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Author Interview: C H Clepitt Chats about Or What You Will

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Get ready to learn more about the book Or What You Will in this discussion with sapphic author C H Clepitt.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz C H Clepitt about Or What You Will, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the International Setting category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Or What You Will?

Twelfth Night is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, but some things about it really annoyed me, not least the quick switch to a heteronormative ending! So I fixed it, whilst keeping what I hope is the fun, silliness and banter from the original.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

All of the characters were really fun to write. Because I tried to stick to lots of the original plot points from the play I’m not sure any of them are particularly like me, but I did have fun getting to know them!

What part of Or What You Will was the most fun to write?

I loved writing the dialogue. It was so fun and silly, particularly whilst the characters are having to think on their feet and aren’t particularly good at it! I also really liked coming up with modern ways to interpret some of the original plot points, such as the letter, the yellow stockings and the ring! I hope that fans of the original play will appreciate these updates and maybe spot some Easter Eggs too!

How much research did you need to do for Or What You Will?

I didn’t have to do much research as I studied the play and as it’s one of my favourites; I am very familiar with it. I reread the play, watched a few productions of it and chose the main plot points I wanted to make sure I included.

What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a bit of a mix, really. I have an idea for a book and have an idea for the story, but the characters tend to take on a life of their own and go in a bit of a different direction! For this book, because it was “Shakespeare – Fixed” the plot was already there for me, so it was more about how the characters arrived at their destination, rather than what the destination would be!

Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?

Well, I’m glad you asked. I have a cat called Cass, which is short for Hop Along Cassidy, as he only has 3 1/2 legs! He is a Wonky Ninja and won’t be slowed down. If I’m looking at the computer instead of him he shouts at me over and over, and if that doesn’t work he puts all of his weight on the lid of the laptop to shut it. It’s a good job I love him!

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

Since lockdown I have found it really hard to focus on anything. I think the impact of the isolation on people’s mental health shouldn’t be underestimated. I have been unable to work in silence and even need to have something playing to get me to sleep at night. The way I have found to counter this is to do writing sprints. I have a writing buddy and we pick a time, write intensively for 30 minutes then report our word count back to each other. I’m not sure I’d be able to write if I didn’t do that.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I’m a really eclectic reader. As long as the characters are strong and the story is engaging I will read it. I will not read animal cruelty and have put a book down and never gone back to it if that’s included! Recently I’ve been reading graphic novels and getting to know the Spiderverse!

Describe your favorite reading spot.

I read on my bed. I’m really lucky that I have a huge bedroom window so the room has a lot of natural light making the bed the perfect place to read. Cass likes to sit on the windowsill like a Victorian Widow looking out, so reading time we get to spend together!

Meet C H Clepitt

C H Clepitt has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of the West of England. As their Bachelor’s Degree was in Drama, and their Master’s Dissertation focused on little known 18th Century playwright Susannah Centlivre, Clepitt’s novels are extremely dialogue driven, and it has often been observed that they would translate well to the screen.

Not liking labels, Clepitt has often said they don’t like the way that choosing a genre forces you to put your book into a specific little box, and instead prefers to distort the readers’ expectations and keep them guessing.

Visit C H’s Website

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