Today I have the pleasure of an interview with Jaimie M. Engle, author of Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light. For those of you unfamiliar with Jaimie, let’s take a few moments to get to know her. Welcome Jaimie, why don’t you take a few moments to introduce yourself to the captive audience you now have before you…
I have been writing since I was seven, and still have all the stories I wrote in crayon. I knew at an early age I wanted to be a published author, and finally reached this milestone thirty years later. In the meantime, I became a wife and mother of two ridiculously crazy boys, ran a body shop, modeled bikinis, danced at the Aloha Bowl halftime show, and even managed a hip-hop band.
Tell us about your writing process?
I generally begin with an idea, be it a dream, a snippet of dialogue, a setting. From there, I may have the end in mind, or the climax to build toward, but usually that is all I’ve got when I get started. The story speaks to me and I feel more like I’m dictating than anything else. Most of the time, my cliffhangers surprise the hell out of me, so I’m certain the reader won’t see the plot twist coming either. My goal is 1,000 words a day, Monday through Friday, which should produce a finished novel within 3-4 months. After I make it through the first 2 or 3 chapters, I DO NOT go back and read anything in my story until I get to the “the end” and I wait at least a month after that to let the story simmer.
Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
At this time, I’m gonna say no. I love middle grade and YA speculative fiction. It’s what I read, and it’s what I write.
What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
- The Bible, because it showed me the influence of the written word.
- Alice in Wonderland, because it showed me anything can happen inside my imagination.
- Harry Potter, because it showed me the importance of character development.
- The Hunger Games, because it showed me the depth and power of voice.
- The poetry of Shel Silverstein, because it taught me pacing, cadence, and word choice.
If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
My first novel is titled Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light. When I was writing it, I thought the young Logan Lerman was a perfect fit. Of course, by the time my book becomes a movie, he’ll be taking his kids or grandkids to see it!
What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
Remind myself to breathe, than thank God for his favor, because that would be the only way my books would get on that list. I’m just not that good. J
Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
Yes. I avoid cleaning my house and cooking dinner in a timely fashion. I don’t drink, quit smoking in February (yeah me!) and I drink coffee on a regular basis, writing or not.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Besides managing my family and home, I offer a critique service for aspiring authors. I love helping people out, and have been told I’m quite good at it, so I began editing manuscripts about a year ago. I also volunteer at the elementary school’s after school writing program, which I absolutely love! I get to work one-on-one with kids who love to write, teaching them tools I wish I had at their age. Lastly, I teach essay, creative, and SAT prep writing to several homeschooled students, groups, and even college level students. Combined, these jobs give me the opportunity to work at home, makes some extra cash, and still be available for my kids (oh, and have time to work on my own books).
Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
I’m currently shopping a YA supernatural fantasy novel, so I’ll keep that one hush-hush until I sell it (Lord willing!) But I’m currently 14 chapters into a MG horror story: Stephen King meets Tim Burton. I’ll share the first few lines of that one, since it’s not sitting with agents at this time:
The cab door closes behind me with a hiss, like hydraulics lowering a coffin into the ground. I stare ahead, at the quaint, two-story house bordered by a white picket fence, with flower boxes hanging off the upstairs windows filled with petunias and daffodils and buttercups.
Flowers for my grave, the new house, my coffin.
Slowly, I cross the cobblestone drive to the fence, my meager belongings wedged inside the duffle bag and suitcase I carry. Loose sand crunches between the stones as I grind my teeth. Humid air from the bay slaps me across the face as if to say, “Welcome home, Ashton.”
Thank you Jaimie for sharing that with us! Now let’s take a quick look at Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light…
Clifton Chase couldn’t possibly know the mysterious arrow he finds in his closet will lead him to the year 1485. Two princes need his help, but why? Carrying the Arrow of Light, a weapon forged from the Tree of Knowledge itself, Clifton is led on a journey to face fire-breathing dragons, kidnapping by merpeople, and a final battle, which will end the War of the Roses and the reign of a tyrant king. Will Clifton discover his purpose on time and save the day? Or has the arrow chosen the wrong boy?
Sounds great doesn’t it? Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you straight to Amazon!
Thank you Jaimie for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up to date with what Jaimie is doing, you can find her on her website, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also read the first six chapters, and download free coloring pictures, crossword puzzles, & word searches at her website.
Oh and as a special treat, here’s the book trailer!