Many of you faithful readers will recognize Hannah as one of the regular commentors on this blog. She always brings insight and cheerfulness, not to mention her love of books and gift of art! Many of the fan art pieces to be found on the various Goldstone Wood web pages were done by Hannah . . . and they are all, without exception, beautiful.
What you might not have known is that Hannah is also a talented storyteller! She signed up for my mentoring program a few months ago and impressed me with a vivacious writing voice, full of lively expression, wit, and charm. But a dark thread weaves through it all, adding a dimension of seriousness that makes the story all the more interesting.
I've invited Hannah to come share a little bit about herself and her current manuscript with all of you. First, her author bio:
Hannah Williams is a sixteen year-old homeschooler living in the lush valleys of Oregon. She doesn’t mind the rain because it gives her an excuse to stay inside and write. She lives on a house on a knoll with her parents, big brother, her Grammie, and three dogs, five cats, six chickens, two guinea pigs, and one goat. Her passions are writing and illustrating epic stories of good and evil. She is a geek of all things Tolkien and Stengl. She hopes to one day publish her books, and she hopes her stories will bring glory to God.
And now I know you're eager to hear what her story is about! So here is it's short summary:
He alone could save the world . . . but only if he is saved first.
Long ago, the elven king hid away his most precious book, the Moonscript, for it held the secrets of the unreachable Higher World. Evil has long sought htis knowledge . . . and now the heir to the Moonscript has vanished . . . .
Such stories should have nothing to do with Tellie.
Young Tellie is a simple orphan girl with one desire in her heart--to find a family. But on her journey, she discovers a mysterious treasure and is suddenly pulled into the outside world. Her dreams of family and home are forced aside as Tellie is plunged into an adventure she may not survive. If she is to escape, she must resceu a fellow prisoner, the only person left alive who can keep the Moonscript a secret.
But which will be harder--rescuing him from the dungeons . . . or from himself?
Hannah is here today with an interview, so you can get to know her and her writing a little better. Enjoy . . . and be sure to check below for a chance to win a fun giveaway!
Hi, Hannah! First of all, why don't you tell us a little about yourself. Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you like tea or coffee? Cats or dogs? Indoors or outdoors? Sports or crafts? Anything you want to tell us!
Hannah: Hi, Anne Elisabeth! Thank you SO much for featuring me on your blog. It is such a privilege!
I really love staying home with my family, but when I do go out and about, I like to think of myself as a friendly, sociable person. As for tea or coffee, I’d have to say…hot chocolate! I know, I know, that wasn’t an option. Tea is preferable over coffee, if you must know. I have both cats and dogs, and I don’t know which are better. I love the beauty of outdoors, but I tend to be lazy and stay indoors. I’ve never been particularly fond of either sports or crafts, but besides writing, I LOVE to draw! I live in Oregon with my Dad, Mom, Grammie, and Big Brother.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a novelist?
Hannah: I’ve always loved coming up with stories, but when I was around nine I came up with an “epic” story. My older cousin encouraged me to write it, and so I did. When I was finished, it was a hundred pages. Excited, I read it to my long-suffering brother, and two cousins. And of course, they complimented it very sweetly. Though I now know that the story must have been difficult to listen to (at least without laughing) their encouragement convinced me that I could be a writer. I haven’t stopped writing books since. J
What was the first story you can remember writing down? Did you finish it?
Hannah: Oh dear. One Christmas when I was four I got a huge stuffed tiger. I adored it and decided to write stories about it. I dubbed him Shere Kahn. Realize that I was not a fan of the evil tiger in Disney’s Jungle Book. I simply saw it as the only name that could belong to a tiger. I must admit, I don’t remember what the plot of the story was. I think it was a love story between Shere Khan and a beautiful tigress. I think the villain was a black lynx. (Yeah, I know, big competition for a tiger.) It was a few pages long, illustrated, and bound in colored paper. It went on to become a trilogy about his son, Bagerea, and his granddaughter Ruby. (Finally, some originality!)
What are some of your favorite books? Have they influenced your own writing?
Hannah: The Lord of the Rings launched me forth in my love of fantasy. Tolkien’s work still inspires me today. Since then, favorite books have come in and dropped out of my favor. More recently, I discovered your Tales of Goldstone Wood. I adored these books instantly because you wrote stories exactly how I wanted them to be written. (Happy endings are a must for me!) My current three favorites (excluding the Lord of the Rings) are:
1. The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
2. The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardenge
3. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.
The last two books have cultures I don’t explore a lot in my stories, but they totally inspired me! I cannot recommend them enough.
What is a one-sentence summary of the manuscript you are currently writing?
Hannah: A simple orphan girl must save an elven prince from a darkness that desires to destroy the sinless world he is descended from.
What is the most important lesson you've learned during these last few months of mentoring
Hannah: The very first month held the biggest changes in my story. While the plot was basically the same as it is now, my main character was not Tellie at all, but a boring young man named Mirn. I pretty much had him just to be our window for looking at the story. I took little interest in Mirn. My mentor, Anne, saw this with eagle-eyed clarity right away. She encouraged me to try Moonscript with a different main character, a character who I could know and love. She wanted me to write a character I could understand so that I would write with conviction. My new character, Tellie, abounded with life, and suddenly I was just as interested in her story as with Errances’. This led me to better understand Errance and the rest of my characters in my books.
What tricks do you try when you face writer's block?
Hannah: I haven’t faced serious writer’s block a whole lot yet, but just a few weeks ago I slammed into a writer’s wall. My wonderful mentor, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, wrote me a very encouraging e-mail that lifted my spirits, and I started seeking ways to jump this writer’s wall. Luckily, I have an older brother who I consider to be the funniest person in the world. I asked him to help me, and he glibly launched forth on his version of my story. After sorting through random things like navy seals and Kohl gift cards, I discovered that there were a few things he said that inspired me. My new idea leapt over the wall, and now it is an important theme in the story.
Who is your favorite character in your current manuscript and why?
Hannah: I adore my elf prince, Errance. He’s SO complicated. He was raised by a wise and loving father in a beautiful land for his first twenty years. Then—Spoiler—he is captured by demons and imprisoned for seventy years. Thus he is conflicted. He still is a noble man, dauntless and heroic, hating evil and refusing to aid it under extreme penalty. Yet after seventy years of VERY negative influence, Errance has darkened. He’ll say things or do things you don’t expect of an elf prince. He distrusts almost everybody and hates touch. He is often depressed and pessimistic. I really dove into trying to understand Errance. For the most part, I’m like Tellie: unaware of everything he’s gone through. But I really feel like I’ve captured his struggles well. He was almost more comfortable being in prison—at least there he knew who he was and what the intentions of everyone around him were. Now—back out in the outside world—he is afraid, but determined not to let anyone know it. As the book progresses we see how characters and events slowly draw him out of his self-made imprisonment. It’s so wonderful to watch him relax, lighten up, become attached, and learn to love again. He has a surprising sense of humor! J
And this doesn’t quite have to do with the question, but I really wanted to make it clear that there is no romance with Tellie and Errance (except for Tellie’s initial crush). Actually, Tellie tries to become a matchmaker for “big brother” Errance and hopes to pair him up with a special young lady.
Would you share an excerpt from your current work-in-progress?
Hannah: Oh my goodness, I’d love to!
“Aren’t you looking forward to seeing home again?” Tellie asked.
Errance shrugged. His silence shocked Tellie, who was expecting an instant confirmation. “Aren’t you?” she repeated.
“I don’t know,” he murmured. “I can barely remember it. If I return—I’m not sure I’ll…fit in.”
The girl went still and her eyes widened. That was her problem, not his. He was the prince; he didn’t have to worry about fitting in. But he did. The seventy years had mauled him into a completely different person. She staggered past the idea and said, “Well, this is your chance at a new life.” She tried to make her voice perky and confident, but she felt like the tone simply hit him and dropped dead.
Folding his arms, Errance pressed his lips together tightly. His bitter laugh choked in his throat. “Life. What’s that?” he spat.
The last of the day’s sunlight slipped behind the cloud cover, and the forest fell under shadow. A light rain began to fall, and the remnant of Tellie’s good mood fell with it. “Please, Errance,” she pleaded. “Don’t say things like that.”
He huffed a breath, but with the little light she had, she thought she saw him wince, almost as if he was sorry for upsetting her. “All right. It’s just…I’m finding living difficult.”
“Most people think death is worse,” she snapped back.
A scowl flashed over his face. “So I’m accustomed to death.”
The shower turned into a downpour and Tellie’s clothes and hair started to stick to her skin. She shook her head and hoped the water in her eyes came from the rain. “But Errance, isn’t life, no matter how hard—worth it?”
His gaze dropped. “I…” He took a deep breath. “I don’t know.”
She hunkered into herself, wrapping her arms in tight. She found it difficult to speak. “Errance,” she moaned. “You’ve completely lost your sense of self-worth.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” he said bitterly.
His sharp tone scraped against Tellie’s heart, but at that moment she suddenly thought of a clever reply. “All right then,” she said. “You’re ugly.”
She laughed. She couldn’t help it. His startled, almost-hurt, expression could have amused anyone, even someone at a funeral. “Well, at least you still have your vanity!” she gasped between her giggles.
But the prince seemed to find nothing amusing or clever about her joke, and he turned his head away to fix his gaze on some random tree. His cold expression drowned Tellie’s humor, and in that instant, Tellie suddenly realized she was getting wet. “Uh,” she gasped. “Let’s get out of the rain.” Forgetting herself, she went to grab his arm.
Instantly, Errance jerked his arm out of her grasp.
Tellie planted a fist on her hip and shook a finger at him. “Errance, come on, you don’t have to act that way with me. I’m only fourteen!”
“Really? I thought you were all grown-up?”
“Really? I thought you were all grown-up?”
She stared at him. Was he teasing her? He was still looking away from her, but she almost thought she could see a twinkle in his eye, though it might have been rain-water. It was too dark for her to tell. Could it be possible that he had been amused by her jest? That he had actually made his only little witticism in return? “Yes, well, I’m sort of grown-up,” she hedged. “Can we please get out of the rain?”
Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Hannah! I know we are all eager to see this story play out . . . and hopefully find it on bookstore shelves in another few years!
In the meanwhile, you readers may continue enjoying little bits nad pieces of Hannah's writing via her brand new blog: The Writer's Window. Go take a look and follow her blog! Right after you've entered your name in the giveaway below . . . .
And now for the giveaway. Hannah has made a GORGEOUS bookmark to offer to one lucky winner! Take a look at this artristry:
If you would like to win this lovely Moonscript bookmark, be sure to enter your name in the raffle below! And take a moment to thank Hannah for her time today.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cd5243/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway