Friday, February 12, 2010

Buzz Time—YA author Leah Clifford and A TOUCH MORTAL

Well it's that time again when I shamelessly plug another writer pal (and her fabulous mega-agent Rosemary Stimola whose semi-accurate likeness you will find on this blog about two posts back).

I *met* Leah Clifford online almost three years on the Querytracker forum when there were maybe about fifteen of us originals. Back in those days, I knew her as Gypsygurl. (actually, she' ll always be Gypsygurl to me. Its her brand name). I've been familiar with this manuscript from its earliest days, and right from the start it was clear to me Leah was a brilliant writer with a big future. If she was a stock, I would have invested for sure!

Ever since Leah told us QT-ers back in December that her book had sold, we've been sitting on this fabulous news-so now it's time to shout to the world about Leah's book A TOUCH MORTAL, due from Greenwillow in Winter 2011. I love typing that title. As a self-proclaimed title freak I think it rates a perfect 10.

Anyway, here's the blurb about Leah's sale in Publisher's Marketplace.

YA Rebels vlogger Leah Clifford's A TOUCH MORTAL, the first in a planned trilogy in which a seventeen-year old doesn't remember the details of her final hours, but now, she's a Sider, a lost soul trapped between the living and the dead; endowed with a special power no Sider ever had, she is pulled into a feud between Fallen and Bound Angels which will reveal the truth of her death and alter heaven and hell and everything in-between, to Virginia Duncan at Greenwillow, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, the for publication in Winter 2011, by Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio.

Okay. Now I hand the mic over to Leah. If you'd like to really meet Leah, you can check her out on her vlog, YA Rebels or follow her on Twitter at

Leah, aka, Gypsygurl, can you tell us a bit about your background?
Sure! I'm an Ohio girl born and raised, with a few great escapes in there. I lived in Colorado for a few years and worked as a flight attendant for a few more, so I went through a period where I was constantly on the move. Before that, I attended a community college where I took some creative writing classes, but other than that I have no "formal" training in writing.

How long have you been writing? Is A TOUCH MORTAL your first book?
I've been writing since I was very young, but only writing for publication for the last few years. A TOUCH MORTAL is not my first book though. I have a trunked novel that is an adult paranormal, but it's pretty awful. When it was finished I queried a bit, but knew I could do better, so I pulled the manuscript and started on the YA novel that grew into A TOUCH MORTAL.

Tell us a bit about the main characters in A TOUCH MORTAL.
My main character, Eden, is so much fun to write! She's snarky and sarcastic, a girl who can hold her own against the boys for sure. She lives in NYC and runs the Manhattan crew of Siders (see PM announcement for what they are). There are also the Angels. One of them, Az, is Eden's ex-boyfriend, who she's on the outs with...though he's determined to change that.

Are any of the characters based on actual individuals?
No, they're all fiction.

What inspired your book?
So, remember that stint at community college I mentioned above? Well, in one of those creative writing classes, I had a story due. Actually, it was late. And I had NO IDEAS. I ended up writing a short story about teens watching a jumper on a building ledge. It wasn't like anything I'd ever written before, and for years I wondered why they were so cavalier about the whole thing. The novel grew from that original short story.

Can you tell us a bit about your road to publication? What obstacles did you face? I started officially querying in January of 2009 and by February I had received four offers of representation. I'll be the first to tell you I had NO idea that was gonna happen. After a period of freaking out, I had a phone call with each agent and went with Rosemary Stimola. We went out on submission, but the responses we received seemed confused in the first pages with the world building. I'd never written YA, and never fantasy, so my world building skills weren't the best then. REVISION TIME!!! I took a few months, added another 100 pages and 20,000 words and we were ready to go out again. The offer came two weeks later.

Tell us something about Leah Clifford we'd never think to ask about?
One of my favorite things is the antique Royal typewriter I own. It still works but needs a new ribbon. Someday, I want to type a rough draft on it (probably for a short story lol). You can see it behind me in most of the Rebels vlogs (I'm Thursday).

Thanks for the interview, Lisa! And thanks for being there every step of the way!
The QT crew rocks!
(yep, they do!)


  1. Very cool interview! I love learning about new authors and their stories. Can't wait to read this book!

  2. awesome interview of an awesome lady :) We are so happy for you, GG!!!! And yep, you'll always be GG to me too :D

    Oh, and Lisa, I forgot to post before, but I left you an award on Monday :) Here's the link.

  3. Thanks, Nisa!

    Hey to my fellow QT-er, Michelle! (aka, ELKY or in its proper form—elknutswife). You will all be hearing from her soon as well. Michelle has some awesome news of her own.

    And thanks for the award, Elkster.

    Yeah..and did you know to these ladies for years I was aka Justwrite/JW?

  4. Hurray, Leah! I'm so happy for you!

    Thanks for the interview, Lisa. I'm linking back to you - you said it all better than I could! :-)

  5. This book sounds incredible!!

    I hope that Leah can find a ribbon for her typewriter. I have an old Underwood, but my fingers must be out of shape (or they're spoiled). It hurts too much to type on it. I couldn't imagine banging out a draft of anything!!


  6. I know. I wish it were out NOW. There's magic in Leah's (GG's) fingers. You'll see.

    Thanks for the follow, HG!!!

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