January 2010


Claire Moss was born in Darlington, north-east England, and studied at Sheffield University. She has lived and worked in Sheffield, Leeds and Tasmania, all of which provide the backdrop for her first novel Northern Soul Revival. She now lives in North Yorkshire with her husband and young family.

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  1. 1. Where did the idea of Northern Soul Revival come from?

    The idea came almost fully formed into my head one day. The specifics of it got worked out as I was writing it but the characters were real to me from day one.

  2. 2. Did you always intend to set it in a northern English town?

    I've only ever really lived in the north of England (apart from my time spent in Australia), so it never really occurred to me to set it anywhere else. I think there are enough books already set in London or Edinburgh, and I wanted to write a book that was about someone like me.

  3. 3. Have you spent much time in Tasmania?

    I spent some time in Tasmania (Hobart and Launceston) in 2005. I was a volunteer with Conservation Volunteers Australia so got to see some of Tas' most beautiful places - including Bruny Island, which made such an impression on me it went on to feature in the book!

  4. 4. Why did you write it from the viewpoints of both Joss and Carl? Was it harder to write as a man?

    To be honest, writing from alternating points of view just struck me as the easiest way of telling the story. It avoided having to always second-guess what one of the characters was thinking. It was important to me that the male and female characters were both equally a part of the story, and this seemed the best way of doing that. Carl was a very real character to me, so it didn't feel difficult getting inside his head. I was slightly worried that I might have got it wrong and totally mis-pitched the male psyche, but since the book has been published a few men have told me they thought Carl was very believable. I think perhaps men and women aren't as different as we sometimes suppose.

  5. 5. Did you ever consider a different ending?

    When I submitted the book to Snowbooks, the ending was different - more bittersweet and less happily-ever-after. The publishers persuaded me (rightly, I now realise) that a happy ending provides a much more satisfying conclusion for readers, so I changed it to the current one. It sounds mad but I'd become so involved with Carl and Joss that I too was secretly delighted for them when they finally got together.

  6. 6. What was your favourite scene to write?

    The wedding. It was one of the first scenes I had mapped out in any detail and I just loved being able to write something so dramatic and (I hope) funny. Every great rom-com has to have a climactic wedding scene and I didn't want mine to be any different.

  7. 7. You work at the British Library. Being surrounded by books all day, was it inevitable you would one day write one?

    Writing a book is something I always wanted to do, and I have been an avid reader all my life. I think it was more that my obsession with books means I have ended up working with them, rather than the other way round.

  8. 8. How did you go about getting the book published?

    I had submitted it to a few literary agents but heard nothing. Working in the book trade, I knew of Snowbooks' reputation as an independent with a strong commercial bias, and I then discovered that they accept unsolicited submissions, so I tried them too. The rest is history.

  9. 9. What did it feel like to hold a copy of the book in your hand for the first time?

    Surreal. It's hard to believe that a proper book that looks like all the others on my shelves could contain my words and my characters. It's an amazing feeling.

  10. 10. How did you find time to write a book?

    Just by dedicating any free time I had to it. And by wanting to do it - I enjoyed writing it so much that no matter what else was going on in my life (firstly a busy full-time job, then travelling and working abroad, then getting married and starting a family) I always managed to fit writing in too. It never occurred to me to stop, once I'd started.

  11. 11. With another baby just about due, how is work progressing on novel No. 2 – and what is it about?

    It is progressing, but I'm expecting it to grind to a temporary halt once the new baby is born. Having had one baby already, I'm realistic enough to expect not to get much done writing-wise for the next 6 months or so. Luckily I've got a pretty solid first draft done so I've got something to chip away at when I do find the time. Novel 2 is similar to Northern Soul Revival in that it's a contemporary romance set in the north of England but it's a bit darker in tone, and in a sense it's a more conventional love story - more 'boy meets girl, boy loses girl, etc' than 'boy knows girl for 25 years then accidentally gets her pregnant'.

  12. 12. Which chick lit books and authors have you loved reading?

    My all-time favourite is probably the same as most people's - Marian Keyes. I've read some of her books six or seven times and still not got bored of them. Plus, of course, the original and best, Bridget Jones (both of them). I was sniffy about them when they first came out, thinking they were shallow and London-centric - and then I actually read them and realised what all the fuss was about.

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