Clare London, The Joyful Approach, Wilde City Press

Clare London Is Here In The First Person To Celebrate The Countdown To GayRomLit With A Giveaway!

by Clare London

The narrative mode encompasses not only who tells the story, but also how the story is described or expressed.

And isn’t that statement the honest truth? Choosing the right viewpoint as an author is a chance to tell a story with added depth and nuance.

The first-person narrator is always a character within his/her own story (whether the protagonist or not). This viewpoint character takes actions, makes judgments and expresses opinions, thereby not always allowing the audience to be able to comprehend some of the other characters’ thoughts, feelings, or perceptions as much as the narrator’s own. We become aware of the events and characters of story through the narrator’s views and knowledge.***

I like writing in the first person. It allows me to immerse myself in the character – I can talk aloud and listen to how he speaks – face an event and consider how he’d react. It’s a kind of method acting, albeit it gets me strange looks from the rest of the family! But I hope it gives a richer experience for the reader. They can enter into a relationship or an adventure as if they’re the character, rather than an observer of other people interacting.

I also find it more rewarding to write deep emotions, the joy, angst, anger, love, pain. Sex, too LOL. Nothing better than expressing the character’s excitement in “watching” his partner’s reactions!

And so this is how FREEMAN was written. Freeman, the character, is articulate and intelligent. He’s perceptive, he follows the action closely. He’s brutally honest in what he tells us about himself – albeit this has been internally censored.

But there are disadvantages of the first person, and not just the fact that if the reader takes against your MC’s narrative voice, you’re doomed for the whole book! If anything happens outside your character’s physical view, or you want to develop a secondary relationship, or you want to express what another character is thinking, or you want some backstory that your MC wasn’t directly involved in – well, hard luck!

It’s a two-edged sword. But for this kind of mystery book, I felt the first person point of view fitted. The mystery is both external and also within Freeman himself. And it was extra fun to peel open the resolution of both!

What’s your favourite point of view to read and/or write?


Blurb: Freeman’s return to the city is quiet, without fuss. Another client: another case. He’ll source what they need and be on his way. But he’s been missed by more people than he thought: his ex-wife, his ex-lover, and his ex-business partner. And at least one of them wants him the hell gone again.
Freeman – private, controlled – just does his job. But when he strikes up an unusual friendship with the young runaway Kit, trouble comes looking for both men, ready to expose secrets that can destroy their fragile trust. Yet, for Kit, Freeman’s more than ready for the challenge.

From the book:

“So, Freeman, what do you actually do?”

His question caught me by surprise, but he looked genuinely interested. I didn’t explain myself to many people; I didn’t give many of them the truth. If there’d been anyone watching us, or if Kit’s eyes had been clouded with drugs, or even if it’d been nothing but a polite comment, I’d have turned away. Maybe he wanted to know for himself, maybe for someone else. But he genuinely wanted to know.

“I find things for people. Source them. Cars, properties, retail goods, collectibles. Information…research. Whatever they want and will pay for.”

Kit tilted his head in that way he had when he was thinking. “Sounds pretty lame. You get them money? Loans?”

I shook my head, smiling. “Nothing financial. Not my area of expertise.”

“Knives? Drugs?”

I shook my head again. I didn’t smile this time.

“Don’t frown like that, Freeman. You smoke stuff yourself.”

“Sure. Now and then. But just for me. And nothing harder.” I kept accusation out of my voice. We were talking about me, not him. I didn’t dictate other people’s lives, either.

“Miki does the harder stuff. Lots of them do.” He was baiting me. I could hear it. Maybe he didn’t know what he might find.

“I know.” I sighed again. “I know all about Miki.”

Kit smiled back at me, a wide, youthful grin. He seemed completely relaxed again now. I had to admire that in him too — the ability to shift from drama to comfort in a moment, as if there’d never been any concern in the first place. “Miki and the drugs,” he said softly. “I hear stuff about that too.” Pushing his hair back behind his ears, he waited for me to answer, but I was silent. “There’s something else going on at the moment, something to do with George’s business. It’s weird, something big. But I don’t know enough about it yet.”

“How do you know something’s going on?” I was careful with every word.

He shrugged. Maybe he heard something odd in my voice and was wondering whether he should have kept his mouth shut. A spot on the pavement between his trainers was suddenly of the utmost interest. “I’ve been around. I know.”

I bit my lip. “If you think it’s something criminal, maybe you’d better go to the police.”

He let out a snort of derision. “Is that what you are, Freeman? A cop?” He stared back up at me, suddenly intense.

“No,” I said dryly. “I’m not a cop. I’ve done too many things in the past that wouldn’t look good on an application form.”

“But you’re not one of them, either,” he said, meaning the inhabitants of George’s world.

“No.” I seemed to be saying that a lot nowadays. “Not anymore.”

He frowned. “You source things, you said.”

“I get people what they need,” I said quietly. “If I take them on as a client, I get it for them. Whatever it is. Whatever it takes.” And legally. Usually.

Kit didn’t seem to want to take it further. He shifted on the bench and sighed. “You go your own way.”

I nodded. It was a fair summary.


***Ranjbar Vahid. The Narrator, Iran:Baqney. 2011


Clare London … Writing Man to Man




20 thoughts on “Clare London Is Here In The First Person To Celebrate The Countdown To GayRomLit With A Giveaway!

  1. suze294 says:

    I don’t mind what pov a story is written, though from comments on Goodreads a lot of people really dont like first person! I always think that if the story and writing are good (or great!) then, I tend not to really notice. Can’t remember the book now, but once I did read a badly editted (poss not even done at all) book and then I noticed every pov change, spelling mistake, missing link – now that w annoying!


  2. Natalija says:

    Great excerpt, thanks for sharing! I don’t mind first person POV, but in a certain way I expect more from those books. For example, if the the author wants to create a character who like Freeman is articulate, intelligent, and brutally honest, he really has to sound and act like someone who possesses all those qualities. I hope i was able to convey my point :) I’m very intrigued by this book and can’t wait to read it.


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  4. Allison says:

    I don’t pay attention to POV much as long as the story is well-written and interesting I am happy to have the chance to read it. This excerpt was really intriguing, just enough to make me wonder what is going on! Thank you for the giveaway.


  5. Great write up on first person POV, Clare. Hi, glad to see you here. I like to write in this POV as well. Before I start writing I ask myself “Whose story is this?” and that helps me find the right POV. I also find it keeps me on track when my POV wobbles a bit. Sometimes it’s first person and others it’s third person close. Both give you insight into the character’s thoughts and motivation. Loved the excerpt from Freeman. Looks like you have another winner. :)


  6. Trix says:

    I think it depends on what the stories and characters dictate–I like third, but some characters are so compelling that first is the only way to go! (And even though second has been out of vogue since the ’80s, that works sometimes too, like in Gregory L. Norris’ “The Rookie”…)


  7. Liam Livings says:

    I prefer 1st person POV to read, but I suppose it all comes back to the characters. If I enjoy spending time with them, or find them interesting I’m away.
    I tend to write in 1st person though.


  8. felinewyvern says:

    I never used to like the first person narrative but have grown to love it since finding some really good stories told in this way. What I don’t like is head hopping without a natural break between characters. Drives me nuts!


  9. Nancy says:

    POV doesn’t matter to me much, as long as the story and characters draw me in. That said, I do love first-person POV when it’s done right. I’ve not read Clare’s books before and look forward to this one.


  10. H.B. says:

    I usually mind if a story is told in first or third person but I do like one that switches so that I can see how both MC’s will react and how they feel about the situation. For me, in the end it’s all about the plot and whether or not I could connect with the MC’s.


  11. Carolyn says:

    I’m usually not very picky about the POV of a story, although I can think of one instance recently where it was first person, and I felt like maybe that wasn’t the best choice for the story. I think the only problem I see with first person sometimes is when that person says something out of character that’s more in line with what a narrator/omniscient observer would point out, like maybe phrasing or word choice, and that does bug me. Normally, though, I’m good with whatever an author has chosen, and it usually works out just fine.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  12. Susan R says:

    I don’t read a lot of first person POV, but lately I have read a few that I really enjoyed, so I am more open to giving them a try. This one sounds really good!


  13. Thanks very much to everyone who stopped by to say hello to Clare during our Countdown to GayRomLit Celebration. Her contest is now closed and her winner has been selected. An E-copy of Freeman goes to…

    Liam Livings!

    Congratulations, Liam! I’ll email Clare with your contact information, so expect to hear from her soon. :)


  14. May I add my thanks to Lisa’s – I’ve really enjoyed reading your feedback to the 1st person style, and also your encouragement of Freeman :).

    And thanks to Lisa, The Novel Approach and Joyfully Jay for bringing us all this pre-GRL excitement :)


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