Author Spotlight: Lyndall Clipstone
Sept. 17, 2021
We are excited to feature author Lyndall Clipstone and her debut young adult novel, LAKESEDGE (Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), coming out on September 28, 2021.
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|Cover © Rich Deas
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
I grew up reading and loving dark fantasy books, especially by authors like Sonya Hartnett, Anne Rice, Poppy Z. Brite, Angela Carter and Margo Lanagan. As a writer, I found myself drawn back to that space, and wanted to write the sort of books I would have adored as a teen. I like to call Lakesedge my love letter to being seventeen, as I tried to capture that feeling of when the world is so immense, and every emotion and decision carries so much weight and importance.
Congrats on your YA debut, Lakesedge! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
Thank you! Lakesedge is a gothic fantasy, where a girl goes to live in a haunted house with "the Monster of Lakesedge", and when she falls in love with him, and finds out he is cursed, she decides to team up with the lord of the dead to try and save him. (Her very sensible decisions are an ongoing theme in the series, haha).
My main inspiration was "what if The Secret Garden was a gothic romance", and it could best be summed up as Wintersong meets Crimson Peak.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
Lakesedge began life as a short story I wrote during my Creative Writing Honors at the University of Adelaide. The story never really let me go, but it took about ten years between that version and when I wrote the first, full-length manuscript. Since then, it has been through countless revisions, first in Author Mentor Match, then with my agent, then with my editor. I learned so much and am definitely a much stronger writer now.
In terms of the path from agent - submission - to offer, I was very lucky that it was fairly straightforward. I am so glad that my book landed with my wonderful agent, who has been an incredible support, and the exceptional teams at all three of my publishers (Lakesedge will be releasing in Australia, North America, and the UK/Commonwealth). It's a tough industry to work in, but I love that I am able to share my stories with readers all over the world.
Your story has such a lush and gothic feel. Did you inspire yourself with aesthetics while writing it, and if so, can you share?
I am a very visual writer, and I especially get inspiration from things like film and classic artworks. I think Guillermo del Toro and John Waterhouse own an equal share in the lush aesthetic of Lakesedge! I love to make mood boards for all of my projects, and here is the one I made for Lakesedge. Also, this:
What projects are you working on now?
Right now I am working on Forestfall, which is a direct sequel to Lakesedge and will publish in Fall 2022. I can't say much without spoiling the story, but it has strong Orpheus and Eurydice vibes... along with a big dash of Reylo. Aside from that, I have a few secret projects that I can't wait to develop more. I hope I'm able to share many other dark, romantic stories with readers in the years to come.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same as you'd give to aspiring authors?
To my younger self, I would say to be brave, and push past my fear of failure. One of the reasons it took me such a long time to pursue publication was that I was so scared of rejection. But you can't succeed if you don't try, even if the emotional resilience needed to be an author is quite a big task.
For aspiring authors, my advice is the same-- be brave and dedicated. And also, to be comfortable with extended revisions. It isn't a waste if you have to go back and rework a book you have spent a long time on writing. All writing is rewriting, and revision is the best way to discover the true heart of your story.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I did three years of an English Lit PhD and intended to be a professor, but I dropped out when I realised I wasn't a good fit for academia. My topic was "the appeal of the male monster" so I feel like everything I studied has gone on to be very useful!
Where can people find you online?
Lyndall Clipstone writes about monsters and the girls who like to kiss them. A former youth librarian who grew up running wild in the Barossa Ranges of South Australia, she currently lives in Adelaide, where she tends her own indoor secret garden.
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