A Quickie with Clare Swatman

Tell me about your latest book and why should we read it?

I’ve spent most of my working life interviewing people and writing about their real stories for women’s magazines, and so people and the way they behave and react to things fascinates me. I love hearing about what happens to ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and I’m fascinated by time travel too, and the thought of what possibilities it could open up if you could try it. Which is why I decided to combine those two things!

In Before You Go, Zoe is grieving Ed, her husband, who died two months before. She misses him desperately but above all else, she wishes she could go back and tell him how much she loves him, how much he means to her. Then one day something happens, and Zoe realises she might just have been given that chance to start all over again. And if she can do that, could she even change the course of history and stop the love of her life from dying?

Of course I won’t tell you what happens, but the story explores the heartache of losing the love of your life, as well as the dilemma of whether you would change something just because you can. I think anyone who has ever been in love will relate to that.

If someone was to write your love story what would the title be?

Just Get On With It! Or maybe ‘Stop Worrying You Loser!’

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

Well I have to be honest and say that, as a debut author, I don’t really have many fans yet as people don’t know who I am! I’ve only done a couple of talks and have loved the people I’ve met at those – certainly no strange requests there. But I did read a very strange review the other day for Before You Go, which started out by stating that the reader didn’t like romance and didn’t own any romance books so didn’t think he’d like it – and he was right. I did feel slightly miffed that he then decided to leave a review of something that clearly wasn’t aimed at him – I’d never do that! – but as a friend pointed out, he lost all credibility in the first sentence anyway so nobody would take any notice of the review. She’s right of course – it’s just a shame he gave it a one star rating as well . . . !

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

JK Rowling. I have a bit of a girl crush on her. The Harry Potter Studios are just down the road from us so I’ve taken the kids several times, (of course it was for them and not for me) and each time I stand there, looking round the Great Hall, and studying the details of all the props, displayed as though theyre artefacts in a museum, I’m utterly in awe of what one woman’s mind has created. She’s incredible. And I LOVE her writing as Robert Galbraith too. Writing something with her would be amazing because she’d be so inspirational.

Tell me something nobody knows about you (yet!)

When I was six years old my primary school teacher told my mum ‘I don’t think Clare will ever be much of a reader’. I just goes to show how much you can tell about a child’s abilities at that age! Now if only I could remember her name and go back and find her and give her a copy of my book . . .

Finally please recommend three books you have recently read and tell me why you have chosen these.

  1. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton. I loved this book. It takes you to a different world, and is brilliant and shocking all at the same time.
  2. Maggie O’Farrell – This Must Be The Place. I love everything she writes and this is her latest one. Her writing is stunning, and the storyline for this one is really unusual. Just gorgeous.
  3. The Summer of Impossible Things – Rowan Coleman. I actually know Rowan but that’s not why I’m recommending this book. Time travel, romance and disco – what’s not to love? Plus she conjured up 1970s Brooklyn in my mind so well I felt I was really there. Her best yet.

Who is Clare Swatman? Clare Swatman is a journalist for a number of weekly women’s magazines. Clare was Features Editor for Bella and has written for Best, Woman’s Own and Real People. She writes for her local magazine as well as the travel pages for Take a Break. Clare lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two boys.
Before You Go is her first novel, and she’s busy working on her second.

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