Claire Legrand

Claire Legrand

i write books for kids and teens. some of them are The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, The Year of Shadows, Winterspell (9.30.2014), and Summerfall (8.26.2014). i also co-wrote The Cabinet of Curiosities (5.27.14).

email me! clairelegrandbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

Why So Many Novellas, YA Authors?

I’ve seen a number of people online complaining about the recent explosion of novellas in the world of young adult literature, claiming that novellas are unnecessary—nothing more than a disingenuous, desperate, money-grubbing ploy orchestrated by publishers and authors.

Since I have a novella coming out this August, I wanted to contribute to this conversation, explain why I wrote a Winterspell novella, and why publishers have been releasing novellas in general.

First of all, why did I write Summerfall, my Winterspell prequel novella?

Winterspell is my young adult debut (releases September 30), and is a standalone, self-contained fantasy novel, a re-telling of the Nutcracker ballet.

Since Winterspell is a fantasy novel, it includes some pretty complex world building and backstory, a lot of which I was only able to hint at when writing Winterspell itself. While interesting, this information was only peripherally relevant to the story at hand. Winterspell is the story of 17-year-old Clara Stole’s journey through the wintry, war-ravaged kingdom of Cane; Winterspell is not about the people who came before Clara, the people who started the war and fought the war and made Clara’s story possible.

But these people and their stories were fascinating to me. I wanted to explore them in greater detail.

Summerfall is the story of Rinka, a faery, and Alban, a human. They fall in love, even though they’re not supposed to. Even when, by doing so, they risk shattering their already troubled kingdom.

While developing the world of Winterspell, I created their story, and it was one I could not forget, one I wanted to share with readers.

That is why I wrote Summerfall.

That being said …

Okay, so I loved the story I wrote. But don’t authors and publishers also release these novellas to make money?

Uh … yeah? But that’s not a bad thing, and I’m not sure why anyone would think it was.

I feel like this should be obvious, but let me clarify: Writing is a business.

Yes, I and other authors write first and foremost because we love writing. We love telling stories, using our imaginations, and connecting with readers. If we didn’t love writing with the fire of a thousand Targaryen dragons, no way would we be doing this. The publishing industry is too brutal and unpredictable to tolerate otherwise.

But we also write to put food on the table and pay the bills. So, if there’s a chance to write a story we didn’t have room to tell in one of our novels, if there’s a chance to explore a character we loved and didn’t want to leave, AND make a bit of money in the process?

Let’s be real: We’re gonna do it.

But doesn’t that make this whole novella thing just a desperate scheme to earn money?

No, it doesn’t. Unless you consider everything an author writes to be part of some evil, money-grubbing plot, because we go about writing everything we write in the same way—everything from novels to novellas to blog posts.

Remember, first and foremost, the motivation for writing anything stems from love. (See above: no love for writing, try to survive in the publishing industry, lose sanity.) We authors are not suckering you into buying these novellas only to reward you with lackluster storytelling. We work hard on our novellas, just like we work hard on our novels.

I wouldn’t have written Summerfall—and my publisher and agent wouldn’t have wanted me to write Summerfall—unless I (and they) had true passion for the story. Otherwise, the process would have been miserable for all of us.

And besides, relative to the sum total of readers out there, there aren’t a lot of novella readers. Novella sales pale in comparison to novel sales. That’s across the board—not just in YA. So it’s not like writing these novellas is going to make all the YA authors writing them suddenly crazy-rich anyway.

(Although that would be AWESOME.)

(I mean, seriously, if I wanted to orchestrate some grand money-making scheme, I’d round up ten cute guys and rob a casino or something.)

But every little bit of exposure counts. Every sale counts. Every sale enables me, as an author, to keep writing—even if it’s a small sale, as with these super affordable novellas.

Writing these novellas is an easy way for authors to market our other books while getting some creative fulfillment, as well.

Also, I should say:

We write these novellas not just to explore our own stories further but also because we want to share them with readers—readers who want to see those missing scenes, or see a pivotal plot development from another character’s perspective, or have something to tide them over between novel releases.

Or, in the case of Summerfall, readers who are excited about an upcoming release and want a little taste of what’s to come.

If you’re not interested in these things, do you have to read these novellas?

No, you do not. These novellas are obviously not for you—and that’s okay! We authors still love you!

So, to sum up, that is why I and other authors write these novellas—because we genuinely want to tell these stories, because we love our characters, and because writing them is a great business opportunity.

You know, basically for the same reasons we write all our other books. I promise, we are not out to get you.

Also, you’re cute. Let’s dance.



Good morning, dear readers!

Last night, I got a question about Winterspell on its Goodreads page. I answered the reader’s question there, but I wanted to answer it here as well for anyone who might be interested.

Here’s the question:

"Curious, are there LGBT themes or characters in this book? Powell’s and Amazon both have it listed under those keywords, but trying to get details brings up nada."

And here’s my answer:

Yes, there is an LGBT element to Winterspell. It is not the main thrust of the book, but it is crucial. I haven’t talked much about it because, quite simply, saying too much would give away a huge plot development, and I don’t want to ruin that for any potential readers!

P.S. It is now officially five months and twenty days until Winterspell's release.

Being a Self-Employed Creative

Skip a Starbucks Day!

Today is Skip a Starbucks Day!

Today, consider skipping your Starbucks latte, or a movie you were going to download, or any other small indulgence, and instead donating to my friend and talented writer C. J. Redwine's adoption fund so she can bring her precious daughter, Isabella, home from China.

When you donate, you can enter one of CJ’s giveaways and potentially win some awesome prizes. Or you can donate without entering the giveaway.

Here is Isabella:


Isn’t she precious??

Read Isabella’s story, and more details about Skip a Starbucks Day, at CJ’s blog.

How To Not Go Crazy While Waiting For Stuff

Please note: I am in the process of migrating to a new website and will occasionally be transferring some of my favorite/most popular blog posts from my old website to this Tumblr, which will henceforth function as my primary blog. Enjoy!

Originally posted on December 7, 2011 at (which, WOW, feels like a lifetime ago).

Every now and then, we have to wait for something.

Waiting for stuff comes with the territory of, you know, being alive. We might have just gone through an intense period of waiting. We might be waiting right now. We might be about to EMBARK upon an intense period of waiting (and sublimating the dread through procrastinatory browsing on YouTube that ends when you wind up at the videos of elephants mating and think, in horror, and also perhaps with a twinge of perverse fascination, “HOW DID MY LIFE COME TO THIS?”*)

*Not that I have done this or anything.

This whole “waiting” thing is about as much fun as an ulcer in your gut. In fact, it could lead to an ulcer in your gut if you’re not careful.

But you know what? It’s going to happen.

You could be a writer waiting to hear back from an agent or a critique partner, or at work waiting to hear about a family member’s medical diagnosis, or a student waiting for your professor to calculate your final grade, or maybe it’s December and you thought the latest season of Game of Thrones was going to come out on Blu-ray in time for the holidays but then realized that NO IT ISN’T, not until March—but no matter who you are, the waiting will happen, and it will not be fun.

So, how do we endure it?

Luckily, UNICORN and I have put together a handy list of activities that you can undertake INSTEAD OF thinking about how all this waiting is driving you crazy.

#1 - Take a bath!

#2 - Pretend you’re a velociraptor!

#3 - Ride a tandem bicycle!

#4 - Have a folding party!

#5 - Go on a search for unicorns!

#6 - Practice your English accent on unsuspecting strangers!

#7 - Play dress-up!

#8 - Watch YouTube videos of elephants mating!

#8 - Host a pancake contest!

#9 - Learn a foreign language!

#10 - Do something nice for someone else!

See? There are so many delightful things to do in the world!

Even so, it’s easy to fall into that trap of agonizing over things we can’t control, the trap of focusing so narrowly on our inbox, our anxieties, on what we can’t quite reach—or, perhaps even more maddeningly, what we can’t quite reach YET—that we lose ourselves.

Anticipation becomes obsession. The adrenaline of something approaching on the horizon becomes the nausea of willing that something to hurry up already.

We get grumpy, we forget to take care of ourselves, we conjure up disasters and crises out of thin air.

"No response" becomes "no thank you."

The silent phone, the empty inbox, the closed door become taunts, ridicules, cruel renunciations.

Our days become quiet, sallow, stretched thin between too many jangling, abused nerves.

We analyze things we shouldn’t, things that mean nothing. We might even start to feel a little bit nuts.

But none of this is necessary. There will always be frustration and anxiety when it comes to waiting. But you know what?

Waiting can be comforting.

Think about it: You’ve done all you can do. You’re waiting because, whatever your part was to play in this project, this interaction, this task, you have completed it. It’s not your turn anymore; it’s someone else’s turn, and no matter what you do, you can’t force that someone to make their move. That’s their universe, not yours.

So, the next time we find ourselves waiting for something, let’s try using this time of waiting, this downtime, to treat ourselves. It’s a chance for luxury, for opportunity. We can relax. We can start a new project. We can reconnect with a friend, cook that recipe we’ve always wanted to try, catch up on rest and exercise, or on a favorite television show.

Let’s stop waiting on the waiting.

After all, if we stay busy enough, it won’t seem like waiting at all.

my childhood ships <3






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This is my absolute favorite part of the movie.

GASP I can’t I can’t I can’t *dyinggg*