We've come to the end of the month and my first author spotlight. I've enjoyed learning more about this up and coming indie author and her wonderful work in the fantasy realm. I hope this interview and series of book reviews has encouraged you to give her work a try. Read on for the last book review and the conclusion to the author spotlight interview...
Book Review: Seeking Giants (Crown of Stars book 4) by Elizabeth D. Marie
Seeking Giants by Elizabeth D. Marie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Elizabeth D Marie has done it again! I wondered how she would carry out this retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and include the romance element. Well, she painted it with beautiful word pictures, just as she's done three times before. The giants in this tale are cleverly depicted. Though some of them are a bit LOTR-ish, I like how she's nestled all of them into her tale in a believable way. It's nice to know there are more Tolkien fans out there, too.
Jac is an interesting character with some very real problems, including needing to wake up to some realities. And Tarrent, who is my favorite character from Chasing Cinders, continues to be my favorite. He's a man of integrity and takes his job seriously. He's got faults and he's not afraid to own up to them and take responsibility for his own actions.
It was also interesting to see how book three (Finding Mera), weaves into book four, though this book could indeed be a stand-alone. In my opinion, you won't want to skip the others once you read through one of them. If you enjoy adventure, fantasy realms, fairytales, and romance, then you should give this book a chance.
View all my reviews
Author Spotlight: Interview with Elizabeth D. Marie Part 4
And now for the conclusion of this month's author spotlight with indie author Elizabeth D. Marie. Thanks for joining us!
Me: This is a hard thing for me, but how do you write characters that are your polar opposite? Do you have a piece of advice or know of a resource that would help other writers who struggle with this?
Elizabeth: Oh, my, yes. This can be a great challenge for me as well. Because I don’t want all my characters to be the same—they can’t just be like me, even though each of them have different traits that certainly come from me. For example, I am an introvert, but I have characters who are extroverts. Characters who are very outgoing scare me a little [laugh]. This is how I deal with it: I ask my circle of trusted friends and editors—especially if they are more like the character I’m trying to write about—to tell me how they think I have portrayed the character when reading it. Is my outgoing character believable in how she is reacting/what she is doing/saying/etc? As writers, we are students of human behavior, and learn to use this even more when working with characters that are so different than us.
Me: I like that suggestion! Yes, I think 'students' is an apt way to describe authors and other creators.
I love how all of your female characters are strong women who retain their femininity. Is this something you feel strongly about in real life? Or do you simply feel this is what's missing from some fairytales or maybe even from other fairytale retellings?
Elizabeth: I’m not sure this is something I intentionally set out to make a strong case for in portraying my female characters, but I do like to see a good balance in them. It does seem like very often women are portrayed as one end of the extreme or the other. Either completely strong and losing that feminine element, or as a weak and helpless female who is in constant need of rescuing (damsel in distress). It is as if these stories are afraid of having a middle ground for their female characters. I just think women can be both without compromising, and I’m glad to hear they are seen this way in my stories! Women can have times of vulnerability and emotion, while also being capable and courageous. These make for well-developed characters, and I want all my characters—male and female—to be well-developed.
Me: Do you ( or would you like to) write full time? If so, what do you like most about it? If not, do you want to do so in the future?
Elizabeth: I do not currently write full time. I do work from home, which certainly helps me focus more on my writing than if I worked out of the home. Writing is a strong passion for me, and to be able to support my needs by doing what I love would be my ultimate dream and something I still hope to one day achieve.
Me: Your latest book in the series, "Seeking Giants", happens to be about one of my favorite characters in the series -- Tarrent. Jac intrigues me, too, as such a strong character who is also fragile in ways. Who is your favorite character in this tale and why?
Elizabeth: Um, did I already answer this question? Can I have the same favorite character again?
Me: :D Yes, I believe so and it's OK with me if you reiterate.
Elizabeth: What I was looking forward to most about writing this book was coming back to tell Tarrent’s story after his introduction in Chasing Cinders. Even though I had gone away from his character while writing Finding Mera, I was happy to find Tarrent still the easiest character to write about. Because I understood what made him tick—even when he didn’t want to talk about it—and nothing had changed in my understanding of him since his introduction. I admit I enjoyed letting Jac get on his nerves now and then and seeing his reactions. It’s good character building, right?
Me: <laughs again> Indeed! I liked that, too. Their interaction was believable and really made their journey interesting.
Speaking of their journey, the giants in this book made me smile and totally surprised me. How did you decide on this way of tackling "Jack and the Beanstalk"?
Elizabeth: In the first book, I mention these “giants of the North.” I thought this was the perfect tie-in for this retelling. In the classic tale, Jack goes on a quest to a foreign place in the sky, and encounters formidable giants. Being fantasy, I was not satisfied with average, normal elephants you would see in our world for my story. So why not make them larger than life, and really make their presence and part in the story impactful? Kind of LoTR, but not quite so big. In the interest of not giving spoilers, I won’t say more about their importance to this book.
Me: Yes! No spoilers! :) I do hope to see more of the world you're building with each installment of the series. Can you tell us a little about what's coming up for you and what you're most excited about at this stage of your writing career?
Elizabeth: I’m currently working on book 5 in the Crown of Stars series, a Snow White retelling, and looking forward to the finale coming up as well. I recently celebrated my first 10 years of publishing, and look forward to celebrating the next 10. I’ve been doing a lot with digital art lately, and have enjoyed making bookmarks and small posters featuring characters from this series. I’m an artist who has neglected that part of my creative side for a long time, so this has been a wonderful outlet for me. I don’t know what the future holds, but I look forward to having a complete series to showcase, as this will be my longest yet (Web of Time was four books). I am working on a “support me” website where I can share special updates, bonus material, as well as offer artwork and other thank you gifts to supporters. I hope to have that up and running soon!
There is a lot happening already that I am excited and thankful for. One of which is this interview. I’ve loved connecting with different readers, and hearing their enthusiasm for favorite stories and characters. Thank you for having me!
Me: Wow! Yes, it seems you're going to be very busy. I'm really looking forward to the new book in the series. I'm also excited to hear there are more multi-talented indie authors out there, too. This could be just the encouragement another indie needs to hear. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview and sharing a bit of your work and your knowledge with me and my readers. God speed your journey Fellow Author!
Thank you so much, Dear Readers, for reading this awesome interview series. Now that you know a bit more about the Crown of Stars series and the author who is writing it, why not check it out for yourself? If you love romance, adventure, fantasy, good vs evil, and fairytale retellings, you won't be sorry!
If you enjoyed this Author Spotlight, rejoice! I have another one lined up for the spring and I'll keep you posted on that. I'm excited to add this particular type of feature article to my blog and hope I can continue doing it. I'd love to be an encouragement to other indie authors who are working hard to get their books into readers' hands.
*I am not earning anything for this interview, the review I wrote on the book I enjoyed, or any links I shared in my post. The only way I earn money is when people purchase my books or merchandise I make available elsewhere online. Nor will I accept payment for any interview I do in the future. I simply wish to help promote the work of authors I enjoy, particularly indie authors who are more often than not responsible for their own marketing.
**I will not accept requests for Author Spotlight interviews. Please do not leave comments requesting interviews. Please do not send requests for interviews through my contact page. I can only do so many per year as I have a full schedule. As such, I will choose authors I wish to contact. If you disregard my request and send email or leave comments requesting an interview, I will definitely /not/ interview you in the future, though I do wish you well. I simply can't do this Author Spotlight on a regular basis. Thanks for understanding.
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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