Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Interview with YA novelist Adrienne Clarke

Today is a virtual book tour stop for Adrienne Clarke and her young adult fantasy romance novel To Dance in Liradon.

Adrienne will be awarding winner's choice of a Kindle touch, Nook Simple Touch, or a $100 Apple gift card, and one crystal Faerie necklace similar to what Brigid wore to the Faerie ball to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

To be entered for a chance to win, make sure to leave an e-mail address with a comment below. And if you'd like to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave comments for Adrienne.

Welcome, Adrienne. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I think I became a writer because the world inside my head was so real and vivid, sometimes more so than the outside world. In some sense I have lived parallel lives, present in my real and imaginary lives in different ways. Because much of my childhood was spent searching for faeries or reading about them, it is natural that my work encompasses fairy tale themes and other magical elements. In the words of Tennessee Williams, forget reality, give me magic!

Adrienne has previously published short stories in The Storyteller, Beginnings Magazine, New Plains Review, and in the e-zines A Fly in Amber, Grim Graffiti, Les Bonnes Fees, The Altruist, The Devilfish Review, and Rose Red Review. Her short story, Falling was awarded second place in the 2008 Alice Munro short fiction contest. To Dance in Liradon is her first published novel.

An avid reader of fairy tales and other magical stories, a thread of the mysterious or unexpected runs through all of her work. When she’s not writing Adrienne can be found searching for faeries along with her daughters Callista and Juliet.

Please tell us about your current release.
Drawing on elements of Celtic fairy tale mythology, To Dance in Liradon is filled with magic and romance, but it’s also a story about growing up, about the deceitful nature of appearances, and, most importantly, about what it is to be human and to love.

What inspired you to write this book?
The story for To Dance in Liradon has been with me for a long time. I have a shared passion for fairy tales and Celtic mythology, and I knew I wanted to write a book that drew on the magic and romance of both. I’ve always loved stories about the Irish Tuatha De Danann: Tall, beautiful, proud, and amoral, who have a propensity for falling in love with humans. To Dance in Liradon explores what happens when the human and Faerie worlds collide.

(The excerpt included here shows Brigid’s exceptional talent for dancing. It’s one of the things that set her apart from the other villagers, who believe Brigid’s lightness of step is a sign she’s been touched by the Faerie.)

Brigid allowed the sweet music to seep into her veins and then she was away. Away from the disapproving eyes of the other villagers, away from her mother’s fond but anxious expression, away from Connell and his undecided intentions. Once she was inside the music nothing else mattered. She felt as free and untouchable as the lord himself. As she advanced around the ring, her feet tapping lightly against the ground, she was dimly aware of the other dancers. Two had already left; their desire for more ale greater than their desire for the cake. Ahead of her, Isibeal, Tanner’s daughter, stumbled and Brigid danced around her like the wind.

Brigid never got a cramp in her side or lost her footing. Once she started dancing her tiredness fell away from her like a heavy, velvet cloak. She could go round and round the ring until a new sun rose in the sky. But she would not have long to wait for her victory. One by one the other dancers began to tire. Fin, the Falconer’s son, one of Brigid’s long-ago playmates, fell to the ground gasping for breath.

“No more,” he said before struggling to his feet.
Mary, Baker’s daughter, and Isibeal also took their leave. Brigid could feel their jealous glances burning into her back after they rejoined their families who stood around the ring waiting to see who would falter next.

Now only Brigid and Deirdre Faolan were left. The two girls danced alone together on many such occasions. Deirdre did not possess Brigid’s love of music, or her graceful footwork, but she was sturdy and strong from her work in the fields, and the desire to win radiated from her well-muscled limbs. 

The dancers shared the same steps but their movements were as different from one another as the sun and the moon. Deirdre’s brow glistened with sweat, two hectic spots of colour staining her ruddy cheeks, while Brigid felt as cool and weightless as a shadow. But if her feet held some magic, her shoes possessed none. Already worn through in several places, she felt the soles of her feet connect with the hard ground. Still she danced on, her pale face upturned to the sky, which was now well and truly dark. She wished she could dance her way up to the highest star and disappear into the sky’s inky blackness.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m very excited about my novel in progress, Opium Ghosts. It’s a supernatural mystery set in Victorian London at the height of the spiritualist movement. I’ve always been interested in séances, ghosts and mediums, and I loved the idea of writing a historical novel that was part romance part ghost story. The growth of spiritualism also marks a fascinating period in women’s history – all of a sudden young middle class women found themselves in positions of real power. Some of the most famous mediums of the day were teenage girls who captivated their audiences with ghostly materializations, or not, depending on whether you believe in spirits or trickery. I’ve done research for all my novels, but the research for Opium Ghosts has definitely been the most fun.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in grade two I wrote a poem called “Dreamers,” that to my astonishment made my teacher swoon. It’s my first memory of feeling like writing was something I was good at. After that I was hooked.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My day job involves working as a mediator, but right now I’m on an extended maternity leave. I write the days that my 2-year old daughter is in daycare, and when I can manage it I get up really early to write before everyone else wakes up. It can be a difficult balancing act, but I write because I must – there’s no choice involved.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write all my first drafts long hand – an increasingly odd practice!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer, a ballerina, and a magician – in that order.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope that if you do decide to read To Dance in Liradon you’ll let me know what you thought. Connecting with readers is one of the best things about being a writer. I’d love to hear from you!

Buy Links:

Thanks, Adrienne.

Readers, don't forget about the fabulous giveaway being offered! To be entered for a chance to win, leave an e-mail address with a comment below. Good luck!


Unknown said...

Thank you for hosting me today, Lisa!

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting this tour!

Mary Preston said...

I think that the world inside your head but be quite an extraordinary place.


Anonymous said...

Where do you go to research your topics for your stories?

Ami said...

This book sounds really good, I love a good fantasy story!

shadowrunner1987 at gmail dot com

Rita Wray said...

Great interview. It's good to learn more about the author.


Unknown said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! And to answer Jessica's question - I research everywhere. The library, Internet,the woods, the park. Depending on what I'm writing about I do research that will help me bring the story to life. Sometimes it's about getting the facts right, but more often then not it's about evoking the right mood and feeling.

Unknown said...

I love the list of what you wanted to be, it seems like thru this story you have effectively achived all three since the later too have influenced this magical tale

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comment, Shannon. I think you're right - one of the best things about being a writer is the ability to live vicariously through your characters.

bn100 said...

Nice inspiration for the book.