Today, I'm sharing my book review of "Chasing Cinders" by Elizabeth D. Marie. I read it twice and was able to write a better review after the second reading. Also, join me once again as I continue my interview with this hard-working indie author. We're discussing her writing with a focus on her most recent books, the "Crown of Stars" series of which "Chasing Cinders" is the second book.
Book Review: "Chasing Cinders" Crown of Stars Book 2 by Elizabeth D. Marie
Chasing Cinders by Elizabeth D. Marie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Chasing Cinders is a wonderful and creative retelling of the classic fairytale. The setting and characters are beautifully written. The way the author wove in the spiritual elements was interesting, too. I look forward to reading more work from Ms. Marie. If you enjoy sweet romance with a good dose of action and a dash of mystery, you might enjoy this book. I thought it was a great fantasy tale and I really didn't want to put the book down once I got into the story.
(After reading this again, I want to add to this review. I feel like my short review above just wasn't enough.)
This book was my introduction to Elizabeth D Marie's fabulously written Crown of Stars series, and to her work in general. I love fairytales and the way this author weaves her stories is so beautiful. I like happy endings and she worked that in as well. I'm a realist and there are definitely moments of sorrow woven into this tale. I really never knew what was coming next and could hardly put the book down once I started reading.
My favorite character is this book was a side character -- the Captain of the Guard, Tarrent. I liked him best because I admire the personality traits that make him who is he. He's a man of integrity, loyal, determined, and takes his job seriously. My second favorite character is Halena, the healer. She's everything a loving grandmother should be, even though she isn't related to any of the characters she treats.
Once I read this tale, I couldn't wait to read more...only I had to. :) Now I'm happy to say I have all four ebooks that are currently available in this series. If you enjoy fairytale retellings, adventure, fantasy realms, and sweet romance, then why not give this book a try?
View all my reviews
Author Spotlight: Elizabeth D. Marie Part 2
I'm picking up where I left off last week in my interview with Elizabeth.
Me: I love that underlying message. It's so true! Our circumstances definitely do not define us but our reactions to them do.
Some people publish one book per year. Others say it's important to publish three or four in a year. How often do you try to publish books?
Elizabeth: It honestly depends on the book. Some books need more or less time in writing and editing. Each book in my current series so far has been well over 100,000 words (500 pages or more), while the books in my first series were only 50-60,000 words each. Length factors in, for sure, but each story can have its own challenges. I find it very helpful to have the freedom to take more or less time with something if it is needed. It’s about quality over quantity.
Now, that being said, I do like to see at least one book published per year, as my own personal goal. I want to keep an active-presence on the market, and that seems reasonable to me. But any goal I set for myself is ultimately decided by the book itself. If I stress a deadline too much, it causes stress on my creative energy, and I don’t want that. I’ve read books by authors I learned were pressured by a shorter deadline, and thought, yeah, it shows in the quality of their story. It could have been better if they didn’t have to be so locked-in on producing something so quickly.
Me: I have to agree with you there. Quality is so important in writing and I think a lot is lost when authors are rushed to finish. When did you start writing the "Crown of Stars" series? What inspired you to do so?
Elizabeth: When I started writing the first book, I was very casual about it, and honestly didn’t care whether it ever got published or not. I wrote the first scene that came to mind (which is the opening scene) I think early 2013, and then left it alone for awhile, not sure where I would go with it. Later, I joined a Facebook group started by someone who participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where you write 50,000 words in one month. This person decided to create a challenge inspired by this program, to produce 60 Handwritten Pages in one month. This is when I began to take my book project more seriously. That challenge was August of 2013, and I wrote most of my first draft after that.
As far as my inspiration to write it in the first place: I had started watching “Once Upon a Time.” I love fairytales, and was so excited to have a TV show that incorporated multiple fairytales in a live-action, more gritty, realistic style. It began with asking myself: What if the beast was a soldier, and beauty was a girl forced to fight in a brutal, impossible war? Once that question was asked, the details began to take shape from there. And once I really dove into it, I got really excited about all the possibilities of where this story could go from there. Ultimately, I did not keep with the TV show long term, but it resurrected the spark of passion in me that eventually opened the door to writing this series.
Me: The second book in the series is the first one I read: "Chasing Cinders." Who is your favorite character in this tale and why?
Elizabeth: Well…actually it is Tarrent. He is not one of the main characters, I know, and truth be told was not a planned character at all. He just showed up and refused to be a passing background character. It was like when you meet someone who you feel an instant kinship toward, and you know you’re meant to be friends. That was Tarrent—despite the fact he is a very private person and a little on the brooding side.
I was going back through some writing memories recently, from when I first started working on Chasing Cinders, and laughed when I saw this post from my Facebook: “I think I just unintentionally introduced a MC for another book in my Crown of Stars series.” From his first scene, I thought it would be a real shame if this unplanned character didn’t get a chance for his own story someday.
Me: I love that! What was your greatest challenge when writing "Chasing Cinders"?
Elizabeth: Hmm, there are two things that come to mind: The beginning. I think I rewrote Ella’s beginning scene three times. I am happy with how it turned out, but when I started, I struggled with frustration and discouragement that things weren’t falling into place the way I wanted them to. And the second, the fact that I went from a gritty, action-packed, battle-filled story to something that was its complete opposite—a relatively peaceful environment, surrounded by nobility on holiday for the summer. I didn’t want things to be boring when compared to the constant danger of life in the first book, so I was challenged to make certain plenty of interesting things were happening in this normally quiet setting.
Me: Ah, yes! I see what you mean. I read them out of order, but I don't think I'd have enjoyed 'Chasing Cinders' any less if the order had been correct. I thought it was just the right amount of mystery and adventure to keep me turning pages.
[...continued next Wednesday!...]
Don't forget to come back next Wednesday to read the third installment of the interview and my book review of "Finding Mera", the third book in the "Crown of Stars" series. Thanks for reading! Until next time...
*I will only do interviews with people I send requests to whose works I have read. Please do not send me requests for interviews or solicit me to buy your book. I have to plan these things out very carefully considering my tricky budget and schedule. Thanks in advance!
**Neither Elizabeth D. Marie nor Amazon nor any other third party paid me to link to their products or sites, or for doing this interview. I chose to do this on my own and the only way I earn money is through the selling of my own books or through my Zazzle store or DeviantArt sales which are clearly noted. I will not ever accept payment for promoting an indie author or creator whose work I've enjoyed. I'm simply sharing the joy.
Melody Kittles writes fantasy fiction under the name Robin McElveen. She loves God, her family, the arts, a warm cup of coffee or tea, visiting friends, and collecting coffee & Pusheen items.
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