Today is our stop on the blog tour for Clara Loveman’s amazing debut novel Crown of Crowns.
We thought we’d celebrate the publication of this truly amazing book by publishing an interview with it’s equally amazing and lovely author Clara, where she discusses everything to do Crown of Crowns.
We would like to say a huge thank you to both Clara, Helen and the team at Literally PR for letting us take part in the tour.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and I identify as Kenyan and British with dual citizenship. I’m an avid reader, keen walker and I’m happiest when I’m writing a novel. I enjoy romance, drama and fantasy works at home or the cinema.
I majored in pharmaceutical sciences at Liverpool John Moores University and then Public Health at the University of Sheffield. I think my science background has enabled me to write more confidently in science fiction and fantasy.
Why did you write the book?
Crown of Crowns is a story about a love triangle between a young noblewoman, a commoner, a prince and a supernatural being. When the idea of spirits possessing and controlling human bodies and becoming superhumans came to me, it felt so real as if I had been possessed myself. It just shook me to the core, and I had to write it. And as I was writing, I couldn’t wait to get to the reveal scenes. It’s a story that I desperately wanted to come alive.
Have you always been a writer?
I started writing in my teen years—from around the age of 13. I have a very active imagination and tend to have an interest in new and unusual things. I guess it follows that in conversations, I prefer to indulge in speculation. But I stopped writing to focus on university and then my job. But the story ideas didn’t stop coming to me.
Your book is about social structures – what can it teach us about today’s political and social world?
One of the themes in Crown of Crowns is knowing our place in society and the pressure related to that: the people around us put pressure on us based on their expectations of what we’re “supposed to do”, lest we get above our stations. But also, teenage angst and struggles related to discovering our purpose in life. Crown of Crowns explores these challenges from the lens of a young noblewoman.
Kaelyn is a strong female character – was this important to you?
It was important to me that Kaelyn had character growth in the story. Because of this, readers can relate to her naivety, feelings and experiences, but also feel empowered to fully engage in the real world, be it in politics, their future careers and even activism. No one should feel less capable or deserving because of age or gender.
Are there authors or stories you looked to for inspiration?
I read widely—including outside of my genre. My favourite authors and books include Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch), Andre Aciman (Call Me by Your Name) and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games).
I avoid watching or reading the news as it can be depressing at times, but the little I see in the news can inspire me to write.
We have seen an explosion in YA fiction over the last few years – why do you think this is?
I think Young Adult fiction is a fascinating genre. YA fiction tends to tackle life themes that can relate with anyone. So I’m not surprised that more authors may be writing in this genre, or if it’s popular with readers.
The book is a mixture of sci-fi, fantasy, and futurism. Why did you decide to set it in another time and place?
It was a conscious choice to set it in another time and place. I wanted to have a blank slate. A place where I could write new rules and draw new maps, but with human themes.
What is the appeal of fantasy fiction?
Fantasy fiction creates this delightful mix of total escape centred on human themes. It’s simply fantastic.
This is your debut novel – any more planned?
Thank you for asking! Godly Sins, the sequel to Crown of Crowns, will be out soon so stay tuned. I also have other projects in development.
Can we talk about diversity? Do you think there is enough in the publishing industry and in the books we read?
I think the publishing industry has improved and there is more diversity in the books we read. But I believe there is still more to be done.
You have Master of Public Health qualification – is there any intersection between health and art for you?
My educational background and career so far are in the sciences, and that’s despite me being a novelist. I was a novelist first. I think my science and health background has helped me to describe futuristic worlds better and to back up some of the claims I make. For example, a superbug that features in Crown of Crowns and the potential effects of that. The same is true of technology; I think these subjects enhance the art.
You can get a copy of Crown of Crowns here.