Local author, Clarissa Johal, is on the brink of releasing her second novel, Between. Johal’s first book, Pradee, is now available at Amazon.com, as well as Barnesandnoble.com. Her two short stories, “Pigeons” and “The Rope,” have been published in the literary journal Susurrus.
Between follows the story of Lucinda, a young woman trying to cope with the sudden death of her fiancé. When Lucinda moves to a small town to escape her turmoil, her problems, as well as sprits, follow her there. Caught between present life and ghosts of the past, Lucinda must make some difficult and crucial decisions.
Johal first got the idea for Between while writing the second installment to the Pradee series. Within a month, she had the final draft of “a ghost story with strong themes of life, death, the afterlife, and redemption” completed. Between will be released with Musa Publishing on December 14, 2012.
According to their website, Musa Publishing is a “royalty-paying small publisher” who has strict rules for applicable manuscripts. Their guidelines are no-nonsense and straight forward. Johal’s Between will be published through Thalia Imprint, which deals with paranormal and horror stories. Musa Publishing believes they possess the most “author-friendly contracts in publishing.” Johal claims, “Musa Publishing was the first publishing company to make an offer, which was wonderful because they were at the top of my list.”
Johal faced more challenges when publishing her first book. Pradee, a young adult fantasy adventure, was released April 19, 2010. Unlike the speedy production of Between, Pradee took ten years to complete, as Johal juggled writing with raising a family. The novel explores a “world divided by different races and belief systems.”
The economy, as well as Johal’s rookie status as an author, hindered Pradee’s initial success. On her website, clarissajohal.com, she says, “I was getting good feedback but because I was a new writer, publishers were hesitant to take me on. Finally, I decided to jump in with both feet and initially publish on Lulu. It’s been a journey.”
Although Pradee is otherworldly, Johal believes the novel mirrors our world and society. She says, “The regions within this world have been divided by war and belief systems, much like our own.”
Before her days as an author, Johal acquired a wide variety of jobs, from a veterinary assistant to a zoo-keeper aide. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in English from California State University of Sacramento. Today, Johal enjoys writing and spending time with her husband and two daughters.