Author Chat with C.E. Clayton (The Monster of Selkirk Book I: The Duality of Nature), Plus a Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat C.E. Clayton, author of The Monster of Selrik: Book 1:The Duality of Nature. Read on for more about C.E. and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet C.E. Clayton!
As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends.
But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I love fantasy creatures, and have been inspired by the massive worlds built by Tolkien and his beautifully descriptive writing. I also tend to dislike fantasy books that use magic as convenient plot devices to get their main characters out of trouble. Plus, I tend to not empathize as much with a character who claims to be an outcast, but can throw fireballs at their enemies, or just wave their fingers and make anything they want happen. That's what inspired me to write the book I did. A fantasy story more focused on fantasy races, with characters that don't have magic, and have to learn how to deal with their problems like normal people. Even with the twist I give to my fantasy creatures (elves) where my main characters have to find a way to combat against feral creatures that like to eat people, they do so in a way that's fantastic certainly, but also believable for the everyday person.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the novel. Until I was done writing it, I couldn't settle on a name. I kept waffling on what I felt fit best. That changed when the first book was finished and I had a better handle on what I wanted to convey in the title, and what I wanted readers to feel when they picked it up. I like the mystery/ambiguity of titles that can have more than one meaning, especially when you don't know who, or what, the monster is.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
That even if you think your book is done, it's probably not. When I first finished writing my book, I was so proud of it, I didn't look back and was sending it out to a bunch of publishers and agents and kept getting rejections. Now, I know better. You need to take a step back, put the work away, and come back to it later with fresh eyes, even if you "finished" writing it a month ago. Chances are, you missed things, or things aren't as clear as you originally thought. Taking your time is vital, as is beta readers who will tell you that something feels long or is boring. They are your early readers, and if they feel bored, chances are you aren't communicating something right. If I had known all this when I first started, I probably could have saved myself a lot of stress and heartbreak!
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the mystery of it. I love that you get the sense that there is something foreboding waiting ahead, but you don't know what it could be. I also like that you can't see my main character's face, as it leaves room for the reader to imagine them how they want, which makes my characters (hopefully) feel closer to the reader.
Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The hardest scenes to narrate (and emotionally, too) are the one with Tallis's father, Jon. Personally, I have a great relationship with my father. That's not the case for Tallis, so writing a parental figure who is cruel to his daughter was difficult. I had to be very careful with how I presented it so that Jon's actions felt believable and also delivered the emotional impact I was aiming for.
Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Tomas, hands down. I wanted to create a guy who wasn't the stereotypical brawny hero. I made Tallis the physically capable one of my characters, so Tomas needed to fill another role. I wanted Tomas to be this brilliant, shy, endearing, and totally lovable guy without making him overly weak. He's got such a great character arc and he grows so much between book one and book two, but it was hard to toe the line between "adorkable" and just frustrating at times.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
As odd as it sounds, revising. I'm not big on drafting things, I'm not a planner when I write. I'm more of a pantser, where I know the major plot points, where the story starts and ends, and I figure out what my characters personalities are like, but I let my characters drive the story. I let them lead me to the destination. Which is why I like revising, because then I'm just polishing my characters journey, and making sure all the appropriate clues are left so the pay out at the end is worth the journey.
Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I am a big fan of the "Adopt, don't shop" movement when it comes to bringing a pet into the home. I have two cats and a dog, all of which I rescued from various shelters. They are such great pets and keep me company while I write! They also make frequent appearances on my Instagram page, just saying. As far as causes go, adopting a dog or a cat rather than going to a pet store is very near and dear to my heart.
The Monster of Selkirk
By: C.E. Clayton
Release Date: April 18, 2017