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Featured Author Interview - C.E. Clayton

Featured Author Interview - C.E. Clayton

Thank you Chelscey for graciously granting this author interview during our Holiday Book Blog Party. Please kindly share an a overview of yourself and work.

Well, once upon a time I worked in the advertising industry, specializing in more guerilla marketing tactics before focusing solely on video game marketing and becoming a gamer and console expert (but that’s another story that involves writing my master’s thesis on couples playing video games together). Then, my husband got a job far away from where my company was located, and I decided that instead of making my writing and my books the job I did on the side, that it would be my full time job. I hear all the time that you can’t make dreams a reality until you make it your “day job”. I was just fortunate enough that my husband’s job allowed me to take that route. 

So far, my work is focused on magic-less (more on that in a later blog) young adult fantasy where my heroine stumbles, and falls, and deals with a lot of different mental health issues that I think young adults should be more aware of, and comfortable with. I will most likely branch out from fantasy one day, but for now, I love using fantastic monsters to help shape the very real things my characters encounter.

Please tell us what made you want to be a writer? How did you begin writing

I don’t know if something made me want to be a writer as much as I always was one. I always loved writing, even outside of school projects. I loved reading at an early age, too, so I had an active imagination and wanted to craft my own stories. I think I was around 11 when I first attempted to write a book! It featured 8 sister princesses with the youngest being the main character, and she had a pet dragon who was blue, and named Walter.

What inspires you to write, Chelscey?

As cliché as it sounds, people inspire me to write. The world is full of wonderful stories that need to be told and characters worth exploring. I love taking things from the people I know and meet and tossing them into a world where, for example, feral elves want to eat them. Watching these characters react to that in my stories is such a treat for me!

Is there any memorable incident that has happened along your writing journey that you’d like to share?

I tend to put fantasy and video game references in my books in either the name of characters or locations. I don’t overtly call it out, but whenever a fan notices it, we both tend to get a kick out of it.    

Would you like to impart some writing knowledge to aspiring authors? 

Write the story you want to tell, not the one you think will make you money. Traditional publishers and literary agents all still want a Twilight or Hunger Games knock off that they can sell a bunch of and call it a day, but that ignores the other countless amazing stories out there. And now, thanks to self-publishing and small press publishers, you aren’t locked in to writing the same story over and over, so don’t. Also, take your time while writing. Take the time to get beta readers and an editor’s eye on your work. Nothing kills a fabulous novel faster than  a ton of obvious mistakes!

What about advice for approaching publishers?

Research them ahead of time. It’s easy to find lists and lists of publishers from the very big, to the pretty small. Look at the kind of books they publish, if you like their stories, and if their authors seem active on social media. This is a business decision after all, and you want to make the right one. Sometimes it helps to cast a wide net in hopes of nabbing ANY publisher, but if it’s not the right one for you and your work, it’s not going to be a good experience, and your book may suffer.

What about book marketing? What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?

Knowing how to start, and what works. It’s a costly endeavor to run your own marketing, and you aren’t really sure what’s working until after you’ve spent the money. Finding author groups who specialize in helping navigate that have been a big help in terms of helping me navigate those murky waters. 

Please share the methods of book marketing that you find the most effective.

It depends on what I’m going for. Doing a Goodreads giveaway does wonders for getting avid readers to add my book to their list, as does running an Amazon giveaway to get those users to follow me on Amazon so they know when I have new books out. I haven’t had a lot of luck with Facebook, but I enjoy being active on Instagram and part of their “bookstagram” community. I have found a great community of writers there, as well as large book bloggers who have read, and shared my book with their followers.

What about rejection? How do you handle it as a writer?

Not well. I tend to take it personally even though it isn’t personal. What works for me, may not be considered healthy or helpful, but if I get a rejection, I complain about it for a good hour or two, then move on. I can’t just shrug my shoulders though as if nothing happened. This is my work and I love it, and I want everyone else to love it, too. So, when they don’t, it does tend to hurt, even though it shouldn’t!  

Tell us about your recent success with your book.

Now that two of my books are out, I have been given the opportunity to host a book signing event just before Christmas! It’s my first ever time hosting one of these, so I am very excited and humbled that I will have this opportunity. I’d love to meet you all there! Just sign up for my newsletter or RSVP to the Facebook invite to get the details.

What have been the reactions from your readers regarding this book? Any lessons learned from your readers or author events?

I’ve learned that while people like series as a whole, they like the books to feel complete without a dramatic cliffhanger. If I could do it again, I would make my first two books into one massive book, but then it would be close to 500 pages long and that can be daunting, too. So while the reaction has been positive for my books, I have learned that there is no pleasing everyone.

Last but not least, is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and to step out of your comfort zone with writing, and getting your story out there. You may think no one cares, or your ideas are silly, but I promise you, what you have to say is important and others want to read what you have to say, even if it is fantasy. Trust me on that one. 

Thank you Chelscey for this informative and insightful interview. Where can readers and authors connect with you online?

Featured Author - Michele Swensen

Featured Author - Michele Swensen

Writing a Magic-Less Fantasy World. Guest Blog by C.E. Clayton

Writing a Magic-Less Fantasy World. Guest Blog by C.E. Clayton