Friday, May 24, 2019

SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - #YA Fantasy - Neliem by Clare Di Liscia

by Clare Di Liscia
Date of Publication: May 21st 2019
Publisher: Month9Books
Cover Artist: AM Design Studios
Genre: YA Fantasy

Half the population of the island of Madera are dead, killed by an unforgiving and indiscriminate plague. Oriana dreams of escaping her life of ruthless cruelty from the people who now rule over those who remain. No telling whom the plague will strike next, Oriana means to find freedom for herself and her people. Drawing strength from ancient tales of her enemy, young Oriana transforms herself from victim to warrior with the help of a mysterious and powerful dagger given to her by a kind and dying boy.       
Years later, during her enemy’s betrothal ritual, Ezra, a boy she has never before seen, selects her as his mate. With servitude her only option, Oriana accepts the offer. Whisked away to a seemingly perfect world, Oriana discovers sinister secrets at every turn, including the identity of Tristan, a boy with whom she shares an undeniable but impossible connection.

Why would a boy she doesn’t know wish her to be his betrothed? Why does she feel such a strong pull toward a stranger? Someone in Ezra’s family not only knows the answer to both those questions, but also about the dagger Oriana possesses. He will do anything to stop the union. Now, with everything on the line, Oriana turns inward to find the strength she needs to seize the full power of the dagger so that she may protect herself and save her people.


Before I clear the field, I realize too late that it’s a trap. I have been herded like a sheep, far from the few scattered homes, toward the deserted cliffside where no one will hear my screams for help. Another boy with flaming red hair stands behind a tree waiting for me; I recognize him from the market. I can smell him, sweaty with a tangy sweetness that can only mean one thing. He’s been eating apples and waiting for some starving girl foolish enough to think she could steal some fruit.
I reach for my dagger, strength pulsating so deeply that I nearly drop it from my sweaty palm. Then, the voice of the boy of my dreams, whispers, “Hold it steady, Oriana. You can do this.”
I tuck all fear down deep within me. Later, I tell myself; later I will worry.

Author Info
Born in Queens, New York, Clare Di Liscia moved to California as a small child and grew up in the hills by Dodger Stadium. Constantly roaming the woods, she took to embellishing on the stories of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle Duck to fill her imagination. To her horror she soon realized there was no way to fit a miniature tuxedo on a frog. Fortunately in sixth grade, Clare won a short story contest with the grand prize of fifteen happy meals. She would like to point out that two of those meal tickets were missing by the time her mother handed over her prize. After traveling extensively throughout South America and the Caribbean, Clare attended KU Leuven, in Belgium for University where she studied Dutch and French. Clare graduated from Cal State Northridge Film School, earning Dean’s List recognition with a BA in TV/Film. In 2006 she placed in the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting beating out 4700 other applicants. After joining SCBWI, Clare won 1st place HM in the Sue Alexander for her YA novel, now titled NELIEM.

The Book Junkie Reads . . . Interview with Clare Di Liscia . . . 

1) Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?

Oddly enough, both. I believe I was a born writer. My earliest memories are of creating characters I would draw and obsess over their stories. My grandmother, who raised me, had to always have an ample supply of paper for my drawings. Everywhere we went, I would plop down and draw and later tell her all about them.

When I started writing novels, I felt the process was completely organic. I never wrote 10 page summary, or story boarded in my life. I had an image combined with an emotional connection to the character, and went from there. For other writers, it might be different. And that’s okay.

2) Do you have a character that you have been working on for a long time that still isn’t quite ready, but fills you with excitement to work on the story?

Yes. I have this amazing character Osbrook Channing, star quarterback, who’s life takes an unexpected nosedive, who I’m crazy about. He’s got the looks and charm, but that doesn’t come close to defining him. He’s all heart, kind to a fault, and desperate to find true love. He gets a ‘second chance’ for a complete do-over in life and honestly I’m not quite there. There’s so many layers to dive through. But I have faith I will eventually do his story justice.  

3) Can you share your next creative project?

Without going into detail, I have a modern day MG Huck Finn that’s nearly ready. It’s attracted the interest of some top editors which thrills me. It’s about what you do when you see something wrong, that doesn’t directly affect you, but forces you to either dismiss it, or act. The two main characters I simply adore. They’re mischievous, smart, and full of fun. I can’t wait to share it with the world.
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