Anne Elisabeth Stengl, the author of The Tales of Goldstone Wood series, is here today with an interview and giveaway (details below)! I haven't read any of her books yet, but I plan on reading Heartless as soon as I can! Before we get to the interview, here's a little bit about her new book, Starflower!
Never Get Involved in the Affairs of Mortals
When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps lovely Lady Gleamdren, Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission . . . and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.
But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin finds his path entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her poet rescuer?
Excerpt from Starflower:
The girl did not stir when Eanrin lifted her into his arms; her sleep was profound indeed. Her head lolled over his arm, and he was obliged to part her thick hair to uncover her face. It was an uncommonly beautiful face for a mortal.
However, this girl’s beauty was different from any he had ever before seen. For one thing, her skin was rich dark brown, and her hair glossy black. For another, she was imperfect. Her teeth, visible between gently parted lips, were a little crooked. Mud stained her skin, making it darker still, and her brow, even in sleep, was puckered with anxiety or fear. Her dreams must be wicked indeed.
Eanrin grimaced at the sight and almost put her down again. After all, a princess with dreams like those probably had a tale of woe to match. She would certainly wake with expectations of a handsome hero to aid her. As far as Eanrin was concerned, a dash of heroism was one thing, but commitment to a cause? Never. Rushing off to the rescue of Lady Gleamdren was different, for he had determined that she must be his wife and the sole inspiration to his life’s work. Besides, he loved her.
This creature meant nothing to him.
But blood oozed from the abrasions on her wrists. And her body, mortal and vulnerable, lay in his arms. Eanrin rolled his eyes heavenward as though to seek some holy aid. Then he braced himself and wiped the mud off her lips with the edge of his cloak. She frowned in her sleep and stirred, but did not wake.
“Nothing for it,” he muttered. Closing his eyes and trying not to smell her any more than he must, he leaned in and kissed her . . .
But you'll have to pick up Starflower to see what happens from there!
Hi! I am Anne Elisabeth, a lover of Fairy Tales, cats, Sri Lankan teas, classical piano, fuzzy socks, and classic literature. I'm also the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style. I live with my handsome husband, a gaggle of cats, and one long-suffering dog in Raleigh, NC.
My novels include Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower. Both Heartless and Veiled Rose have been honored with a Christy Award.
What is your new book, Starflower, about?
Starflower is a fairy tale that tells the story of immortal Faerie poet, Eanrin, and a mortal maiden, Starflower, who is cursed to silence. An unlikely pair, these two join forces to rescue Eanrin' ladylove from the evil Dragonwitch . . . but Eanrin soon discovers that Starflower is involved in an adventure far darker and more dangerous than he ever imagined. Will he choose to help her as she has helped him? Or will he abandon her to her fate?
This is starting to be more widely-known, but I'm going to say it anyway, because it's fun: I met my husband at fencing class. I was researching fencing for my first novel, Heartless, and Rohan was studying it at the same club. We dueled in a tournament (I won!), and he asked me out the next week. Seven months later, we were happily married. It was all very swashbuckler!
That's the first time I heard that story. :) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first "novel" at age nine, an exciting story about a kitten and his many adventures (I always was a crazy-cat-lady at heart). I was hooked on storytelling from that point on and never stopped.
How many books have you written/published and do you have a favorite?
Starflower is my fourth published work, with Dragonwitch due to release this next summer, and Untitled Book 6 scheduled after that. I love all of my stories very dearly, but I improve as a writer (I hope!) with each book that I write. Therefore, my favorite is usually the one I've finished most recently. So right now, that means Untitled Book 6 . . . which I can hardly wait to share with all of you!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Hmmmm . . . I don't know if this is a "quirk" so much as a "stylistic choice," but I write my novels with a light touch of omniscient narrative. This is the "storytelling" narrative where I, as the narrator, am free to tell you, the reader, about things the current view-point characters wouldn't know or see. It's the same style used by Tolkien, Lewis, George MacDonald, all our favorite fantasy writers of yesterday. It's also the style used by my current favorites: Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Megan Whalen Turner, etc. But it's not a style you'll find very often in CBA writing. So right away, my stories will stand out--whether in a good way or bad depends on your taste! I've had CBA reviewers call my work "a publishing travesty" because of the narrative voice I use. But my first two novels have also been honored with two major awards and nominated for others. So it balances out in the end!
Ultimately, I just have to ask myself, "Am I writing an engaging story? Am I writing a meaningful story?" And the rest of it isn't up to me.
Currently I write either in my living room or (if I’m struggling with distraction) my windowless dining room. But my husband and I just recently decided to turn one of the rooms of our house into my official Writing Studio! So while I'm between novels at the moment, I am in the process of painting and moving and redecorating, getting ready to have a real office like a grown-up-type person. I am very, very excited. Hopefully I'll like to write there when all is said and done!
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
The best part is the stories themselves. I would not be a writer if I didn't have stories I dearly love full of characters I dearly love. When I can tune out everything else about the business and focus on the story currently in progress, I am so happy, so engaged!
The worst part are the reviews. Negative reviews can be so devastating, so discouraging. Even a positive review with one negative remark can bring me to my knees. "All that work . . . all that love . . . and you didn't like my narrative voice? You didn't like my ending? You didn't like my protagonist?" And so forth.
But the fact is, no one story is going to appeal to every reader out there. It's impossible to please everyone. So I write for myself and for those dear fans of mine (you know who you are!) who love the stories I'm telling. And the rest of it, I simply have to let go!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to bake pastries for my pastry-loving husband: pies, tarts, meat patties, cream puffs, you name it. I love to play classical piano, and once in a blue moon I'll sing jazz standards for wedding gigs. My big black doggie loves to sing along when I'm practicing. It's very . . . um . . . soulful.
These last two years, my big hobby has been kitten-rescue, however. I catch wild kittens from a local feral cat colony, adjust them to human contact and housecat living, then find them new homes. So far, I have worked with 18 kittens rescued right out of my back yard (plus a few more sent to me by Paw Prints Animal Rescue). It's a lot of work, but very rewarding to see those frightened little kittens transformed into loving lap-babies . . . and then off to their forever homes! Consider adopting a pet, my friends. So many cats and dogs need loving families. (http://www.pawprintsrescue.org/)
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
I hope to travel with my husband to his homeland, Sri Lanka. Such a beautiful island full of ancient history! Not to mention my new married-into family and lots of built-in friends. One day, one day . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time."
What is your favorite holiday?
I really love Christmas! Mostly for the music, but also for the beautiful decorations, and for the opportunity my husband and I have to open our home to friends and give those without families in our circle a place to come and get home-cooking and holiday love. And my kitties all get a big kick out of the Christmas tree . . . (http://minervawritesherthoughts.blogspot.com/2011/12/this-is-how-christmas-works.html)
A few this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?
Snowstorms. Far less noise and everything is so pretty afterwards.
Tea or Coffee?
Tea! I married a Sri Lankan, and I now know the joys of dark, rich, wonderful Ceylon teas! I don't think I could write a word without it.
Call or Text?
I guess text for most people, because I don't always want to drop what I'm doing to answer a call. But there are a few people I'll take a call from at any time of the day or night: my husband, my mom, my sister-friend Erin.
Early-bird or Night-owl?
By preference, an early-bird. But I married a night-owl, so I'm not quite as much of an early riser as I'd like to be anymore. Still, my favorite is to be up and working on my novel by 7:30 in the morning. And I'm usually good for nothing by 9:00 pm.
Cats or Dogs?
I love and own both, but probably cats a little more. Dogs are more work. My cats are so affectionate and devoted, but they're also able to take care of themselves for the most part, which makes my life easier. Miss Milly the Black Dog needs walkies, and trips to the back yard, and she would be very happy if I'd toss her Soggy Hedgehog for her all day long . . . .
I have an idea brewing . . . still set in the Goldstone Wood series. But I can't say anything more about it at this time! Sorry. (It's a very exciting, super-secret project.)
LOL! Look forward to hearing more about it in the future. :) Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
And thank you so much for having me! This was a real treat.
Please do like my author page on facebook, under my name: Anne Elisabeth Stengl (author)
I also keep a blog: anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com
And I'm on Twitter: AnneElisabeth Stengl . . . but I'm still new to the Twitter world, so you'll have to be patient with me there.
I hope you will all find an opportunity to read Starflower soon!
Anne is giving away an autographed print copy of Starflower to one winner, along with some fun extras (bookmarks, pencils, etc.). US only.
Enter via the Rafflecopter below. The mandatory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post, after that, the optional entries will become available.