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Today, I’m joined by Clara Kensie. Her first book, RUN TO YOU, has been serialized. Part one is out now! Enjoy!

RUN TO YOU Book One All Three Covers

1. When did you start writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but only as a hobby. I took creative writing in high school and college and I gave a couple half-hearted attempts at writing a book over the years, but I never got beyond a chapter or two. In November of 2008, I got the idea for RUN TO YOU in a grocery store parking lot, went home, and wrote the entire thing in two months. I had to revise it eleventy squizzillion times, but I consider that cloudy day in November 2008 to be the first day of my writing career.

2. Are you a pantser or a planner?

The first draft of RUN TO YOU was pantsed. Revising that mess was so agonizing and took so long, that now I am a devoted plotter. But those little things that make a book special—a romantic line of dialogue, or an endearing character quirk—those aren’t planned or plotted. Those come when I’m deep in writer-mode and seem to appear out of nowhere. Those things are pantsed, and they’re the part of writing that brings me the most joy.

3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?

Before I write one word of my manuscript, I brainstorm and outline the plot based on Michael Hague’s Six Stage Plot Structure in a fantastic mind-mapping program called Scapple. Then I start writing in the even-more fantastic writing program, Scrivener. I write the first draft as fast as I can, without going back to edit. If I realize something needs to change, I make an annotation, then keep moving forward as if I’d already made the revision.

When the first draft is done, I print it out and make notes with my favorite pen, a red fine-point Sharpie (which I’ve named Amazing Grace). Using those notes, I re-write the entire thing, which also means lots of brainstorming. I use Scapple to brainstorm everything from the overall plot down to each scene. There are major revisions in this draft. This is by far the hardest draft to write and it takes me the longest. But it’s also the most rewarding. I love taking that mess of a first draft and turning it into something readable.

Once the second draft is finally finished, I send the manuscript to my trusty critique partners. Then the revision process begins again as I incorporate my CPs’ feedback. After a final polish, I send the manuscript to my editor (the esteemed Natashya Wilson, executive editor at Harlequin Teen, is my editor for RUN TO YOU) and/or agent (the fantabulous Laura Bradford). Of course, then the revisions start all over again, beginning with the edit letter, then the line edits, etc. I use Scrivener, Scapple, and Amazing Grace for those, too.

4. Which authors have influenced your work?

I started reading Stephen King when I was way too young, and he gave me a desire to read and write books with a darker twist. RUN TO YOU has influences of King’s CARRIE and FIRESTARTER. And I have to thank J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer for introducing me to YA, and especially for making YA popular with adults. After I read HARRY POTTER and TWILIGHT, I went to Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES and Lemony Snickett’s A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. After that, I never stopped reading YA. Reading YA ignited that writing passion in me, and it made me want to write YA.

5. What are your plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?

RUN TO YOU Part I First SightRUN TO YOU is my debut, a full-length novel that Harlequin Teen is publishing as a three-part serial with weekly releases. The adventure begins February 2014 — Part 1: First Sight on February 1, Part 2: Second Glance on February 8, and Part 3: Third Charm on February 15.

The adventure continues in June 2014 with the sequel to RUN TO YOU, also a full-length novel releasing as a three-part serial — Part 4: Fourth Shadow on June 1, Part 5: Fifth Touch on June 8, and Part 6: Sixth Touch on June 15.

I’m currently working on a dark, dark, dark YA contemporary. After that is a YA romantic mystery/thriller with elements of magical realism. I have an endless list of future projects. All of them are YA except for one New Adult, and they are a mixture of paranormals and contemporaries.

6. Any tips for new writers?

Write the following quote in big fancy letters, print it out, and hang it near your computer where you will see it every day:

Comparison is the thief of joy.
~Theodore Roosevelt

Don’t compare yourself to other writers. It only leads to discouragement and jealousy, and that sucks the joy out of writing. Everyone has their own successes and failures. Celebrate every one of your successes, no matter how small.

7. Any tips for old writers?

Please refer to my answer for question #6. 😉

Thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog, Jen!


Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is the author of romantic paranormal thrillers for young adults. Her first book, RUN TO YOU, a super-sized three-part serial from Harlequin TEEN, begins February 1, 2014 with weekly releases. The sequel, also a super-sized three-part serial, begins June 1, 2014.

Her favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

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