Friday, November 28, 2014

Echoing Fairy Tales

Today's reader question is: "I have been rereading Veiled Rose and Moonblood, and I can't help but notice how many 'Cinderella' and 'Beauty and the Beast' themes Rose Red's story has. Was this on purpose or something that just happened?"

Well, first of all let me just say I'm delighted to hear that you're rereading these books. I feel the Tales of Goldstone Wood are stories that should be reread several times over before readers will get everything out of them . . . particularly as each new book that releases sheds light on events and characters from previous books! One of my biggest hopes was to write a series that practically begged rereading, so your question makes me happy.

As to the fairy tale themes . . . my answer is "Absolutely!"

While the later books in this series are gradually taking on more of an epic and historical feel, my original plan was for each book to sound like a new fairy tale. Not retellings--but familiar stories that are so heavily grounded in the tales and myths we already know and love that they almost feel like retellings.

With this goal in mind, I crafted Veiled Rose and the character of Rose Red specifically to mirror both of those beloved fairy tales--"Cinderella" and "Beauty and the Beast." Despite the secret of Rose Red's veiled face, which harkens more to "Beauty and the Beast," I drew more directly from the "Cinderella" themes, casting my heroine in the humble drudge role and leading her on an exciting journey that eventually (and without the aid of a convenient marriage) landed her in a position of power. Like the classic Cinderella, Rose Red stands out from her circumstances by virtue of a kind and honest heart . . . and unlike the classic Cinderella, she doesn't have the added grace of beauty to help her along.

Throw in Beana as a sort-of "fairy godmother" figure, Leo as a must stumbling and reluctant Prince Charming, and you've got quite an interesting variation on those classic themes.

Simultaneously, however, you do not have a "Cinderella" retelling. The plot and story are completely original. They echo those classic themes, but they build on them in new ways.

I absolutely love a good fairy tale retelling (surprise, surprise!), but I rather doubt I will ever overtly try one myself. I find the challenge of echoing those themes while creating new tales to be more suited to my storytelling interests.

Another great question, making for a fun post. Be sure to leave your questions in the comments below (if you have any), and I will add them to my list of blog post topics! You Imps all keep me on my toes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Short Question - Short Answer

Today's reader-question is one which I suspect many of you have wondered on many an occasion . . . and possibly even more so directly after Shadow Hand released. This reader asks: "Will we see Eanrin and Imraldera finally have a happy resolution in their personal relationship at some point?"

 To which I must answer--Do you really want to know?

I mean, once the will-they-won't-they suspense is removed from that scenario . . . that's just it. It's removed. And while I'm quite certain both characters will continue to be interesting people even when that chapter of their lives is resolved once and for all, I'd be willing to bet many of us (including me!) would miss the suspense inherent in their dynamic.

However, I will say a few things:

1. No one is a greater fan of Eanrin and Imraldera than yours truly. I have loved them both for many years now, since before they ever developed an interest in each other (in the original stories in which they featured, back when I was first inventing these tales in high school, they never met. Eanrin was completely devoted to Lady Gleamdren!). When they finally did meet, and I realized the chemistry they had, I was very excited to pursue that storyline . . . and to this day I am still excited to see where it goes.

2. There is nothing I want more than to leave my fans completely satisfied with how things turn out. However, I don't necessarily think that means giving them the expected. Nor giving them the easy answer. Eanrin and Imraldera have a journey to go on, and my hope is  that the end of their journey will be both satisfying and surprising.

I would also urge you to keep a few things in mind as you read forward in the series. For one thing, I've already given some spoilers! In Moonblood we get the strong impression that Imraldera has a romantic interest in Eanrin, an interest which is maybe reciprocated, but it's hard to say. That is a big change of heart from where she was following the events in Shadow Hand . . . a BIG change of heart! How did she come to this new attitude and perspective? Well, that's part of the journey. A journey which covers some 1500 years, remember!

And Eanrin himself--how can he have gone from the man he was in Shadow Hand to the apparently-indifferent but not-really-indifferent-at-all fellow he is in Moonblood? Again, that's the journey. It's got some surprising twists and turns, it's got some really juicy storytelling moments . . . and I wouldn't want to spoil it for the world.

So just remember as you keep reading--I love these two characters and I love my fans. But I love taking risks and surprising twists and turns as well!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Interview Feature: Lisa T. Bergren

Our featured author today is a woman who hardly needs any introduction. She is so prolific and creative, I have no doubt you have run across her work somewhere in the course of your readerly history! And she is here with us today for a fun feature which I hope you will very much enjoy. I give you . . .

LISA TAWN BERGREN is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 books, with more than 2.5 million copies sold. Her most recent works includes a YA series called River of Time (Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne & Tributary), God Gave Us Easter, a devotional called Upside-Down Prayers for Parents and the Grand Tour Series (Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences, and Glittering Promises). She’s currently at work on a new YA series called Remnants, coming out in 2014.

Lisa’s time is split between managing home base, writing, and working on ducks with her husband, Tim ( Tim’s a worship leader, graphic designer and duck-sculptor. They have three kids–Olivia (18), Emma (15) and Jack (10).

The Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Visit her website!


Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?

Lisa: Thanks, Anne Elisabeth. I'm a wife and mother of three living Colorado Springs, CO. I've written and published about fifty books, in all kinds of genres, from children's picture books to adult spiritual suspense novels. I love to hike and dine with friends and watch movies. Oh, and coffee, every morning. But I love a good iced tea in the afternoon or a steaming cuppa Earl Gray with scones.

What led you in to the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?

Lisa: I always adored reading and writing as a secondary love. In college, I interned for a publishing house and then after college, I got a job in marketing with a Christian publishing house--and on that same day, they offered me a contract on my novel! It was sort of a Christmas-in-October kind of day.

Tell us a little about your work! You have a long and versatile career. What was your debut story and how did it come about?

Lisa: I thought it'd be cool to be an author but it felt like a far-off dream. No "normal people" I knew set out to be a published author. Then a friend of a friend published a Harlequin romance and I thought, "I could do that!" the simple structure of a romance was all I needed to give it a whirl. Long-story-short, that turned into my first contemporary romance, and when I presented it to a publisher, it was scooped up, and did really well. At the time, there just weren't many contemporary romances out in the Christian market. That helped me seal a corner of the market and led to all sorts of publishing deals in the future. God is good! To date I've written contemporary romance, historical women's fiction, medieval spiritual suspense, genre fiction, and of late, YA, including time travel and dystopian.

Now I'd love to hear about the River of Time series.Waterfall is the first in this set of stories. How did the idea for this series come to you? Did it turn out as you originally expected, or did it grow into something more?

River of Time is my time travel series, about two girls who time-travel back to medieval Italy. I really wrote it for my daughters--both reluctant readers--and tried to incorporate all the elements that ever drew them to the few books they'd read and loved--epic romance and lots of action.

Deluge is the newest book in this series. Did it present any interesting challenges compared to the other novels?

Lisa: I held off on writing it for a long time, because it takes place during the Black Plague, and I just wasn't ready to go there with my characters. It's pretty excruciating taking beloved charaacters through extremely hard circumstances, which happens in pretty much any good novel--but the Black Plague? A third of people in towns and cities died. I knew that to write it, I'd have to let some of my characters succumb to the disease. But I warned my readers to have Kleenex nearby as they read it, and they seem to be weathering it all right.

Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?
Lisa:Evangelia really comes into her own in Deluge. It really became her story, in many ways, and Gabi--who'd hogged the spotlight in the first four books, because she's such a force of nature--took a step backward. I loved watching Lia grow and struggle and grow some more.

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?   

Lisa: Time and space outside. Listening to nonfiction audio books. The wheels then begin turning again .. .

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?

 Lisa: Favorite: Starting on page one! Everything's new! Possible!
Least favorite: Editing my fourth or fifth draft. By that time, I'm usually really, really sick of a book.

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?

Lisa: I didn't miss the word "forced." It's really a tough question, since I read so widely. But I'd prboably have to  go back to the classics and choose C.S. Lewis.

What are you actively writing right now?

 Lisa: Well, I'm SUPPOSED to be writing the third book in my Remnants series. It's due in January. Better hop to it!

Would you share a short snippet from Deluge?

Lisa: Sure! Here you go . . .


“Marcello,” I said, under my breath.
“She’s here, somewhere,” my husband returned. “You must wait, Gabriella. The doge has something up his sleeve, as you say. We simply must wait for him to reveal it.”
“If he doesn’t do it soon, I believe I shall retrieve my sword and begin tearing through the Palazzo Ducale—and anyone who stands in my way—until I find her.”
“That,” he said, casting me a loving look, “would not go over well. And you want to meet these mysterious kin, do you not?”
“I do.”
“Then play his game.”
“How do we play a game when we are not aware of the rules?”
“We discern the rules as we play it.”
I stifled a sigh and forced a smile as a lady beside us curtsied and the man next to her bowed. We could hear the twittering as we passed, the crazy whispers of our prowess in battle, the rumors that I was with child, the thought that I was liable to give birth to a werewolf, half man-child, half-wolf. Some wondered over my beauty, seeming surprised that the rumors were true. Others thought I looked more like a man than a woman, given my great height.
It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. I was used to it, in cities, in villages, where dramatic stories were the centerpiece of every evening’s public gathering and much of the gossip shared through the day. And I hadn’t exactly lived a quiet, casual life here in Italia, so this was the logical outcome. I had what I needed at Castello Forelli—all the people I loved best, who truly knew and loved me in return. But some of it still stung a little, as much as other portions made me smile.
People would talk; there was no controlling them. All I could control were my own actions. We came to a stop beside other nobles when we reached the base of the watch tower outside the Palazzo Ducale. Eventually, it would become the brick campanile, or bell tower, that was part of the famous Venetian skyline, but now it was a bit shorter, with a wooden spire on top, apparently used to keep tabs on the flow of traffic in the lagoon—sort of like a medieval aircraft control tower. But, you know, for boats.
I looked up with the others, and around to the front of San Marco, the old basilica, with her war-plundered bronze horses at the top center. What was the fuss all about? What were they expecting? Everyone was staring upward, toward the tower, as if anticipating something to emerge there. Was that where they were going to set off the fireworks?
Mom and Dad arrived behind us. “Where is she?” I whispered, knowing they’d be as anxious as we were.
Luca arrived then too, not part of the announced gentry, given that he had no land of his own. He ran a hand through his hair.
“The dogaressa has been announced. But I cannot find Lia. Where could she be?”
A trumpet sounded above us and the rest of the crowd looked upward. I didn’t like the idea of that trumpeter being so close to the fireworks, but just then I saw a figure in white climb to the railing. With wings. She had huge wings on her back. Two men behind her attached a belt around her to a rope above. My eyes narrowed as I focused on the swooping rope, coming down at a steep angle to where it was anchored at the very center of the piazza. Then I looked back up the figure, who was taking a bow in hand and nocking an arrow.
“What are they doing?” Dad murmured. “The Flight of the Angel?”
“But it’s not Carnivale,” Mom protested, referring to the city- wide festival hosted each year.
“It doesn’t take a feast for the doge to put on a spectacle,” Dad said.
The figure shifted and a man with a torch approached her, setting the tip of her arrow on fire, illuminating her face, the hint of golden hair.
“Oh, no, no, no,” I said under my breath.
Because the figure above us—so terrifyingly high above us— was my sister.

Thanks for featuring today, Lisa! It was great to learn more about you and your work.

Readers, Lisa is offering a generous giveaway, so be certain to enter your names in the form below. And feel free to leave questions and comments for Lisa. Have you read any of her work? Which of her stories have you most enjoyed?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 21, 2014

Teasing Your Reader

Today's question: "This one may sound silly, but I am curious. A while back you posted a Friday Tidbit about Teasing Your Reader and gave an example for beginning a story this way. My question is, does the same process apply, let's say, in the middle of the book, when all the characters and things are established? How do you compensate? What are some things to think about? In other words, how do you do it?"

Because I don't want to recover ground we've already covered, here is a link to the original "Tease Your Reader" post. I just re-read it to make certain I still agree with what I said back then. (I grow and change in my writing the same as the rest of you!) But I think it's still quite a good, valid point.

The basic premise is this: Your readers want certain things out of a story. Your job as the writer is to dangle the possibility of satisfaction in front of their faces but not to give it to them right away.

The original blog post focuses simply on the opening of your book, but the concept holds true throughout your manuscript. A good story must always have unanswered questions and suspenseful puzzles to keep the reader turning pages, right up until the very end. And even once you reach the end, it's often a good idea to leave a few enigmatic threads dangling, particularly if you're writing a series.

In answer to the above question, this process absolutely applies to the middle of the book. If you are not teasing your reader in the middle of the book you're going to run into middle-of-the-book-sag, a common plight for many novelists and one of the most common symptoms of a manuscript headed for the dreaded Manuscript Graveyard.

Your characters and story lines should be established by the middle of the book, but does your reader know everything about them by this stage? If so, what's left to read? What's left to discover? The same is true with your plot threads. You've got to continue pulling the reader along with questions and a desire for resolution.

I'll use Dragonwitch as an example. That book is full of classic "teasing the reader" moments. Partly because there are so many separate plot lines in motion, and the reader doesn't learn how they all connect until quite late into the story. Look at the Dragonwitch's ongoing monologue initiated in Chapter 1. How long does it take until the reader discovers to whom she's speaking and under what circumstances? That's got to be close to the last quarter of the book! In the meanwhile, the intrigue of the character and the suspense of the story she tells continue to tease and intrigue all the way.

That is but one example. You've also got the suspense of "Is Alistair's prophetic dream going to come true or not?" "Will the Chronicler prove to be the foretold hero or not?" "Will Mouse repent of her betrayal or not?" "Will Leta discover the secret of the House of Lights or not?" Plenty of storyline teasing.

My editors once told me that they feared I "played my cards too close to my chest." They felt I should give away answers and solutions in the first half of Dragonwitch so that readers wouldn't ever have to be confused. Then I should simply focus on the action for the rest of the story.

This I absolutely refused to do. And I'm glad I did. Because yes, I did withhold information. Yes, I did withhold solutions. Yes, I did withhold the futures of the characters. But only to make the payoff for each of these so much more significant, so much more satisfying.

A good writer doesn't write for the stupid reader. A good writer trusts her reader to be intelligent enough to follow her teasing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where's All the Guys?

The question I'll be answering today is: "Have you ever visited or lived in England/UK? If so, which were your favorite locations?"

Why yes! I have lived in England and traveled all over--up into Scotland, over into Wales, even across the Channel to cavort about France. I have seen Jane Austen's house, Robert Browning's house, the Globe Theater, and any number of monuments to the great authors I love and revere. I have seen Tintagel whereat King Arthur reputedly held court, and the Hastings battlefield whereat Earl Harold was shot through the eye with an arrow thus losing the crown to William the Conqueror. I have hunted monsters on Loch Ness and (I swear to you) seen Nessie herself (though no one believed me). I have drunk more pots of properly English tea and devoured more scones smothered in Devonshire cream than any young lady should be allowed to boast.

Problem is . . . I was nine when we moved back to the United States. So my memories of these various events are possibly not . . . well . . . Let me just tell you some of my favorites.

When my family was preparing to take a trip out to Hastings, location of the famous last stand between Harold and William in the 1066 invasion of England, my mother wanted to be certain that my big brother Tom and I had some understanding of what we were about to see. So she purchased a little picture book with exciting illustrations of Harold (whom Tom picked as his favorite because he had a beard) and William (whom I picked as my favorite because he did not have a beard). I was quite delighted as she read me the story, because William won, which meant I had picked the right hero. Tom was so mournful for poor slaughtered Harold, that must constitute a victory for me.

Yeah. Hastings was going to be awesome.

So we drove out there on a quintessentially drizzly English day, hopped out, and started wandering around the fields. They look like this:

That's right. The Hastings battlefield looks like . . . a field.

And I, confused, turned this way and that and demanded in a voice of petulant frustration (which my father absolutely caught on  video for posterity): "But where's all the guys????"

I mean that picture book was showing me men in armor, and Harold with his beard, and William with his no-beard, and it was significantly more interesting than this! A walk through Battle Abbey did nothing to appease my disappointment. Nor did pictures of the Bayeux Tapestry or placards talking about the Domesday book, or really anything else that entire trip had to offer.

Because, seriously, where's all the guys?

 Fast-forward a few years . . . and we went on a trip to visit Jane Austen's house! This was supposed to be something really quite wonderful according to my mother. She showed me big grown-up-looking books on her bookshelf and explained to me all about how Jane Austen had written these stories about grown-up people talking about grown-up things, and kissing, and talking some more, and probably talking about kissing, and really, was anybody interested in reading this stuff?

I certainly wasn't. I was all about Marguerite Henry books at that time. For those of you who might not be familiar with the literary wonder who is Marguerite Henry, she wrote the classic horse stories for young people, including the phenomenal Misty of Chincoteague, which was all about wild ponies and races and really interesting things like that (and there wasn't a kiss to be found anywhere within those pages).

But fine. Mummy was super excited to go see this grown-up person's grown-up house, so we all piled into the van for a road trip. And I read Marguerite Henry books all the way and pretended that I had my own very fast pony hitched to the front of the van, pulling us along down those quaint English roads.

And then we got to Jane Austen's house. And it looked kind of like a house. But across from the house was a field, and in the field was . . .


A beautiful, white, adorable, wonderful pony who probably had never moved fast enough to either win a race in a Marguerite Henry novel or to pull my family's van. But that didn't matter because it was a pony and it was beautiful. And I named him Misty, because what else could he possibly be named? He was white after all! And I fed him grass that was exactly like the grass on his side of the fence, but he ate from my hand anyway because he was perfectly wonderful, and I felt my little heart soaring with--

Oh. What? You mean, we've got to actually go walk through that house? Um. Why?

I have no memory of Jane Austen's house. I couldn't tell you what it looked like, not if you paid me to. But I absolutely remember that pony. (And I always will.)

Anyway, you get an idea what touring overseas was like for me. I could tell you plenty more stories . . . like, how I decided not to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower but chose to eat ice cream down on the lawn beneath it instead, and got chased off by a furious Frenchman who was probably asking me if I hadn't read the "Keep Off the Grass" sign--which I had, but it was in French, so it meant nothing to me.

Or the time we went to Beatrix Potter's house, and I was so delighted to see the rocking chair that Tom Kitten's mother sat in in one of my favorite illustrations, I slipped under the cords and sat in it myself, rocking it so far back it crashed into the table behind, scaring everyone in the room, and earning me a scolding. (But hey, I sat in the same rocking chair as Tom Kitten's mother!)

I could tell you about the time we visited Eileen Donan castle in Scotland, which looks like this . . .

. . . and how I grabbed pill bugs and ran out onto that bridge to toss them over into the water, only I couldn't toss them far enough, so they landed in the grass, not in the water, which was terribly disappointing. (Yes. That's my primary memory of Eileen Donan.)

I could tell you about Leeds Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in all of England . . . only, I really couldn't tell you much about the castle itself. But I could tell you all about the amazing peacocks that roamed the grounds, including the glorious white peacocks which were too beautiful for words. And how I dreamed for months afterwards that one of them fell so much in love with me that it climbed onto the roof of our van and rode all the way home with us. And I kept it in my backyard and took it for walks down the street on a peacock-leash, and we two were inseparable friends forever, because that's what happens with peacocks.

So basically, yes. I've lived in England. I've toured the UK. But I'm probably not the best person to ask about key spots to visit while touring.

Seriously, someday I'm going to go back, and I'm going to go to Jane Austen's house, and I'm going to find that magical white pony and visit with it for hours while Rohan walks through that stuffy old building. And I'll probably get me a peacock at Leeds too . . .

Monday, November 17, 2014

Interview Feature: Gillian Bronte Adams!

Dear Imps, today I have the pleasure of featuring a talented new voice in the realm of Christian Fantasy! Many of you may have already encountered her charming blog, Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant, which is a wonderful refuge of all things fantasy and magical. Now her debut novel has released, and you have the prime opportunity to delve into the wonderful worlds of her imagination. I give you . . .

GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. Her love of epic stories and a desire to present truth in a new way drew her to the realm of fantasy.

And here is the description of lovely new novel:

Who Will Keep the Song Alive?

  Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one. When Birdie's song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power. Ky is a street–wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira. Book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles.

Grab your copy of Orphan's Song today!

 Gillian is here today for an interview, and she is also offering a print copy of Orphan's Song for one lucky winner! So enjoy learning more about this exciting new voice in Spec fiction, and be certain to enter your name in the drawing.


Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, Gillian! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? 

Gillian: What to tell … well, I’m a sword-wielding, horse-riding, adventure-loving speculative fiction writer from the great state of Texas. Coffee is my life line when work gets busy. I brew a pot whenever I’m facing a long to do list—it’s my signal that now is the time to focus on work and distractions everywhere should flee in terror. That’s the general idea at least. 

What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing? 

Gillian: I started inventing stories at a young age just for fun. A lot of them I ended up playacting out in the backyard with my siblings, resulting in all sorts of hilarious scrapes. But I didn’t take writing seriously until I participated in a NaNo-like challenge at the age of sixteen. After managing to whip out 50,000 words in thirteen days, I realized that I really liked this writing business and started researching ways to make a go of it.

I’m a bit of a dreamer, but publishing wasn’t even on my radar in the beginning. The more I researched and the more I learned about the writing craft, the more I realized that being published wasn’t completely impossible—unlike my other dreams of captaining a pirate ship, becoming an actress, or fighting with the knights of the Round Table.

So I spent the next several years studying both writing and publishing, making mistakes and learning from them, and writing … writing … writing … until I signed with a literary agent and then a publisher! 

Tell us a little about your work! Orphan's Song is your debut novel, right? How did this story come about? 

Gillian: Yes, Orphan’s Song is my debut novel. I started writing it four years ago with little more than a few character names, a thin plot thread, and my love for fantasy and the written word. By the time I finished the first draft, I knew the story needed a major overhaul, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that it had potential, unlike so many of the manuscripts I’d relegated to the “forsaken and forgotten” pile in the past. Four hefty re-writes later, Orphan’s Song in its final form was born. 

Is Orphan's Song part of a series? How many more tales do you hope to set in this exciting world? 

Gillian: Orphan’s Song is the first book in a fantasy trilogy called the Songkeeper Chronicles. I’m currently working on book two, while book three is simmering somewhere in the back of my brain.

Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel? 

Gillian: I always have a hard time with this question because my favorite character generally happens to be whichever point-of-view I’m writing at the time. Orphan’s Song is written from the POV of three main characters—Birdie, Amos, and Ky. When you boil it all down, I guess you could say I love Birdie’s depth, Ky’s heart, and Amos’s strength of will.

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration? 

Gillian: I gather inspiration from a lot of things: a beautiful turn of phrase in a book, an image from a movie, a word of truth in a sermon or a verse that sticks in my head and won’t let go, or epic adventure-inspiring music. But there are times when inspiration feels like a well that’s run completely dry, and when that happens, I nearly always saddle my horse and go for a ride. There’s nothing like the rhythmic drumming of hooves, the breeze in your face, and the glory of movement and speed to clear your head. 

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process? 

Gillian: My favorite part of the writing process is brainstorming, character development, and story breathing at the beginning. I love when a story just flows from my soul onto the page. Not that there aren’t tough times, but you can’t beat writing when the story has so seeped into your consciousness that it just spills out your fingers into the keyboard.

I’m not sure what my least favorite part of the writing process is. I enjoy editing but waiting for edits to come back from an editor always makes me extremely nervous!

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be? 

Gillian: You mean forced … like at gunpoint? Otherwise, it’s a little hard to narrow it down. But if there was a gun pointing at me, I might blurt out “Tolkien” as a distraction before employing my mad Dunedain ranger skills and taking down my assailant with an epically heroic-looking move that would make any fantasy character jealous!

What are you actively writing right now? 

Gillian: I’m actively writing the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles … soon to be followed by the third book. At least, that’s what I’m writing on my laptop. But there is a completely different fantasy series that’s writing itself in the back of my head, making it very difficult to focus. Currently the ideas span a total of at least six different books, complete with characters and major plot points, and they won’t stop badgering me.

I suppose you could say I’m suffering from an acute case of multiple novels disorder. But at least I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be writing once I’m done with the Songkeeper Chronicles!

 Would you share a short snippet from Orphan’s Song?  

Gillian Sure! Here’s a little bit from inside the first chapter…


Birdie ran. Past the barn, across the dusty inn yard, and out over the hills surrounding the Sylvan Swan Inn. Autumn grass crinkled beneath her feet. Blazing orange fire flowers burst as she brushed past, exploding into wild puffs of floating petals that drifted away on the wind. She ran until she gasped for breath and stumbled to her knees in a wide open space. Sobs rose in her throat, smothering her anger, and she flung herself flat against the cool brown earth and cried into her arms.
Deep below, a sepulchral rumbling from the depths of the earth, a distant melody rose to greet her. Warm as a summer sunrise, the song caught her up in its embrace. The tears dried on her face. Her sorrow eased. The song was familiar—she had known it all her life—and yet new and wondrous, something too great to be fully known or understood. It spiraled upward, carrying her soul to reach for the sky. Then, it stopped abruptly and the melody faded away.
She sat alone on the hillside; the only noise the ordinary sounds of an autumn afternoon: whispering of windswept grasses, trilling whistles of the Karnoth birds winging northward to the ice and snow ere Winter Turning, and the peaceful munching of herds of sheep grazing in the troughs between one hill and the next.
Disappointment settled over Birdie. Always it was the same. Every time she heard the song. Five notes without resolution. A beginning, constantly repeating, without an end. And yet the five notes were so beautiful that her heart ached at the sound and every fiber of her being yearned to hear more.


Thank you, Gillian, for a fun peak into your mind and creative process! Orphan's Song looks really beautiful, and I know readers are going to love stepping into the world you have created.

Speaking of . . .

Take a moment to enter your name in this giveaway, dear Imps! And, while you're at it, feel free to leave a comment for Gillian. Do you have a question for her? Are you already a fan of her work eager for another story? Are you curious to pick up Orphan's Song? Go ahead and tell us!

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