Welcome to the Inkitt Author Spotlight! We’ll be interviewing an Inkitt author whose work has caught our attention. Today, we are pleased to feature Claire Dunn Bennett, author of the Skin of the Night series.
Welcome Claire! Would you give us a brief summary of your latest novel?
My latest novel is called Embrace of the Night, which, I suppose, is the last book of my trilogy series Skin of the Night. It centers around the two main characters Cara and William who endure the, I’d say common, ups and downs of a relationship. In this novel, William is struggling with his mental health following the assault that occurred in book two Heart of the Night. His jealousy is particularly problematic, and he faces a fork in the road: either he can give in to his jealousy and former convictions, or he can pick up the fight and try to broaden his perspective. Jealousy is William’s main enemy, and in this novel, he is getting closer to it than ever.
It is certainly a character-driven story rather than a plot-driven one. I work hard at making my characters as realistic as possible to bring them to life. In order to do that, I give plenty of time for reflection throughout the series, so the theme of jealousy has been explored thoroughly, and some would say even philosophically.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. And I am still undecided! I’m not opposed to the idea, but I’m not actively pursuing it either. Writing has never been something I experience as much of a choice. It feels like something I need to do. It feels as fundamental to me as eating does. I therefore don’t view it with ambition. I just consider it part of who I am and always will be.
I started writing when I was fifteen, simply because I couldn’t get all my ideas out of my head. It was like something else was driving me. Might sound cliché, but I really think that’s the closest I’ll ever come to experiencing a “calling” – like a foreign existence was demanding to escape the prison of my mind and realize itself as something independent. If I didn’t allow it, I really thought I might go insane.
Back then, I mainly wrote scenes. In a hurry, I would write out the idea I had in my mind – just the essentials, a few and poor details, very straightforward. Once it was out, I would finally experience peace for a few minutes, or days, until another idea demanded to come out again. My works back then were all very incoherent. Since then, I’ve disciplined myself to connect my writing into a consistent plot.
So, I’ve been writing nonstop ever since that first moment when I was fifteen, and I think I always will. There’s just no stopping it. Take away that, and you take away a limb.
What drew you to writing erotica?
This is an interesting question. Honestly, I first started writing erotica because it attracts readers like nothing else. It was 100 % calculated. Turns out, I was okay at it. I think a more apt question in my case would be, why didn’t you reject erotica? In the end, the literary community struggles to even recognize it as a genre with much integrity. I find that quite pathetic to be very frank, and I do because I don’t think sex should be so taboo.
My personal conviction is that sex is powerfully intimate and beautiful. It’s also the most natural part of existence, so I don’t really get why it’s looked down upon as a subject. Furthermore, I write romance mainly. I bring my readers into the most intimate moments between my characters – their fights, their moments of joy, even the smallest bagatelles in their everyday life. Those things can be infinitely more intimate, and can represent a far more aggressive invasion of their lives, than sex. So, when I invite my readers into so much else, it seems absurd to close the door on them once my characters are about to experience each other physically.
What would we find on your bookshelf?
Classics. Soooo many classics – gosh! Well, you can probably tell as much from my style of prose. I really should learn to read more modern literature (I am in fact a fan of a lot of postmodern pieces), but there is just something about the classics that draws me in like nothing else. The beauty of the language sends me on an all-time high. I’ve realised that while the plot is important to me in every story, I have zero tolerance for plot holes haha. I am such an annoying reader, because I am overly critical of plots. If it’s not realistic, I’m out. The language is the defining criteria. If the language is excellent, it can save a book that has a less than satisfactory plot. However, if a book has a great plot but poor language, I can’t read on.
Right now, you’ll find on my nightstand All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, as well as The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
How did you find Inkitt, and what has your overall experience been like using the platform?
I was lucky enough that Inkitt found me! And it’s been the best experience I’ve had with an online publishing platform, no doubt about it. Inkitt truly embraces all forms of art – not just PG-13 content. It’s more accommodating for mature audiences, which I so appreciate as that is my target audience. I also love the team behind Inkitt. They are so professional and kind, and you can tell they really want to help you make the most out of your work. They treat the authors and the work on their site with utmost respect, and that’s not something I take for granted in this day and age.
Simply, Inkitt inspires and protects talent. Whenever I recommend a site for online publishing, Inkitt is the first one I mention and at the top of the list.
What are your writing habits like? Do you have a set schedule? A place you like to work? A minimum word count goal for the day or week?
My habits depend entirely on my inspiration, and my schedule. Since I’m a law student with a job on the side, I don’t really have much time to spare. I also have friends, a boyfriend, and a family to pay attention to. There are just too few hours in the day to be able to do everything I want, and I’ve always felt that way.
Anyway, a golden rule, almost a mantra, of mine when it comes to writing is this: Quality over quantity. I will never force myself to write, or publish anything, that I am not pleased with. It needs to hold a certain standard of quality.
Another hack that always works for me: whenever I encounter a writer’s block in a chapter I am writing, I just delete everything I’ve written and start anew. That solves it every single time.
Interested in more?
- Check out Claire’s Inkitt profile and browse her books!
- Want to learn more about Inkitt’s brightest authors? Check out our last spotlight with Leila Vy!
- Want to learn more about how to succeed as an author on Inkitt? Check out our Ask Inkitt articles for insider tips on success!