Saturday, January 7, 2012

Guest Post: Elicia Clegg

Elicia Clegg

-Castigate My Sins
-Running On Chaos

Author Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Elicia Clegg, who was born in the small town of Spanish Fork Utah, affectionately known as happy-valley, moved, at age four, to Ogden Utah; a town riddled with a dark past of opium dens, brothels and business with underground tunnels constructed for criminals’ and prostitutes to escape police raids.  Not only was Elicia’s environment surrounded in historical intrigue her family has long whispered about a Curse as many have died in strange events. To name but a few: her grandfather was thrown off a building in New York City, her great-grandfather “fell” off the historic  Radisson in Ogden, her father was shot in the head, her brother died in a work explosion , her great-uncle had a truck  load of lumber crushed him to death, her maternal great-grandfather was hit by car and died, a cousin who served two tours in Vietnam died on route home  from his heart bursting, her maternal great-great-grandfather  disappeared without a trace, and her grandmother, while volunteering, was stabbed to death at the State Mental Health Institute.      

The short story behind the characters of Castigate My Sins:
Do the characters come alive in your mind?  Are the characters apart of you?  Are they someone from your past?
These questions and many more are asked about the characters of Castigate My Sins.  The most tempting, and salacious answer would be to answer yes to them all.  However it is never that simple, which brings about the creation, or at least the phantom thoughts of the main characters in Castigate My Sins.
At the age of 17, for the third time in my life, I decided to run away, not from home this time, but from the state of Utah's foster care system.  Why?  I could tell you a thousand lines and give you a few good reasons, and yet there is only one simple truth.  I didn't like living in a state home, yes it is that simple. It was during this time, the time when I was in hiding and constantly afraid I was going to be found and put into a juvenile facility, that I began dreaming up the characters.  Each one was a different part of me.  They, much like many people who wear masks, are and were representations of the person I became in differing situations.  I am sure any teenager, or adult for that matter, has found themselves acting like someone they are not. 
Leigh: the character most like me, both physically and mentally, before I ran away, that is very important to know.  Leigh was the before me, when I was a scholar and real nerd in school.  She represents the side in me who strived to please all adults, to be what they wanted me to be, obviously there is only so far one can go in life if they are always trying to please others. Leigh locked herself inside a cocoon and it isn't until the end of the book that her world is shattered, which is what life was like for me during that time.
Sam:  Leigh's mother was a woman I wanted to become.  Sam sacrificed everything for Leigh and asked for nothing in return.  I hoped to become a mother who would go to the end of the earth to save and protect her child.  Thus the character Sam was born.
Suzy:  This is a bit trickier.  In the 90's, when I was a runaway, the Super Models were alive and thriving.  I use to look at magazines and think how pretty this one particular model was and I wished to look like her, red hair, long legs, green eyes, so I emulate Suzy's looks from her, but the drugs and the giving up on life that was something all together different.  When you are on the streets you see much sadness, and yes drug and alcohol abuse.  I simple mirrored what I saw in other runaways and placed them all into Suzy, so in a way, Suzy is hundreds of people rolled into one. She is the lost child, so hurt, so in pain, the only way they can make it through the day is to dull all senses in hopes of no longer feeling the agony of just being alive.
Beth: was fear, the fear I felt all the time.  When you are constantly looking over your shoulder you can't help but create fantastic ideas about the world around you.  Beth was never told the truth, her world was created in lies, and it was this lie that changed her life and started the story.  Beth is a sort of warning to parents, they need to trust their children, which means telling them the truth.  I had wanted this most in life when I was a teenager.
Christopher and Michael, I will lump together, because I have written this book many different times, and these two characters evolved more than any other.  Christopher use to be the main character, but as my readers know, his story was taken out, why?  Well Christopher, the character, was too much like another character from my book Vexation, so I simply had to push him out.  He is no one specific, I think any teenage girl has an image of what the perfect guy is like, and that was Christopher whereas Michael, in the original had a smaller portion of the story, and now he carries it.
Why the change?  There are many reasons; mostly it is because I wanted to create a man, much like Sam, a man, or rather boy, who was willing to do anything for his love...but not in a romantic way.  Michael is the ultimate statement of childhood love and innocence.  Michael is my soul's hope for humanity. 
Finally, as far as the villain, the bad guy.....we all have them, a story has to have one, and I believe in life, we have all met a villain that we just can't understand.  I will confess that I modeled the villain after my own father as an attempt to figure him out, which can never be done.  This character cares nothing for anyone and only thinks of himself, even in the end that is all he could think about. 
It's sad if you think about it.  The villain is never loved, so I ask...Do they never love because they are not loved, or are they not loved because they don't love?
Well I hope you have enjoyed a short trip inside my mind and my characters.  If you would like to read excerpts or more about any of my other books please go to  In the meantime, have an exciting, breathtaking day.

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