I absolutely adore Lakesedge and I’m so excited to be able to share an interview with the author, Lyndall Clipstone, today. If you’d like to read my top five reasons to read Lakesedge, you can find that post here!
Welcome Lyndall! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Hello! I’m Lyndall Clipstone, author of gothic fantasy books where girls kiss monsters. I live in Adelaide, South Australia and I love black coffee, indoor plants, heavy metal music, and pre-raphaelite art. Lakesedge, my debut YA novel, was published this Fall from Henry Holt, Titan Books, and Pan Macmillan Australia. Before I was an author, I was a youth services librarian, and I have a postgrad degree in English Lit/Creative Writing.
How would you describe Lakesedge in one sentence?
A gothic romance where a girl falls in love with a cursed monster, and decides to bargain with death to save him.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Lakesedge?
Violeta Graceling has spent her entire life protecting her younger brother Arien, whose strange, dark alchemy puts him in danger. When Arien is summoned to Lakesedge Estate, Leta goes along too, desperate to keep her brother safe. But as she starts to unravel the mysteries of the estate — and its Lord — she makes some very drastic (and possibly ill-advised) choices. She’s my absolute favourite type of YA heroine — fierce, messy, flawed, and filled emotions.
Rowan Sylvanan is preceded by the terrible rumours that he murdered his whole family in a dark alchemical ritual, which has earned him the nickname “the Monster of Lakesedge”. He does little to dissuade Leta of these rumours, though in my opinion the truth about him might actually be worse? HHe’s a brooding, surly Goth Boy who wears a cloak in the middle of summer, reads poetry, and is very much a “looks like he could kill you, is actually a cinnamon roll” character, which I adore.
The Lord Under rules over the world of the dead. Occasionally, those who are close to death can bargain with him in exchange for their lives — even though everyone knows these bargains come at a terrible cost. When Leta arrives at Lakesedge Estate, she discovers a connection between herself and the Lord Under which is equal parts dangerous and alluring, especially when he offers to help her save Rowan from a curse…
Lakesedge included many tropes! What was your favorite one that you included?
It’s so hard to choose just one, but I’m very fond of the “I can’t reach the buttons on the back of my dress so you’ll have to help me” moment shared by Leta and Rowan early in the book.
What is something readers will find in Lakesedge that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
It’s a very loose retelling of The Secret Garden – perhaps it can be seen as the grown up, goth teenager version of the story. And the world where the book is set is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the start of the story is also the start of Leta’s seventeenth year (her birthday is in summer).
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I tend to roughly plot out my books, and use a loose outline to guide me as I write. But often I will learn more about a character and their motivations as I revise, and find that I need to pull back and rework a scene until it resonates. Working with a team who really “get” my characters helps a lot too, often my agent or editor will note a tweak which makes a characters’ portrayal really shine.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I have so many! But I’m especially fond of the title drop quote, which is from a scene where Leta is about to make a very momentous decision:
“I’m at the lake’s edge, the water before me—deep and dark and endless. With one word, I’ll plunge beneath the surface.”
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Lakesedge?
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt, Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, and Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from Lakesedge?
I hope readers find a beautiful, atmospheric story where they can immerse themselves, and find an escape from the world.
Without any spoilers, what’s something readers will find in Forestfall?
Forestfall is, in my opinion, even more dark, lush and romantic than Lakesedge! Readers will see more of the world Below, meet some intriguing new characters, and learn the Lord Under’s true name. And if I had to describe the ~vibe~ of it, I’d say Forestfall is Reylo (particularly the force bond) combined with the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Content Warnings: Emotional and physical abuse by a parent, Body horror, Gore and blood (including description of wounds), Emesis, Discussions of death and grief (no on-page deaths), Descriptions of drowning and deep water, Drowning-related imagery Self-injury (in the context of a curse that requires regular physical sacrifices), suicidal ideation
A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.
There are monsters in the world.
When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.
There are monsters in the woods.
As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…
There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.
Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lyndall Clipstone writes about monsters and the girls who like to kiss them. A former youth librarian who grew up running wild in the Barossa Ranges of South Australia, she currently lives in Adelaide, where she tends her own indoor secret garden. She has a Bachelors in Creative Writing and a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management.
Her debut novel, LAKESEDGE, will be published by Henry Holt, Titan UK and Pan Macmillan Australia in Fall 2021 with a sequel, FORESTFALL, to publish in Fall 2022.