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, with DRAGONWITCH due to release in 2013. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” -- Robert Browning
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I am very proud every time I write "The End" on a manuscript. Each novel I write is a herculean effort for me . . . one I should not be able to accomplish without the tremendous support of my family and dear ones, particularly my beloved husband and my lovely mother. But in the end, each novel is a battle, and each complete manuscript a victory!
What is your favorite color? I love all shades of blue and aqua. Which is great, since most of my book covers have had a heavily blue emphasis!
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Anywhere my husband, Rohan, is will always be my favorite place. He is home to me.
When and why did you begin writing? I started writing when I was quite young. I always had a burning urge to create stories and characters. I wrote my first "novel" when I was about nine years old, an eight-chapter adventure story about a kitty who wanted a home of his own. I just loved the whole process of making that story come to life, and I've been hooked ever since!
What genre are you most comfortable writing? I love writing YA fantasy. I believe I was born for this genre! It's also my favorite to read, so it's no wonder I love to write it.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? For me, the most challenging part is always the beginning. It takes me forever to find the right way to begin a story. Sometimes I'll write as many as five or six different openings, each of them up to 40,000 words long. That's half a novel! It can get very frustrating. But when I find the right opening, I can usually draft the rest of the novel in about two months. It's a process! Not a great one, but my own . . . .
Have you developed a specific writing style? I have worked to achieve a distinctive voice in my field by using the omniscient narrative. This creates an effect of "old fairy tales," but I try to keep it fresh and up-to-date with a wry sense of humor thrown into the mix. Some people have had difficulty with the omniscient narrative, which isn't as commonly used in modern fiction. But I feel it is the best way to tell a fairy tale story with that deceptive blend of simplicity and complexity. I simply could not achieve what I want with a strict third-person narrative! It would be very flat and dull.
How important do you think villains are in a story? As important as the heroes. If you don't have a compelling nemesis, you don't have a compelling story! Villains need to be as interesting and as complex as the heroes, or even more so. I often find myself deeply sympathizing with the villains of my stories. Several of my novels have been written from a pure need to more deeply explore the villain of a previous book, turning him/her into the primary character.
Have you started another book yet? I have already written two more novels since Starflower. Book 5 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood, Dragonwitch, will be releasing next summer. Book 6, as yet untitled, will release spring 2014. And there are always more stories brewing! I'm currently taking a break of about a month to catch up on editing and marketing work . . . but I hope to start drafting a new novel this January!
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?