I attended the book signing event for Claire North at Deansgate’s Waterstones. This was to promote her most recent novel Touch, a story about an entity called Kepler that can switch bodies through skin to skin contact. The book has a wonderfully imagined concept and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Claire North, actual name, Catherine Webb, who also goes by the pseudonym of Kate Griffin, is a prolific yet brilliant writer, her experience spans over ten years despite her being under thirty.
Claire North’s first novel, written as Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August gained critical acclaim on its release in 2014. Touch is the highly anticipated follow up.
It was quite a small gathering that greeted the author at the bookstore, which allowed for a more intimate event. Claire was charmingly eccentric and engaging. Her enthusiasm for her craft was evident in her language and descriptions. Claire delivered a timeline of her writing career to give us some background on herself, which brought us to the current day and novel.
It was interesting to learn that Claire is also a trained theatre lighting engineer as well as a talented writer. She claims that all writers are crazy, which comes from experience of being raised by two. She stated her lighting job helps maintain her sanity while her writing indulges it.
She took questions on Touch‘s themes around gender, sexuality, love and all those existential ideas that propel humans forward. The concept of the book is original and intriguing. The idea came to Claire when watching someone walk through a park and disappear when they stepped out of the lamplight into darkness to then reappear again.
Claire spoke about the future of the book industry and the positives and negatives of self-publishing. She also spoke about feminism and her support for women in male-dominated professions.
When asked what her favourite novel she’d written is, she diplomatically responded. Whatever one she’s finished last seems to be high in her esteem as she believes each story brings with it a different feeling and achievement.
Claire happily signed my copy of Touch and posed for a picture.
Claire has finished ‘The Gamehouse Novellas’, which are out now, and has a further publication due for release in the New Year, which I will keep my eye out for.