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5 Creative Questions with… Claire L. Smith

Claire L. Smith is a horror/fantasy author, artist and designer. As we are both dark-haired women called Claire, with an L in our name somewhere, both spooky Capricorns and friendly neighbourhood goths, sometimes when I message her, I feel almost as though I am talking to myself. It must be how B1 feels when he talks to B2. Or maybe Claire L. Smith and I are like characters in Coraline. One is Claire, one is The Other Claire, and you'll have to guess which one will sew buttons over your eyes. Before it's too late...


I know Claire through This Fresh Hell - we each contributed a story to the horror anthology. Hers is a beautifully dark rural nightmare, it's aesthetic as well as terrifying. Claire also designed the cover. Speaking of design, she also designed this very website, clairelow.com, along with several others, as well as my business card. I have great regard for Claire's taste. Is she me? Am I her? One day, if she crawls out of my mirror, I'll have to say, it just isn't that surprising.


Claire L. Smith. Photograph: supplied


Claire L. Smith is the 35th in my series of creatives to take five questions.


When my creative process is stuck, I reach for... Pinterest! I’m a very visual person so adding to or creating new boards always helps restart my creative brain. Even taking a quick break from my current project to work on something else that I've got on the back burner normally helps too.


The weirdest thing about being a creative human is... honestly, the fact that the most random thing can inspire you or spark an idea. I could be sitting in a cafe and randomly look up at the people eating near me and a whole story about a character could pop into my head based on them. Or, I could be wandering through a charity shop and see the most random trinket and think ‘what if one of these was haunted?’ And it all goes down the brainstorming black hole. It’s something that can’t really turn off either, so you never know when it’s going to strike.


The most unusual object in my house is... a small collection of animal bones on my coffee table. I was having a really hard time last year and my friend came over and was like ‘I know life sucks right now but I found all these bones while on a hike and I thought you’d like them.’ They know me so well, hehe. 


I celebrate my achievements by... This is such a good question as I’m always forgetting to do this and it’s one of my 2024 resolutions to actually stop and give myself a pat on the back instead of just immediately jumping into the next project. Other than the obvious things such as buying myself little treats, I make sure to reflect and acknowledge my efforts. 


Something in the world that already exists that I wish I had created is... I honestly can’t really think of an answer. I guess as an author especially you kind of have to accept that everything that can be done has been done. So, even if something was done/created first, I really don’t mind as long as I’m able to put my own unique spin on it, if that makes sense. 


Find out more about Claire L. Smith on her website HOME | Author (clairelsmith.com) and follow her on Instagram Claire L. Smith (@clairelsmxth) • Instagram photos and videos. Agnes and Cat is out now. This Fresh Hell is available at Galaxy Bookshop.

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