Friday, August 19, 2016

Interview with author Serena Clarke

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am from sunny Southern Utah. I love the heat and I hate the cold! I have a big, loud family of six girls. I received a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and I’m a member of the Red Mountain Shadows Publishing team. I have loved writing since I was young. I also enjoy designing my own book covers! I have many hobbies, including playing the piano, reading, drawing, painting, and doing DIY projects.

Q~ Who is your favorite literary hero(ine) and why?
I absolutely love Jane Eyre. She is so courageous and independent and full of integrity. She never makes the “easy” choice. She always tries to make the right choice. I admire her level-headedness and understanding of others, her ability to reserve judgement and easily forgive. I am also impressed that she does not sacrifice her standards no matter what. After all, the worldly, experienced Mr. Rochester falls in love with her for exactly who she is!

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
I have always loved fantasy and romance. I love the idea of escaping into a world of magic and princesses and fairies. Gail Carson Levine is one of my favorite fantasy authors. Ella Enchanted has always been one of my favorite books. I love the way she creates a whole new world and she took a classic story and made it unique. Her style made me realize that as an author I can create my own world and come up with my own rules.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
I have loved writing for as long as I can remember. I remember writing silly short stories when I was a kid and then I took creative writing classes in high school and college and loved it. I write in my spare time, but I never thought any of my ideas were good enough to publish. Until this book. I loved writing it so much that I knew I wanted to continue to write more seriously and share my stories with others.

Q ~ You get a brilliant phrase/idea/thought at an inopportune time (while driving, drifting off to sleep/in the shower). What do you do?
Haha! This has happened to me many times! Which is frustrating because I am such a forgetful person that if I don’t write something down right when I think it then it often slips away! I try to keep a writing device handy at all times! My iphone is riddled with notes and ideas.

Q ~ In The Treasure of Isian, you develop a fantasy world that invites readers in. How did you come up with the idea that started this?
Most of my ideas for my books come from dreams I have had. I had a dream about a prince who had a servant who had to do everything he told her to do. He relied on her. And her world revolved around him. And then suddenly she was unable to do everything for him and their relationship changed. When I awoke from this dream, all that day I could not stop thinking about it. What would such a relationship be like? And how would it evolve? And why did she have to do everything he told her to do? I had most of the storyline written in my head by the end of the day. And it became The Treasure of Isian!

The reason I love fantasy so much is that anything can happen. You are not restricted by reality. Your imagination is your limit. You decide what is possible and what is real.

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about what happens in the rest of the series?
I like the idea of destiny, fate, and prophecies. That is the premise of my series. Each of my characters has a destiny that they need to decide whether or not to accept. These books are about their journeys to gain better understanding of themselves and the world they live in. They need to figure out what is important to them and what they are willing to sacrifice to protect it.

About The Alliance of Isian:

War is coming and all the kingdoms must choose a side. Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and her new husband, Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war.

With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials or tear them apart? Enjoy the fantasy, danger, mystery, and romance!

About The Secret of Isian:

Many prophecies have been uttered about the impending war and those who will seek to stop it. With the war finally upon them, Rimelda, a talented seer, has heard the prophecies and believes she can help. Prince Ander, doubtful of her abilities and her true intensions, but determined to save his kingdom accepts her help and they proceed on a quest to end the war.

Hindered by enemies as well as their own doubts, Ander and Rimelda must search for guidance in unlikely places and unravel the mysteries of the prophecies.

With the world shrouded in darkness, will Ander accept his destiny in time to save the kingdoms and will he admit his true feelings for Rimelda?

Q ~ Do you have any other works on the horizon at the moment? Care to give us a hint as to what they’re about?

I am really excited for my next book! Fairytales have always been a big influence for me. The Grimms fairytales, the Disney versions, Fairytale Theaters. I just love fairytales. But they are so simple. I always find myself wondering how the characters really feel. I have always wanted to write my own version of a well-known fairytale. I am fascinated by the thought of expounding on the story and giving the characters real thoughts and emotions. That is my current project. I am in the process of working on a version of Rumplestiltskin and I can’t wait to get it published and see what my readers think of it! Hopefully I do not disappoint anyone else who is a fan of fairytales!

Q ~ If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your characters (from any novel you’ve written) who would you choose and why?

That is a difficult decision! I love all of my characters! But I think I would have to choose Elani from The Treasure of Isian. She is kind and optimistic. Her storytelling ability would keep me entertained. And her determination to return to her beloved Prince Garin would give her the courage and strength to do whatever it would take to get off the island and find him!

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?

Write a lot. Every idea you get, write it down and develop it. And have people read through it and give you ideas on how to perfect and edit your story. Don’t be afraid of criticism. Be confident in your writing. Also, I would encourage those who love writing to write whatever you want! Don't get discouraged about what other people think of your writing style or your ideas. Criticism can be really helpful in developing your talents, but don't get discouraged by it. Not everyone likes the same types of books and that's ok. Don't write what you think other people will want to read. Writing should be a fun experience! If you write what you like, there are bound to be other people who like it too.

Book Links:  
The Treasure of Isian:  my reviewprint - audio
The Alliance of Isian: print
The Secret of Isian: print

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