Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hey! Thanks for dropping by the tour for Starflower! I was on the book blast two days ago and that was really awesome! This is a bit more than that though...I've got a LOVELY interview with this spiffy author! And another giveaway! WOOOOHOOOO right?

Published: 11.1.12 by Bethany House
Pages: 400

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission...and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?
Sounds  AWESOME right? And guess what the good news is?! You can read this one before her other trilogy! Because it's a prequel! YAY right? Of course right! Now let's meet Anne and then I have a totally rad interview with her! Keep reading! 

-About Anne, The Author, Herself-
Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, and STARFLOWER, with DRAGONWITCH due to release in 2013. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.
-An Interview With Anne-
Your book Starflower is a prequel to your Golden Wood trilogy. Was there anything that made you decide to prequel the trilogy?
While Starflower is a prequel to the first three novels in my series, it is actually a story that I have been working on since long before the others. I had my first ideas for Starflower back in high school, and I even wrote a short story version of it for a college creative writing class. But I always found the themes rather too large and the basic story too unwieldy for my skill-level, so I shelved it for quite a while.

Heartless is a much simpler story than Starflower, and it gave me some great experience, not to mention an entry into my professional writing career. I went on to write two sequels to Heartless, each one a little more complex than the one before. But Starflower and the other older stories of my world were always very close in my heart. Indeed, you will find numerous references to Starflower in those first three novels, because it was always my hope to go back and write it in full.

So, when the first three were complete and I began talking about the next contract with my publisher, Starflower immediately leaped to mind! I was thrilled to finally be able to write this story I had been longing to tell for years.

What has been the best memory so far in the whole time you've seen books out with readers?
Since my career began, I have been honored with two major literary awards. I won the Christy Award for Debut Novel in 2011, and the Christy Award for Visionary Novel in 2012. Both of those occasions were incredibly exciting! My husband and I traveled first to Atlanta then to Orlando for the awards banquets, and each time I had to prepare an acceptance speech even though I didn't know if my book would win. Both years I was up against some amazing competition, particularly the second year when Veiled Rose was up against works by powerhouse authors Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, and James L. Rubart. Learning that I had won was a complete surprise both years . . . and such a thrill! When I asked my husband this year what his favorite memory of 2012 was, he immediately said the awards banquet when I won the Christy. So I think it's safe to say that is one of my favorite memories too!

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever gotten?
Never be too attached to any one part of your novel. If a scene, character, or plot twist is holding back the rest of the story, it must go . . . no matter how much you might like it! I have to relearn this every time I write a book, but every time it is such a valuable lesson!

Do you have a favorite character in your books?
I adore Eanrin, the hero of Starflower. He is the one character who makes at least a cameo appearance in every one of the novels in my series, just because I love him so much! He is a shape-shifting Faerie who often appears as an orange cat . . . and like a cat, he is so full of himself! But he's got a good heart down beneath all that arrogance, and he's surprisingly courageous and noble in a pinch. He's a character who can always take me by surprise, and I just love writing any scene that features him. He's also been proven the fan favorite! I've received more fan mail about Eanrin than any two other characters combined.

Describe your book in 5 words.
Romantic, fairy tale, adventure, mystery.

Hardest part of the writing process for you?
Beginnings are always the hardest part for me. I can have a story beautifully plotted out in my head, but finding out exactlywhere to begin is such a hassle! Most of my novels have had as many as five different openings, some of these up to 40,000 words long. It can get really discouraging, and I find the bulk of my writing time is spent coming up with the right opening. However, once I find the right place to begin a novel, I can draft the rest of it in about two months!

If Eanrin hadn't been named Eanrin , what would his name be?
Eanrin is loosely based off a character in Gaelic legend, Eisirt, the chief poet of King Iubdan of the Little People. I almostkept the name Eisirt, but decided that Eanrin was a little easier to read. It also means "handsome," which seems appropriate for my dashing poet-cat.

Most important thing for you in a strong Love Interest?
I always think less is more in a fictional Love Interest. In fact, I really love to be surprised by a romance! Most love interests are so beat-it-over-your-head obvious from the start. We are inundated with descriptions of his/her hotness, and we know from the first page who is going to end up with whom. But for me, a really great Love Interest is the unexpected one! I adore Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle, because you really don’t see that romance coming until VERY late in the story . . . but you're wanting it to happen all along, so it's much more satisfying. The same is true for Megan Whalen Turner's fabulous Queen of Attolia and most of my favorite YA novels. So I always try to keep an element of the unexpected in any Love Interest I write.

You're stranded on a desert island with one book. What is it?
My Norton Anthology of English Literature. That should keep me entertained for a nice loooooooong time! Lots of great works in there, and I'm a sucker for the classics.

What is your favorite kind of scene to write? (ie. Death , Kissing, Action...)
I love to write a dark and suspenseful action scene. Climaxes are always my favorite bits to write in my stories because they are usually both action-packed and highly emotional! After all the build up to that key moment, writing those final scenes is incredibly gratifying. I often find myself breathless when I come to the end of a climax.

What is one of the first things you do to get your know your character a little more?
I really like to write about my characters when they are children. Even if scenes from childhood do not end up in the novel itself, I always feel like it's worthwhile to write an exercise or two about the main characters as children. Children are so honest compared to adults. They just are who they are, good, bad, ugly. Their emotions are as passionate as those of adults, but they have no motivation to hide or disguise themselves. Even with villains (especially with villains) I find it very interesting to take a moment to explore what they were like in their childhood. It's really quite wonderful, and I recommend it to writers seeking to get to know their characters!

Is there something you want readers to take away from your books?
All of my books are ultimately stories about undeserved grace. Starflower is no exception. We see the theme of undeserved grace over and over again with all the different characters. We see some characters trying to earn grace and failing . . . and we see others being offered grace and refusing. But ultimately we see that the beauty of grace is that it can never be earned and is only worthwhile when it is offered freely to the undeserving.

Candy Corn or Candy Canes?
Candy canes . . . preferably hooked over a mug of hot chocolate!

Pizza or Hamburgers?
Hamburgers. With cheese, please.

Avengers or the Fellowship?
Fellowship . . . though I do love me some superheroes too!

Online or Mall shopping??
Online. Malls are fun with girlfriends, but otherwise I like to shop from the comfort of my study.
-The Spiffy Giveaway-
Don't miss this giveaway! (I wasn't informed of any other than this one from the Book Blast, so here it is!) I hope you all had fun today! I do have a review copy, that I didn't have time to get to before this so keep an eye out for that to come! HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!

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