Today we're excited to chat with Sarah Jean Horwitz, author of
The Dark Lord Clementine.
Read on for more about Sarah and her book, plus an giveaway!
Meet Sarah Jean Horwitz!
SARAH JEAN HORWITZ grew up next door to a cemetery and down the street from an abandoned fairytale theme park, which probably explains a lot. She currently lives near Boston, MA. Find her on Twitter, @sunshineJHwitz, or at sarahjeanhorwitz.com [sarahjeanhorwitz.com].
Meet The Dark Lord Clementine!
Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.
Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all?
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The Dark Lord Clementine is inspired by a real Clementine! While visiting my high school English teacher and her baby daughter, Clementine, some friends and I were trying to play with Clem and her set of plastic toy farm animals. We would hold up the animals and ask, “What sound does the pig make? Does the pig say, ‘oink oink?’ What sound does the cow make?” But Clementine stayed quiet and was firmly uninterested in playing with us. I thought it was so funny, and so I put on a fake scary voice and said something like, “The animals say nothing. They are silent. All of the animals are always silent” and everyone laughed…and then for some reason, I couldn’t get the idea of Clementine and her silent farm out of my head! I thought, “Why would all those animals be silent and creepy?” I had another friend who nicknamed her baby niece “the Dark Lord” (my friends and I are a strange bunch, I love it) and I sort of combined the two ideas and went from there.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
This is a fairly obvious choice, but it’s Clementine, of course! She is brave and sweet and flawed and has so much to learn about how the world outside her castle really works. She has a lot of unhealthy behaviors to unlearn, since being raised as a future Dark Lord doesn’t do much for one’s social skills. But she has so much love to give the world, too.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title! My friends and I came up with the title as a joke before I even considered it as an actual story idea. It was originally The Dark Lord Clementine and Her Silent Farm. The whole story was based around that.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
- I love Clementine’s character design, especially her hair. Michelle Lamoreaux, the cover artist, did such an amazing job capturing my vision of Clementine. And her blue hair is just great. Clementine’s hair is magical and changes color throughout the book, and I’m so glad we get a hint of that on the cover.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2019?
I think it will be out by the time this post goes up, but I am really looking forward to Wayward Son, the sequel to Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Carry On made me both genuinely excited about a fantasy book and as critically engaged with said book in a way that I haven’t been since my Harry Potter fandom days. A magic school story in dialogue with other magic school stories and the Chosen One trope PLUS queer romance? I am so there. I wish I’d had a book like that when I was a teenager.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m working on a new middle grade fantasy that I guess I’d describe as “Clementine-adjacent.” It takes place in a world that is also very much defined by fairytales, but this time, instead of dealing with Dark Lords and villains, I’m hoping to take a closer look at how we define heroes. I’m not sure if it will make it all the way to the “book on a shelf” stage, though, so I won’t say more than that at the moment!
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Dave the black sheep! He’s a quiet character, and also a sheep, so I kept losing track of him. I’d get a note from my editor like, “Wasn’t the black sheep in this scene? Where did he go?” and I’d realize I’d forgotten about him. Poor Dave.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or revising?
My favorite part of the writing process is the second draft. It’s usually the biggest revision I do on a book, and it’s totally private. I do it before my editor or even my critique partners see the book. I love it because I have words and story there to work with, as opposed to facing the scary prospect of a blank page, but it’s all still so malleable. I can start to see the true shape of the story, and that’s exciting.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I am a big fan of the Union of Concerned Scientists. They are standing up to actual Evil Overlords and saving our planet with evidence-based science and advocacy! Their website is here: https://www.ucsusa.org/
The Dark Lord Clementine
By: Sarah Jean Horwitz
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Two winners will receive a copy of The Dark Lord Clementine (Sarah Jean Horwitz) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*