Firstly, what got you into writing about YA gothic fantasy of monsters, magic and love?
LC: I’ve always been drawn to dark stories with a strong romantic element. Gothic fantasy is the perfect intersection of all my favourite things to write about: intense feelings, beautiful aesthetics, settings that feel like characters, and romance that carries a hint of danger.
Where did the idea of Lakesedge estate come from?
LC: The gardens of Lakesedge with their wild blackberries, pale eucalyptus trees, and granite studded hills are inspired by the Barossa Ranges, where I grew up. I also drew a lot of inspiration from Mistlethwaite Manor in The Secret Garden. I loved the idea of a house with hundreds of locked up rooms, full of secrets.
Who’s your favourite female protagonist of all time that isn’t your character Leta?
LC: Sarah Williams from Jim Henson's Labyrinth, and Merricat Blackwood from We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.
What do you hope teens gain from reading Lakesedge?
LC: I wrote Lakesedge for the girl I was as a teenager. I wanted to capture the feeling of being in a world that feels so immense, where every emotion is so important. I hope it resonates with teen readers, especially the character of Leta who is both brave and foolish, and full of good intentions even as she makes so many terrible choices.
If Lakesedge was to turn into a movie like most YA books are nowadays, who would you cast?
LC: Rowan could be Ethan Torchio (the drummer from Måneskin), or Cody Fern, and Leta could be Sadie Sink or maybe a young Elinor Tomlinson. As for the Lord Under, I’ve always pictured him as looking quite similar to Lee Pace when he played Thranduil… but spookier.
What would you give as advice for someone wanting to be a YA author & how to get started?
LC: Write what you love, particularly the stories you would have loved as a teen. Write the stories that excite you, that make you obsessed. Also, reading widely across a range of genres can be a great way to gather inspiration.
Tell us what YA titles are on your TBR pile?
LC: Three 2021 YA books I am very excited about are The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski (a snowy, Naomi Novik-eque fantasy with fierce girls and weird gods), Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin (a feminist revision of Beauty & the Beast, reminiscent of Angela Carter), and Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (a gorgeously romantic Jane Eyre retelling, set in fantasy Ethiopia).
What was the most enjoyable part/frustrating part regarding your Lakesedge writing process?
LC: My favourite part of the writing process is revisions – especially line edits, where I’m really digging into to the tiny details of each scene. The hardest part is drafting. Trying to get the perfectly envisaged story from my brain onto a blank page is always such a struggle!
What’s next? Can you give us a sneak peek for the sequel Forestfall?
LC: Forestfall will publish in late 2022, and I’m so excited for readers to follow Leta, Rowan and the Lord Under through a second book. It is set during autumn, and there are dresses made of spider silk, spooky forest vibes, lots of kisses, and many reckless decisions. My favourite part is that Rowan has POV chapters, which were so much fun to write!
Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone is available online or at your local store now.