About Serena Clarke
Serena grew up in a family of itchy-footed readers and dreamers – not concentrating, reading the atlas and Narnia books, and planning to escape somewhere magical as soon as she could. When she was 16, she went from New Zealand to live in Sweden for a year. It was the beginning of many travels and adventures – and quite a few disasters! She didn’t know it at the time, but eventually she’d be grateful for all the downs as well as the ups. As writers say in the face of adversity: “I can use that.” She’s now living back in New Zealand, where she writes stories reflecting her determined belief in magic, possibility and second chances – and happy endings!
Serena, it is a pleasure to have you here. Congratulations on your February release of ‘All Over the Place’, a Crimson Romance! Your fiction writing is sweet, smart and sassy. What draws you to this genre?
It’s exactly what I like to read – and when I sit down to write, that’s what turns up! I like a story with plenty of interesting characters, snappy dialogue, and a wry kind of sensibility. I’m not a fan of dark stories – a book can still make you really think, even if it’s light in tone. Give me a sense of magic and possibility – and definitely a happy ending!
I read you have lived in 39 houses and traveled extensively…Can you describe some of the places you loved and not so loved during these times?
I loved hiking in summer snow in Swedish Lapland – despite the million-gazillion mosquitos! Riding a camel up the sand dunes as the sun rose in the Moroccan Sahara. Peering through the fence outside the White House, trying to imagine what momentous decisions were being made inside. Meeting my latest rock star crush before a gig at an underground club in London. And every single thing about Paris! Obviously there’s been a lot I didn’t love – but it’s all good material…
What do you miss the most?
Most of all, I miss the people! There are lots of amazing places to visit, but it’s people who make them really special. I have a trip planned to England and Sweden later this year, and I’m looking forward to catching up with lots of friends. I do miss being close enough to travel to other countries, and being able to experience other cultures. But New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful, peaceful place to live, and I feel really lucky to call it home.
You are very lucky to have your own happily-ever-after and hero in your life. In your book, ‘All Over the Place,’ there is a ‘family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian and a childhood friend’. What was your inspiration in creating these marvelous characters?
You know, everyone you meet has a little something about them that’s tempting to borrow for a character! Just a snippet here, a sprinkle there… For a writer, every experience counts as ‘research’ in a way, and inspiration is everywhere. (If you meet a writer at a dinner party, just back away slowly!) I’ve been lucky to have met all kinds of people – some charming, some challenging – from all over the world, and it makes life so interesting! I enjoyed creating the same feeling in All Over the Place.
Each writer has a reason why they wrote a particular story such as children in slavery or women’s rights, good versus evil. What did your muse-heart want to bring out with these fabulous characters?
I’m really interested in the idea of what home means, especially in these international times – that it’s not just about where, but also about who. We all have so many more options these days, which in some ways makes it harder to know where or who we should be – or be with! I wanted to throw everything wide open for Livi, give her some challenges, and see where her heart took her.
When is your next book out? Are you able to give us a sneak peek inside?
The next one is a work in progress – that I’m enjoying very much! It’s set between England and California, and involves matchmaking, loss and acceptance, secrets and sandcastles, people power in a hyper-connected world, true love, and the trials and joys of sisterhood. It feels a bit dangerous to say too much though. Anne Tyler summed it up: “The secret of writing is to pretend to yourself that no one will see it, ever, an illusion which is shattered by talking about it.” Well said, as always!
Thanks for having me on Hipwaders vs Heels Kay – it was a lot of fun!
You are very welcome, Serena. I had an amazing time!
About All Over the Place – contemporary romantic fiction with a chick lit feel.
Livi Callaway has fled back to London after a reality TV disaster in New Zealand. Safely anonymous in the big city, she’s determined to stay under the radar from now on. But her attempts to build a new life are complicated by unexpected visitors from her old one, and new dangers and temptations lie in wait.
Late one night, she meets a mysteriously sexy American on the Underground – and the events that follow take her from Pooh Bear to the golden lights of Paris, via a trail of rock stars dead and alive. A family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian and a childhood friend (who might yet be more than that) have her all over the place as she tries to discover the American’s secret – while keeping her own.
With help – and occasional hindrance – from her friends, what she eventually finds is something unexpected…sometimes, running away can lead you to exactly what you didn’t know you needed.
All Over the Place is available at all major e-book retailers, including:
Find Serena here – she’d love to hear from you!