Book Nerd Interview
I’m terrible at starting conversations with new people. As soon as they come up to me, I’m fine. I feel like I have an ‘in’. But I’m terrified of approaching people to say hi.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I was in Kindergarten I believe, and there was this little boy who had just moved to Ohio from Alabama like, that day. When I was walking home, he was going the same way and I—out of curiosity—asked him, “Why do you talk funny?” He turned to me and said, “I don’t. All of YOU talk funny.” I remember even then, having this total epiphany at the idea that we were the strange ones to him. It was the first time I remember really feeling like that.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Someone, and I can’t for the life of me remember who, told me that at one point during revisions, usually during copyedits, your book will suddenly sound awful. The dialogue will seem stilted. The descriptions terrible. And you will be clutched with this panic that it’s too late to change it. They said, the next time you read it through, it’ll sound good again and you’ll be proud of your work. It saved me a LOT of panic knowing this would happen ahead of time.
What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?
A lot of it is just not knowing what to do. There’s no Welcome to Being an Author guide. No one can tell you how to market yourself or what works for time management. No one speaks about the days where you feel like a fraud or the terror of possibly writing a sequel that lets everyone down. Writing is scary. My advice is to make friends with other writers. Talk to them. If I hadn’t had writer friends and seen them go through it, I would have been utterly lost.
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; A Touch Morbid, how would you introduce it?
Eden, who is a Sider caught between life and death in New York City, thought it couldn’t get worse than being used in a war between the Bound and the Fallen angels. Now, her own power is turning against her. Meanwhile, her unstable mentor, Kristen, is fighting against darkness and the devil. When evil is deliciously enticing, and the lines between good and bad blurred, what will the girls give up to save themselves?
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
To me, writing is like watching movie or even some sort of hidden camera (Is there any way to make that NOT sound creepy?). My characters live their lives and I write down what’s happening. This is the story that was there when I looked.
For those who are unfamiliar with Eden, how would you introduce her?
Eden’s stubborn and has a lot to learn as the books go on. To her, friends are family and she’s fiercely loyal to them, trying to do the right thing though she’s not always sure what that is. She also has a terrible habit of not asking for help when she needs it, of being the tough girl. So many teens are trying to figure out who they are, but Eden also has to figure out WHAT she is and what that means to those around her.
Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?
“It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music.” It’s a great way of saying ‘Show, don’t tell.’
If you could introduce Eden to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Ellie from Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire series. We’ve joked a few times about writing a crossover of Ellie and Eden venting about their supernatural emo boyfriends.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I have probably four or five idea seeds. I never know which one is going to grow into something, so I’m just doing a lot of thinking right now. There are two that I’ve made playlists for, which is usually what happens right before I start to write. I hesitate to say what they’re about because I don’t know if either will actually turn into anything, so right now they’re all considered secret projects!
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Pay attention to the details of the world you’re writing. It’s the small personality quirks that make a character unique. If your book is in third person, I’ve found writing the scene out in first person helps get into the character’s head and those details come through when you switch it back to third.
Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Williams Canyon in Manitou Springs, Colorado. I used to work at a cave there and walked through the canyon and up a trail to get to work every day. I miss my mountains so much.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers. She’s one of those writers who consistently sets the bar higher for the rest of us. It’s always a treat to read something by her.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Are any of your characters based on real people?
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
I’ve had some pretty terrible summer jobs as far as pay, but the people and the experience always made them awesome. The only one that sticks out as awful was the summer I worked at Dairy Queen. The others were all stuck up kids who wanted nothing to do with someone who wasn’t a cheerleader with a nice car. It also really bothered me that no one said thank you when I was working the drive thru.
When was the last time you cried?
The last tears-and-snot-gut-wrenching-sobbing session I had was while reading The Fault in Our Stars. Damn you, John Green.
Where can readers stalk you?
I’m fairly available on Twitter.com/LeahClifford and try to answer all of my @ replies, but I’m most likely to answer questions thoroughly and thoughtfully on LeahClifford.tumblr.com (because there are no 140 character limits). Also, for some reason, I feel like I can be most honest on Tumblr, for what it’s worth.
She is crumbling to ash, and an unnatural plague is ravaging mortals and immortals alike. With both Heaven and Hell out to destroy her, Eden can no longer tell the difference between good and evil.
Friends become enemies. And enemies are everywhere.
But don't underestimate Eden. She'll fight for her life, for the lives of those she loves, and for every life she has ever touched.
She'll fight for revenge. For redemption. For—just maybe—the chance to be mortal again.
Everything began with forbidden love.
What will be sacrificed at the bitter end?
The dramatic conclusion to Leah Clifford's dark, alluring trilogy of life, death, and epic love.
Readers will approach this book with a lot of expectations. I, like many others, didn't want to start this book because it only meant the beginning to the ending of a fantastic series. However, the itching gets unbearable that readers will dive in head first knowing that nothing but greatness awaits. It has a natural attraction that with the first few pages, it instantly pulls you back into its amazing world. Readers will acknowledge the characters as some people they've "known" for a while and are heavily invested in everything they do. The plot is building towards the climax as author Leah gives an all out effort that will leave readers in shock and awe.
This is the darkest of all the three books. What readers will surely appreciate is author Leah’s writing approach for this whole trilogy. She built this epic story to end up in the grandest fashion. The twists and turns that envelopes this book and the series as a whole, is truly remarkable. Readers will be guessing throughout trying to figure out how all the pieces will eventually connect. The characters are fully bloomed at this point and readers will have built a liking or hatred for each of them. It is Leah’s writing style that makes the conclusion of this trilogy the way it is. She instantly engages readers into her story with her beautiful and vivid descriptions. Each page is hypnotic and the option of putting this book down is immediately thrown out the window. The ending is absolutely amazing. Nothing feels like it was left unanswered. All the loose connections are finally closed that makes A Touch Menacing, one of the best conclusions to a trilogy I've read recently.