Monday, July 1, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the award-winning author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style.

She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HeartlessVeiled RoseMoonblood, and Starflower, with Dragonwitch releasing in July 2013. Her books are popular with adults and young adults alike. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award.

When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She is married to the handsome man she met at fencing class, Rohan, and lives with him, a gaggle of cats, and one long-suffering dog in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The following is a July 2013 interview with Anne Elisabeth.


Be in to win one copy of Dragonwitch

Giveaway open to entrants worldwide.

Contest runs from July 1 - 7 NZDT

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! I am Anne Elisabeth, a lover of Fairy Tales, cats, Sri Lankan teas, classical piano, fuzzy socks, and classic literature.

I met my handsome husband, the ever-so-dashing Rohan de Silva, at fencing class, where I was researching for certain scenes in Heartless. I “stabbed” him at a tournament, we fell in love, and were married within seven months. Rohan has introduced me to the glories of Sri Lankan tea (see above), and I have introduced him to cats. We have a current cat-count of five: Lord Marmaduke Chuffnel, Minerva Louise, Magrat Garlic, Monster Boots, and Makoose the Moose. Add to that is our long-suffering dog, Milly, making for rather a furry household.

My novels include Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and the up-coming Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower is now nominated for the 2013 Christy Award in the Visionary category.

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I have wanted to write novels for as long as I can remember. I was about nine years old when I wrote my first “novel,” an eight-chapter adventure story about a cat named Berry and his search for a home of his own. I loved coming up with characters and predicaments! It was so much fun, and I never stopped writing.

I wrote my debut novel, Heartless, the summer after I left college, found an agent for it a year later, and sold it the year after that. From that point on, I’ve been busy writing professionally.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

I love the opportunity Christian fiction provides to present the truth of God’s grace without the context of a sermon. Through stories that resonate with people’s hearts and imaginations, storytellers have the chance to tell of their beliefs in ways that truly matter. Stories don’t simply inform; they live and breathe and demonstrate truth in compelling scenarios through characters who become like friends. Fiction is a wonderful platform for anyone to express her or his heart to others.

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

My stories are all ultimately tales of undeserved grace. Each of my protagonists is deeply flawed, and those flaws are as much or more their enemies as any outside antagonist. But grace is always offered them in the end . . . though not all choose to accept it.

I want my readers to walk away with a reassurance of God’s love for them, not as perfected individuals, but as flawed children in desperate need of love. Love which will always be extended, no matter how undeserving the recipient.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

I received a note from a girl recently who told me she had been struggling to believe in love. Not romantic love, but unselfish true love. She felt she was just going through the motions of loving those around her, and she didn’t believe that she could be truly loved. But my novel Starflower came to her during this struggle and spoke to her in her need. I was so blessed to learn that God had used my work to encourage this young woman. Not to solve all of her problems, but simply to speak hope and grace into her life during her struggles. This letter and others like it also serve to encourage me in my own work.

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

I believe that my writing is the truest form of worship I can express. I write to the glory of God, and when I write, I know it gives Him pleasure. I am never nearer to God than when I am intently working on a story.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?
I am working on developing an editing business, working with other aspiring novelists. I love interacting with my writing students, encouraging them in their storytelling abilities and helping them to grow. I hope to see many of these students become successful novelists in their own right someday.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I read a lot, and I play the piano. My husband and I love to go jazz dancing downtown upon occasion. We do animal rescue work as well: I take in wild kittens, tame them, and find them new homes. This takes a lot of time, but I really enjoy it. I also draw and paint when I get a chance. Later this year, my first illustrated story will be releasing, and I look forward to sharing it with all of my fans!

What can you tell us about your latest novels?

My upcoming release, Dragonwitch, is book 5 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood. It picks up approximately 100 years after book 4, Starflower, and introduces us to a new cast of protagonists. But there are carryover storylines as well, for all of the books in this series are intricately connected to one another. Readers of Starflower will be interested to learn the full story and final fate of the dreadful Dragonwitch . . . not to mention the continued storylines of fan-favorite characters Sir Eanrin and Dame Imraldera.


Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch? 
Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet the future King of the North Country and a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves.

But within the walls of his castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair. 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 entire nation.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a flame burns atop the Citadel of the Living Fire. 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 hero who can wield it.

Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood #1)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Veiled Rose (Tales of Goldstone Wood #2)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

MoonBlood (Tales of Goldstone Wood #3)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

StarFlower (Tales of Goldstone Wood #4)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

DragonWitch (Tales of Goldstone Wood #5)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Shadow Hand (Tales of Goldstone Wood #6)

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

As I mentioned above, I have an illustrated story coming out later this year, though I’m not going to talk about that one too much just yet! News on it will be available soon. 

Coming spring 2014 is book 6 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood, Shadow Hand, which I am very excited about indeed! It will include a number of favorite characters from the previous books, though it weaves an exciting new story all on its own.

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?
A warm hello to all of you worldwide readers! I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to connect with you through the world of fiction!

Do you have any parting words?

I love to interact with my fans. Do please come visit me on my blog. I often have fun contests and giveaways going. From June-December, I am running an exciting creative writing competition, and I encourage all of you to check it out and consider entering your own stories!

And, of course, I hope all of you will take the time to pick up the Tales of Goldstone Wood and enjoy some fairy tale adventure.

Buy Anne Elisabeth's Books at The Book Depository

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Read Previous Featured Author Interviews


Be in to win one copy of Dragonwitch
Giveaway open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from July 1 - 7 NZDT

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