Claire Morley lives in North Cyprus with her dog, cat and partner, Steve.
In her previous life she has been a marketer, a journalist and a wedding planner.
Tindog Tacloban is her first novel and was inspired by a trip to the Philippines as a volunteer to help after the devastating typhoon known locally as Yolanda hit Tacloban on 8 November, 2013. Sales from this book will go to benefit charities working to stop human trafficking and helping in disaster areas.
1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I have always loved words and have worked as a journalist here in Cyprus, however the idea of writing a book came from my volunteering trip when I helped in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan (locally know as Yolanda) devastated Tacloban. Initially I was thinking of writing a non-fiction book or a series of articles and it was my partner who suggested I write a novel. I had interviewed a lot of people, survivors, volunteers, aid workers and felt there was a story to tell about the long lasting effects of a natural disaster and I wanted people to be made aware of how the vulnerable, particularly children, can be drawn into human trafficking by unscrupulous people.
2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
The discipline! I really enjoyed researching how typhoons worked, what the real situation is regarding Webcam Sex Tourism, how aid organisations work, however, the discipline of writing every day was a tough one for me. I set myself a daily word limit and sometimes I struggled to reach it and wrote total rubbish, but I knew if I let one day go by without writing, others would slip past and before I know it a month would go by without writing a word. So the discipline was really important, but really difficult to keep to.
3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
Seeing the story progress, working out how to get from one part of the story to another. I had a rough idea of how the story would go, but there were times I couldn’t work out how to get there. Living in a hot climate, I swim every day in the summer months, and I would use that time to think through how to link things, it was such a great feeling when I could see how the next phase could work.
4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
That’s a really tough one. I guess it would have to be something like The Zahir by Paulo Coelho, it’s a book that made me question things and I would love to be able to write something which makes people sit back and think about their life, their priorities and what’s really important.
5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
Helen, I put a lot of myself into the character of Helen, so I would have to save her.
6. What can we expect next from you?
Not another book, for now at least! However, I am now working with other authors who don’t have the time or don’t have the knowledge on how to self-publish and promote their work. After the process of writing, self-publishing and promoting by own book to best seller in its categories, I thought about how I could use that knowledge and set up My ePublish Book to help others achieve their publishing goals.
7. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
I did a huge amount of research before embarking on writing Tindog Tacloban, not only regarding the subject matter, but also the process of writing, I would advise every writing to ensure they have a really good proof reader and editor. There is nothing worse than bad grammar or loose ends in a book and you really need someone objective to be able to see that.
8. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
I can’t really say I had a typical writing day, it was more a goal of words which some days I could manage first thing and other days would put off until I had to force myself to sit at my computer and put words on the page.
9. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I am reading books about how to market non-fiction as most of my current clients are non-fiction authors and the process of promoting them is very different to fiction.
In the aftermath of the fiercest typhoon on record to hit land, banners bearing the words Tindog Tacloban started to appear all over the city. Meaning Rise Up Tacloban, they were a testament to the determination and resilience of the Filipino people as they tried to rebuild their shattered lives.
For many, things would never be the same: Izel Sombilon watched in horror as two of his children were ripped from his arms and swept away by the huge storm waves.
Eleven year old Lika Faye was plunged into the sordid underworld of Webcam Child Sex Tourism.
For Helen Gable volunteering in the typhoon ravaged area was a chance for her to come to terms with her own personal tragedy.