Welcome to Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl
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. Heartless won a 2011 Christy Award.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Starflower has it all: danger, intrigue, mystery, curses, broken enchantments, a dashing hero, a strong heroine . . . and a touch of fairy tale romance!
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I am currently writing more books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. Book 5, Dragonwitch, will be releasing from Bethany House Publishers summer of 2013. It picks up where Starflower leaves off and continues to expand upon the world I’m creating. I’m in the middle of drafting Book 6, and I hope to continue writing many more stories in this series, both novels and, possibly, short stories as well. It’s a big world with endless possibilities I would love to explore!
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I have always loved to tell stories. My mother is an award-winning, multi-published author in the CBA market, and I grew up watching her develop her career . . . so professional writing always seemed very possible to me. I wrote my first “novel” when I was nine years old, and have been seriously pursuing my passion ever since! I studied English Literature in college, figuring I should learn how the great writers did what they did if I ever wanted to follow in their footsteps. Then, with the Goldstone Wood series burning in my heart, I wrote my first novel, Heartless, the summer after finishing college. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I have twice been honored with Christy Awards, which has been very rewarding. My husband and I had the fun of traveling first to Atlanta then to Orlando for the awards banquets! In 2011, my first novel, Heartless, won in the debut category, which totally surprised me. My competitors were a cancer drama and a nostalgic baseball story . . . neither of them books I thought my little fairy tale could beat! The next year, my second novel, Veiled Rose, won in the Visionary category against powerhouse authors Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, again taking me by surprise. I felt affirmed in my work and encouraged that I am writing what I am meant to write with this particular series.
But I must say, still more rewarding than both of these awards (as exciting and glamorous as those occasions were) has been all the lovely fan mail I’ve received. I love my fans! They write to me with questions about the series and characters; they write to me about their favorite passages and lines; they write to me about their own writing dreams and aspirations; they write to me because they recognize a fellow fairy-tale fanatic when they read one! I love hearing from them every time (and I do try to respond to all of them, time permitting!)
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
If you want to write, you have to read! And read, and read, and read. Read what you love and study why you loved it. Read what you don’t particularly like and pick out why other people might love it. Read the classics . . . read the popular favorites of our day . . . just read!
What is your favorite Quote?
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?” (Robert Browning, “Andrea del Sarto”)
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
I adore Sir Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame. My favorite of his novels is not even a Discworld book . . . I love his standalone alternate-reality historical, Nation. It’s a stunning work of drama, humor, relationships, danger, and just great, great fun! I recommend it every chance I get!
I also love C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, and Megan Whalen Turner . . . fairy tale and fantasy authors, both classic and modern! All of them are wonderful and incredible inspirations.
Plenty of them! My big brother calls me “Animal.” My little brother calls me “Nanny” or “Ninny” depending on his mood. My mother calls me “Analyze-abeth” due to my tendency to over-think everything. My father calls me “Wee Chick.” My friends call me “A&E.” And my husband has recently taken it into to his head to call me “Sweetieheartpiekins.” Nope, I’m not kidding. I think it’s tongue-in-cheek?
Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.
I rise at seven, put on my slippers, and step out the bedroom door to be immediately swarmed by starving cats. My husband and I own four cats, plus we foster homeless kittens until they can be placed in homes . . . so currently there are six. Earlier this summer there were twelve. Morning feeding times were dangerous! I feed the various beasts (including my one long-suffering dog), then proceed to put together a lunch for my hardworking husband (including his daily apple, carrot, and banana. We believe in lots of fresh fruits and veggies in this house!).
I kiss and send Husband out the door by 7:30 . . . and that’s when I sit down to work! I try to open up my current manuscript right away, though sometimes there’s a backlog of emails that must be dealt with first. I write away in a happy daze until about noon, when I take a break to do some basic housecleaning (with foster cats swarming the house, vacuuming is not a chore . . . it’s a way of life).
I spend my afternoons writing blog posts or interviews (such as this one!) and various marketing-related activities. These days, afternoons are also devoted to my editing clients; this is fun, because I get to experience so many interesting manuscripts in various stages of development!
In the evenings I scramble last-minute to shower and clean up so as to pretend to my husband (and the world) that I don’t really sit around all day in my PJs with my hair in a knot on top of my head! I am blessed to be married to an EXCELLENT cook, so while I usually make dinner, many evenings of the week I just sit back and put my feet up while my handsome man prepares culinary delights (Feta cheese and pulled chicken stuffed crepes with basil-tomato sauce? Yes, please!)
After dinner, handsome and I like to walk the long-suffering dog, read out loud together, or catch up on our various favorite TV shows. When it’s time for bed, he falls asleep in about two seconds . . . but it takes me longer to turn off my brain! So that’s when I get most of my pleasure-reading in. I read until I fall asleep. These days, I’m reading a Jasper Fforde dystopian comedy . . . it makes me laugh out loud, and it’s a good thing my husband is a heavy sleeper, or I’d wake him right up!
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
My roommate at the time was so excited about my first sale, she suggested we go to the ballet! So that’s what we did . . . we dressed up in semi-formal gowns, did our hair and makeup as fancy as we knew how, and we went to the ballet. We saw a performance of a Tolstoy short-story set to the music of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata . . . it was all very dramatic and culminated in a stage-murder. What better way to celebrate?
Thank you for having me on your lovely blog! And I hope all of you will get a chance to pick up my newest release, Starflower, and enjoy Eanrin and Starflower’s adventures!
Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
“Readers will enjoy this romantic adventure story…akin to C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series.”–Booklist
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?
Autographed print copy of Starflower along with fun extras like bookmarks, pencils, etc.