Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pub Life: Interview with YA Author, Clara Kensie

I'm so excited to introduce you all to Clara Kensie, author of the upcoming YA serial, RUN TO YOU, released by Harlequin Teen on February 1st. I had the pleasure of meeting Clara at the RWA conference last summer and have enjoyed going through the debut process with her! Here's a bit about Clara: 

How long have you been writing?

Officially, I’ve been writing a little over four years. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but only as a hobby. I gave a couple half-hearted attempts at writing a book but never got beyond a chapter or two. In November of 2009, 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 several million times, but that cloudy day in November 2009 was the start of my writing career.

If you had one piece of advice to give a writer working towards publication, what would it be?

Don’t compare yourself to other writers. It only leads to jealousy and discouragement, and that sucks the joy out of writing.

Pantser or plotter?

The first draft of RUN TO YOU was pantsed. It was 186,000 words of cringey awfulness. While suffering through so many revisions (I cut 100,000 words and re-wrote almost every word that was left), I learned that if I plot first, I am more proficient, productive, and prolific. Now I am a devoted plotter. But usually, something unexpected will pants its way into my manuscript, surprising me. I usually love it, so I try to keep it.

What books have inspired you?

Stephen King’s books are a huge inspiration on what I like to read and write. RUN TO YOU has influences of King’s CARRIE and FIRESTARTER. And I have to thank HARRY POTTER and TWILIGHT for introducing me to YA, and especially for making YA popular with adults. After I read those series, I never stopped reading YA.

What inspired you to write YA?

Reading YA inspired me to write YA. It wasn’t until I started reading so much YA that I finally had the motivation to write an entire manuscript.

RUN TO YOU is being released as a serial. How has that changed your process?

RUN TO YOU was not originally intended to be a serial. Harlequin Teen decided to make it a serial a few months after they bought it. They chose RUN TO YOU for their first serial because, while it’s very romantic, it’s also a fast-paced thriller with lots of cliff hangers, which lends itself well to serialization. I was in the middle of writing the sequel when the call came in that they were serializing the series by dividing each book into three parts.

So how did that change my process? Well, I’ve always ended most of my chapters on little cliff hangers, but once I learned the books were going to be serialized, I had to shuffle some plot points around to get big cliff hangers at the one-third and two-thirds marks of both books. I end each episode in a way that not only gets the reader to want to read on, the reader will need to read the next part. 

Are there any challenges to writing a serial?

For me, the biggest challenge to writing a serial isn’t in the writing: it’s getting people to read the serial. Serials are new to the YA market, and I’m scared that some people won’t even give the RUN TO YOU books a chance, simply because it’s releasing in a format they’re not used to. But serials are fun. Serials are like your favorite weekly TV series: you get a full, satisfying episode in one bite, and then you have more to look forward to. Serialized novels also add a social aspect to the reading experience. Just like with TV, readers can enjoy sharing their thoughts of the latest episode with their friends, and anticipate the next episode together. Voracious readers will still be satisfied with the novella-sized length of each episode, whereas reluctant and occasional readers who are intimidated by long tomes will find the shorter length of each episode less daunting, and therefore enjoyable.

What lessons have you learned from working on a serial?

It’s encouraged me to not just accept change, but to embrace it. As I said above, I did not originally write RUN TO YOU to be a serial. That Harlequin Teen was releasing it a serial came as a huge surprise to me. YA serials are relatively new and different, and anything new and different is risky. Although I am nervous about it, I am also really, really excited. I’m honored that Harlequin Teen has enough faith in RUN TO YOU to make it their first serial, and I’m thrilled to be a trail-blazer in the format.

What’s your favorite thing about RUN TO YOU?

Besides seeing people’s reactions to the plot twists, my favorite thing about RUN TO YOU is my hero and heroine. I loooove their romance. I’ve known Tessa and Tristan for a little over four years now, and I still love them, and I still love their romance.

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.

RUN TO YOU PART ONE: FIRST SIGHT (available February 1, 2014)
Part One in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from. As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can’t even tell him her real name. But Tristan won’t be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…

RUN TO YOU PART TWO: SECOND GLANCE (available February 8, 2014)
Part Two in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Tessa Carson has unlocked her heart and her secrets to Tristan Walker—but Tristan has secrets of his own, and his might just mean the end of Tessa’s family. Unaware, Tessa embraces falling in love and being herself for the first time since she was attacked when she was only eight years old. But secrets can’t be run from forever, and sometimes love is too good to be true…

RUN TO YOU PART THREE: THIRD CHARM (available February 15, 2014)
Part Three in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Betrayed, heartbroken, and determined to save her family, Tessa Carson refuses to give in to Tristan Walker’s pleas for forgiveness. But her own awakening psychic gift won’t let her rest until she uncovers the truth about her family and her past. And Tristan is the only one who can help her sift through the secrets to find the truth hidden in all the lies…

Find RUN TO YOU at your favorite e-tailers, including:

Find Clara online:

Chanel's New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.  She is represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.  You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook or on her own website.


  1. Thanks for having me on your blog today, YA Stands!!

  2. Inspiration in the middle of a grocery store parking lot! I love that you still remember exactly where you were when the story hit. Can't wait for Feb 1st :)

  3. OMG, can't wait to read this new version! And I think the serial format sounds awesome! Congrats!!!