day and age if you manage to find an agent and find a mainstream publisher, you are certainly one of the lucky ones. Less than 1% of submissions get picked up, so per publisher that’s one or two books a year out of thousands upon thousands. With celebrities and established authors swamping the bookshelves debut authors barely stand a chance. And yet there are SO many manuscripts, stories and concepts out there worth publishing and reading, I think the publishers are simply swamped in submissions, so many great books are slipping through their systems and I think authors are taking stock of this and choosing to pursue their aspirations by publishing independently. I chose to do exactly this after I was shortlisted by the Brit Writers Awards and hence I have now been taken on by the Brit Writers as one of the fifteen participants in their first ever Publishing Programme, which aims to mentor Dead Game and I to mainstream publication by the end of 2011.
I will always aspire to get my work mainstream published but Dead Game being so very close to my heart and a percentage of the profits going to charity I really wanted to do it ALL my way, from the font to the jacket – self-publishing allowed me to do just this. I always go with my gut feeling and I think that if an author really believes in their own work, it will win through, no matter which route they take. There are many roads to Rome, how many twists and turns that road has, who knows? I don’t think anyone’s journey to publication, no matter how successful/famous, has been a simple motorway ride. We all have a different publishing story to tell. I wholeheartedly and indubitably believe in Dead Game, so who knows what 2011 will have in store for us.
E.P.M.: From your bio, I take it that you traveled quite a bit. I know that as an avid traveler myself, I drew a lot from my cultural experiences for my fantasy novel. Please tell us more about your own travels, and if/how they impacted the creation of your story and its world.
Claire: I have travelled a lot and my husband and I intend on travelling a lot more once our children are a bit bigger. I feel travelling is a wonderful education on its own. I was just seventeen when my great lone love affair with the world began, starting in Hong Kong, I had no fixed itinerary, I had got the bug and China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand were only a stone’s throw away. I loved the Far East; it was where my irrepressible urge for travel really began. I came back to Europe and to England intermittently. I met my husband whilst snow-boarding and rock-climbing in France and we continued to travel for a further five years. Together we went back to Asia, then onto Australia, the U S of A and finally Canada. There are so many places I dream of travelling to still; the biggest dream though would have to be Base Camp of Everest; and I say, what is a life without a dream?
I’m sure all my travels certainly have a great impact on my writing. All writing comes from experience. Coming home and looking back, remembering those exciting days, they are still just as colourful. That stomach churning feeling of being totally lost in an unfamiliar land, knowing nobody; I love getting lost then finding myself again. I don’t think those memories will ever fade. I think with DEAD GAME’s main character Archie Fletcher and his zest for adventure is so strong and his emotion and fear’s are so real, I’m sure that comes from recalling how I felt when I landed in a far and foreign land alone; all the anxiety bubbling away inside. WAITING GAME is definitely drawn from my time in the Far East, being set mainly in Thailand as well as the fantasy world of Transit.
E.P.M.: On top of being an extraordinary writer, you also have many great peer reviews from other authors on your blog and website. You’re extensively involved in many non-profit organizations, including New Writers UK. Please tell us about the one you have the most at heart right now and how our readers can help make a difference too?
Claire: Gosh, I’m equally passionate about all the charities and organizations of which I am a member and support, so that’s a tricky question.
The forces charities, Help for Heroes and SSAFA Forces Help, who a percentage of DEAD GAME’s profits go to, stand on their own, whether you condone war or not, it’s happening and our troops need us almost as much as we need them. Furthermore the help my family received from SSAFA and the Benevolent Fund in our time of anguish after my cousin was killed was just phenomenal; raising funds for them is simply my way of saying thank you.
Living with dyslexia myself, Dyslexia Action, is likewise, especially close to my heart and I will strive tirelessly to help the children of today to learn in their own individual way, by going into schools and talking to them, telling them my story, proving, you can if you say you can.
The New Writers UK and The Brit Writers Awards are both organizations determined to get children and adults writing creatively. There are so many voices out there desperate to be heard through their writing and like I said earlier, it’s near on impossible to get noticed through mainstream publishers now-a-days. Both the New Writers and the Brit Writers support and encourage authors to fulfill their ambitions.
I think readers will relate personally to each of the organizations, whether it’s the troops, the children, new writers or all three.
E.P.M.: In a few words, tell us about the person who has had the most positive influence on your creative career and why? (Fictional or real, up to you 🙂
Claire: My creativity was nurtured early by the late headmistress of my second primary school. Mrs Jeans took me under her wing, after my parents snatched me from my first school. They witnessed me being cruelly bullied by a teacher. I was introverted and crushed but my new teacher, Mrs Jeans, gently drew out my passion for story-telling and gave me the confidence to believe in myself and read my stories allowed.
My cousin certainly influenced me, even after he was killed. I found comfort after his death, spending six years attending a spiritualist church where I developed as a medium and I now firmly believe my cousin is as much the author of Dead Game as I am.
E.P.M.: Finally, tell me in a few words what message you want people to remember after they have read DEAD GAME?
Claire: To have hope and to trust the little voice in their heads telling them the adventure of life goes on.
DEAD GAME is Claire Kinton’s first novel. Like any other author, the road to getting her book completed and published was not without hurdles. Unlike any other author however, Claire’s driving passion and commitment have allowed her book the power to reach deep into her readers’ hearts and create a lasting legacy – a new outlook on life, it’s hard spots, and it’s blessings. Here is a short description of the book:
When Lance Corporal Archie Fletcher’s plane plummets into the Persian Gulf during the Second Gulf War, even his wild imagination could never have primed him for the adventure he must now undertake. With guardian angels, a cursed centaur and mythical saints, Archie battles his way through a feral land called ‘Transit’. But ‘Dead Game is no easy feat. The fantasy will sweep you away to a parallel world where you will follow Archie’s fateful story full of courageous imagination – confirming that knowing deep within us all that the adventure of life must go on.
Before I go any further, I need to issue a disclaimer: After reading this feature, you will not be able to resist buying Claire’s book. Let me prove it to you with a few reviews gleamed from her website and Amazon:
”Like her main character, Archie – and all brave servicemen and women – Claire Kinton had the courage and determination to write a book that had to be written. Dead Game is a moving, intriguing and an emotional ride that starts with a plane crash and hurtles on from there.”
”Dead Game is an extraordinary story of triumph over adversity; its message of hope will stay with you long after you have read the final page.”
I cannot stress enough the wonderful work and impact of Claire Kinton, both through her book and her day to day life. She is a living testament that despite life’s struggles, Love, Hope and Kindness will always overcome. I highly recommend you get your own copy of DEAD GAME today, read it, and then tell ALL your friends about it. I garantee it will be one of your best spent investment – especially since part of every book sale goes to charities.
PS: Feel free to leave any comments for Claire here or via Twitter/Facebook!
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About the Author
Claire is a memeber of the New Writers UK, a non-profit-making support group for writers. Claire has been writing since she was a child, usually making up mystical stories for her own enjoyment, but her inspiration to write Dead Game was ignited following the tragic death of her cousin, who served in Iraq with REME. Stricken with grief and pregnant with her first child, Claire found writing her way of coping with her bereavement. Three children later and after six years of living by an RAF camp with husband Gareth, Claire has forged close friendships with families whose young men risk – and all too often lose – their lives serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Witnessing at first hand the heartbreak of loss that conjures a multitude of emotions, particularly in children and young adults, spurred Claire on to complete Dead Game. For some young minds it is not enough to say ‘He’s gone to Heaven’, they need to know why, what happens next, how long will they be gone? Dead Game is Claire’s way of answering these poignant questions. Uplifting all those who have ever loved and lost, Dead Game strives to put forward one answer to death and at the same time teaches us; we are what we think; love never dies and that the human soul continues eternally.