Meet the Author: C.E. Clayton
Thank you so much for the Q&A, Chelscey!
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I think it can do both. It can definitely help a writer in the sense that it will keep you from giving up when things get tough. This can be a lonely experience so having that big ego can help push someone forward. But, it can also be really bad if your ego is so big that you think your work is perfect from the get-go and you refuse to listen to any advice from beta readers or editors.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Oh my, yes! Sometimes I just end up reading a bunch of books at a time that are just not... doing it for me? And that always puts me in a mood where I want to take a break from reading. But since I get book review requests from a bunch of other indie authors, I can't do that. There's this obligation to read their books in order to have their book read and reviewed in a somewhat timely fashion. But I fail at that. So what ends up happening is all the books feel like 3 stars, and that always makes me feel bad...
How do you battle it when you do get it?
Usually by finding one book that I've owned for a long time that I've really wanted to read and reading that along side the book review requests. This acts like a palate cleanser and usually gets me back into a better head space. A lot of time, the books I read for that are, or were, super hyped books so I don't have to worry what mixed bag of reading material I may be walking into, lol!
How did you choose your pen name?
2 reasons actually, one is very simple and the other is rather sad. My first name is spelt weird for Chelscey (or Chelsea as it's often spelt). The problem with that is if you tell someone "look up this book by Chelscey Clayton" the likelihood of them spelling it right and then finding me is rather slim. The second reason is to actually avoid sexism in the fantasy and sci-fi genre. For some reason, there is still more "trust" that a male author is better than a female author, which sucks and is so not true! So having an ambiguous pen name fits with that, until you see my author picture! So, C.E. Clayton was born! The "E" is for my middle name, not because it sounds cool or anything.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Neil Gaiman. I wasn't the biggest fan of American Gods (don't hate me) but then reading his joint book with Terry Pratchett, "Good Omens", changed my opinion of him.
How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
I think it depends on the story I'm writing. For my YA books I do tend to take more care of the reader, explaining/showing more of what my characters are feeling or doing and how it relates to the plot. I do tend to enjoy writing emotional scenes more so most of my books aren't overly strenuous for the reader, but I do like leaving small details here and there about people or places that then becoming bigger issues later in the book or series, so some level of paying attention is required. Though, I do tend to tease those things a few times so its not so demanding... I like to be nice to my readers, what can I say?
What does literary success look like to you?
To me, personally, it means seeing my book on bookstore shelves. So, in that lens, I haven't gotten there yet. My book is in libraries and all that, but I want to be able to walk into a Barns&Noble anywhere in the country, nudge the person next to me, and point to my books and say "I wrote those."
What did you edit out of this book?
For the first book in the series, there was this whole story of how Tallis's parents, Lana and Jon, met and got married. It was meant to show how someone as sweet as Lana could love someone as cold as Jon. Ultimately, it didn't add anything to my story, or change anything about how Jon treats Tallis, so for the sake of the plot and keeping things moving, that whole backstory was cut out.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do and I probably shouldn't! Who knows, maybe when I get to a place where I get hundreds for each book I'll just stop... but this early in my career I want to see what readers thought and take that insight into writing my next book(s). It's easy to deal with good reviews by sharing them and thanking the reviewer etc., and they always make me giddy to read, but the bad ones are harder. Especially when I get a bad review from someone who didn't finish the book! I usually have to take a step back and away from my computer when that happens and forcibly remind myself that not everyone will like what I write; you can't please everyone all the time!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To wait. I thought I knew all I needed to about publishing and getting a book out into the world when I finished writing the first book in my series. Now, well over 3 years later, I can see just how much I DIDN'T know and how that impacted the finished product. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with where I am, but I think things could have been different, in a good way, had I taken more time with getting my books out there.
Chelscey E. Clayton (C.E.) was born and raised in Southern California, where she attended the University of Southern California for both her undergraduate studies and master's degree, specializing in Communication Management. She became employed in the advertising industry, working on a variety of accounts in everything from fast food to automotive to video games, but found herself disenchanted by the politics behind-the-scenes and got out.
Chelscey married her high school sweetheart after college, later adopting 2 cats and a dog, which you can see with regularity on Chelscey’s social media. She’s also a big fan of tattoos (she has several), and dying her hair. Her favorite color to date was her ombre blue mermaid hair. (She felt it was important for you to know this.)
A self-proclaimed nerd (and proud of it), Chelscey is a lover of comic books, video games, and reading Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Historical Fiction; however, she never thought she would turn writing into a career until opportunity knocked on the door. Without fully knowing what lay on the other side, Chelscey decided to answer.