Q&A With Kelsey Clifton

This week’s featured author, Kelsey Clifton, has wowed audiences with her quirky, fast paced sci-fi series, A Day Out of Time. If you haven’t had the opportunity to learn more about Kelsey and her published works, hop on over to her Featured Author’s page to read the excerpt. Then come back as I pick her brains (Halloween pun intended) during a fun Q&A session.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Kelsey as much as I have. Continue to support her on her journey and visit her website to keep up to date on upcoming new releases!

Ryan: Kelsey, when I first read your submission, I think I started my email back to you with “I want more.” Luckily, there was more. Could you give me a little insight into what inspired you to build the world of A Day Out of Time?

Kelsey: Of course! So I used to be mildly obsessed with reading Cracked articles, and one day they had an article about weird, failed calendars. Back in the 18th century, there was a small push to ditch the solar calendars that most of the Western world used in favor of a lunar calendar with 13 equal months, each with 28 days. This would leave one extra day, which the founder of the movement called “a day out of time.” Something about this phrase really struck a chord in me, and I wondered to myself, “What would a day out of time actually look like?” That’s the amazing thing about writing; a simple question can lead you in a direction you never imagined.

Ryan: We all know this is a sci-fi novel that includes some wild stuff – I won’t give spoilers – but even the excerpt has Gamma team running into dinosaurs in futuristic New York City. Even with the comedy and the craziness of the Day, I can’t help but notice how much science you’ve incorporated into the story. It’s a fun read but doesn’t skip over the heavy stuff. Tell us about what the preparation for something like that included.

Kelsey: Let me tell you, I have been down some Wikipedia rabbit holes. I really wanted to incorporate as much actual/feasible science as possible so nobody had to “reverse the polarities,” so to speak. It honestly involved me reaching a plot point and asking myself, “How would that actually work?” I’ve always found scientific subjects interesting, which really helped me develop and link concepts that I was only sort of familiar with. I also have a secret weapon: My best friend has two master’s degrees and most of her doctorate in veterinary science, so I was able to pick her brain for a lot of the biology stuff. The physics questions, unfortunately, I had to handle all on my own.

Ryan: As you know, Worldhoppers focuses all of our intentions on highlighting the self-published, independent authors like yourself. A Day Out of Time was published August of 2018, book two, After/Effects in March of 2019. Can you give some insight to our readers out there about what it’s like being an indie? What the last 14 months has been like?

Kelsey: It’s been a beautiful struggle. The last 14 months would have been easier if I were a natural at marketing or social media, but I’m a casual user at best, and I’ve really had to step up my discipline and commitment. My insight would be that there’s so much more involved when you go at this alone: Promotion, social media, event scheduling, website upkeep, etc. It’s never-ending. As frustrating as it can be, I wouldn’t trade it away for anything. The month or so leading up to my decision to self-publish was rough; my freelance editing business was failing, the little work I did get wasn’t as fulfilling as I’d hoped, and I was questioning every decision that had brought me to that point. Then a simple message from a friend started me on this path, and I’ve never looked back.

Ryan: Name your favorite author(s) of all time. What are you reading now, or what is the last book you read?

Kelsey: Oh man. It takes a special kind of malice to ask an author this question. A very, very abbreviated list would be Tamora Pierce, Becky Chambers, Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Leigh Bardugo, Jim Butcher, and S. A. Chakraborty (special mentions to Rin Chupeco, Traci Chee, and Renee Ahdieh). The last book I read (for the 20th time) was Lady Knight, from Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet. Those books (and that author) don’t get nearly enough attention for how progressive, heartfelt, and clever they are. I read them for the first time when I was sixteen, and they have just as much of an impact on me at thirty. The book I’m currently reading is Shea Ernshaw’s The Wicked Deep (also a reread) because it’s spooky season!

Ryan: Tell us what’s on the horizon for Kelsey Clifton. What can we expect coming up?

Kelsey: I’m actually gearing up for a new release in early or mid-December! It’s a standalone sword & sorcery novel called Fire and Lightning, Ash and Stone, and it’s like a snarkier version of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. A hero and his sidekick go on a quest to rescue a legendary princess from a tower…only to find that the last thing she needs or wants is rescuing. It’s full of classic fantasy tropes that have been turned on their heads, which was honestly so much fun to tackle. Above all, it’s about writing your own story.

I also hope to have the final book in the Day Out of Time series out in mid-spring!

Ryan: Kelsey, thanks so much for joining me and sharing Gamma team’s story with Worldhoppers. You’ve already committed to joining the podcast once we go live and I won’t let you slip away from this interview without committing to it in front of the audience. Ha – you’re trapped now.

Kelsey: *dropping a smoke bomb* Fool! Only a promise spoken thrice can contain me!

…..(for real though, I’m super stoked to come back!)