This month it is my pleasure to feature my good friend, Anne Riley. I have had the pleasure of sharing a bit of her journey to publication and am really excited about her debut novel, The Clearing. First a bit about The Clearing.
Natalie Watson doesn’t believe the reports about the way her parents died. In fact, she’s not sure she believes in much of anything these days. But after moving from her home in Georgia to her aunt’s boarding school in Maine, solving the mystery of her parents’ deaths is just one of several things on her mind. When she’s not fending off attacks from the popular kids or taking refuge in the pages of a novel, she ponders the rumors circulating about a certain boy in her math class… a boy with fiery red hair who never speaks to anyone.
Despite suspicions that he may have murdered his sister a year earlier, Natalie finds it impossible to stay away from Liam Abernathy – especially when he confesses to knowing something about her parents. Soon she’s following him into the forest, where things happen she doesn’t understand… things that shouldn’t be possible….
Please welcome Anne Riley! The Clearing sounds so mysterious Anne! The description sucked me right in. I'm curious, what drove you to write this type of novel?
Anne: I guess the starting point was a quote I read (or heard) somewhere: "Don't write what you know, because that's boring. Write the book you want to read." I'm a huge science fiction nerd and have always been intrigued by the idea of time travel, so I knew I wanted that to be a major element in the story. I'm also really interested in Celtic/British history, so that became a big part of it, too. And of course I love a good murder mystery! Combine all those things and you get a pretty awesome time-travelling-druid-colonial-slash-present-day-whodunit. Or something like that.
I just have to say how awesome that sounds! What was your favorite part of writing this novel? Anne: I truly believe this is a unique, fun, mysterious, escape-from-real-life kind of story and I hope everyone will love it as much as I do!
Anne: Oh my gosh, this is going to sound horrible, but one of my favorite scenes is where I killed off one of my characters. I won't say who it is, because, hello, spoiler... but I wrote it in such a way that when you read it, you're not exactly positive that this character is about to die. You know something really bad is about to happen and then BAM! the chapter ends and you're just dying (har har) to know if the character is dead or if they got out of the situation somehow. It's a really short scene and your average reader probably wouldn't pick up on just how much fun I had writing it, but it was a blast.
You're killing me! LOL! No pun intended. But Seriously, is there anything juicy you can tell us about The Clearing that we may not know from your website?
Anne: Juicy, eh? Ha! Actually, one of the characters in the book wears a pair of pants that say "Juicy" on the back. Does that count?
Too funny! I totally didn't plan that peeps. Of course it counts! What do you have in store for us after The Clearing?
Anne: I'm currently in the second round of revisions with a project called Synthesis. It will go through editor submissions just like The Clearing did, and I have high hopes that a publisher will want to take it in, give it a cup of hot chocolate, and make it over until it sparkles. But if not, I've got no problem self-publishing again. Obviously the ultimate dream is to be published by a major house, though, and that's what I'm still shooting for. While Synthesis is on submission, I would love to write a sequel to The Clearing. I don't think I'm done with Liam and Natalie just yet!
That is great news! I love sequels! Which character was the most fun, interesting, or challenging to write and why?
Anne: I loved, loved, loved writing the character of Michelle Donahue. She's Natalie's roommate, and she's just so awesomely bad. I basically wrote her as my version of the roommate from hell and then made her super catty. Michelle will drive you up the wall and make you burst out laughing at the same time. Love to hate her!
Sounds like you have a lot of fun in store for us with The Clearing. Any closing thoughts to leave us with?
I have a feeling a lot of people will be really enjoying it! Thank you so much for joining us Anne. Normally you peeps know I don't do giveaways with my Debut features but this one is special so guess what, giveaway time! Go here to enter to win a copy of The Clearing or if you're impatient like me you can go here and order it right now!