Welcome to Starflower Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, and STARFLOWER, with DRAGONWITCH due to release in 2013. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.
Starflower Interview with Anne Elisabeth Stengl:
If a movie was made about your book, who do you picture playing the lead roles? Why?
I would cast Shay Mitchell to play Starflower, the lead character. She has the right combination of exotic beauty and youthful charm. She’s just lovely! I would cast Jude Law to play Eanrin. Who else could play an immortal and beautiful fairy with the right dash of catlike arrogance?
Please tell us in 20 words or less, why we should read your book.
If you love fairy tales, dragons, enchanted sleeps, curses, dashing heroes, and strong heroines, STARFLOWER is the book for you!
Do you bake? If so, box or from scratch?
I do bake . . . absolutely from scratch! I don’t even use pre-made pie crusts. Pastries are my specialty, and I make all my crusts from scratch. I make tarts, pies, meat patties, cream puffs, and more!
Books that feed me ALL the information about a given character right at the beginning so that I have nothing more to learn about him/her. All you read for then is the action! What’s the fun in that?
What book is on your night stand now?
Sir Terry Pratchett’s “Interesting Times” and Jasper Fforde’s “The Big Over Easy.”
If you could have a first edition signed copy of any novel, what would it be and why?
I would love a signed first edition of George MacDonald’s “The Princess and the Goblin.” That was one of my very favorite novels as a child, and a lingering inspiration to me even now.
Do you have plans for a new book? Goals for future projects?
I always have plans for a new book. I hope to keep writing many more Tales of Goldstone Wood, and the newest one is actively brewing even now. But that’s all super-secret at the moment . . .
At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old. That was when I wrote my first eight-chapter “novel.” I was hooked on storytelling from then on! I believe I was born to write.
What is your favorite Quote?
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Robert Browning
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to draw and paint. I used to be an art teacher, and I still love to pull out my pencils now and then. I enjoy working with my writing students, and I also do freelance editing. I work with feral kittens, rehabilitating them and placing them in new homes (I’ve got a formerly-feral kitten curled up and purring next to me as I type!). I also love to play the piano, to sing jazz standards, and to bake pastries for my sweet husband.
If you could get front row tickets to watch any performance live, who would you like to go see?
I am a big opera fanatic, and I especially love the operas of Puccini. I once saw my favorite of his operas, “Turandot,” from the farthest back seats in the theater . . . so I would LOVE to see it again with front row tickets! That would be a dream come true.
Facebook or Twitter?
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?
C.S. Lewis. I think he and I would get along rather well.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?
Way more often than I like to admit! I usually can only fix it by hiding away in a quiet place, reading a favorite novel. Sometimes this will fix it in an hour or two. Sometimes it takes days.
What is your writing process like? Do you follow a regular routine?
I love a regular routine. I like to get up early, feed my pets, pack up a lunch for my hard-working husband, then sit down and start working by 7:30 or 8:00. I then like to write until about 1:00, when I’ll take a break to clean up the house a bit (a necessity with foster kittens, adult cats, and a dog!). Usually I have to spend the afternoon on marketing and editing tasks.
What book(s) or author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
George MacDonald and his lovely “The Princess and the Goblin.” Diana Wynne Jones . . . and everything she writes! The wonderful Sir Terry Pratchett, who makes me laugh and cry, sometimes within sentences. C.S. Lewis, who combines fairy tales and faith in powerful ways. Megan Whalen Turner who . . . who just . . . I have no words. I just love her work!!!
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Gosh, that’s hard. I once had a reviewer publically declare my book a “publishing travesty” simply because she didn’t like the narrative voice I chose to use. Omniscient narrative is not always very well received! But it’s my favorite narrative voice to read, used by all my favorite authors. So I will continue writing it, “publishing travesty” or otherwise!
If you could jump in fairy tale, and live in that world… which would it be?
I kind of think I would like to live in Narnia. Can that be arranged?
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
READ! Read and read and read some more. Read the classics . . . because those writers had lasting power and they knew what they were doing! Read TONS of material in the genre you want to write! The more you read, the more you’ll learn how to write. Don’t try to figure it all out on your own. Build on the foundations of the writers who have gone before you.
What book are you reading now?
I am just beginning Jasper Fforde’s “The Big Over Easy.” I REALLY loved his fantastically weird dystopian, “Shades of Gray,” so I’m really looking forward to this read!
Do you skip around, peek at the ending, or do you read straight through a book?
Oh, it depends. If the book completely stinks, I’ll peek at the ending . . . and then usually not bother finishing. If I’m loving the book, nothing would convince me to peek ahead, though! I love surprises. (Like the surprise at the end of Jasper Fforde’s “Shades of Gray,” for instance. OMG!!! That left me gasping!!!)
Do you have any suggestions to add to my reading list?
Um, anything by Jasper Fforde. I’m a big (if new) fan. I love Sir Terry Pratchett’s “Nation” and all of his Disc World novels. Megan Whalen Turner’s wonderful Queen’s Thief series is like nothing I’ve ever before read, and I adore it.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce.”
What’s the last truly great book you read?
Gosh, at risk of sounding like a broken record . . . Jasper Fforde’s “Shades of Gray.”
How do you react to a bad review?
VERY BADLY. Bad reviews devastate me. And even though I tell myself that no book I write will please EVERY reader, I still take it as a personal insult every time someone bashes one of my books. Each of my stories is a deeply personal part of me . . . and how could somebody not appreciate that? But, the logical side of me reminds gently, bad reviews are just as important as the good reviews. They help to guide the right readers to my work, and they warn readers who wouldn’t like it away. Which is ultimately best for everyone! Still . . . *sulks and eats chocolate*
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
Actually, my roommate at the time took me to see a ballet! We dressed up in pretty gowns and had quite the elegant night. It was perfect!
What does your workspace look like?
I actually JUST got a new workspace! My husband and I turned a room of our house into my study. It’s very pretty with green and dusty-gold walls, my bookcovers framed on the walls, lovely curtains, and everything. Also a GREAT big desk upon which I can spread out all my research materials and notes as I need to! And a big “thinking couch” which, more often than not, turns into the “napping couch.” I love it!
What are your favorite go-to recipes for everyday dinners?
Um . . . ask my husband to cook . . .
Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
On a quest to save his lady-love from the evil Dragonwitch, Eanrin comes upon a mortal maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep . . . and his life is changed forever.
Tell everyone where they can go to stay up to date on your latest news!
Please follow me on facebook page! You can keep up to date on giveaways and developing Goldstone Wood news there. Also feel free to come visit my blog and follow it if you like. I always have something fun an exciting going on there, including contests and read-alongs.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thank you for taking the time to read about me! I hope you will find an opportunity to pick up STARFLOWER and explore the world Goldstone Wood along with me.
When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, 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 suddenly finds his story 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 rescuer?
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