Clare Havens

'The streets were dark with something more than night…' Raymond Chandler

Date archives June 2014


Ghosts on the River – inspiring photo

I found this photo on Flickr today – it is part of the Samuel J Hood Studio collection at the Australian National Maritime Museum. I love the girls’ smiles – they remind me of two characters from my new novel for middle graders – Ghosts on the River, Freddie and Alex.
The novel is set in the halcyon days between World War I and World War II, at an English country manor house and on the river that runs through it’s grounds.
Fans of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ by Arthur Ransome, ‘Just William’ by Richmal Crompton, Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse should love this book!
More information on my ‘Ghosts on the River‘ page….


Interview with author Bella Street – Free e-books!

One of my favorite things about writing is how it has enabled me to meet the most talented, interesting people – often other writers! One such person is time travel romance writer Bella Streetfrom Tennessee. We happened to meet through the coincidence of her name being the same as my feisty girl detective Bella Street from my ‘tween noir’ novels.

Bella has written a LOT of books! The first ones I read were her bestselling Apocalypse Babes series – where a group of young adults find themselves far, far from home and where nothing is as it seems.  These books have deservedly received much acclaim and are very hard to put down!

Bella’s great Tennessee Waltz series involves time travel and magic – Bella has a real gift at writing about different eras and I really hope to see more historical fiction from her.

For those of you who may not have read Bella’s books yet, I am offering five free Kindle ebook copies of the first in her Apocalypse Babes series, The Z Word, and five free Kindle ebook copies ofKiss Me, I’m Irish, the first in her Tennessee Waltz series. First come, first served! GIVEAWAY ENDED. Check out Bella’s site: and her Facebook page for more from the author herself!

Bella was recently gracious enough to answer a few questions that I’d always wanted to ask her, not least where her passion for playing the fiddle comes from and what is her favorite Civil Wars song! (a girl who writes as she does, has to love the Civil Wars, I figured!)

Here are her answers!

What is it that draws you to writing about time travel?

It’s the classic fish out of water theme–how does someone cope with a completely new environment? It’s also an opportunity for someone to have their preconceived notions challenged when they find they are actually experiencing an event rather than just reading about it from a dusty library book. Add a little romance for extra tension.

What kind of research do you do about the different times and places you write about?

Research is one of the best parts because I learn new things as well. I use the internet, but always try to back it up with older source material via old books and newspapers.

What are some of your favorite time travel books?

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is probably my favorite but I got my start early with A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’engle. I’ve also read Outlander by Diana GabaldonWaterfall by Lisa Bergren, to name a few, but I started writing time-travel romance after being inspired by a Harlequin romance novel about a cowboy who comes forward in time to find a girl he’d met while she’d gone back in time. I think it was called A Man Out of Time.

What has been the inspiration behind your love of fiddle music?

Alison Krauss, primarily. But I’ve always loved the sound and really want to learn. I hardly ever practice because I have no talent, no ear, and so I kind of suck. But I keep trying 🙂

Do you have a soundtrack for each book you write?

Always. I need music to inspire me. I put playlists together while I write and eventually always associate the songs with the novel. My playlists thus far are for Tennessee Waltz and Apocalypse Babes. Lana Del Rey is my new musical crush, so her songs will probably figure heavily in my next works.

Which is your favorite Civil Wars song?!

ALL OF THEM. Omigosh they might be the best band on the planet. Special favs include: Barton Hollow, The Violet Hour, I Had Me A Girl, Eavesdrop, and their Smashing Pumpkins cover of Disarm.

How long does each book take you to write?

Ugh. Too long. Probably 4 to 6 months is the new average.

Who do you most admire in the writing world?

Every writer who puts out their magnum opus to the world. It’s terrifying and a huge vulnerability.

You live in Tennessee – what influence do you think location has had on your writing?

After living on the West Coast with its majestic beauty, Tennessee has more of a genteel, delicate beauty. Within this seeming frailty are venomous snakes and bugs and killer humidity. Great contrasts there 🙂

In five years time, what would you like to be able to say about your writing journey?

That my future books are improved and my readers, happier 🙂

Thanks, Bella!