The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, The Year of Shadows, the upcoming Winterspell, and its prequel, Summerfall. She is also one of the four authors of The Cabinet of Curiosities.
When not writing books, she can be found obsessing over DVD commentaries, going on long walks (or trying to go on long runs), and speaking with a poor English accent to random passersby. She thinks musicians and librarians are the loveliest of folks (having been each of those herself) and, while she loves living in central New Jersey, she dearly misses her big, brash, beautiful home state of Texas.
Her work is represented by Diana Fox of Fox Literary, LLC.
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New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.
Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.
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Mindy: Hi Claire Legrand! Welcome to Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!
Claire: Hi! I’m so excited to visit you today!
Mindy: I noticed that your previous releases were Middle Grade. What made you decide to write a Young Adult novel? And, which of those novels came more naturally to you, and which was more difficult to write and why?
Claire: This is a great question! I love writing both middle grade and young adult novels, but when I sat down to start planning WINTERSPELL, I knew it would need to be a young adult novel. The Nutcracker has such interesting and mature themes, and to explore them sufficiently, I needed to write the story for slightly older readers.
Of my published novels so far, I think THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, my second middle grade novel, came most naturally to me. More than any other character I’ve written so far, Olivia felt so familiar, like she was a real person existing somewhere outside my head. Also, much of the story revolves around music, and I used to be a musician myself, so I felt very comfortable in that world, because it’s one I know intimately.
Mindy: When you started writing WINTERSPELL, did you already know that you were going to set the story in the era of 1899,or did that come to you while you were writing? With that being said, did you already know that you were going to write about Steampunk and Fae?
Claire: When I started planning WINTERSPELL, I knew that I wanted the “real” world part of the story to feel like something out of a period piece. I didn’t want it to be modern, because to me, the story of The Nutcracker feels so timeless, so classic. I wanted the setting to reflect that. As I continued planning the story, and it became evident what themes I wanted to explore, I decided that the time period should be in the Victorian era, a time in which pretty much everyone was sexually repressed, especially woman. A big part of Clara’s journey in WINTERSPELL is her sexual awakening, coming to terms with her body and her desires. The Victorian era seemed a perfect foil for that.
About the steampunk and fae elements—first of all, I don’t think of the faeries in WINTESRPELL as the traditional fae from European folklore, at least not precisely. Obviously I drew upon certain familiar fae elements, but I also wanted these faeries to be something unique. Instead of being repelled by iron, they use it to amplify their magic. They are creatures of machinery, tinkering, crafting. You’d be more likely to find them in a clockmaker’s shop rather than out in a field or forest somewhere.
I always knew I wanted there to be a steampunk (or at least, a vaguely steampunk) element to WINTERSPELL because of the traces of steampunk in the original fairy tale—toys that come to life, one of the characters being a magical clockmaker and inventor. So the steampunk element was always there, and my version of faeries grew out of that.
Mindy: The villains in your story are extremely creepy. Was it hard for you to write those characters or did they just come naturally to you?
Claire: I don’t know what this says about me, but I find it pretty easy to write villains! Not easy as in without challenges, but easy as in, when I’m writing a scene that features an antagonist, everything flows easily. Often the antagonist is the character most clear in my mind when I begin planning a story—which I think is a good thing! A lackluster antagonist kills a story, in my opinion. I also like when an antagonist has layers, when you find yourself feeling sympathy for him/her. And now I really want to talk about the primary antagonist in WINTERSPELL, but I feel it’s best if you go into that part of the story unspoiled. ☺
Mindy: Without spoiling, which scene was your favorite to write and why?
Claire: There’s a scene in Part Three of WINTERSPELL that takes place on a palace rooftop in the snow. This was absolutely my favorite scene to write because it’s a turning point for Clara in a couple of different ways—both as it involves her own personal journey and also her relationship with a particular character. I don’t like to go back and read my books once they’re published because inevitably I find tiny things I wish I could fix, but I will probably go back and read this scene from time to time, just because I love it that much. I hope it’s as powerful for readers as it was for me to write.
Mindy: Do you have any other Young Adult titles in the works? If“Yes,” can you tell us about them?
Claire: I always have other books in the works! Right now, however, I’m mostly working on middle grade titles—one of which is already written and I hope I can officially announce it soon! I have lots of ideas for other YA books, too, but none that I’m ready to talk about just yet. ☺
Mindy: Thank you so much for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. Hopefully we’ll get to do this again!
This is a tour hosted giveaway!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
10 prize packs/10 winners! The prize packs = finished copy of Winterspell + swag (bookmark, bookplate, character postcards) + map of Cane + Winterspell-themed jewelry.US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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