Friday, November 29, 2013

32 Author Scavenger Hunt #17

Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Tales of Goldstone Wood

Welcome to the 17th stop on the 32 Author Scavenger hunt. I hope you enjoy this interview with author Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Anne Elisabeth is the delightful author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series. Be sure to check out her giveaway at the next stop, Dragonwitch!
Hunters, don't forget to write down the clue and continue to the next stop on the hunt. If you've missed a stop, or if you are ready to enter the full phrase (clue), head on over HERE. Otherwise, enjoy the interview!

First off, Anne Elisabeth, tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I am the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a rescuer of kittens and lost dogs, a devoted fan of my handsome husband, Rohan, a wannabe-connoisseur of the opera, and a wearer of fuzzy socks.

Who/what is your inspiration for your writing?
Great books are my inspiration! I was an English Lit. student at University, and I don’t think I would be the writer I am today if I hadn’t spend years studying the great masters, learning their tricks, discovering their passions, absorbing their themes.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. Most of the time, somewhere between six and eight months. But I wrote Veiled Rose in two months! Which was madness, but I had a deadline.

Do you outline or do you write by the seat of your pants?
My stories are far too complex to succeed with seat-of-the-pants writing. I actually tried that with Dragonwitch, and utterly failed. I need a good solid outline of what is going to happen. I don’t always know how it will happen—that’s where the spontaneous creativity comes in. But I need to know what will happen to all the characters, how they serve the plot, how their goals and desires work together or at odds.

Do you have a favorite of the novels you have written?
My favorite is always the one I’ve just finished. So currently that means my recently finished manuscript for Book 7, which is under the working title of Golden Daughter.

How did you create the world of the Tales of Goldstone Wood?
I started out penning random ideas in a notebook . . . little fairy tale notions that came to me while reading great works by older authors. Dragonwitch was one such fairytale, starting out as a few little notes, later expanding into a more complex fairy tale, and then resulting in the novel I now present to you. As I set to writing each of the fairy tales, I would see them referencing and depending on each other. Thus a world was born. When I started writing novels, it was much the same: I’d write one novel, but it would be subtly tied to four or five other seemingly independent works, not to mention already-written fairy tales.

Do you have a theme in mind when you write each book?
I never do. I just have a story. But I spend a lot of time in prayer as I write each book, and I let God provide the theme as I go. I write as an act of worship, and in worship, each theme develops. But I can take no credit for any of them.

What made you decide to pursue publishing?
After completing the third draft of my first novel, Heartless, it seemed a shame to simply sit on the story! My mother is a professional novelist, and I am friends with a number of her novelist contacts. They all encouraged me and offered advice along the way.

What books have influenced you in your writing?
Oh, so many! C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories, of course. George MacDonald’s fairy tales, the short ones such as The Light Princess or Photogen and Nycteris more than the longer novels, though I did draw from some themes in Phantastes when I wrote Starflower. A number of the Victorian and Romantic-era poets have been major influences, particularly Robert Browning, who is my favorite. And, of course, you can hardly dabble in the Faerie world without drawing from Shakespeare!

What is the hardest part for you in writing a book?
Always the beginning. I have the hardest time figuring out where and how things ought to start! Usually once I get the first 40,000 words properly in place, the rest of the novel will fall together beautifully. But if those first 40,000 words aren’t quite right, the novel won’t work, and major revisions will have to be made. With Dragonwitch, I had so much trouble finding the right beginning, I finally picked up in the middle and wrote to the end, then went back and added the opening chapters! But I don’t prefer working that way.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Good writers are good readers. So READ A LOT. Don’t just read books that are easy for you. Pick up the classics and study what it was that set them apart from other, forgotten books of their day. Figure out which genre is your favorite, the genre you want to write in, and read a ton in that genre.

Coffee or Tea?
Absolutely tea. Especially the black Ceylon tea to which my husband introduced me. The perfect brew for a writing session!

R. J. Larson here: Thanks, Anne Elisabeth! Hunters, check out Anne Elisabeth's amazing books and visit her Facebook Page--I'm a fan! Before you go though, write down this part of the clue:   Without you,  and you might want to enter an extra giveaway I'm hosting below. Now, head on over to Anne Elisabeth Stengl's website for stop # 18 HERE

 Giveaway! R.J. Larson's book, Prophet, is FREE ------->  
on all e-readers at CBD, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble!!! Click on any of these three retailer links and grab a copy! 

Also, enter the Rafflecopter form below to win the complete Books of the Infinite series by R. J. Larson!  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sarah said...

I picked up Prophet yesterday while adding the other two books to my Christmas wish list. Thanks for the free book, the giveaway, the interview, and being a part of this scavenger hunt!

RJLarsonbooks said...

Sarah, you're so welcome!!!! I LOVE giveaways!!!! Blessings and hope you're having fun!

Debbie Wilder said...

I love participating in these scavenger hunts. I find so many authors that I've never heard of before. I actually grabbed Prophet on the 1st when it first showed up on Bethany's eBook Specials page. Thanks for the chance to win the whole set of these books. They sound fabulous.

LadySaotome said...

I also grabbed Prophet when I saw it on Bethany's eBooks page. It was awesome timing since I had just read the review on Lisa Godfree's blog. :) This is one of the few series I had heard of before starting this hunt. Thanks for participating!

RJLarsonbooks said...

Debbie, I love the hunts too! They're such a fun way to meet readers, and...giveaways!!!! *CELEBRATES!*

I hope you enjoy Prophet--I loved writing Ela's story. :)

RJLarsonbooks said...

LadySaotome, thank you! Bless Lisa for her review--I was so encouraged.

I hope you enjoy Prophet. And, hey, win a few prizes from the hunt! :D

John said...

Pick up the classics and study what it was that set them apart from other, forgotten books of their day..
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