Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Introducing: Emma Clifton

Welcome back, dear readers, to our series of features about the Five Glass Slippers authors! Today we are chatting with Emma Clifton, author of Broken Glass, the second story in our collection. I am very excited to get to know Emma little better and to offer some enticing hints about her delightful and hilarious story.

First here's a little about the author:

EMMA CLIFTON has been thinking up stories since before she knew how to type them out. Reading books such as the Chronicles of Narnia, The Door Within Trilogy, and Redwall inspired her to take her writing more seriously. Though her rigorous homeschool education keeps her busy, she also enjoys sewing, reading, and spending time with her family in beautiful Northern Virginia.
 I hope all of you will enjoy this interview. And don't forget to enter your names in the giveaway down below! You could become the proud owner of a lovely Five Glass Slippers coffee mug . . .


 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? 
I’m a somewhat shy homeschooler whose education is focused on the classics.  That means I spend far more time translating Latin than I would like.  Some of my other hobbies are sewing, knitting, crocheting, and reading (when I have the time).  I also enjoy watching British television shows such as Downtown Abby, Foyle’s War, and Merlin.  Sewing is probably my biggest hobby other than writing; I enjoy designing and sewing plush, such as the ones below:
 I have a wonderful family and I love vacationing with them.  My big sister (and only sibling), Sophia, is my best friend and editor; I spend a lot of time chumming around with her. And as for tea or coffee, I love both. I drink coffee in the morning and generally have some form of tea in the afternoon.  Peppermint tea is my favorite, but Teavana also makes a lovely blend called Youthberry. 

What led you into the writing life? Have you always been a storyteller? 
Being a writer has been my aspiration for a long time; the first story I remember writing was one about two hermit crabs, Hermie and Shellie (I wasn’t very creative with names back then). I continued in this vein for a while, piddling around with stories about my stuffed animals. Then when I was about eight years old, I read the Chronicles of Narnia; this series opened my eyes to the wonderful realm of fantasy.  I began concocting more stories about the Pevensies and their Narnian friends until I discovered another excellent author—Wayne Thomas Batson.  It was after reading his Door Within Trilogy that I really tried to come up with my own original stories.  My attempt at a fantasy wasn’t very good; it lacked plot and I had a bad habit of planning future books in the series before writing the first one. 
Tell us a little about your work! Broken Glass is your debut novella, right? 
Yes, Broken Glass is my debut. It is also the first story I’ve fully completed (editing and all), so it’s a big achievement for me. I’m very excited for the release!

How did you come up with the initial ideas for Broken Glass? Is this a story you’ve been brewing for a while, or was it a sudden inspiration? 
The inspiration for Broken Glass came very suddenly, and actually before I found out about the Five Glass Slippers contest. Last summer, Sophia and I had been watching a bunch of old Disney movies to prepare for our trip to Walt Disney World in early fall. We were near the end of Cinderella when the idea hit me—what if the slipper had fit on someone else? Would she have been forced to marry Prince Charming? I tucked the idea in the back of my head; then a few days later I discovered the contest and I was thrilled!  However, the original version of Broken Glass was not a very happy story; though it did have a happy ending, it was rather serious and dismal. The fairy-godmother and Cinderella were evil and the entire story was had gloomy overtones. I let Sophia read it, and she basically said, “It’s good, but really depressing.” Getting rather tired of a humorless story and Rosalind moaning on and on, I completely overhauled my story. Thus I began Broken Glass with less than two months until the deadline. I was getting very worried as December 31st rapidly approached and almost didn’t turn Broken Glass in; but Sophia encouraged me to, so I did.

Can you pick a favorite character from this story?
This is a hard question to answer—I love them all, especially the three princes!  But I think I’ll have to pick Marius; he was just so much fun to write.  His snarky, narcissistic personality bloomed so wonderfully during the process of writing and editing.  He’s such an anti-Prince Charming; he’s arrogant, selfish, and whiny. 

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration? 
I get a lot inspiration from reading the blogs of other writers; it wasn’t until last year that I started doing this, and I’ve found that my writing has improved greatly since then. There are so many writers out there with good advice to give. My inspiration comes from many other sources too—it depends on what sort of shows I’m watching on TV (I’m currently enjoying the second season of Mr. Selfridge); I also get a lot of inspiration from anything Disney-related. I grew up on Disney movies and trips to Walt Disney World, so Disney has a special place in my heart. Also, watching epic movies such as Marvel superhero movies, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Lord of the Rings give me a lot of inspiration. Reading good books is also inspiring, but I don’t read as much as I should outside of my schoolwork.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process? 
My favorite part is either conceptualizing a story or writing the first draft. For my least favorite parts—well, editing isn’t my strong point. I’m not a detail person, so I’m prone to grammar and spelling errors in my writing. Thankfully God blessed me with a detail-oriented mother and older sister.  Sophia kindly helped me edit Broken Glass, drastically reducing the number of embarrassing errors. Thanks, Sophia! 

Are you working on any new writing projects now?
Yes, I am! My current work-in-progress is a nonsensical romp called A Ticket to Yonder, in which a young boy named Jamie teams up with a walrus, a balloon, and a snobby princess to earn his gold star and join his grandmother in the magical land of Yonder. I’ve shared some snippets of this story on my blog. I’m also outlining and researching for some other stories, including a couple of fantasies and a satirical sci-fi set in the Cold War. I’m very excited about that one.

Would you share a short snippet from Broken Glass? Something to entice us!

 Excerpt from
Broken Glass 
 With one fluid movement, Rosalind raised her head and delicately tossed the hair out of her eyes. “What are you getting at?” she demanded. “I’m trying to draw, and you are standing in my light. So either start talking or get out of the way.”
“I’ll block your light as long as I like.” Marius crossed his arms. “It’s technically my light, by the way.”
The pencil snapped between Rosalind’s fingers. “We’ve been over this,” she hissed. “It’s your father’s palace. Your father’s light. Can you stop avoiding my question?”
“You were the one changing the subject.”
Half of the pencil sailed from her fingers and smacked him squarely between the eyes. “Ow!” he cried, rubbing his forehead. “What was that for?”
“Figure it out, genius,” she grumbled. “By the way, that was your pencil.”
His fingers curled into fists. “How I’d love to smack you . . .”
“You’re scared of hitting me.” She smiled sweetly up at him. “Aren’t you?”
Marius let out a groan and clutched his head. “This is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about,” he seethed through clenched teeth. “We’ll kill each other before our honeymoon is over.”
“I think you’re being a little too optimistic,” Rosalind replied. “What would you like me to do with the other half of your pencil? Stick it up your nose?” 
“Stick it up your own nose, I don’t care,” he grumbled.

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Thank you for sharing, Emma! I hope you readers got a good chuckle out of that scene. I know I was snickering pretty hard when I read it the first time and very eager to see where the antagonistic relationship between Rosalind and her unwanted Prince Charming would lead.
Be sure to stop in again tomorrow to meet Rachel Heffington, author of The Windy Side of Care, the third story in this collection. And in the meanwhile, feel free chat with Emma, asking her questions about her writing, her plushies, TV shows . . . whatever you like.
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Hannah said...

Okay, I love the plushies! It is so cool how you and your sister brainstorm together--me and my brother do that a lot too.

I've been really eager to read this story ever since Anne Elisabeth declared how much she loved it!

Any books you're really looking forward to reading, aside from this one? (Random question, I know.)

Rina's Reading said...

How neat that you came up with an idea right before the contest! That is an interesting question, what if the slipper fit the wrong person? Looking forward to reading your story!

If you haven't read Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede yet, then that's a series you should definitely check out!

Emily Chapman said...

Okay, I seriously can't wait to read this story. It sounds like a perfect lark. And your plushies are adorable. Like I said before, I'm pretty sure everything you make and/or write is adorable.

And, though it doesn't say specifically to ask you a question, I'm going to anyhow. Which is your favorite Disney movie? ^.^

Anonymous said...

Emily Clifton all the movie you say are inspiring I want to watch!

Unknown said...

Hannah--thank you so much! Brainstorming with siblings the best. They always seem to have a fresh perspective about a story idea...as for books I'm looking forward to, I'm really excited to read Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze. It's the third book in a delightful middle grade fantasy series and it has a gorgeous cover! I'm also excited to read Shadow Hand (but I need to read Moonblood first), The Dream Treaders by Wayne Thomas Batson, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, the fourth book in the Gregor the Overlander series, and The Grand Sophy. Some of those are books that have already come out, but I just haven't had a lot of time to read...that's what the summer is for! I'm also very interested in reading Moonscript once you've gotten it published. (^__^)
Rina--I'll definitely have to look into that series! Thanks for the recommendation.
Emily--hmmm...it's hard to choose a favorite; probably my favorite old Disney movie is Robin Hood or Peter Pan; of the new ones, it would probably be Tangled. What about you?

Sarah Pennington said...

Another awesome-sounding story and author! I think that by the end of the week, if things keep up like this, I will be almost-exploding with excitement. Figuratively speaking. I'm not going to literally explode because then I couldn't read these stories.

Also, can I just say that the plushies you made are so incredibly adorable?

Question: where's your favorite place to write?

Unknown said...

Thanks, Sarah! My favorite place to write would be the big white chair in the family room. It's comfy, in the corner (I don't like people reading over my shoulder when I write), and is conveniently near an outlet to plug in my computer. All in all, a fine spot! The only downside is there's no place to put a mug of tea or coffee, so I rarely drink a hot mug of something while writing.

Meredith said...

All your writing projects sound wonderful! I love that you made up other stories for the Pevensie children when you were younger! Narnia has always inspired me, too. Have you read Lewis' novel based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche? It's called Till We Have Faces, and it's one of the most candid books I've ever read on the subject of our relationship with God.

So neat that you thought up your Cinderella story before the contest was announced, and so nice that it evolved from a depressing tale into a humorous one.
I loved the excerpt from this story and could easily hear this conversation in my head! Sounds like these two are in for quite a time! So excited to read the story and get to know them better!

Questions: What is your favorite time of day to write?
Are you fond of the British sitcoms as well as the dramas? Your excerpt had an excellent "Brit-Wit" feel.

God bless you.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Meredith! I've not read Till We Have Faces, but I've heard so many good things about it. My favorite time of day to write is the evening or at night, since that's usually when I have no schoolwork left to do. On the weekends, though, I write earlier in the day. Anytime I'm free and have inspiration is a good time to write! I haven't watched as many British sitcoms as dramas, though I have enjoyed seeing Keeping Up Appearances, Allo Allo, and Are You Being Served. Fawlty Towers is funny, too.

Emily Chapman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily Chapman said...

Haha, I love Peter Pan! That and The Lion King would probably rank highest in old Disney for me. ^.^ As for newer Disney... Tangled and Frozen. Indubitably.

Meredith said...

"Mind the lorry, dear." "The Bucket residence, the lady of the house speaking." Terrific show! Poor Richard. God bless you.

Galadriel said...

I saw your TARDIS, so I have to ask who is your favorite Doctor--or the first one you saw, if it's too hard to choose.

Unknown said...

Ooh, cool! Your sister sounds amazing-- has she found her way into your writing in character form?

Unknown said...

Galadriel--though I don't watch Doctor Who a lot any more, I LOVE David Tennant as the Doctor. He's the best. :P
Allison--yes, some Sophia-like traits do pop up now and then; one of my fantasy stories I'm working on has a character named Roland who is very much like her (and she also came up with him too). Sophia is an amazing sister!