Great covers: checked. Great plot: checked. It’s the beginning of a great Series!
The series is The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton, a Fantasy Young Adult.
The Duality of Nature ~ The Monster of Selkirk, 1
Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.
As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends.
But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.
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The Heart of the Forest ~ The Monster of Selkirk, #2
Tallis is learning how to deal with loss and violence as she and her friends traverse the forests of Selkirk trying to find the reason behind the elven uprising. Not to mention why they keep hissing her name. But the further into the forests they go, Tallis is finding that the elves’ depravity can still surprise her, and thoroughly test the bonds of friendship, family, and love.
Tallis’s journey eventually leads to answers they’re not prepared for. Now Tallis begins to wonder just who she really is, and if she’s the evil that will end up destroying Selkirk. But she cannot stop to process these revelations, as an unforeseen betrayal lands those she loves at the feet of the very monster responsible for all the hurt, and heartbreak.
Coming face to face with her foe, Tallis discovers all too late she has no idea how to deal with this level of pain, and death. One way or another, the monster’s path ends here, and all Tallis can hope to do is bring those she loves safely out of the heart of the forest.
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AUTHOR BIO:C. E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where she attended the University of Southern California (Fight On!) for both her Bachelors and Masters, and then worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts ranging from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love–writing–and hasn’t stopped. She is now the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter, can be found on her website: https://www.ceclayton.com/
Hi C.E., and thank you for being her today.
What does your writing space look like?
I have a standing desk that I have shoved against a window which overlooks the palm trees in the distance, plus new apartment construction across the street (which is less fun). I usually have a pile of writing books on my desk (I love my emotion thesaurus!) right next to my keyboard that lights up like a rainbow when I type (it makes me feel like a wizard). I’ll have my speakers turned to face me, and some music on that helps set the mood, plus all my notebooks for my various worlds within reach. My dog Dobby has his second bed near my desk so he can hang out with me while I work. That’s my writing space in a nutshell, I have a hard time working anywhere else by at my desk!
Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
I’m a bit of a hybrid. I outline my stories in that I know where things need to end, and what major things should happen in each of the chapters. Beyond that, I let the characters drive the story. I craft them pretty heavily before I start writing so their interactions and how they’d respond in certain situations end up being pretty organic; and often complicate the journey they are on which I love! So I do just enough outlining to where the main thread of the story and plot is never lost, but not so much that I get bored by my story before I’ve even written it.
Which kind of scenes are the hardest for you to write? Action, dialogue, sex?
Sex scenes for sure, or really, romance of any kind. I have no problem hurting my characters, but whenever I want them to be sweet, tender, or sexy, I always feel like I’m being cheesy, or like I’m intruding on a private moment. Whenever I feel that way though, usually I’ll table the scene for a bit, get some liquid courage, then write it. I’ll clean it up editing wise in the morning when I can look at it objectively rather than overthink it on the first pass.
Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?
I think a lot of people forget the amount of resources needed to publish a book, and if you self-publish or have a small press publisher, all those resources have to come from your pocket most of the time. Publishing a book can be very expensive! It can cost a lot of money to get a reputable editor and professional cover designer, not to mention having to pay for any kind of marketing to let readers know you have a book out there. It then takes a long time to make those costs back because charging more than a few bucks for a digital version can really hurt your overall sales. While traditionally published authors may not need to worry about those kind of costs upfront, they get even less say in their covers or marketing endeavors and have really strict deadlines to follow, so they lose a ton of freedom, which is its own kind of cost. I know this was something I didn’t realize before publishing, so I don’t think a lot of people really get how much a labor of love publishing a book is for most authors.
How long does it take to write a story?
It takes me about 2 years to write a story, but not all of that is strictly typing new words. Once I know the very broad strokes of the story I want to tell, then I start world-building. I do a lot of research for my fantasy worlds ahead of time; I figure out the region and the rules that this world functions under, the religion and the technology they have access to, all of that. Once I’ve built my world, I outline my main characters so I get a feel for their personalities before I ever even throw them on to the page. Once I have my world and characters, that’s when I finesse the main plot a bit more, make sure I know my ultimate ending (for the first book and the series as a whole) AND THEN I start writing the story. Writing the actual story takes a bit less than a year, but once that’s done I start the editing and revising stage, I get my beta readers involved and then I do even more revisions and edits… That itself can take a ton of time depending on how robust the first draft is. I put a lot of time and effort into my stories, which unfortunately means it can take me a while to get new books out there!
Pen or computer?
My handwriting is terrible so I do most everything on my computer. The only exception is when I’m world building, plotting, and compiling beta reader feedback. I like having the journals near me for world-building purposes, but writing things out long hand with a pen usually helps me see plot holes I miss because I’m typing so fast. It also helps me work through feedback to see if the comments beta readers offer would change the story too much, or help me see how I can integrate the feedback in the best way possible.
Music or silence?
I have to have music when I’m writing. It helps me set a pace and helps me get into a groove. Or, if I can’t have music for some reason, I need some kind of ambient sound from the street outside. I can’t function in silence.
Do you have any scar? What are they from?
I have a few scars, some are pretty boring: I used to play soccer so skid knees and all that was pretty common. But I have some weird scars on my hand and forearm on my right hand from the time I punched a peeping-Tom through my bathroom window when I was showering super late at night. They never found the guy, but he also never came back. My husband really loves telling people this story…
What would you do if you arrive home to find your door unlocked and slightly ajar, and you’re sure you locked it on your way out?
So this actually happened once! I came home, my door was slightly open and I know my door locks automatically behind me. I didn’t call the police. I pushed the door open a little and crept inside, holding my keys in my knuckles ready to attack someone (sensing a theme yet with my reactions to bad situations? Lol). I didn’t call out, didn’t ask if anyone was there. I methodically went through every room and closet and found no one. Nothing was taken. It was still super scary not knowing what happened. I think maybe the door popped open somehow but now I’m super paranoid about making sure it’s closed when I leave!
How lucky are you and why?
I’m extremely lucky and fortunate that I get to do what I enjoy every day. I don’t have a traditional job anymore and can just focus on my writing full time and not many people can do that. I’m really lucky that my husband is so understanding and on board with me pursuing writing as a career even though it doesn’t come with a traditional paycheck. I’m blessed that his career is one he loves and can pay the bulk of our bills, too! I am also very lucky that my friends and family are very supportive, even if they don’t always read my books. Not everyone has that, and most people can’t devout their time to something that doesn’t have a steady income. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t realize how lucky I am, and I am so thankful for this chance to follow my dreams!
Author links: https://www.ceclayton.com/
This post is part os a tour. You can find the schedule here (http://xpressobooktours.com/2019/04/04/tour-sign-up-the-monster-of-selkirk-by-c-e-clayton/).
Giveaway:Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
- Signed copy of the second book in the series, “The Heart of the Forest” + two exclusive character art prints
- Signed copy of the second book in the series, “The Heart of the Forest”