The Clay Lion publishes today!

The Clay Lion publishes today!
Friday 18th Sep 2015

And to celebrate, here's an interview with author Amalie Jahn - narrator Lorelei King is asking the questions...

1. I absolutely loved recording The Clay Lion and am very much looking forward to the next two books. Why did you decide to make The Clay Lion a trilogy rather than an ongoing series?

The Clay Lion was actually written as a stand-alone novel, but after its publication fans began asking for more about the main characters.  They were so vested in Brooke’s life that they didn’t want her story to end.  And although I tied up most of the loose ends by the end of the book, I did leave myself one little loophole, just in case.  I used that opening as the basis for the plot of Tin Men.  While I was writing book two, I decided I would definitely write a third to round out the three Oz characters (the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow) and the plot for A Straw Man took shape as Melody’s character developed more fully in Tin Men.  As it stands today, I feel like I’ve explored the various consequences of time travel thoroughly for my readers, but should I be inspired by another twist in the space time continuum, perhaps there’ll be a fourth novel in the series.  Never say never!

2. Was it hard to say goodbye to the characters you created?

Yes!!!  It’s hard for most people to understand just how attached we writers get to our characters, but you have to realize that there are many days when I spend more time inside the heads of my characters than with my own family members.  I know Brooke, Branson, Charlie, Melody, and Nate so intimately, the line between reality and fantasy gets ridiculously blurred.  These characters are so real to me that there is something of a loss now that I’ve moved on to other projects.  It’s like when a good friend moves away – they’re still out there in the world, but they’re no longer a part of your daily life.  It’s bittersweet.  The best part for me now is when I hear readers talking about Brooke and Charlie and Melody with the same passion and nostalgia I feel for them.  There’s no better compliment.

3. Time travel is an important part of The Clay Lion. If you could go back in time, where and when would you go?

Well, if you’ve read the series, you know my stand on time travel.  If you’re happy with your life the way it is (which I most certainly am!) then I probably wouldn’t choose to go back in time at all, because of course you can never be sure of what unexpected series of events you are likely to disrupt in the future.  However, if you’re forcing me to step into the chamber, I would use my six months to go back to my childhood and not tease my sister quite so much.  It was only normal kid stuff, but still, I love her so dearly, I hate that I ever caused her a moment of pain.

4. I love that we hooked up on Twitter - I think one of the most exciting aspects of social media is the creative collaborations that can come out of these chance, virtual meetings. How important do you think it is for writers to become involved in social media?

I think social media is a double edged sword, to be sure.  On one hand, it’s necessary to use the tools available on the web to build your brand and make yourself available to fans.  You need a strong online presence so readers can find you and your work.  However, it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure to sell, and I don’t believe sales should be the focus of your engagements.  I’m active on Facebook, Twitter and my website, but I try to use these tools as a way to share myself and who I am with the world.  Do I want people to read my books?  Sure!  But I’m way more interested in making legitimate connections with others.  I also think it’s easy to get sucked into spending too much time “marketing” and not enough time reading and writing.  There must be a balance to it if you hope to be successful at managing both.

5. How scary was it to entrust your 'baby' to Creative Content and let them produce the audio versions of your books?

It’s a crazy world out there in the publishing industry, and I’ve been very protective of my rights throughout the course of my career.  However, when Creative Content approached me about the possibility of creating the audio version of The Clay Lion Series, I knew without a doubt that they had my best interest at heart.  They’re a company who is as invested in my work as I am, and I have been overjoyed with the level of professionalism and compassion they’ve brought to the table.  Sometimes the right company just comes along and the perfect connection is made.  I got lucky.   

6. If you weren’t a writer, what job would you like to do?

I would be an interior designer, no doubt!  When I’m not working at my computer, I’m probably folding laundry while watching HGTV (and I fold a lot of laundry!)  I love creating spaces that bring both order and peace using different colours and patterns.  I’m pretty good with a sewing machine and have made many of my own draperies and reupholstered furniture in my home.  It’s nice to look at a room I’ve designed and say “I did that!” and also to my family “Now don’t mess it up!!”

7. I’m sure you’ve been working hard on your own writing, but what’s the best or favourite book you’ve read or listened to this year?

I read and listen to A LOT of books.  I don’t go anywhere without a Playaway in my pocket and actually tolerate grocery shopping these days because I can listen to a story while I shop.  Although I enjoy reading many genres, my favourite is definitely YA.  I’ve recently finished the first two books in the Miss Peregrine’s series by Ransom Riggs (anxiously awaiting the third book out next month!) and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.  I highly recommend both authors to fans of my series.

8. What's coming up next for you?

So much actually!!  My new storied cookbook Let Them Burn Cake I co-authored with Chef Laura Cochran just released in the beginning of September, and I’m so excited to share my lack of culinary prowess with the world!  And speaking of the world, I’ll be travelling across the Atlantic to Holland in October where I’ll be giving a TEDx Talk in Maastricht on kindness.  Then I’m heading to Miami to receive the gold medal The Clay Lion was awarded in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Contest.  Luckily, all this travelling will give me a lot of time to finish the short story I’ve been working on entitled Under the Rainbow.  This one is really special to me because I’m writing it as a gift to my most loyal fans who are members of my reading group.  I know my job would be a lot less fulfilling without the support of the readers who keep coming back for more, and it’s nice to be able to give back to them in some small way.  

Buy 'The Clay Lion' from Audible now....