Jaimie Engle is the author of Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light, a middle-grade adventure story in which a modern-day boy has a chance to be a hero in fifteenth century England. The novel is published by Wayman Publishing and illustrated by Debbie Johnson. Jaimie joins adventure fans today to answer some questions about her debut novel.
Blogger asks: One of the things I found most interesting in your novel is the time period to which the arrow whisked Clifton away. What made you choose to write about this moment in history?
Jaimie answers: It actually started when I came across an oil painting by Philip James de Loutherbourg depicting the Battle of Bosworth Field, which is the final battle of the War of the Roses. There’s this teenage boy holding up a sword among piles of horses and soldiers. I gasped. It was my main character, Clifton Chase, only instead of holding a sword, I envisioned a blazing Arrow of Light. I began some research on the time period and discovered King Richard’s two nephews who had been locked away in the Tower of London, never to be seen again. That’s when the questions swirled.
A story is often inspired by a question. What question inspired you to write this novel?
Jaimie answers: The biggest question I had after my research was: What happened to those two boys? I wondered what it felt like to be forgotten by history, after everything had been stripped from their lives, and how someone might be able to remedy this travesty. They died without honor and I think that’s such a sad way to leave this earth. No legacy. No tombstones. No memory.
Were there things about your favorite character in this story which couldn’t be included in the novel? Can you tell us a little bit about something you know about the story that the reader may not know?
Jaimie answers: Great questions! One of my favorite characters is Dane the dwarf. He’s feisty, he speaks his mind, and he has a tender side that he keeps hidden. Dane is extremely old, much older than is natural. I imagine he was created back during the Old Testament days, maybe some time after the flood, and he stayed in an unseen form until the middle ages. He is connected to another character in a very fundamental way, and his abilities weren’t fully exposed in this novel. Maybe in the next one…
Are you currently working on another novel? Will there be a sequel about Clifton and his magical arrows?
Jaimie answers: I have completed a second novel—not a sequel—which is a YA fantasy taking place in Viking Era Canada, which is currently under review by beta readers. I’ll begin shopping it to agents, hopefully by October. I have had several children and students ask me when the next Clifton book will release. I guess I’d like to see the book reach some level of success before I invest in the series. But I do have some ideas for two more possible Clifton Chase adventures.
One of the great things about middle grade and young adult fiction is that it has such power to mark our memories. Sometimes the stories we read during those years really stick with us for the rest of our lives. What stories did you fall in love with as an early teenager? Who or what awakened an urge to write in you?
Jaimie answers: That’s an easy one for me. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass have smudge marks from where I turned the pages over and over again. These stories whisked me to amazing, beautiful worlds where anything was possible. I knew when I was seven years old that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I actually still have about 50 stories I wrote in crayon when I was in the 1st-3rd grades, and lots of humorous poetry inspired by Shel Siverstein.
What advice do you have for other aspiring young writers?
Jaimie answers:My best advice would be to read as much as you can. Read books in the genres you like, books on the craft of writing, and books that are classics or bestsellers. Then, write. Write short stories, poems, songs, whatever you feel inspired to write, with the understanding that, like anything else, you don’t begin as professional. A six year old playing t-ball will never swing a hit like someone in the MLB. But as they practice and grow in their sport, studying others and perfecting their shortcomings, they may one day become an amazing ball player who is recruited by a college team or into the professionals. I’d love to help answer questions for any aspiring young writers. Feel free to email me at jaimiengle [at] cfl [dot] rr [dot] com!
Don’t miss the chance to win a free copy of Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light
Update: The contest has ended.
Leave a comment on the review posted here and “like” the Clifton Chase fan page on Facebook before Sunday 10/06/13 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. One participant will be selected to receive a FREE copy of Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light. Two copies will be given away: a paperback copy is available for one participant chosen from those who enter with a US or Canada address, and one winner will be chosen from all entrants worldwide to receive an ebook copy!