Friday, April 25, 2014

Introducing: Clara Diane Thompson

Hard to believe it's already our last day of these five features! But don't be too sad. Today you get to meet the lovely Clara Diane Thompson, author of the final book in our collection, The Moon Master's Ball . . . an enigmatic fantasy tale.

Here's a little bit about Clara herself (known to many of you by her blogging name, Clara Darling):

CLARA DIANE THOMPSON lives in the swamps of Louisiana with her loving family, dashing dog, and a very confused frog that resides in the birdhouse outside her window. Aside from writing she enjoys playing guitar, singing, and Broadway plays (particularly The Phantom of the Opera), ballet, tea with friends, and long BBC movies. An enchanted circus may or may not appear occasionally in her back yard.

You can find out more about Clara and her writing on her blog: To Find a Castle.

Enjoy learning more about Clara and be sure to leave her questions and comments below! (And don't forget to enter the giveaway for that Five Glass Slippers mug. You know you don't want to miss that!)


Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?

Hello, Anne Elisabeth! Thank you so much for allowing me into the world of Goldstone Wood…what an honor! 

Some of my hobbies include camping, hiking, reading (naturally), guitar and ukulele playing, and movie-watching (can that be counted as a hobby?). I would like to be able to say that bee-keeping is a hobby as well, but I’m afraid that I only watch my Dad’s bees from a distance, running as soon has their soft humming changes to something a little more sinister! 

As for personality, I’m more of a quiet person than a shy one, but after a sugary cup of tea I have been known to talk a bit more! Which leads into the next question: while tea is definitely my preference, I do love a good cup ‘o joe every once in a while!  


What led you into the writing life? Have you always been a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?    

Growing up my siblings and I would hold different writing contests on long car rides, plus I had some very dear friends who were (and still are) writing companions, so yes, I suppose I have always been a storyteller. I never took writing seriously, though, until four years ago when I stumbled upon a book called Heartless. 

It was your fan-fiction contests and kind mentoring that made me actually believe I had a shot at writing -- and publishing -- my own story. When you announced the Five Glass Slippers contest, I knew I had to participate!


Tell us a little about your work! The Moon Master’s Ball is your debut novella, right?    

It is indeed my debut novella, and I’m still in shock when I see my name on the front cover of a book! The Moon Master’s Ball is a rather chilling, emotional story that hopefully readers will enjoy. It has its humorous moments as well as sad ones…I was surprised when I got a little teary-eyed while writing one particular scene!


How did you come up with the initial ideas for The Moon Master’s Ball? Is this a story you’ve been brewing for a while, or was it a sudden inspiration?  

I actually had a crazy dream about a circus that inspired the idea for Moon Master’s. I thought the idea of a traveling circus come to pay homage to a mysterious castle might be something interesting to write. Although there are no castles in my short story, when the contest was announced I immediately began thinking how I could make a well-known story like Cinderella into something new that would keep readers guessing how it could possibly be related to the classic tale.


Can you pick a favorite character from this story?

Oh dear. This might just be the hardest question to answer! I have to say the one I enjoyed writing the most is Rodger. He’s full of dash and self-confidence, but there’s a gentle kindness to him that really makes him stand out from the other characters.  

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Pretty much anything down to a sign on the road could cause an idea to pop randomly in my head! Ufridias Billings, the confused frog in my birdhouse, is also an excellent source of inspiration. He always looks so suspicious and arrogant when I see him, staring out at me like I’m conspiring against him, or like he’s conspiring against me. 

 I must confess that I need renewal of inspiration constantly, so therefore I’m constantly reading! Nothing urges me to write like reading a good book.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?    
My absolute favorite part of the writing process is getting cozy in my chair with a big mug of tea, and starting the story! I mean really, what’s more thrilling than the thinking of the possibilities of a story before you’ve even started it? 

Editing would be my least favorite part. All the words start to run together and I can’t ever seem to tell what’s wrong and what isn’t. That’s when a fresh pair of eyes comes in handy! ;) 

What are you actively writing right now?
 The story I’m currently working on is called To Find a Castle. It’s about young baron’s daughter, Roxanne Birtwhistle, who is summoned to petition to become a ladies maid in the far away kingdom of Guaire. Unable to refuse a queen’s wishes, she leaves her beloved homeland, carrying with her the burden of dark warnings from an old friend. But with whispers of rebellion and the sudden reappearance of a long forgotten castle disrupting alliances, Roxanne wonders if she was called to Guaire simply to be a ladies maid, or something else entirely…    

Would you share a short snippet from The Moon Master’s Ball? Something to entice us!
I’d be delighted to! Here’s a bit from chapter one.

Excerpt from
The Moon Master's Ball

The street’s emptiness caused chills to crawl up her spine, and she suddenly wished she had accepted Rodger’s invitation to accompany her home. A gap between the cottages and Winslow Manor gave her a perfect view of Bromley Meadow—to most people, a place of magic and delight.
To Tilly, a place of fear.
She knew it wasn’t wise to stop and look at the meadow on such an eerie night, but there was something enticing about the silver halo the moon cast over the rolling hills. She peered to her left and gazed at its haunting beauty.
The meadow itself had never seemed terribly extraordinary to Tilly, but extraordinary things did occur amongst its soft grass and swaying dandelions. Rodger was hoping she would go to Bromley Meadow this year, but she didn’t think she had the courage.
An image of blood-red eyes and sharp yellow teeth flashed in her mind.
Tilly rushed around behind the manor and flew to the back door, desperate to get away from the moon’s glow highlighting the meadow.


Click Here to Pre-Order
Oooh, I remember reading this little passage for the first time when I was reading The Moon Master's Ball for the contest. I was so intrigued!

I hope all of you readers are equally intrigued to encounter Clara's magical story. And, someday, To Find a Castle as well . . . 

And that about wraps up our week of Five Glass Slippers features. I hope all of you readers enjoyed it and are even more excited about the upcoming collection.

Keep your eyes open for more news concerning the next contest as well. I plan to do a cover reveal on June 1st, at which time Rooglewood Press will also release the contest details. It's going to be fantastic!

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Meredith said...

I'm so excited about this story! The other story you're working on sounds very interesting, too.

Question: What version of Cinderella inspired "The Moon Master's Ball"?

I love that you and your siblings engaged in writing contests on long car trips. Sounds a lot more fun than the squabbling my brother and I engaged in! Ha! Bet you all enjoyed passing around ideas and looking at each other's work.
I also hope that you plan to participate in the upcoming music contest, Ms. Clara. Would love to hear something you've done.

Thank you, Mrs. Anne Elisabeth, for these wonderful features. Waiting for this book is hard, but I know it's going to be fantastic! God bless.

Hannah said...

Squee! It's the confused frog! I'm so delighted to see a picture of him...and you're right...he does look suspicious and arrogant. Your new story sounds awesome!

What do you hope readers will draw from your novella?

Galadriel said...

You mentioned you like BBC movies. Do you like BBC TV series as well, and if so, which ones?

Unknown said...

Yay, Clara! Did any people help inspire the characters of MMB?

Clara said...

@Meredith: I'm so glad you think it sounds interesting! As for your question, you've got me stumped. I don't really know that any version of Cinderella inspired me exactly...although Lady and the Tramp along with the classic movie Lili definitely inspired MMB a little bit! But, to answer your question, I suppose it was the Disney version of Cinderella inspired me the most! :)

About the long car rides, we most definitely did our own share of squabbling! :D
And yes, I will be entering in the music contest...I hope to hear you do something as well!

@Hannah: I hope that readers will be entertained by my story, and I hope they'll leave it thinking it was a fun read! :D I knew you were going to love Ufridias...

@Galadriel: Oh, my, yes! I'm most definitely a Whovian, and I recently finished the series of Merlin. It was fantastic. Plus, I've enjoyed 'The Paradise' as well. Season one was very good. :)

@Allison: Ooh, interesting question! Lord Hollingberry is the only character who is like someone I've met. He's a sweet, kind old man that resembles a sweet, kind old man I know :D

Thank you all for the sweet, encouraging comments!

Emily Chapman said...

This sounds really interesting! I love the very different feel it gives to the Cinderella story. ^.^

Emily Chapman said...

Oh, and I sorta love the very confused frog, by the way. ^.^

Clara said...

@Emily Chapman: Thank you very much! And the confused frog is rather loveable, isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Frogs are great.Especially plotting confused ones, it sounds kinda cute. My curiosity is aroused by that sneaky peak.

Anna said...

I was wondering how the frog got in the bird house in the first place? ;) Does he ever come out?

Clara said...

@Jemma: Frogs add so much to stories, don't they?

@Anna: That's the million-dollar question! I don't know. He appears in the late afternoon and snacks on bugs. It's a good ways up to the birdhouse, so I haven't a clue as to how he manages to climb up there! :D

ghost ryter said...

I am so excited to read this book!

In regards to Ufridias Billings ... do you think he might be a knight of Farthestshore, sent to gaurd you?

Becky said...

Congratulations, Clara. I'm so glad you shared a picture of your confused frog in a birdhouse. He's enchanting.

@ghost ryter: I think you must be on to something.

Clara said...

@ghost ryter: You are a genius! LOL! You are most definitely on to something with that idea.

@Becky: I'm so glad you liked the picture! :D