Saturday, November 17, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Anne Elisabeth Stengl!

Welcome, Anne Elisabeth! I’m so glad you were able to make it today to talk about your newest book, Starflower. First though, could you please give us a short auto-biography?

Hi! I am Anne Elisabeth, a lover of Fairy Tales, cats, Sri Lankan teas, classical piano, fuzzy socks, and classic literature. I'm also the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style. I live with my handsome husband, a gaggle of cats, and one long-suffering dog in Raleigh, NC. My novels include Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower. Both Heartless and Veiled Rose have been honored with a Christy Award.

I love that autobiography. Please tell us a little bit about the plot of Starflower, your newest book.
Starflower is a fairy tale that tells the story of immortal Faerie poet, Eanrin, and a mortal maiden, Starflower, who is cursed to silence. An unlikely pair, these two join forces to rescue Eanrin' ladylove from the evil Dragonwitch . . . but Eanrin soon discovers that Starflower is involved in an adventure far darker and more dangerous than he ever imagined. Will he choose to help her as she has helped him? Or will he abandon her to her fate?

What gave you the idea, or inspired you to write Starflower?

You know, I had the original idea for Starflower back when I was in high school, and I don't exactly remember what first sparked it! I think it was at least partially inspired from a scene in George MacDonald's very strange book Phantastes, in which the protagonist of that story sees a village offering sacrifices to a mysterious dark god. The scene was chilling, and it definitely inspired aspects of Starflower later on!

The story is also based off the classic Fairy Tale motif of Maiden and Wolf . . . a motif so ingrained in our imaginations from the time we are children, it feels totally natural to us. As though these two--like Red Riding Hood and her wolf--are destined forever to be pitted against one another. Starflower is my own contribution!

George MacDonald is a great author, and I've read several books by him, but not that one. How long did it take you to write Starflower?

Many years if you count from the time I had my first ideas for the project! I was seventeen then,
and I didn't write the novel until I was twenty-four. But when I sat down to actually write the
novel itself, it took about eight months from beginning to end. The hardest thing for me was
figuring out where to start it! I tried many different openings before I finally hit on one that
worked. But once I found the right opening, the rest of the story fell into place very quickly.

I've always found opening hard. :P What is the biggest thing you’d like a reader to take away from Starflower?

Starflower is a story about different kinds of love: romantic love, friendship love, self-love,
mother love, dangerous love, destructive love, redeeming love. My hope is that readers will
come to the end of the story with the knowledge that the truest, deepest form of love is gracious love, which is entirely undeserved, but stronger than life or death.

Wow. I love that. There are a lot of different types of love portrayed in Starflower! If Starflower was being made into a movie, which actors would you like to take the main characters?

Starflower herself would be played by Shay Mitchell, who has a lovely combination of exotic  elegance and youthful charm.
Eanrin would have to be a young Jude Law, who is very good-looking and altogether too aware of it for his own good. LOL

Glomar of the guard would be played by Chris Hemsworth, and Lady Gleamdren would be Amanda Seyfried, who has the perfect otherworldly impishness.

I can't think of good casting for everyone else . . . Who would you cast for the main characters?

Gotta admit, as soon as I saw your pictures of each of these...the actors for Gleamdren and Eanrin are absolutely amazingly perfect. Readers, any ideas? :) Is there any special story about the cover?

Not really . . . I sent in a variety of images for the art team at Bethany House Publishing to use as inspiration, not one of which was even half as beautiful as what they come up with! When I opened the file to see the cover for the first time, I was totally breath-taken. It captures the mood of all the old fairy tales I loved as a child, while remaining perfectly true to the story. The only complaint I had about it was that there was no sense of menace. It's just perfectly beautiful without any threat. But really, I don't know that I'd want to add anything scary to that image . . . it wouldn't be as beautiful then.

You have a new book coming out in summer 2013 called Dragonwitch. Am I right in
thinking it goes right along with the other “Tales of Goldstone Wood”? Would you like to
tell us a bit about it?

Yes, Dragonwitch picks up where Starflower leaves off . . . but I can't say too much more without giving away spoilers! Here is the back cover description, though:

Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves--Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta's tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice . . . and for the one person who can wield it.

And you can always visit the Dragonwitch book page for more details (http:// I'll be posting sneak peeks and other juicy tidbits over the next
few months before the book releases!

Oh wow. I just pulled up that website, and I love the cover! Amazing. I would want to read the book just based on that! Your biggest fan and supporter is . . .

That's a tie! My TWO biggest fans and supporters are . . .

My wonderful mother, Jill Stengl (an award-winning author in her own right). I email her every chapter of my rough drafts as I write them, and she sends back encouraging comments and (sometimes) critiques. She also copy-edits my manuscripts so that they're nice and clean when I send them to my editors, and she is always willing to brainstorm over the phone with me.

My darling husband, Rohan. Aside from being willing to take over the laundry and the cooking when I'm on a crazy deadline, Rohan has contributed in innumerable ways to the stories themselves. He designed and sketched out a castle for me to use when I was writing Dragonwitch, and he's written poetry, assisted with plot twists, and named characters. He is my hero.

I admit, I like your husband's name! Reminds me of Lord of the Rings, which I love. :) If you could live in any time period, which time period would it be?

I have to admit, I'm pretty glad to live in this time period! I'm a big fan of indoor plumbing . . . Otherwise, I suppose I wouldn't mind the 1920's or 30's. Love the styles back then, and the music was awfully fun.

Is there a random fact about you that most people don’t know?

I met my husband at fencing class. I was researching fencing for my first novel, Heartless, and Rohan was studying it at the same club. We dueled in a tournament (I won!), and he asked me out the next week. Seven months later, we were happily married. It was all very swashbuckler!

Oh. My. Word. Love it! What are you currently reading?

I am actually reading Catherine Marshall's Christy for the first time in many years. I have been honored with two Christy Awards for my debut and sophomore novels, and I figured I should probably re-read the book for which the award was named.

Which of your book covers is your favorite?

Oh, dear. That's a tough one. I think I'll say Starflower for now since I just got my copies in the
mail and was so thrilled with how beautifully it turned out. But I really do love them all. They're
each so different and so well-suited to the individual stories. Which one do you like best?

That's tough. At the moment, Dragonwitch. With Starflower a close second. Readers, how about you? Anne Elisabeth, what is one thing you dread doing?

Scooping litter boxes . . . twice a day. But we foster rescue kittens and have four cats of our own,
so litter boxes are a (dreadful) fact of life in this household.

Thanks so much for coming, Anne Elisabeth! Where can fans find you on the internet?

Please do like me on facebook under my name, Anne Elisabeth Stengl (author). That's a great
way to keep track of all the various doings of Goldstone Wood. You can also follow my blog,, or find me at Twitter under AnneElisabeth Stengl . . . though
I'm still a Twitter newbie, so you'll have to bear with me on that!

Each of my novels has its own blog page full of sneak peeks, fan art, amusing anecdotes, and
more. You can find links to those via my regular blog.

Thank you for having me on your lovely blog, Charity. These were some particularly fun
questions for me!

And that interview was the most fun I've had in a long time! Thanks again for coming! 

Now, guess what, readers? Anne Elisabeth has offered us a copy of Starflower...which means one of you lucky ones will win it! Read this excerpt and see if you're interested...

The girl did not stir when Eanrin lifted her into his arms; her sleep was profound indeed. Her head lolled over his arm, and he was obliged to part her thick hair to uncover her face. It was an uncommonly beautiful face for a mortal.

However, this girl’s beauty was different from any he had ever before seen. For one thing, her skin was rich dark brown, and her hair glossy black. For another, she was imperfect. Her teeth, visible between gently parted lips, were a little crooked. Mud stained her skin, making it darker still, and her brow, even in sleep, was puckered with anxiety or fear. Her dreams must be wicked indeed.

Eanrin grimaced at the sight and almost put her down again. After all, a princess with dreams like those probably had a tale of woe to match. She would certainly wake with expectations of a handsome hero to aid her. As far as Eanrin was concerned, a dash of heroism was one thing, but commitment to a cause? Never. Rushing off to the rescue of Lady Gleamdren was different, for he had determined that she must be his wife and the sole inspiration to his life’s work. Besides, he loved her.

This creature meant nothing to him.

But blood oozed from the abrasions on her wrists. And her body, mortal and vulnerable, lay in his arms. Eanrin rolled his eyes heavenward as though to seek some holy aid. Then he braced himself and wiped the mud off her lips with the edge of his cloak. She frowned in her sleep and stirred, but did not wake.

“Nothing for it,” he muttered. Closing his eyes and trying not to smell her any more than he must, he leaned in and kissed her . . .


But you'll have to pick up Starflower to see what happens from there!

Wanna win? Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below. And remember, this is my first time to use Rafflecopter, so if it's not quite right...sorry. Or, get it faster and just buy it above. :)

If you enter this, you'll be entering to win Starflower along with a few special extras -- you'll find out what if you win. :) Now go ahead and good luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jemimah C. said...

Haven't read anything from Anne Elizabeth Stengl, but from this interview, I'm convinced I should try one of her books some day.

I actually like the cover of her upcoming book Dragonwitch best. There's just something about it that makes it so intriguing!

Bluerose said...

I've read all of the books in this series, and have them all on my keeper shelf! LOVE them! (I entered for this one hoping it's signed? ;) If I were to win, I'd pass my current copy on to someone else.)

My favorite cover is Starflower, which isn't saying much because I really like them all! It just looks more fairy-tale-ish.

I wish I'd saw the picked actors before I read Starflower!! PERFECT!

Ella said...

I've read the first three book in the Goldstone Wood series and loved them.They made me life and cry:)

Ella said...

I don't have a favorite book out of the series (they are all good),but my favorite cover is Heartless's cover.

Elizabeth said...

I don't know why my comment showed up as anonymous. But here is my name

Elizabeth said...

I have read her book Heartless(I loved it and read it twice!). I didn't know that she had written any others!

(you can get rid of my other comment I was getting confused LOL)

Bookishqueen said...

Of Stengl's books, I have read Heartless and my favorite cover is Starflower.

Bookishqueen said...

I have read Stengl's Heartless and my favorite cover is Starflower.

Jan said...

I am a new follower. Your site is beautiful. Love all things Jane Austen.

Kara said...

LOVED the interview, Charity U! As always you do such a fabulous job with the visuals :) I'm not entering, but wanted to to say hi and let you know I included the link to your blog in my review and giveaway of Starflower (my casting choices).

Such a great idea deciding which actors would play the characters and I truly enjoyed getting to know Anne Elisabeth in this interview!

Moonblood and Starflower are my fave covers, but each book draws you in with the unique covers :)
Blessings Charity U!

Margaret Literary Chanteuse said...

I haven't yet but would love to.

Becky said...

I haven't actually read Anne Elisabeth Stengl's books, but I have had all four read aloud to me by my daughter, who reads each character with their own dramatic and unique voice!. I absolutely love this series, and the heart of Ms. Stengl that shines through with such powerful messages.

All the covers are great, but my number 1 is Heartless (Una's reflection in the eye of the dragon is so telling, and could be any one of us!), and 2. Dragonwitch (so beautifully powerful and intriguing!)

kitkabbit said...

I love all of Anne's books so far- and am glad that I discovered her this year!

Beth said...

I have read Heartless & thoroughly enjoyed it!

As for a favorite cover, I would say Starflower.

Thanks for the chance to win!


Hamlette said...

What a great interview! When I get published one day, I definitely want to be interviewed by you :-)

Anyway, since Chris Hemsworth is the casting choice for a character in "Starflower," I totally have to read it now. Hoping I win!

Emily Bennett said...

My favorite cover is definitely Heartless; and so far I've read Heartless and Veiled Rose, and I'm really hoping that I'll get Moonblood for Christmas. :)

Panda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Panda said...

What a great interview! I've read "Heartless", "Veiled Rose", and "Moonblood", and can't wait to get my hands on this book in some way or another. Right now, I'm just doing my best to avoid spoilers. ;)

My favorite of the covers is the "Heartless" cover. There is something so mesmerizing about the reflection in the dragon's eye!

Rosie said...

Great interview!! Thanks for the giveaway!