Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brief Interview with Emma Clayton; Author of the Roar

Emma Clayton, the fabulous author of The Roar was gracious enough to answer questions that I posed to her. Thanks so much for taking the time Emma. If you haven't already, please take the time to pick up your own copy of The Roar. It was certainly one of my favorites from this last year.

If you wouldn’t mind, tell us a little bit about yourself (a short bio)?

I was born in 1968. My father was an officer in the RAF, so we moved a lot when I was small. He died when I was seven, while we were living in Gibraltar and I returned to England with my mother and brothers and lived in and around Oxford until recently.

At school I was quite shy, but really into books, comics, music, art and film. I read and drew a lot and played in bands. English and Art were my favourite subjects.

I left school when I was 16, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. At the time I was told you could only make a living out of art and English through graphic design or teaching, and neither of these appealed to me. It was only after I’d made friends with people working in comics and film that I realized there were more exciting paths to follow.

In my late teens, I trained as a Field Archaeologist. I spent a brief time working as a freelance illustrator, then I returned to education in my mid-twenties, studying film and screen writing. I wrote my first novel after the birth of my daughter when I was 26, and wrote The Roar several years later, while I was studying for a HND in Visual Communication.

How did you come to be a professional writer? Was there any one event that pushed you into the field?

While I was writing The Roar, I entered the first three chapters of an early draft into a competition organized by the bookseller, Waterstone’s and the publisher, Faber and Faber. The competition was called, ‘The Wow Factor’ and the prize was a publishing deal. I entered because I wanted to test my manuscript before sending it to agents and luckily, it reached the shortlist. This gave me the confidence to approach my agent, Sophie Hicks, who secured my publishing deal with Chicken House and Scholastic.

I would recommend competitions to new writers. It’s a great way to get your work read by the right people.

Do you ever tire of people comparing your work to other books in similar genres?

No. When ‘The Roar’ was first compared to ‘Ender’s Game,’ I was surprised more than anything, because like many writers before me, I thought I’d come up with an original idea! After I’d read ‘Ender’s Game’ I felt humbled to dust, because it’s such a great book. However, when I thought about it, I realized Orson Scott Card and I were exploring a similar idea in very different times. Orson Scott Card wrote the first version of ‘Ender’s Game’ over thirty years ago, in 1977, when virtual environments and computer games didn’t exist. I am writing for young people in a world dominated by them. I was trying to create an environment that worked as an interface between games, films and books and would consequently encourage young people to read. Orson Scott Card was visionary. I am responding to a culture that exists. I find this very interesting.

The Roar is also compared to The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I did wonder while I was writing my book if I was part of a movement - whether there were other writers out there exploring similar ideas. The Roar was published in the UK at the same time as The Hunger Games in the US, and we were both observing a media obsessed world. It feels exciting to be part of this new wave in youth literature and I enjoyed reading The Hunger Games.

In terms of logistics, when can expect the new book?

I’m still writing it, so I’m afraid I don’t know yet!

If you could deliver one important message to the world, what would that be?

People have already said much smarter things than I ever will. One of my favourite quotes opens The Whisper, the sequel to The Roar.

‘War does not determine who is right, only who is left.’

Bertrand Russell


  1. Thanks so much for the interview! I was knocked off my feet by THE ROAR and can't wait for THE WHISPER. I am a kid's book review blogger and a bookseller and just posted a review of the book last month. As a bookseller, I thin that the comparison to THE HUNGER GAMES is pretty accurate and very helpful when handselling THE ROAR. The quote from Eoin Colfer helps, too! I actually prefer Clayton's dystopian future because the romance part of HUNGER GAMES bores me a bit. I hope that Clayton and Collins' trilogies will bring on a new wave of writing in the genre of dystopian future for kids. I was also reminded of Lois Lowry's THE GIVER trilogy when reading THE ROAR. ps - Love your ABOUT ME...

  2. I am in 8th grade and i just finished THE ROAR compareing it to The Hunger Games i will have to go with The Roar (that may be cause i like books that are freash on my mind) hunger games is good the romance is strange for 12-15 year olds but The Roar is perfect i will keep a eye open but might not read it until high school cause all the books i ask my librarian to get she ignores and i end up with 2-3 series i havint finished great work hope to read more of your books.

  3. Also ‘War does not determine who is right, only who is left.’ is my favorite quote as well.

  4. I just want her to hurry up and write the next book. Just so I can stop dreaming about all the possible things that might happen in the next book. Im getting the impression that the Gorman guy was looking to make Mika a commander or something. But when the child army woke up that plan got screwed. I think there still will be a war. Between the children and the governments. She might even make some romance between Audrey and Mika. If that didnt happen then it would just be wrong. I also think that Kobi and his dad have something to do with Helen. Ok. Im done taking up chat space. I just had to let my opinions and feelings out.

  5. totally awesome book

  6. I loved the roar I can't wait for the whisper to come out. The roar is my favorite book I recommend it all the time! Emma you are the best author ever!

  7. I Loved The roar an can't wait for The Whisper, it will be just as good, or better! can't wait, you've done it again, Emma! Keep it up!

  8. yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the Roar was one of the best books I've ever read but not quite. Im hoping the whisper's even better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. (eoin colfers awesome too

  10. I read the roar, and I loved it. I had been borrowing from a 5 grade
    Class mate and I wanted to read it for ever.

  11. omg this was amazing! can't believe i found an author like Emma. man i was just like wow! no words. that book got me thinking other books were useless. the best book ever. Emma if i got the opportunity to tell you a sentence, it would be
    "oh hell. i finshed the book. can't wait to read the next one". thank you for writing this novel. and thank you this website for letting me write my feeling about this book. take care you guys byee

  12. I read this a few months ago in September-ish after I had read the Harry Potter series and I absolutely loved it! It reminded me why I like reading so much and left me begging for more! I cannot wait to read the Whisper! (well, I might have to, so...) I agree, this is one of the best books I have ever read in my 13 year old life!

  13. eoin colfer rocks ppl read andrew klavin too and anthony horowitz i am 12 and i love these authors read all their books

  14. The Roar is brilliant. When I heard about the up coming book, I was ecstatic. I read it in year six, and just finished reading it for a fifth time at the age of fourteen.

    My lord, I wish I could write that well.

    M's #1 book.

  15. I loved that book so much my dad bought it for me one night when I was in 5th grade and I loved it so much that I finished it that night! Cant wait for the next book!

  16. My brother bought the book at a school book fair and it sat on our bookshelf for a while until I was bored one day and picked it up. I read it in one day the book was so good. If not my favorite book, it's definitely top 3. Now I'm trying to convince my brother to read it.

  17. One day I entered a contest to win a some books,I won and I chose the roar, I think its the 2nd most best books I've read, its exciting, adventurous, and mind blowing with fun, and I think she (emma) should make a sequal. :)

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