Thursday, January 31, 2013

To Dance in Liradon

Today's special guest is Adrienne Clarke. She says, "I think I became a writer because the world inside my head was so real and vivid, sometimes more so than the outside world. In some sense I have lived parallel lives, present in my real and imaginary lives in different ways. Because much of my childhood was spent searching for faeries or reading about them, it is natural that my work encompasses fairy tale themes and other magical elements. In the words of Tennessee Williams, forget reality, give me magic!"

Adrienne has previously published short stories in The Storyteller, Beginnings Magazine, New Plains Review, and in the e-zines A Fly in Amber, Grim Graffiti, Les Bonnes Fees, The Altruist, The Devilfish Review, and Rose Red Review. Her short story, Falling was awarded second place in the 2008 Alice Munro short fiction contest. To Dance in Liradon is her first published novel.

An avid reader of fairy tales and other magical stories, a thread of the mysterious or unexpected runs through all of her work. When she’s not writing Adrienne can be found searching for faeries along with her daughters Callista and Juliet.


How did you come up with the plot for To Dance in Liradon?

The story for To Dance in Liradon has been with me for a long time. I have a shared passion for fairy tales and Celtic mythology, and I knew I wanted to write a book that drew on the magic and romance of both. I’ve always loved stories about the Irish Tuatha De Danann, tall, beautiful, proud and amoral, who have a propensity for falling in love with humans. To Dance in Liradon explores what happens when the human and Faerie worlds collide.

What special challenges were presented in developing a totally new world for the book? Are there special rules for books on faeries, themes that resonate through all such books, or is each author free to develop their own world?

I think the challenge for any fantasy writer is to create a world that is believable and compelling. Whether it be a thriving urban metropolis, an alternate steampunk reality, or an enchanted kingdom long ago and far away – you want to take the reader on a journey they’ll never forget. I’m not aware of any special rules for books on fairies, and even if there were I wouldn’t follow them. I don’t believe that any author’s imagination should be subject to arbitrary rules or guidelines. That being said I was definitely inspired by the large body of Irish faerie lore and superstition when creating my own work, particularly fairy changeling stories and the Celtic fairy tale Etain and Midir.

Why did you select your particular genre to write in?

I’ve always been drawn to the passion and idealism that for me is the very essence of YA literature. Young adulthood is a time of almost limitless hope: The conviction that we can do anything, feel everything, be with anyone. Nothing is beyond our reach.
Of course the teenage years can also be a time of tremendous doubt and insecurity, but it’s this juxtaposition of fear and idealism that makes YA literature so compelling. I think that’s one of treasons YA has become so popular with older adults as well as teens. Although we often associate issues of first love and identity with teens, the feelings associated with these universal themes resonate with many of us at any age.

Do you have a process for developing your characters?

I don’t really have a process for developing characters. I just seem to start dreaming about them and then do my best to bring them to life on the page. When it comes to imaging what a character might look like I’m often inspired by fantasy art and photography.

What books or authors do you enjoy reading?

This is always a difficult question because I love all different kinds of books for different reasons. I enjoy fantasy, literary fiction, gothic, historical, mysteries, even a dash of horror depending on my mood. My list of authors is too long to name them all, but some of my favourites are Kazuo Ishiguro, Juliet Marillier, Patricia McKillip, Neil Gaiman, Alice Munro, Martine Leavitt, and Emily Bronte. A very eclectic list.

What was your path to publication like?

My path to publication was difficult – it’s still difficult. The process of querying agents and editors about your work is very time consuming and it requires a lot of perseverance. When people ask me for advice about finding a publisher I always say the same thing. Don’t give up!
What would you like readers of this blog to know about you?

I would like readers to know that, for me, the best part of being a writer is connecting with readers. Writing can be lonely so when I have the opportunity to talk to a reader about what they thought about one of my stories it’s really just a moment of pure happiness. So if any of your readers do decide to read To Dance in Liradon I hope they’ll connect with me on Facebook, Goodreads, my website, anywhere! 


Seventeen-year-old Brigid O'Flynn is an outcast. A chance encounter with the Faerie Queen left her tainted in the eyes of the villagers, who blame the Faerie for the village’s missing women and children. Desperate to win the village’s acceptance, Brigid agrees to marry her childhood friend: Serious, hardworking, Connell Mackenna. But when Connell disappears before their wedding, Brigid's hopes are shattered. Blamed for her fiancĂ©’s death, Brigid fears she will suffer the same fate as the other village outcasts, the mysterious Willow Women. Lured into Faerie by their inhuman lovers, and cast out weak and broken, the Willow Women spend their lives searching for the way back into Faerie. When Connell suddenly reappears, Brigid is overjoyed, but everything is not as it seems. Consumed by his desire for beauty and celebration, Connell abandons his responsibilities, and Brigid soon finds herself drawn into a passionate, dangerous world of two.

When Brigid discovers the truth behind Connell's transformation she’s forced to choose between two men and two worlds. Brigid’s struggle leads her into glittering, ruthless Faerie, where she must rescue her true love from a terrible sacrifice or lose him forever.


Connell was waiting for her when she arrived. He took her hand without speaking and led her into the forest. Once they were safely inside the trees’ protection, Connell removed something from the heavy cloth sack he wore around his waist tied with a silken cord. It was a harp, the most beautiful instrument Brigid had ever seen. The tuning pegs looked to be made of gold and the strings of pure silver. When Connell touched them with his fingers, the music made her want to weep and sleep and laugh, all at the same time. She reached out to touch it, but Connell snatched her hand away.

“Forgive me, my love, but I cannot let you have it. As pretty as it is, it would burn your delicate fingers.”

“Why should it burn me and not you?” She thought it would be worth the risk to run her hands along the deep U of the harp’s neck.

“‘Tis no ordinary harp. It will only endure the touch of its owner.”

“How did you come to have it?” 
Connell brushed his fingers gently across the strings. “It was given to me as a gift.”

“By whom?” Brigid asked, bewildered. There was no one in the village save for the lord himself who could afford such an instrument.

Connell leaned towards her. “‘Tis a secret.”

“If I am to be your wife, there must be no secrets between us.”

Connell seized Brigid’s hands and pulled her towards him. “I am not myself,” he whispered in her ear.


Adrienne will be awarding winner's choice of a Kindle touch, Nook Simple Touch, or a $100 Apple gift card, and one crystal Faerie necklace similar to what Brigid wore to the Faerie ball to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

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