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.
Excerpt:
(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!


10 thoughts on “Interview with YA novelist Adrienne Clarke

  1. Unknown says:

    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.

  2. Unknown says:

    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

  3. Unknown says:

    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.

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