Interview with author C.E. Clayton

Book: The Monster of Selkirk Book I: The Duality of Nature
Genre: YA Fantasy

Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.

As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends.

But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.


1) How old were you when you first started writing? 

I was probably in the third or fourth grade, so pretty young! I remember never thinking much of my writing, it was just something I did and didn't hate, and then I won a contest for a Martin Luther King essay contest and I realized, "well hey, maybe I am good at this!" Shortly after, I wrote my first "book". I never finished it, I can't even remember what I called it, but it was definitely a fantasy story because I vividly remember creating five princesses based on glass figurines of these beautiful women in elaborate gowns my mom had in the house. The youngest princess even had a pet dragon. He was blue, and his name was Walter.

2.) Do you have any pets?

I do! I've always had dogs, cats, fish, and birds growing up. So when I got married, my husband had to take some of the horde with me when he said 'I do". We currently have two big, fluffy cats that we adopted, Juno and Captain. Juno has the softest, silkiest hair I have ever encountered, and Captain never lost his fluffy, kitten cheeks, which helps make him look like he's winking all the time (he's missing an eye, we adopted him that way, so no, we don't know what happened). We also have a chihuahua-terrier mix we adopted as well named Dobby (because of his resemblance to the house elf). He's the same size as the cat's, so he, too, thinks he's a cat that just happens to enjoy taking us for walks. I also have a parrot named Cholito, but he's back with my parents. Our current home (and the fact the bird I've had since middle school hates my husband) meant he had to stay behind. But I love visiting him whenever I can, and my parents love having him at their place!

3.) One place you would love to live or at least visit?

I'd love to live in Ireland! I've visited there before and instantly felt like I was home when I got there. I wouldn't live in Dublin or anything, but the "beach" city on the other side of the island, near Killarney. It's such a magical place that wandering around, I felt like if I did see a leperchuan or faerie crossing the road, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

4.) What is your favorite song?

This usually changes as I grow and new music gets brought to my attention. I love music, it's a huge creative inspiration when I write my stories. I even create elaborate playlists on Spotify for each of my books! So if I was asked this question 5 years ago, or even 3 years from now, the answer may change. But for at least the past few years, my favorite song is "Pompeii" by Bastille. I love that song so much,; it's deep, haunting beauty, and its undercurrent of hope and nostalgia, that I created a whole tattoo on my arm for, and around, its lyrics.

5.) Coffee or tea?

Tea, but with a caveat. I constantly drink flavored (not sweetened) green and black tea when I'm working. On most weekends when I'm out and about, I tend to have a massive cup of unsweetened (which is odd for the South) iced tea with me at all times. But for the very first cup of caffeine on weekday mornings, I WANT a big cup of flavored coffee (vanilla cinnamon is my favorite). Something about the smell and routine of coffee I find comforting, and helps me find my rhythm much faster.

6.) What is your favorite food?

Thai fried rice with shrimp, and a glass of Thai Iced Tea to go with it! It's one of the things I miss most about moving away from So Cal, I can't visit my favorite Thai place anymore and overload on amazing carbs. Don't get me wrong, New Orleans has some spectacular food, but I have yet to find anything close to dethroning my favorite Thai fried rice dish.

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