Friday, August 20, 2021



I want to first thank Celeste Barclay for taking the time for this interview!


Celeste Barclay, a nom de plume, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons.

Growing up in the Midwest, Celeste enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could.  Now she lives near the beach.  She's an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower.

Before becoming a full-time author, Celeste was a Social Studies and English teacher.

She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS).

She channels that knowledge into creating rich historical romances that bring the steam.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I suppose I considered it as a kid, but I never gave it serious thought.  In 2017, I decided I wanted to give it a try, and it stuck.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

I loved the Bronte sisters, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Austen, Voltaire, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

A couple characters are loosely autobiographical, and one is loosely based on my best friend.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Books I’ve read, movies and TV shows I’ve watched, my other stories.

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I have an idea of the overall story arch and will write that down, but I’m not married to any of the details just the premise.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?


Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

I still love to read historical fiction and historical romance.  I also love to relax in front of the TV.  I’m fortunate to live near the beach, so that’s an absolute favorite.

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

Eliza Knight, Emma Prince, Keira Montclair, Amy Jarecki, Cecelia Mecca

What are your favorite books by others?

Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series helped get me hooked on the genre.

I loved Eliza Knights Stolen Brides and Conquered Brides series.

Emma Prince’s Highland Bodyguards ranks highly.

I’m looking forward to Cecelia Mecca’s new spinoff series.

I love how Keira Montclair weaves series together.

Amy Jarecki just crafts great stories.

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

I’m half English, so yes, the locations in my stories and the ones I often read reflect my second home.

Do you write in single or multiple POV?


What do you find to be your best research tool?

Some of my childhood history books and the internet’s ability to access primary sources.

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

Just one pen name

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

Historical romance, and I enjoy the suspense, intrigue, and happily ever afters that come with Highlanders, Vikings, and pirates.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I’m very much an only child—resilient and stubborn!

I’m also the only female in my house with a husband and two teenage sons.

I have two graduate degrees which helped me learn to be hyper focused and productive.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Take the leap!

Do your homework about publishing and your genre, then start writing.

How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

I disagree silently, then I start to think if there is anything constructive I can glean from them.

If I can, I try to think whether it’s something I want to incorporate into my writing and how to do it.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

It used to be release days.  It felt like I was the parent of the new kid, worrying about whether they would have someone to sit with at lunch.

Now, it’s more about remembering to take breaks during the day and to take weekends.

I don’t struggle with the brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, publishing part.  It flows easily.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

Something comfy to sit on that supports my head, neck, and arms.  I’ve done serious damage to my neck from not having the proper seating.  Writer beware!

I usually have a drink/water bottle nearby, a pencil and notepad, and my laptop.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

My Facebook breaks are sometimes longer than they should be.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

I think I would choose Dan Brown.  I’d love to know how he crafts his mysteries since that’s not in my wheelhouse.

What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

I binge write, so during writing weeks, I start around 6am and work until 4-5pm.  Sometimes I go back after dinner, but I’m trying to close my laptop by 6pm at the latest.

A slow book (3-3.5 weeks) is about 5k words (20 double spaced pages) per day.

A regular pace book (12-16 days) is about 10-20K words (40-80 double spaced pages) per day.

Coke Zero

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

No.  Only when I used to write at coffee shops to drown out the distractions.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

Yes!  My cats walk across me.  My little boy cat will stand on his hindlegs by my desk chair and meow until I pick him up—then he hops down a minute later.  Rinse and repeat.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

I’m very task oriented and hyper focused, so no real kryptonite.

Now that I’ve slowed down to 4-6 books per year, starting a new book too soon after the last one leaves me feeling a bit drained.

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

No.  I kill off plenty of villains.

My one regret was having the matriarch already dead in my first series . I really wish my five main characters in that series had their mother.

How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

I don’t type THE END.  A grade school teacher taught us not to for nonfiction, and I’ve never gone back, even when I write novels.

Usually, I celebrate by sending it to the editor!  It’s no longer in my hands!

I will take about a month to six weeks off from writing to decompress.  I do business stuff and take it easy.

I hope that you enjoyed this interview!

Make sure to give Celeste a shout-out and FOLLOW her on all her social media!

Connect w/ Celeste:

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