BookLife Talks with Suzanna Linton
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Clara'
In her debut novel, fantasy author Linton introduces readers to Clara, a young woman who gets tangled up in a civil war after she receives a vision of the future and stops a murder.
What inspired the setting of Clara?The setting for Clara is partially inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. In fact, the original cover featured them. I was also influenced by medieval feudalism.
Clara is the first book in a series. Did your writing process change as you wrote each book?
It did. I am naturally a “seat-of-my-pantser,” but with each book, I began to incorporate more planning and plotting, which is necessary for a series. Things have to stay consistent! And there has to be an overall goal. But what hasn’t changed is that I don’t start writing until I have a clear idea of a beginning and a conflict. I may have an idea of the ending, but the ending always changes.
To what extent do you draw from real life, and what responsibility do you feel to reimagine or change any character based on real people?
If I draw from real life, I do it unconsciously. It usually takes writing a really hard-hitting scene for me to realize it. I don’t feel a responsibility to reimagine or change. I’m not writing the whole person into the book. I’m using a particular characteristic or maybe how I feel about my relationship with that person. The majority of the time, the other person never notices. And I don’t volunteer the information! People can take that really personally, even when it’s meant as a compliment.Do you have any advice for other writers who are creating their own fantasy worlds?
I would say, don’t feel like you have to be the next Tolkien or Martin or Goodkind or whoever it is you hold up as your personal standard. Build the world as you see it in your mind. Write for yourself first and worry about audience later. Also, I always encourage other writers to ground their world in some level of reality. For example, horses can only gallop so far, armor does limit range of motion, and there are different swords for different needs. Little things like that will help the reader suspend disbelief when the dragons show up.
Can readers expect more books with Clara as a character?
Definitely! The series is called Stories of Lorst, and it contains three books and one novella. I am currently working on book four. In this one, two kings meet to end centuries of antagonism and Clara’s actions have an even bigger impact than before. And fans of Jarrett will be pleased because there are all sorts of surprises for that character.