Dear imps, this week we are expressing our excitement over the upcoming Five Glass Slippers anthology with a series of interviews featuring each of the five talented novelists! I am excited to get to know these young women, and I hope you are too.
Be sure to check the end of each post for the fun giveaway. At the end of the week, one lucky winner will be selected to receive a beautiful Five Glass Slippers mug--decorated with the same banner you see up above. You imps are all coffee and tea drinkers, right? Or at least hot chocolate . . .
Today we are meeting the first novelist in this collection, Ms. Elisabeth Brown. Here is a little about her first:
ELISABETH BROWN has always loved words. The third of seven children, she enjoyed being homeschooled through her senior year of high school, and is now studying piano performance at Appalachian Bible College. When she's ignoring the fact that she should probably be practicing more or doing Greek homework, you'll find her sewing, baking, reading, singing along to basically any musical ever created, hiking through the woods, or laughing at incredibly silly puns.
What Eyes Can See is her first published story, but she also rambles at www.MetaphoricalCello.wordpress.com.
Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, Betsy! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
Hello, and thanks for having me! Let’s see…well, I’m a college sophomore studying piano performance, which sort of takes over all other hobbies during the school year. I’m a fairly social person, so if you stop by my campus, you’ll probably find me talking. My walls are covered with pictures drawn by my younger siblings, I’m addicted to chapstick, I use a different color of pen every day, I wear flowers in my hair, and my Pandora station is normally playing Ramin Karimloo and Josh Groban. Tea or coffee? Tea, every time. Black, green, chai, herbal, sweetened, unsweetened, in a china cup or in a plain mug…I really love tea.
What led you into the writing life? Have you always been a storyteller?
My family tells a lot of stories: Mom read us all the Little House books, Dad read us James Herriot and A Christmas Carol. They told us stories while we fell asleep on camping trips and let us check out piles of books on tape from the library. Eventually, it became natural for me to start making up my own. My sister and I used to create the most elaborate imaginary worlds together, with our own heroes and villains, romances and heartbreaks. Without my family, I would have no creativity at all; it’s thanks to their influence that I started writing.
Tell us a little about your work! What Eyes Can See is your debut novella, right?
Yes, ma'am! In fact, it's also the first story I've completed, so I feel quite fond of it. What Eyes Can See is set in an imaginary kingdom long ago and far away--typical fairytale stuff. I wrote it specifically for the Five Glass Slippers contest, so it was simple to decide on a fairytale feeling. (Though there's no magic or fairy godmother or anything, so maybe it isn't a fairytale. I'm not sure.) There's not a lot of action, no true bad guy--it's just a simple romance, a story about love the way it looks to my inexperienced imagination.
How did you come up with the initial ideas for What Eyes Can See? Is this a story you’ve been brewing for a while or was it a sudden inspiration?
What Eyes Can See definitely falls into the “sudden inspiration” category. I was brainstorming ideas for the “Five Glass Slippers” contest, and for some reason I found myself wondering if Cinderella were really as mistreated as we’ve been led to believe… Initially, I envisioned Cinderella as an odious young lady, and the stepmother and stepsisters were the mistreated heroines. That’s not what I ended up with—instead, Arella is simply a shy girl fonder of dusting than dancing—but it got the creative juices flowing.
Can you pick a favorite character from this story?
That would easily be Arella’s stepsister Drusilla. She’s not the prettiest, she’s not the cleverest, she’s not the most talented…but she’s not bitter about it.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Regarding What Eyes Can See, the biggest inspiration I had was merely the challenge of actually finishing something for once. Otherwise, a lot of ideas come from reading. I devour Charles Dickens and Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters and Agatha Christie and Francine Rivers. People watching is another big inspiration: I love those little quirks that set one person apart from everyone else in the world. I have a whole list of people waiting to have stories written about them. None of them know.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
I love letting my imagination run wild for hours on end. I love making characters from my head come to life on a page. I love the satisfaction I felt when I wrote the last sentence and knew I had finished. I didn’t love editing. That was more like real work. And coming up with a name—that was super hard. My sister actually came up with the title for me. (Thanks, Ruth!!)
Are you working on any new story ideas these days?
At the moment, the most I have is some vague ideas of things I could work on this summer in my free time. I’d love to try my hand at some historical fiction…we’ll see what happens.
Would you share a short snippet from What Eyes Can See? Something to entice us!
I would be delighted to share! Here’s a bit from when the family is at the royal ball…
What Eyes Can See
“I have to dance with him!” Arella whispered frantically to Drusilla behind her fan, out of earshot of the prince. He continued to bow to young ladies and their parents but sent frequent glances in Arella’s direction.
“Just what every other girl wishes to do,” Drusilla whispered back. Now was not the time to let Arella indulge in solitude. Like it or not, she would have to make herself agreeable.
“Why can’t he dance with every other girl, then?” Arella whimpered.
“Because you are the prettiest.”
“I hate being the prettiest!”
It was the most vehement speech Drusilla had ever heard her stepsister utter. “I’m afraid that isn’t for you to choose. Dance with him, agree with what he says, smile a little, and then it will be over. Surely you can manage that?”
Arella bit her lip.
“It will be just like dancing with any other young man,” Drusilla continued. “Don’t be nervous. Everything will turn out well.”
Arella cast a dissatisfied glance at Drusilla. “I hate dancing with all of them, too!”
Their conversation was interrupted when a friend of the duchess joined their party to visit.
Drusilla sighed. Please, Arella, just behave.
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I hope, dear readers, that all of you are eager to pick up a copy of Five Glass Slippers to find out what will happen when poor Arella is forced to dance with the handsome prince . . .
Be sure to stop by tomorrow so you can meet Emma Clifton, the author of book 2 in the anthology, Broken Glass.
Below you have the giveaway options for a chance to win the pretty mug. Several of the options are to ask questions of the other four authors . . . I request that you come back in the next few days to enter those options, however. Post your questions to those authors on their individual interviews. But Elisabeth Brown will be happy to read your comments today!