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Interview with Claire Gallagher author of The Strange Imagination of Pippa Clayton

Today, I’m thrilled to shine a spotlight on the talented author, Claire Gallagher, as she shares her enchanting debut novel, “The Strange Imagination of Pippa Clayton.” Here at Literary Inspired, it’s all about celebrating the magic of romance books and providing a platform for indie authors to connect with readers. So, join me as I delve into the world of Claire Gallagher and her intriguing book that’s sure to capture your heart.

Can you share the inspiration behind the unique and imaginative premise of “The Strange Imagination of Pippa Clayton,” where the protagonist has an imaginary friend and experiences fantastical scenes?

I was inspired by one of the many random questions which pop into my mind: ‘What if a grown adult had an imaginary friend?’ This led to further questions, such as: ‘How would this manifest? How would the character’s daily life be impacted?’ And crucially, ‘Why would this have happened?’

Pippa Clayton is a character with depth and charm. How did you develop her personality, and which aspects of her character do you find most endearing?

Pippa is caring, funny, and resilient, with an interesting combination of vulnerability and inner strength. She is ultimately an optimist and a romantic. She’s also very clumsy, which is a quality that I share with her! Pippa’s natural awkwardness and quirky sense of humor are definitely a mirror of my own nature, but many of her other qualities reflect those that I aspire to!

Your book is known for its blend of British humor and heartwarming moments. Could you highlight a scene that perfectly captures both elements and explain why it resonates with you?

British humor is often self-deprecating, but Pippa also has a charming cheekiness when she’s feeling confident. Many of the scenes with Tom and Max illustrate her flirty side! The heartwarming moments between Pippa, her family, and her friends illustrate her enviable bonds with others. I particularly love the ‘inside jokes’ that she has with one of the love interests, and the way that she indulges her mother’s eccentricities.

As a debut author, what challenges did you face on your path to publishing “The Strange Imagination of Pippa Clayton,” and could you share the most rewarding moments you experienced along the way?

I found the thought of self-publishing very daunting, in terms of both preparing the book for publication and how to promote it. I used a reputable company to format the book for me and I’m slowly trialling different ways to market the novel without breaking the bank. A highlight was seeing the book cover for the first time – it was so exciting to see my ideas come to life and my name in print! I now have a literary agent for another book that I’m very proud of, with the aim of securing a traditional publishing deal in the not-too-distant future.

Could you provide insights into your writing routine and the sources of inspiration that fueled your creativity while crafting this book?

I’m an early riser and I write every morning before my boys wake up and the day starts properly. Multiple cups of coffee are essential! Music is a major part of Pippa’s story (she hears a soundtrack to her life) and thinking of different songs to include was so much fun!

The love triangle in the story adds complexity to Pippa’s relationships. How did you approach developing these dynamics between characters, and what message do you hope readers take away from these relationships?

I wanted both men to be well-rounded, good guys (no cheating, I promise!), but to have very different types of relationship with Pippa. They have their own personalities, and I’m sure that readers will have their own views on who she should find her happily-ever-after with. Both perform an important role in Pippa’s development through the story; she needs each of them in different ways at different times. I believe that, sometimes, people come into our lives just when we need them.

“The Strange Imagination of Pippa Clayton” beautifully balances fantasy and reality. How did you manage this contrast, and what underlying themes do you hope readers discover in Pippa’s journey?

Pippa is just like you and me; she’s very relatable. She’s a normal, albeit quirky woman who just happens to have an imaginary friend! She has bounced back after a dark time in her past and maintains her sense of hope. She’s still a warm, caring person despite everything. Her character arc reflects her mental and emotional journey and her growth as a person. So I would say the themes are hope, resilience, and that we all have the potential for change. Sometimes this involves baby steps, sometimes a leap of faith, and we can’t always do it alone. Risks and taking chances can evoke fear in us, but they can also lead to incredible rewards.

With your book available on Kindle Unlimited, how do you envision connecting with readers and building a community around your work, especially within the indie romance genre?

I have an author page on Amazon, a Goodreads page, and a Facebook page dedicated to my work as an author. I love connecting with readers!

Is there a particular scene from your book that you enjoyed writing the most? If so, could you share it and describe the emotions it evokes for both you and readers?

So many! The whole book was a joy to write. I was so invested in Pippa and her world throughout the entire writing process, cheering her on at every stage and willing her to get that happily ever after! I did especially enjoy developing the Pass the Parcel scene and linking past threads in the story to the gifts revealed in each layer. I totally felt Pippa’s confusion and amazement as each sentence appeared on the screen before me!

As readers become captivated by your storytelling, they’ll be curious about your future projects. Could you provide a glimpse into any upcoming books or writing endeavours you’re excited about?

My next book is due out very soon! It’s called “Daisy Roberts is Dead” and it’s a love story that was inspired by the film, Ghost. This time, my ‘What if’ question was: ‘What if the film had a female protagonist? What would her story be?’

I hope you enjoyed this spotlight! If you’re a fan of heartwarming romance with a touch of British humor, be sure to check out Claire’s work on Amazon and connect with her on Goodreads and her website. If you’re an indie romance author looking to be featured in my Author’s Spotlight series, don’t hesitate to fill out the form on this page: Author Spotlight Submission. Your unique stories deserve to be celebrated, just like Claire’s!