Blue Tide Rising
by Clare Stevens
Clare grew up in the wilds of Somerset where she was weaned on cider and fed a daily diet of ghost stories cooked up in her older sister’s imagination. This fostered an early love of storytelling long before she could read or write.

She began her career as a journalist, before spending several years in government communications. Recently Clare made the switch from spin-doctor to story spinner and embarked on an MA in Creative Writing which she passed with distinction. She wrote her first novel Blue Tide Rising while on the course, and used it as the basis for her dissertation.

Clare is active in several Nottingham literary groups and last year won runner up in the Nottingham Writers Studio awards in the ‘novelist of the year’ category. She has had seven pieces of short fiction published in various anthologies and her short story ‘The Longest Night’ is due to be published this Spring in the Wordsmith HQ journal ‘The Purple Breakfast Review’.

Clare has two day jobs – she runs creative writing workshops for people affected by cancer, and does PR and media for a hospice.

When not writing or working, Clare can be found walking her springer/pointer cross, heading off for weekends in Whitby (her spiritual home), or trying to learn piano. She runs a half-marathon once a decade.

Blue Tide Rising is published by Inspired Quill.

‘Somewhere in me a scream is rising, but I contain it. Just.’ Diazepam-fogged Amy isn’t the best person to investigate an unexplained death, but she’s the only one Jay can get through to. 

 When Amy Blue wakes to find a stranger in her bedroom, she’s not particularly alarmed. That sort of thing happens in Balmoral Street, the run-down part of Manchester she’s washed up in, where the druggies downstairs and other random visitors push their way into her insecure attic room.  Amy -  existing in a  Diazepam-induced haze where past merges with present and none of it is pleasant - is beyond caring. Escaping from her controlling older lover Iain, and reeling from the loss of a pregnancy, she’s at rock bottom, barely engaging with the world around her. 

 This is no ordinary stranger, however. This is beautiful, androgynous Jay, who listens to her story and appears to want to help, with no hidden agenda. 

Extracts from the book
Another monster wave knocks me off balance, I grab at a slime covered rock, but lose my grip as some force in the water pulls me under. I taste salt water. My ears fill. There’s an eerie quiet. Is this it? Am I drowning? My body slows. Then from somewhere a calm voice takes over. I still my breath and let my body rise until my head shoots up above the water and my ears fill once more with sound as the wave subsides.

It’s close to midday when I surface. My brain is a fug. My body feels like it’s chained to the bed, my limbs like lead. But somewhere in me a scream is rising. It starts in my stomach, forcing its way up through my body, until it pushes against my skull. I contain it, just.

 Path to publication with Inspired Quill
Clare started by approaching agents but, if they replied at all, it was with generic ‘not for us’ answers which didn’t give her much of a clue about where she was going wrong. Then she thought about approaching small independent publishers. Inspired Quill was the first one she tried. She was immediately attracted to their ethos (they are a non-profit publisher – they put profits back into the business or into literary community projects). She found them approachable and friendly from the outset.

Clare read a few of their titles and spoke to another IQ author before sending in her submission. By that time she already felt a connection with the publisher. It was a two-stage submission process. First she sent a synopsis and the first three chapters. Then they asked to read the whole manuscript. Clare was thrilled when they came back saying they wanted to publish.