Sunday, September 6, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with J.L. Clark, author of 'The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links'

Dr. Jennifer Yen Clark, or J.L. Clark, began her writing career in the fourth grade, when her teacher took the detective story she wrote and turned it into a short printed book as a gift to her. The encouragement of her teacher, as well as her love for reading and telling stories, kept her writing about the worlds that existed in her imagination. In her young adult years, J.L. began writing short stories, poetry, and fan-fiction starring strong and intelligent girls and women. J.L. was recently inspired to write The Avalon Relics after being introduced to several young adult series that depicted weak heroines and unhealthy relationships. Recalling her own young adult reading experience and the dearth of relatable heroines, she set out to create a series of books that would not only engage and entertain, but offer a refreshing and empowering take on fictional heroines.
J.L. Clark resides in Houston, Texas with her family. She splits her time between academia and private practice, specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Health Medical School, and a clinical assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Outside of work, she is continually contributing to her body of work, posting short stories and fan-fiction on social media outlets for enjoyment.
Her latest book is the YA fantasy, The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links.
For More Information
About the Book:

Sophia Bennett is looking forward to celebrating her eighteenth birthday with her best friend Angie.  After graduating high school and enjoying the last days of her summer vacation the most important things on her mind are getting ready for college and catching the eye of her high school crush least, until the night of her birthday party.

Suddenly, Sophia is thrust into a world that she never knew existed and finds herself in the middle of an ancient struggle between good and evil. Time is against her as she and her new friends struggle to take possession of a powerful magic before it falls into the wrong hands.

Can Sophia solve the mystery of the Lilith links in time to save her loved ones, or will the enemy triumph and destroy all that she holds dear?

The Avalon Relics trilogy is a fast-paced read taking the reader into the magical world of fairies and of good versus evil.  It blends references of mythology and tales of old in a very real way in that it takes place in two worlds simultaneously:  the world that Sophia and her friends physically live in and the fairy realm.

For More Information

  • The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Thanks for joining us at the book club today, J.L.!  Can we begin by having you tell us how you got your start as a writer?  Did you always have the writing bug or did it hit you later in life?
J.L.:  Thank you for having me!  I got my start as a writer way back in fourth grade, after I had pretty much read my way through most of the school library that I volunteered in on my free time (yes, total book nerd here!).  I decided to write my very first short story, complete with illustrations, and give it to my favorite teacher as a gift to thank her for always encouraging me.  The next day, she asked me to stay during recess and handed me a printed copy of my story to keep.  She loved it so much that she insisted on reading it to the class, much to my chagrin, and I received a round of applause when it was done.  I think that was where my passion to write began.  
Why the YA fantasy genre?  Is this something you’ve always loved to read and later write?
J.L.:  I have always loved fantasy and science fiction because I enjoyed the way that the authors would take me away from ordinary life and immerse me in a brand new one.  I wrote fan fiction on and off throughout my high school and college years, and also wrote a few short stories of my own.  As for YA, I started reading it around the time that the big surge in the genre occurred, and found that they really intrigued me.  Maybe it is the fact that I’m pretty much an overgrown teenage girl, but I think that everyone can remember what it was like to be that age, and how hard it was to come into your own and overcome obstacles.  I decided to write in the YA genre because I wanted to help inspire and empower young women to love themselves and celebrate their unique qualities.  Everyone deserves to be loved for who you are, and there is no shame in being vulnerable or imperfect.   
Can you tell us a little about your main character, Sophia Bennett?
J.L.:  When you first meet her, Sophia is your typical teenager.  She is someone you could imagine sitting next to you in class, or hanging out with at the mall.  She is extremely intelligent, but can be na├»ve about so many things.  She is kindhearted and passionate, but is insecure over her awkwardness and her looks.  Sophia is envious of her friend Angie, who she feels like has everything going for her, and has to come to terms with the fact that other people see her differently than she sees herself.  As she progresses in her journey, you’ll get to watch Sophia grow into herself, become more confident, and surpass even her own expectations of what she is capable of. 
Can you tell us a little about the supporting characters?
J.L.:  Angie is Sophia’s best friend of several years, and they spend every waking moment together.  Even though she is physically everything that Sophia is not, the two of them bond over their shared interests, humor, and sense of loyalty to those they love.  Rafe, Eva, and Michael are faeids that the two young women meet along the way, and you find that despite their magical upbringing, each of the three of them are still very human in their thoughts and feelings.  Rafe is like the older brother you always wished for: protective, generous, and witty.  Michael is a hopeless romantic with a fanboy twist.  Eva is the resident bad girl; she knows what she wants and doesn’t hesitate to go after it, but she never intentionally hurts anyone else in the process.  When the five of them come together, they become a force to be reckoned with.  You’ll also get a chance to meet Sophia’s crush Jake, her eventual mentor Dina, and her guardian, Rami.  
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one of the pivotal points of your book?
J.L.:  This one comes direct from my readers’ mouths.  In the beginning of the Lilith Links, the first book of The Avalon Relics series, Sophia attends the birthday party Angie is throwing for her for her eighteenth birthday.  By the time the party ends, her entire life is turned upside down, and it takes her (and you) down a path full of twists and turns until the end.  From that point on, the story will keep you on the edge of your seat, up all hours of the night, and sneaking pages until you finish!   
What’s next for you, J.L.?
J.L.  I have a lot going on!  I am about to start work on book three, entitled Amulet of Morgana, which will pick up where Lailan Crown left off.  I am so excited for my readers to see the final product, which I promise will be just as exciting, if not more, than the last two books.  I also am collaborating with a local gaming company here in Houston to author a series of origin storybooks for their newest tabletop game, Fairytale Games: Battle Royale.  I will be providing all the backstories for their characters, as well as providing the dialogue and storyboarding for the mobile RPG they will be developing from the same game.  As a sneak peek, I am also toying with a dystopian science fiction YA series idea that has been banging around in my head recently.  So much to do, so little time, and I can’t wait for all of you to be part of it!

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