MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ELIZABETH CLARE
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My pen name is Elizabeth Clare and at the moment my book is a Reverse Harem Fantasy Romance.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The story began when I joined the writing group Penned in Ink. It was going to be part of an apocalyptic anthology, organized in the group, but it quickly grew into a full story that ended up being 414 pages long.
It is based in a world where supernaturals grew tired of constantly hiding their existence and revealed their presence. The leaders of that day, threatened by beings who were superior to them, in particular the dragon shifters, went to war in a desperate attempt to eradicate them. Even after taking the devastating decision to use nuclear weapons, they failed and, in the aftermath, the supernaturals took control of the world, especially the dragons.
Humans are now a sub species and subjugated under the supernaturals, which include vampires and animal shifters. The only thing that has value to the ruling classes, are human females, who are coveted and claimed for mates, consorts and Innamorata’s. At nineteen they are required to go to Clamore halls, where those dragon clans, vampires and shifters looking for a mate, go to see if any of the females presented, spark a chemical response, meaning they are meant for each other.
Determined to stay free, Serenity has been hidden from this post-apocalyptic society by her father, who was a navy SEAL. Living in the wilderness that grew over Staten Island, when dragons with their elemental magic, healed the almost inhabitable world, Serenity is forced out of hiding to survive, after her father’s untimely death.
While visiting the large market outside of New Draconia, which used to be New York, she is found by non-other than the Praetor clan. The rulers and most fierce and ancient clan in existence. They claim she is their Innamorata, and Serenity has to fight to retain her independence and freedom, against five very determined dragon men.
While she struggles against the soul deep connection they are offering and her instinctual fascination with their dragons, Serenity soon realizes that there are dark forces at play and dangerous whispers amongst her fellow humans. When long held secrets are revealed, Serenity has to decide if she will accept the Praetor clan’s possessive claim on her, and with their help, stop the world from once more plunging into chaos.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
My first reads that had the biggest impact on me were the Narnia stories and The Lord of the Ring. If I had to choose, then Tolkien would be my most favorite author. They cemented my love of all things paranormal and supernatural. Later cameAnne McCaffery’s Pern books, which increased my love of dragons and David Eddings’ Belgariad series, which made me fall in love with all things fantasy. Then, of course, I was introduced to Reverse Harem. It made sense when writing my own that I would combine my enjoyment of all these genres and my Revere Harem Fantasy Romance was born.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
No research as such, unless you count the thousands of books I have read over the years, which have embedded in my sub-conscious, and I’m sure have helped me write my own.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The Dragon Clan Series is a trilogy and each book tells the story of a new dragon clan and FMC. However, it is all set in the same world, and, as I love revisiting cherished characters from previous books when I read, the main characters from the preceding books, all have a small part to play in subsequent stories.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
As ‘The Dragons’ Innamorata’ has only just been released I would have to say the first book. However, I am having great fun writing book two, which is almost finished.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
The idea of it being apocalyptic came from Penned in Ink. Wanting to have dragon shifters definitely came from my love of these fantasy creatures, and I hope I have given them a uniqueness that readers will enjoy.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Not at first, but the story arc took on a life of its own after I stared writing, and books two and three were very quickly sketched out in my head.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I work as a school administrator Tuesday to Thursday, so my writing days are Mondays and Fridays and any other time I can sit and write either on paper, or at the computer, between real life demands. I never set any goals as I don’t work well under pressure, which means I am always pleased with what I have achieved, instead of being disappointed if I haven’t met a set goal.
I always listen to music, softly playing in the background, while I write, mostly the radio and I start to write the minute I’ve got chores done around the house. If the characters are talking to me loudly, I have been known to get very irritable, until I can sit down and stop them from chattering to me!
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I am over three quarters of the way through book two in The Dragon Clan series. A working title is ‘The Innamorata’s Clan of Dragons’. This may change!
I also have another idea that I have written a few pages of, and will sit on the back burner until the trilogy is complete, with a working title of ‘The last Dragon Queen’. Not that I have an obsession with dragons or anything!
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
There are no meanings behind the names in book one, but the FMC’s name in book 2 does have a special meaning, but that would be a spoiler, so my lips are sealed.
I tend to just sit and think about the character until a name pops into my head, and I instinctively feel it is right for that person. Sometimes I look at lists of either female or male names, until one pops out at me. I like strong unforgettable names especially for the male leads. As my books each have five sexy dragon shifters, I had fun choosing names for them.
Where do your ideas come from?
This is a good question. I guess my extensive reading over the years certainly helps formulate ideas but mostly, I just let my imagination have free rein and see what it comes up with
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Mmm, I do enjoy a good Mafia story and have played around with ideas for one of my own, trouble is there just aren’t enough hours in the day! I also really enjoy well written MC stories. Jamie Begley’s ‘Last Rider’s series, is an example of this. So maybe one day I will experiment with either of these genres.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I actually find the writing easy. I am what they call a pantser, I have a vague idea or outline in my head and may write down some ideas. I always carefully write out the characters, their personalities and characteristics so I don’t forget eye color etc. Then I just start to write. It’s my favorite part of the whole process
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I really enjoy book trailers and yes, I would love to have one for the future but would have to commission someone who would be capable of doing this. As those who know me, will attest to, I am not very good when it comes to technical stuff.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Bringing up two beautiful daughters, who have been such an encouragement through this process and being married for thirty-three years, to the world’s most patient husband and of course, fulfilling a life time dream of writing and publishing a book.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
When you are sat down and are writing the first draft, without worrying too much about grammar and the technical side of writing, but just letting the ideas flow and the characters talk to you. I love when I am writing, and the characters take over, and something is happening that I hadn’t foreseen. This is absolutely the best thing about being an author.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully, still writing, and if I am successful enough, being able to give up work and do this full time.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, English was my favorite subject at school, especially creative writing. I have always had stories running around in my head. Years ago, I tried writing for Mills and Boon, but was unsuccessful with this. Thanks to Indie publishing I have managed to achieve my greatest wish and have a book published.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up and don’t be afraid, like I was. If you want/need to write then do it, reach out online to writing groups, and see if you can find likeminded people to encourage and help you. I would never have come this far, if it weren’t for the Penned in Ink writing group.
Also, it’s never too late. I cannot be considered young anymore, and Indie publishing has been a huge learning curve for me, which at time has literally made me cry with frustration but every tear has been worth it, and along the way I have met some wonderful people, who I now consider as my best friends.
Of course, you need to read, read, read, especially books in the genre you want to write, this will provide a foundation to help you write your own words, and will also show you the craft of writing.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Years ago, when still at school and deciding on a career I wanted to be a Librarian, somewhere along the way that changed to being a nurse. I, to this day, have no idea how that happened!
However, I have never lost my love for books, the smell of them, and the feel of having one in your hand, so I guess in another life time, I would have pursued my dream of working with books, either as a librarian or in a book shop. Can you imagine getting a job, say in the Bodleian library in Oxford, to be in that amazing place, and surrounded all those fantastic books, old and new!
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Yes, I do read them, the good are wonderful and such an encouragement to know that people are reading and enjoying your book. The bad, I try to read objectively and see if they have valid points that can help me improve my writing
What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process?
Oh, definitely the editing. When I started writing I had no idea how arduous the process is, especially when you want the book to be the best it can be. By the end of it for ‘The Dragons’ Innamorata, I was thoroughly sick of my own story and writing! Fortunately, I am not alone in this, other writers feel the same, which helps
What are you working on now?
The second book in ‘The Dragon Clan Series.”
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Mmm, what can I share that won’t be a spoiler? How about this:
Agitated, Ayah paced up and down her bedroom. Her eyes glancing towards the clock. Five minutes, just five minutes to go before midnight and she turned nineteen, meaning her life was basically over, she could no longer be protected by her family.
The rules were undeniable, at nineteen she was of claimable age. . .
Where did your love of books come from?
I loved books from the moment I learned to read. When I was young, there weren’t the plethora of wonderful books available,like there are today. I drove my mother to distraction constantly asking for something to read. The best thing she ever did was get me to join our local library. I think that’s where my idea of becoming a librarian originated from
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Oh, my goodness, there are too many of them. As I said above, Tolkien would always come first if I had to choose and I also love Anne McCaffery and David Eddings. I couldn’t possibly list all the recent authors I have come to enjoy, there are just too many of them but Auyrn Hadley’s Rise of the Iliri series is epic, Zoe Parker is writing some really unique stories and Ivy Fox writes some really ‘hot’ books! And of course, Kendra Moreno, who although a newbie author is writing some amazing stuff.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
As I have only one stand alone book at the moment, I am bound to say the characters I have created within this story. I loved writing about the dragon men and giving them their own distinct personalities from the British water dragon Casper, to the quiet intellectual Paxton, who isn’t quite so withdrawn when he gets together with Serenity, and seems to be a favorite amongst those who have read my book. There is also Axel the earth dragon who plays beautiful music, and Kalen the irascible fire dragon, who is hot tempered but with a heart of gold. I have a bit of a soft spot for him. Then of course there is the arrogant, domineering leader Maddox.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It does both, I am so energized to start writing and get irritable when I can’t get to the computer to start. I enjoy every moment of it, even when I am staring out of the window, trying to work out a scene or figure out the correct wording. Afterwards though, I am usually very tired and need to chill and read something, until the characters start talking to me again.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
If I try and plan ahead too much, or think too hard, the ideas tend to dry up. I really do work better when I just ‘go with the flow’!
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
As a newbie author, I guess I am trying to do both of these. I want to write what readers want to read but also put my own twist on the story, so it is original. I want to write stories that I would like to read in the hope that others will hopefully enjoy it.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have met so many wonderful people in the book community and just by reading their books it helps with my own writing craft. Kendra Moreno has been my critical partner, and while being a newbie author like myself, is incredibly wise and writes amazing books. I know I can always turn to her with a question and she will have the answer.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
https://www.facebook.com/groups/775183629358595/ Elizabeth Clare’s Clan of Dragons
It’s been pleasure!