Today I’m chatting to Claire ‘Fluff’ Llewellyn about her new collection, word play, and poetic inspiration.
Hi Claire. Thanks for ‘dropping in’, so to speak! Tell us something about your new book.
My new publication, RHYME & REASON: Facets of a Life, is a collection of both non-fiction and fiction poems in metered rhyme. The topics vary from jobs, relationships, mental health, to absurd humour featuring sheep, Santa and an anatomically challenged hooker! It’s divided into three sections: LIFE, LOVE, LAUGHTER, to give the feeling of the overall balance that is needed in life.
It sounds intriguing, and highly original! Which writers have inspired you to write?
When it comes to my poetry, my earliest inspiration was Roald Dahl. I love his twisted sense of humour. I would also include Pam Ayers and John Cooper Clarke. Last, but not least, when it comes to poets I find inspiring, Edgar Allan Poe.
Where do your ideas for poems come from?
When I’m experiencing a strong emotional response to any given situation, expressing my feelings on paper helps me to release those emotions. Also, random thoughts and phrases pop into my head when I’m trying to sleep or I’m in the shower!
Where do you write? Do you have a favourite spot?
Anywhere and on anything when the mood strikes. However, I do favour peace and quiet and natural sunlight.
Tell us something about the writing process that you go through.
I Google, A LOT!!
I’m a perfectionist, so I’m constantly checking spelling and grammar, especially as I’m a Brit in the US so there are differences that can trip me up. Although I publish in America and most of my sales are in that market, I prefer to stay true to my roots and use British spelling and grammar [there are many Anglophiles who like it and some even use it themselves]. Being self published, I can get away with it. I also check word usage, am I using the correct word in the correct context? If I want to convey a certain meaning but my regular word choice does not fit my rhyme, some online thesaurus action can tell me if there’s something more suitable. I may get myself in a muddle, quite frequently actually, but having the best of both worlds so to speak, opens up a whole lot more opportunities for word play and rhyming potential. It’s fun and educational!
What’s the best things about being a writer?
For me the best thing about being a writer is the creative freedom to escape reality or express painful emotions, you can even exact revenge without getting in trouble! It’s also kinda cool when people enjoy your work.
And the worst?
The worst thing about being a writer, if you want readers, is finding readers! Marketing and promotion is time consuming and relentless, and not my strength at all. I am incredibly bad at it. Ideally I would have a budget to hire someone else do that who has the knack for it.
If you could collaborate with one poet (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would love to see that. Can you share one of your poems with us?
The book contains poems varying in length from one verse to eleven pages! So here’s a shortie!
Fab! What’s next for you?
Last year I commissioned an artist to bring to life the character from a kid-friendly Halloween poem I wrote called: The Queen of Halloween. I liked the image so much that I produced a ton of merchandise, big mistake. So, to make better use of this, I’m putting a book together from poems originally stamped for another project, using this image as the cover: The Queen of Halloween & Other Tricky Treats. It will be a spooky, kid-friendly and fun poetry collection. I’d also like to get one of my adult story poems from my new book illustrated and made into a picture book on its own for Christmas. The poem is: Santa Baby!
Sounds like an excellent plan. And finally … wine gums, chocolate, or something entirely different for your writing-snack of choice?
Gotta LOVE chocolate! I hate to say I think I’ve even gotten used to Hershey’s, ew! But Lindt is my fave. Preferably dark chocolate too or non-dairy, trying to be vegan as much as possible. Don’t think I can even get wine gums over here.
I’m reeling at the idea of a world without wine gums, but I will concede Lindt is a damn fine choice. Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts and words, Claire. Good luck with your writing!
Born in Worcester, England, Claire Llewellyn first took an interest in poetry at an early age through primary school readings of Roald Dahl. She also developed a penchant for music, and the horror genre. Her schooling required her to write creatively in all formats and she soon acquired an affinity for it, constantly writing rhymes and short stories.
In her late teens, she pursued her musical interests and formed a band, ‘Stir Crazy’, performing classic rock covers and original material. She headed the band as lead vocalist and lyricist. When they disbanded, she bounced around musical groups and added the nickname “Fluff” as part of her persona in a new theatrical rock band venture that never came to fruition. However, it was her musical pursuits that lead her to move to Illinois in 2004.
As new opportunities arose, she became embroiled in a diﬀerent kind of stage performance as an assistant to a Gothic illusionist. This adventure exposed her to the world of independent horror film making. She branched out into acting and ultimately formed her own small production company, ‘Bloody Brit Productions’, through which she directs her own screenplays.
Whilst fond of traditional rhyming verse, which she mostly ascribes to, maturity has afforded her the confidence to experiment a little. Poetry, and writing in general, has helped her through some tough times, allowing her to express diﬃcult emotions, and even showcase that cheeky British humour.
She mostly publishes dark, and sometimes humorous, poetry that is both fictional and nonfictional under her own imprint: Bloody Brit Press.
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Sales Links: US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089GGY64P