I first met Leah Clifford through the QTForum. I was impressed by her generous spirit and great advice. Over the next several months I watched with excitement as she found her agent and finished her revisions. And now, her hard work has paid off in amazing ways.
On Monday, 2/8, Leah made the following announcement – she had sold her book (check out the deets here). WOO HOO!!!
I wanted to interview her and find out more about her, her process and her book. She graciously agreed. So, here you go:
CF: Why did you begin writing?
LC: I’ve been writing since I was really little. I had teachers early on who told my parents I had talent and so my mom in particular was really open minded in letting me read books that were probably over my head but planted quite an imagination on me. I tackled King in third grade. VC Andrews, Anne Rice. Anything I could get my hands on. I started writing because as soon as I realized it was some one’s JOB to write those stories I decided that was the coolest job in the world and the only one I wanted.
CF: How long have you been writing?
LC: Honestly, I’ve been writing since I was a little thing, just stories and poems. I started writing with intent to get published in early 2007. My first novel now resides in a Staples box hidden in a secret location far from the light of day. I queried it a bit, but knew it wasn’t the best I could do, so I stopped querying and started working on A Touch Mortal (which was then called Reapers).
CF: Tell me a little about your personal writing process?
LC: I’m usually a seat-of-the-pantser. I like to be surprised by the endings, so even when I DO outline, the ending is usually something like “Stuff happens and it ends here.” My characters tend to take on lives of their own and surprise me, so I find outlining is usually a waste of time for me. I deviate so far from it so quickly that it just doesn’t work.
CF: What is the hardest part aspect of being a writer?
LC: When I’m working, I tend to go full throttle, and so I don’t go out with friends or spend much time with family. They understand, but life kind of gets away from me while I’m caught up in a world I created. So I would say the hardest part of being a writer for me is sometimes feeling …apart. Separate from the rest of the world.
CF: How do you manage to balance writing with other real-life things (like relationships, etc)?
LC: lol well, as you can see above I’m really bad at this. I’ve lucked out in having great friends and family who know when to put their foot down and say enough is enough.
CF: Where do you find your inspiration?
LC: Everywhere. I may overhear a great line, or see something strange and wonder about it. Little oddities often lead to a “Why?” And that why is often where the stories come from.
CF: What inspired A TOUCH MORTAL?
LC: Well, the novel was based off a short story I wrote in early 2001. And that short story was based off…. *sigh….okay, so it may have been based off a line that my friend Scott Tracey muttered while watching Jackass on MTV. Yes, sometimes Jackass can be a good thing. Anyway, some guy wrecked on a skateboard and Scott said, “Skin and concrete do not mix!” and the whole short story (which became one of the scenes) just popped into my head. It was about these incredibly jaded teens watching a jumper on a ledge. I always wondered WHY they were so cavalier about it, but it was years before I came back to the story and expanded it into the novel.
CF: What can you share about some of your future projects?
LC: Not too much, unfortunately. I’m signed to a three book deal, so one of them will most likely be a sequel, and I’m kicking around a companion book, but nothing is set in stone. While waiting for my edits I started work on the sequel and had quite a bit of fun with that, so we’ll see what happens!
CF: Tell us about te YARebels – how it started? What the goals of the group are? Anything you think we should know.
LC: The Rebels are a group of seven young adult authors, all with agents and in different spots on the publishing path. I think the original blame for the group goes to me lol though Courtney Moulton was my partner in crime. We just knew we wanted to do something different, something edgy, and something that shed some light on what happened AFTER you got an agent. We liked vlogging so we decided to start a collab channel on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/yarebels ). We kind of put out a call / recruited and got our group! We’re having a blast with it and we’ve been getting great feedback on topics people want to see, so we’ll be hitting those in the coming weeks.
CF: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you or your books?
LC: Just that A TOUCH MORTAL will be coming out with GreenWillow in Winter of 2011! Thank you so much for the interview!
See why I think Leah is just made of AWESOME! I hope we can convince her to come back when her book is released in 2011!