Later in the year, Rebecca was my first mentoring student, and I was delighted to begin my job as writing coach on her work. The first chapter she sent me was full of beautiful narrative, lyrical prose, lovely scenery . . . and a fabulously eerie plot. I was hooked. And I suspect all of you will be as well!
Here is a little more information about Rebecca Fox:
A recent high school graduate, Rebecca Fox writes fantasy stories while simultaneously dreaming of traveling to Narnia, Middle-earth, and whatever fantasy world she is currently writing about. When she’s not lost in the pages of a book, she’s likely belting out songs from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis, rehearsing for a play, listening to her collection of soundtrack music, or cheering madly for her favorite college football teams. Rebecca lives in Iowa with her family.
I was excited to learn that Rebecca's major passion is for fairy tales. Here is a glimpse at her current work-in-progress!
The Summons Has Come . . . a Maiden is Chosen
Every Midsummer’s Eve, a maiden is summoned to the mysterious Castle Lamir, hidden upon a shadowy mountain. The girl is never heard from again. No one asks questions or tries to dissuade the villager elders from sending another maiden into the unknown, for all fear crossing the will of the infamous Lord of Lamir.
Desperate to prove her worth when the elders read her name from the summons, plain Estelle—the village outcast—ventures into the wild mountains only to discover that the enchanted Castle Lamir holds dark secrets. Caught between the warring wills of the Voice that hides in the shadows and the sorceress that dwells beneath the castle, Estelle becomes entangled in the search for an ancient and powerful legend. The Essence of Beauty may prove the key to achieving her heart’s greatest desire, but there are others who would use her and the Essence for their own ends.
I know, I know . . . you want to pick it up and read it right away! Sadly, it's not complete yet, so you'll have to wait a few years. But in the meanwhile, Rebecca has sweetly agreed to an interview here today!
Rebecca: Hmmm. Well, since it’s confession time: I tend to be an introvert; I adore mint hot chocolate; I have a sweet Australian shepherd with more than his fair share of personality; I’m an indoor girl in practice but love sitting on a porch in the mountains or watching the summer stars when I get the opportunity. Football, college football to be specific, is my absolute favorite sport. I—obviously—don’t play it, but I am a huge fan. I would love to study abroad in Great Britain, the land of so many incredible authors. I am working on my British accent imitation and hope my voice gets stuck like that. And last, but certainly not least, I went to the midnight premiere of The Hobbit last month in costume. I’m kind of a big fan. J There you have it, fair friends.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a novelist?
Rebecca: I think realizing that I wanted to be a novelist was gradual. I’ve enjoyed stories and writing since I was a little kid, but it wasn’t until the summer before my freshman year of high school that I started to actually do something about it. I wrote a novel (quite dreadful actually but someday I hope I can turn it into something worth reading) and loved the experience. When I finished, something had happened. When people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I started saying, “I want to be a novelist.” And that was that.
What was the first story you can remember writing down? Did you ever finish it?
Rebecca: In third grade the class was assigned to write a short, one-page story. Mine ended up being three pages. I can hardly remember that little tale; I’m sure it’s somewhere buried deep in the annals of my childhood, if it even survived our move five years later. But I do recall that it was a fantasy. So my course in fantasy was set nearly a decade ago.
What are some of your favorite books? Have they influenced your own writing?
Rebecca: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are my literary heroes. No matter what I read or how much I enjoy a new book, I always end up coming back to these two. I grew up on The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. Really, these authors were the ones who first inspired me to write. Their books provided fuel for my childhood play, textbooks as I first began to dig into and study literature, and now a guide as I started to create my own stories. They provide a wonderful example of what it means to be a Christian and a fantasy writer.
What is a one-sentence summary of the manuscript you are currently writing?
Rebecca: The outcast of a society that values physical beauty above all, plain Estelle is sent as tribute to the villagers’ infamous liege-lord only to become entangled in the search for the legendary power over beauty.
What is the most important lesson you've learned during these last few months of mentoring?
Rebecca: How can I choose just one?! I think the first major lesson I learned was to balance “showing” and “telling.” I had gotten bogged down in the show-don’t-tell maxim and my work was feeling stiff. Once I started “telling” emotions, thoughts, etc. in addition to all the “showing” my writing started to feel more comfortable. That was sort of a breakthrough lesson for me. I had more freedom to explore my characters, giving them an opportunity to come that much more alive in my mind. I could sit back and start enjoying the story!
What tricks do you try when you face writer's block?
Rebecca: In my experience, writer’s block tends to stem from too much pressure, often self-inflicted. When that happens I take a step back to relieve the pressure. Sometimes that means leaving the scene that I’m working on and jumping ahead (or backwards or to an entirely different project) and working on that for a while, just something new to stir my creativity. Often I’ll grab the nearest book and start reading. I find that it helps to get words and stories flowing through my mind even if they aren’t my own. In fact, when there’s a book I’ve been consistently reading, I’ve found that I am likely to have more success with my writing than when I haven’t read much in a few weeks. I guess it all comes back to the age-old advice: read, read, and read.
Who is your favorite character in your current manuscript and why?
Rebecca: I love all my characters from my bitter villainess to my tortured hero, but since I have to choose, I have to pick Lucia, a member of the supporting cast. She’s a fascinating character to write and she poses some unique challenges. She’s blind, but she hasn’t always had this disability so she does have some fading memories of what she saw long ago, some she treasures while others haunt her. She’s a sweet, innocent, naïve girl, but these traits are the very things that drew her into embracing, and remaining entrapped in, Darkness. Yet Lucia’s heart is golden, unspoiled by the enchantments and bitterness that surround her. She longs for beauty and truth and companionship. She has some very difficult choices coming up that will threaten her carefully constructed security.
Would you share an excerpt from your current work-in-progress?
Rebecca: Absolutely. This segment comes from Chapter Four of Beautiful, which includes some of my favorite moments in the novel thus far. Enjoy!
Estelle lifted her chin and looked into the mirror.
So then, dreams did not come true.
The same reflection as always stared back at her. The lank frame, the grim-set jaw and pale, thin lips turned slightly down, the too large eyes the color of smoke, the austere aquiline nose.
The image of that beautiful face, indelibly imprinted upon her memory, laughed at her.
See what you really are, foolish girl. You will never be me.
It was Liette. It was the elder. It was her mother. Their voices collided in her head, becoming one.
See what you really are. Nothing more. Nothing more. Never more.
Estelle ground her teeth together until a shooting pain lanced through her jaw. Heat rose up her neck and spread from her cheeks to her ears and over her scalp. It built behind her eyes and her vision tilted.
How dare the mirror tell her this? How dare these infernal enchantments tantalize her with the promise of such beauty only to repeal the gift, leaving her groveling and ashamed?
“Come away, Estelle.” The minstrel’s voice whispered at the edge of her awareness.
How could she have allowed herself to fall for the illusion?
It was the final straw. Estelle threw her head back and screamed. Long and loud, the sound screeched from her mouth. Like a wolf it clawed her throat as it passed and ravaged her ears once released into the open. Still she screamed, pouring every hurt and bitterness and rage into the noise.
Deep within the hidden corners of the castle, ancient enchantments stirred. The angels in the courtyard trembled as mists boiled up from the chasm and churned across the grounds. The gargoyles laughed, baring their fangs as they crouched among the eaves.
A wind, hot and stale, swept out of the shadows and raced through the halls and corridors. It barreled past the entrance to the Hall of Mirrors. It swept around Estelle, swirling her skirts and twisting her hair.
As the wind whirled about her, enclosing her, Estelle heard her scream magnified and multiplied, as if a hundred tiny voices had taken up her cry. A terrifying, heart-wrenching symphony.
Estelle felt something grab her from behind and jerk her backwards. The whirlwind of voices shattered like glass, and Estelle’s own voice faltered. She whirled and heard her palm crack against something. Someone.
The final remnants of her scream faded. All was silent. All was still. Estelle stood frozen, staring at the white mark of her hand on the minstrel’s cheek.
What had she done?
Already the place on his cheekbone was changing from pale white to mottled purple-grey with a streak of red through the middle. Could she have really assaulted him so viciously? The ache in her hand confirmed it.
What had happened to her? What had changed? She had never done such a thing before, had not thought herself capable. “I’m sorry,” she muttered, more for her own consolation than for the minstrel's.
The minstrel said nothing but continued to watch her. Estelle looked down and studied the parquet floor. With the toe of her shoe, she cleared away some of the pervasive dust, revealing the wooden mosaic. She had apologized. Now it was his turn to respond, but he persisted in his silent gaze. As each second ticked agonizingly past, Estelle felt the weight of her guilt grow upon her shoulders.
Still the minstrel did not speak.
Estelle released an exasperated huff. She didn’t deserve this. After all, he should never have intervened, startling her as he had. He knew nothing of her plight. He had never suffered like she had. He had never desired something so fiercely only to be rejected again and again. He deserved that mark for all she had endured because of him from the moment she had first laid eyes on him.
Estelle met the minstrel’s gaze with chin lifted. But she did not see in his weird, piercing eyes what she had expected, even wanted, to see. He harbored neither anger nor even disbelief. Estelle barely stifled her horrified gasp. He pitied her.
Pity! That insufferable, dreadful pity that made her skin crawl. It was far worse, Estelle decided, than scorn. She knew how to respond to derision, but this pity set her on edge. Was she helpless? No! She needed no one, particularly not him.
Estelle turned once more to the mirror. She looked into the face of the wild-eyed, red-faced reflection and hated what she saw. This image, this reality, had haunted her too long.
Casting aside the candles, Estelle grabbed a golden candelabrum. She would end that reflection’s constant mockery once and for all. She faced the mirror and hefted the ornately wrought candlestick.
“Estelle?” The minstrel broke his silence, but it was too late. “Estelle, wait. Be careful!”
Ignoring him, Estelle slammed the candlestick with all of her might into the glass. The crack exploded across the mirror, sending fissures towards each corner. Estelle smiled with grim satisfaction. She would have her revenge upon every mirror in the castle if she had to. Never again would these mimicking, glassy fiends taunt her. She would destroy them all until one showed her what she wanted to see.
Suddenly, Estelle felt a shudder ripple beneath her feet. It passed and she dismissed the sensation as a working of her imagination. But then tremors sped through the stones. Plumes of dust burst into the air like fountains of fireworks.
“Estelle!” The minstrel grabbed her arm and this time Estelle was too disoriented to push him away. The windows rattled; the chandeliers swung violently back and forth; the walls groaned.
“What’s happening?” Estelle shouted over the growing din.
Estelle fell to her knees and crawled beneath a table. She threw her arms over her head and squeezed her eyes shut. The tremors that shook the castle shook her as well. She felt them take hold, an invisible hand squeezing her heart and rattling her bones.
Crashes echoed and the castle seemed to wail in agony, lifting ever higher in pitch and ferocity. Then, without warning, just as she thought she could bear it no longer, the quake stopped, as if it had never been.
Estelle remained crouched beneath the table, the blood pounding in her temples. It was over? The minstrel stirred beside her and climbed back into the open. Estelle inched back against the wall. How could he be certain it would not begin again? It had come so suddenly. What could have provoked such a violent reaction of the earth?
Then Estelle realized. Could it have been her?
“Minstrel,” Estelle’s voice shivered as she spoke but it suddenly no longer mattered, “what have I done?”
He stopped for a moment and glanced up and down the hall. Estelle followed his gaze but saw nothing. The hall appeared as though the quake had never occurred; not a cracked vase or shattered window. At last the minstrel released a heavy sigh as if satisfied that the danger was past.
“You have disturbed her slumber.”
“Whose slumber? Who have I disturbed?”
“Why the Lady Lamir, of course.”
“I thought it was the Lord of Lamir. Does he have a wife?”
The minstrel fixed her with a quizzical glance and his green eye gleamed queerly. “A wife? The Lord of Lamir? No.” He spread his arms. “This is Lady Lamir.”
Estelle stared at him for a moment before understanding dawned. “You mean the castle.”
“Yes. I mean the castle. She is Lamir. His lordship, as you call him, may fancy himself her master, but—” The minstrel fell suddenly silent, his attention rapt upon a place behind Estelle. She turned and saw a figure moving towards them.
“She is remembering,” the minstrel breathed.
The figure stumbled forward, one hand pressed to his side and the other waving madly in front of him as though batting something away.
He drew closer and Estelle could hear the inane babble and the moaning. It was a man, she discerned. He was dressed in finery not unlike that which she had seen in her dream. But while he appeared real, he seemed also somewhat immaterial. Something like the women she had met in the banquet hall upon her arrival. Estelle chewed on her bottom lip. What did this mean?
The man was only a few yards away from where they stood when the suspicion came over Estelle that she knew him. His shoulders were hunched and his head bent low, hiding his face.
“I see you. I see you,” the man muttered. “They all see me. I hear them. I hear them coming. All around. From the skies. Spears. Splinters. Run. Cannot run. Hide. Cannot hide.”
The man halted, teetered, and then stumbled forward again, waving his arm even more furiously than before. Estelle wanted to reach out to him. What had this man suffered? What had he seen to reduce him to such a state? Estelle wrapped her arms about her. Was it this castle? Was this the doom that awaited the guests of the Castle Lamir?
“She’s here! She’s here! She’s here!”
The fear in the man’s voice escalated until he was shaking uncontrollably and he began to weep. Estelle wanted to scream, to turn away, to cry with him, but she couldn’t.
“She’s here!” he screamed, and then toppled forward, collapsed at Estelle’s feet.
When he rolled onto his back and stared unseeing at the ceiling, Estelle screamed. “Savion!”
He hardly looked the same person, but Estelle knew it was he. Just as she knew that the wound in his side, the one his pale, blood-covered hand failed to hide, was mortal.
Estelle tried to rush to Savion’s side, but the minstrel’s arms surrounded her and held her back. She struggled for a moment but gave up and stared in horror. He was stronger than she had thought.
“We all will die,” Savion rasped, his thin lips, now blue in color, hardly moved. His head lolled to one side so that his dead eyes seemed to stare straight at her. Nausea roiled in Estelle’s stomach and her legs gave way.
“Let us go away from here,” the minstrel said.
As much as she despised his assistance, Estelle leaned into the minstrel as he guided her to her chambers. Just before they crossed the threshold, Estelle glanced back over her shoulder and started. Savion’s body had disappeared.
Estelle sat upon the edge of her bed and gasped for breath as the minstrel shoved the door closed. How could she comprehend all that she had just witnessed? How could she bear the knowledge of it? What had the villagers’ condemned her to?
“Are you well?”
“I—I’ll be fine.”
The silence in the room was deafening. It pressed against Estelle’s chest until she couldn’t breath.
“Minstrel,” she said, “I don’t understand.”
The minstrel leaned against the window frame and watched her. His gaze was once more sympathetic but it did not bother her now.
I need him.
Estelle shoved the thought away.
“Neither do I, Estelle. Not entirely.” He sighed.
“But you do.” She straightened. This minstrel was hiding things from her. Things she desperately needed to know. Secrets she had a right to know. Secrets that might hold the key to her survival. And now, she would do anything to survive this palace of horrors. “You speak in riddles. You’re clearly acquainted with the mysteries of this place. Tell me everything, everything you know.”
“That I cannot do.”
“I don’t want to die here, Minstrel.” Estelle joined him at the window. “I want to go home.”
“I do not think you will die here.”
“Won’t I? What about the other tributes, the girls who came before me? What happened to them?” When the minstrel did not reply Estelle continued, feeling the heat of her fear igniting her passion. “Then help me escape.”
The minstrel lifted his eyebrows. “There is no escape from the Castle Lamir. Of that much, I can assure you."
Chilling reading! I don't know about the rest of you, but got the shivers. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for sharing from your work-in-progress. Looking forward to that someday when we can all sit down and read it straight through!
And now, Rebecca has offered a fabulous giveaway. She has two wonderful bookmarks to offer to a lucky winner! Take a look at these pretties . . .
If you would like a chance to win these bookmarks from this talented young author, be sure to enter your name in the drawing below. And thank Rebecca for her time and sharing today!
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cd5245/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for giving this interview! As I said before, you've got a serious knack for writing synopses, and the excerpt you shared was absolutely amazing!
And I'd love to travel to Great Britain, too! Actually, my university has a program in third year where I have the opportunity to attend Oxford--you should definitely see if any of the schools you're applying to have opportunities like that. :)
Now, the question: What is your favourite Point of View to write with?
Oh, and can't wait to hear back from you with your ideas for how we should start our critique partnership! :P
P.S. Love. Those. Bookmarks. How did you make them?
First off, can I possibly describe how much I love the front cover and title? STUNNING. It's absolutely incredible.
It's so cute you have an Australian shepherd, my family has two! And I admire the fact that you went to the midnight premiere of The Hobbit in costume! Now that's grit. I'm a huge fan as well, but I didn't manage to go in costume. What'd you dress up as?
I love, love, love that excerpt from your story! Now I have to wait how many years??? Gah! Poor Estelle. (Despite that she wouldn't want me pitying her.) And the minstrel is SO intriguing.
Wonderful work, Rebecca! I want to read your book someday! :D
Wow. Awesome! And we have to wait a few years?! I wish you the best on your journey to publication.
Do you have a blog or a website or Facebook page that we can like, bookmark, etc to keep up with your journey?
Thanks for sharing this interview with us, Ms. Stengl!
Oh my goodness I want to read it now! It's so awesome! Loved the interview as well! Can't wait to purchase this novel!
I saw the Hobbit in costume too!!! Someone made it for me :-)
NO FREAKING WAY WHY ISN'T YOUR BOOK OUT YET?? Drrg I wanna read it all now!!!
Those bookmarks look beautiful!
Do you ever get inspiration when you look at the stars?
Thank you all! I am honored to be featured on this fun blog and I'm so glad you enjoyed this glimpse of Estelle and her story. Hopefully someday in the not-to-distant-future I'll have the opportunity to share the rest of BEAUTIFUL with all of you.
Writer of Dream Things: What an opportunity to study at Oxford! I went on a mission trip to Wales this past summer and fell in love with the British countryside. As for your questions, most of my work so far has been in the third limited POV. I find that it comes most naturally. However, I have recently wanted to play around with the third omniscient, which we have all enjoyed so much in The Tales of Goldstone Wood. Most of the time I steer away from 1st person, but I do have one idea that just has to be 1st POV. Really, I don't think I have much of a choice about which POV I use. My characters usually tell me which one they prefer. :) Ms. Stengl designed the bookmark with Estelle going through the door, and I created the other one just by fooling around with some pictures I found on Pinterest.
P.S. I just emailed you!
Hannah: My friend and I went dressed as Bilbo and Frodo. I was Frodo, as he is my favorite! We were the only hobbits in the theatre; a couple of dwarves and three or four Gandalfs though. Cannot wait for the next one! I'm so glad you liked the excerpt. I still have a lot of fun scenes to write, but so far this is one of my favorites. I felt delightfully creeped out when I was writing it! :) The minstrel, believe it or not, was supposed to be just a minor character who had one scene in the first chapter. He, apparently, did not like that, so he is now a MAJOR character. Much more to come about him!
Jennette: You are so right! I don't have a blog or the like set up yet, but I should. Hopefully I can get something going here soon. I'll let you know when I do.
Hi Molly! I had never done a midnight premiere before, but it was sooo fun! Exhausting but fun. What was your costume?
I'm glad you enjoyed this excerpt. I still have a lot of work to do before I can start seeking publication, but hopefully it won't be too far away. Writing is a long hard road, but immensely satisfying.
I think that looking at the stars is one of the more inspiring activities in life. I was on a church retreat this past weekend. We were walking back to our cabin one night. It was bitterly cold, but I wanted to stay out for a long time because the stars were incredibly bright and crisp. It's been a long time since I saw the stars so clearly. I love to write scenes set at night, with stars almost always getting a mention. There's something magical and otherworldly about stars. And the moon too! Perfect for my fantasy loving heart!
I dressed as an elf, but there was only about ten or fewer people there when we went and no one else dressed up... :P
The stars and woods are my inspirations too. :-)
I was going to dress as an elf, but I chickened out. I do plan to dress up as one for the second or third installment which will feature the Mirkwood Elves. (sound of angelic choir!)
I will be reading this as soon as I can get my hands on it. Why, Anne Elisabeth? Why are you introducing such wonderful books to us when there's such little time to read! *sigh*
I am also a huge, and I do mean HUGE, fan of Phantom of the Opera. It is one of the saddest yet most enrapturing stories EVER! So is Les Mis:)
Beautiful is right up my ally in what I love in a book! Intrigue, mystery, perhaps some romance...agh! I can't wait to read it!
Oh yes, Clara, there will be plenty of intrigue, mystery, and some romance. I completely agree with your thoughts on Phantom. Actually, to pique your curiosity further, there are a number of nods to Phantom in BEAUTIFUL. If you think about it, one might say that Phantom of the Opera is a sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling just like BEAUTIFUL. But I shall say no more. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise. :)
Hey Rebecca! I feel lucky that I got a sneak peek of this at Christmas. How did you get the idea for this story?
This is soooo amazing!! Love it, love it love it!It is really quite cruel to show us the excerpt while making us wait so long for the whole thing
... and I kinda feel like I was part of your bio ;)hopefully we'll be able to make the next premiere together again =)) and every time I see a Denny's I think about the delicious Hobbit meal we had together =)
Do you watch "Once upon a time?"- i bet it would be right up your ally with the fairy tale retelling and stuff...
Anna: I got this idea after watching the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. (I happen to love this fairy tale.) Anyway, I started thinking about maybe writing a version. I asked myself, "What would the story look like if Beauty wasn't so beautiful?" That was the beginning and the story has just continued to grow from there!
Virginia: I confess, whenever I'm feeling particularly hobbit-ish, I put on my Frodo costume. I have yet to watch One Upon A Time, but I've heard good things. Sounds like I should check it out! I am currently working my way through Season 1 of Downton Abbey...
I thought I detected some Phantom/Beauty and the Beast undertones...
I sensed the Beauty and Beast tones also. (Could it have been the title?)
Recently, I've been composing my own version of that timeless tale, but my title, Savage, is rather opposite of yours! :)
I absolutely loved your interview, and the excerpt from your book was marvelous. The Minstrel intrigues me, and I really appreciate that your heroine does not conform to the standard formula for beauty. How nice to have a "Beauty and the Beast" story where the heroine has physical flaws. I also greatly appreciate that your novel features a blind character. So interested to learn more about her. I am blind myself, and any story that features a character with a physical handicap always immediately sparks my interest. Thank you.
I'm a huge Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables fan! I have every soundtrack of those shows that are available. My favorite Phantom soundtrack is the newest one, featuring Sierra Boggess and Raimin Kirumlu, ( know that spelling was abyssmal). My favorite version of Les Mis is the 10th anniversary cast with Culm Wilkinson and Philip Quast, (but each version has it's own merits). I always sing along with the soundtracks and have always dreamed of performing in one of those shows.
Anyway, keep up the outstanding work, and I'll be praying for you and your writing endeavors. Hope that you find a publisher in the not-too-distant future. God bless you.
It sounds awesome! I am writing a fantasy novel right now too, so it is nice to hear what you have to say about it.
Also, the excerpt is amazing. I would definitely read this if I saw it at the store.
Oh! Now I really want to read a book that won't be out for YEARS!!!
This is terrible.
What an amazing excerpt. I think it's so cool that you were inspired by a Disney movie! My current WIP is a Sleeping Beauty retelling that was inspired by the Disney version!
And Downton Abbey . . . I am a HUGE fan! :)
Can we follow your Pinterest???
Thanks for sharing!
What a great excerpt! So many unanswered questions. Who's the minstrel and why is is there, who is Savion, where do all the maidens disappear too, and who is she that is here?
Needless to say, along with everyone else posting, I do hope you are able to publish your story someday very soon.
Fun interview, great work! Keep it going!
P.S. I also have an Aussie, two actually.
As soon as this book is published, I'm gonna go and buy it! The part where Savion's body just disappears really intrigued me. Did he really die or is Estelle descending into madness? Is the minstrel real or just a hallucination? Now I must wait patiently for the day when I can have a copy of the book in my hands.
What a beautiful cover!
Rebecca, when you were a kid did you read fantasy? If so, what authors were your favorites?
Hannah: I think it's neat how Beauty and the Beast is such a classic tale yet each author who rewrites it tells it differently and finds something in it that others didn't. Maybe someday we'll get to enjoy your version! :)
Meredith: Thanks so much for your kind words! I'm glad you like the idea for Lucia. She was rather a spontaneous addition, and then all of a sudden she captured my heart. She will be a viewpoint character so I'm looking forward to getting to know her even better and for my future readers to become her friends as well. I'll have to look into some of these other Phantom and Les Mis soundtracks. I also love to sing along. Such beautiful music!
Bookishqueen: I'm glad you enjoyed it! Isn't writing fantasy so much fun? I too love to hear about the experiences of my fellow aspiring authors.
Lauren: Oh dear, dear, dear! I must gush! Just moments ago I finished the first season of Downton Abbey. AMAZING! Yet misery inducing... There are 31 holds for season two at my library. The waiting commences.
I do not currently have a Pinterest up and going. Terrible, I know. But my cousin has sent me an invitation so I hope to do so soon. Stay tuned!
Becky: You may be going crazy with so many questions, but that makes me smile! :) It means I'm doing my job right. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Estelle has a long journey ahead, but I promise those questions, at least, will be answered. I suppose I should go get to work on that very thing, shouldn't I?
P.S. Yay for Aussies! My dog (named Robbie) is pretty certain that he is the inspiration for all I write. I certainly couldn't do it without his encouragement .
Christa: Believe it or not, I had not planned for Savion's appearance or disappearance. I was writing away, getting ready to send this chapter to Ms. Stengl, when I thought, "I wonder what would happen if I tried this..." When Savion showed up, wounded and babbling, I was as shocked as Estelle, if not more so. Those are some of the best moments as a writer, I think. When the story whisks you to places you could have never dreamed...it's magical!
Jasmine: Credit for the cover goes to Ms. Stengl! Isn't it gorgeous? When she sent it to me, I printed it out and it is now hanging on the wall of my little writing corner in my room. It's great for inspiration.
As for your question, when I was a kid I read just about anything I could get my hands on, including fantasy. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and THE LORD OF THE RINGS will always be my favorites. During childhood I read a lot of Gail Carson Levine's retellings and more on the science fiction side Madeleine L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME. Fun stuff! In recent years I have enjoyed Karen Hancock's LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIAN KING and Megan Whalen Turner's QUEEN'S THIEF SERIES among others. I am always looking for more which this month of features has very much helped!
Oh. My. Goodness! :O This is amazing! I wish it were a real book. I would go buy it right now and read it!
Amazing storytelling. Great job, Rebecca!
What's the best part about the whole writing process to you?
Camryn: Thank so much! Ms. Stengl is a great teacher. I can't wait for you to see the rest. Actually, I just popped over to this blog before sitting down to get some writing done. I suppose I should do that so I don't keep ya'll in suspense longer than necessary. :)
Jojo: Hi! I'm glad you liked the story. It's hard for me to pick a favorite part of the process, but if I have to choose...
I love it when the story takes control. There is no effort to the writing; I'm not even thinking about what I'm typing. It just comes. The story whisks me away, surprises me, shocks me, transports me into the world of my characters. I forget that I'm actually in my bedroom or at the library; I feel like I'm walking the halls of the Castle Lamir with Estelle and the minstrel. That's often the source of my best work, when I let go and just go along for the ride!
What drives you to write? What truly makes you write from your heart?
Interviews are always fun, and I enjoyed reading this one.
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