Thursday, August 1, 2013

Today We Welcome....

...My dear friend Elizabeth Ender, also known as Katherine Sophia.  She is here to promote the release of her debut book, Ransomed.

I've been privileged to read some of Elizabeth's writing and it is beautiful.  While I haven't read Ransomed yet, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.  You don't want to miss it!!

Today, I asked Elizabeth to talk about what genres she writes in and what she likes and dislikes about writing in each genre.

So without further ado....




When I was little, my imagination majored in historical fiction. Every night as I went to sleep I would jump to my story's next scene, where burning cabins, riverboat accidents, and Indian raids featured prominently. I'm pretty sure even the Lone Ranger made an appearance at one point! With Tonto actually being a real character, unlike some versions of that story. ;)

As might be obvious just from that, my siblings and I watched a lot of Westerns - the old, good ones, where the only negative elements were randomly inserted (and generally rather cheesy) song-and-dance routines, and of course, the relegation of Tonto to background. :P It makes sense then, that the first novel(la) I ever finished was a Western. The second, which started appropriately enough after church one Sunday as a story to keep my siblings occupied, was Biblical historical fiction. Upon finishing that one, I started a sequel to my first Western. That was my genre, and I was sticking to it.

Then one day, sitting in lecture, I scribbled down a sentence somewhere in my notes.

A single moment…so short a time. So few the events spanned by such a small space...Yet the happenings of a moment can change the course of history.

And that moment changed everything. :D The following are the genres I have written in, am writing in, and will probably continue writing in - though I make no predictions as to which one my next story will be. :)

Historical Fiction
My Western Series - which includes some variation on the titles
Will Arrington
The Star Packer
Some Trust in Chariots
Summer of the Gunfighter

and another which has not yet been named. :)

What I like best:
I've always loved that time period of American history, I've read/watched enough of it that I'm comfortable writing it, and by now I know these particular characters so well writing their stories is like visiting with old friends. They're fairly easy stories to write, even though I seem to find myself dealing with the strangest questions, from when is it acceptable for a Christian to use violence to prejudice and how an interracial relationship (or four, actually) could work in the Old West.

What I like least:
This isn't necessarily a criticism of the genre as it is of myself - because I started this series when I was 15, the beginning wretchedly screams new author. I thought it was awesome at the time, of course, but am now having to deal with how exactly I would have to rewrite it all to make it a decent story. *sigh*

What I like least about the Western genre itself…well, I've fixed that. My westerns are not typical westerns. They're not exactly prairie romances (gah, I somehow managed to fit torture into at least one of them), nor are they all filled with typical western bad guys, though The Star Packer and Summer of the Gunfighter do deal with Apaches and outlaws. I think the fifth book will deal more with things like Custer, Indian boarding schools, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

Some Trust in Chariots, however, makes use of two European villains, and Will Arrington involves not just orphan trains, gambling rings, and beyond irritating school masters, but several trips to Europe and India, among other places. (I actually wanted to make Will Arrington meet Amy Carmichael, but the dates were some 20-30 years off. :P)

Biblical Fiction
The Jeweled Dagger

What I like best:
It was fun. :D And I can never read the book of 2nd  Kings in the same way again. XD I enjoyed exploring ancient cultures, though it was a bit disconcerting to realize I had to delete the sections discussing how one of the MC's saddled his horse, since saddles probably had not yet been invented in that area of the world!

What I like least:
It's a bit nerve-wracking to play with real people - particularly real people in the Bible. While I hadn't struggled THAT much with time-period feelings/ideas in my westerns, I had - and am having, as I revise - a hard time making sure I am not putting 21st century ideals into the heads of people living in 600-something B.C.

Historical Fantasy
My Faith-Hope-Love series:
Faith Through Flames
And it was Love
Hope Sprang Up


What I like best:
The ability to create entire countries and cultures and histories without worrying about what was actually happening in the world at that time or how I could bring a certain royal family into a story, etc. :) It's not that I have to do any less research, but I can use my research in any way I choose, rather than having to stick to an already established timeline and setting.

What I like least:
It's complicated! XD Especially because I'm writing a trilogy set in the same made-up world. Trying to keep track of all the different royal families, of the different wars and alliances and betrayals and how each army fights…It can be difficult. :)

Fairy Tale
(retelling)
Tam Lyn (or at least that's what I'm calling it right now :)

What I like best:
I have the basic outline of the story right there. I know how it's technically supposed to go, and when I'm at a loss I can always just pull in more elements from the original.

What I like least:
Well, for one thing, I didn't like the original fairy tale. :P I did think it had some very cool story elements in it, however, and thus got started on it. Having that outline does make things a bit difficult though, when certain characters start changing from who they were supposed to be into someone else entirely and then throw a wrench into the entire plot.

Realistic Fiction/Mystery
The Sons of Bretton Meyrick
Inspired by two western songs, this story combined a historical fantasy I wanted to write and a modern-day story which I did not expect to write at all. Talk about genre crossing. :D

What I like best:
That it's modern. I can finally put together a story about people who listen to Josh Groban and have conceal and carry permits and wear high heels and like writing novels and riding motorcycles and are in college or medical school…I can also stay after class and ask my teachers about doing CPR/using an AED machine on someone who was just shot in the chest and has a punctured lung. (Heheh, and still get certified in both, despite my strange questions… XD)

What I like least:
That it's modern. :) Sure, I was born in the 1990's, wear high heels and listen to Josh Groban at times, and even took college classes, but for one thing, I was homeschooled, and for another, I've never particularly been a part of mainstream American culture.

Writing about four brothers who went to public school and had a semi-abusive father who abandoned them is therefore a bit more difficult. With fantasy or even historical fiction - nobody was around then. As long as I do my research, I don't have to worry about someone saying, This isn't how it was! With this…I admit I am afraid of someone reading it and going, No way would these guys act like this. :P

Also a problem is the fact that I've been doing so much studying of other cultures, particularly ones where people deal with emotions rather differently than I've seen in the US, I'm feeling less prepared than usual to keep it realistic. Case in point: the fight I am currently having with making the brothers a) talk out their emotions and b) make up afterwards. I want them to hug and be happy; they're acting like I'm suggesting they crawl through a Florida swamp barefoot. Actually, I think they'd enjoy that more. :P


Fantasy
StarDusk
(which I am hoping will turn into a trilogy - I have an idea for at least one sequel right now. :)

What I like best:
No rules. XD Except of course those I give myself. And, honestly, it's a lot closer to historical fantasy than straight up fantasy yet. There's just a few things in the natural world that I'm messing with…and of course, the fact that including people who ride dragons probably shoves it in a fantastical direction, as much as I would like that to have been a real historical fact. XD Also, I'm thinking about messing with the whole there-was-a-world-wide-flood deal, which would definitely make it fantasy. :)

What I like least:
Trying to decide which rules to give myself. :P Figuring out which things will make sense without a "magical" explanation. And, because I always used to completely skip description as a reader, figuring out how exactly to make this fantasy world appear real, and what needs to be described or what can be left to readers' imaginations.


Science Fiction
Contract to Time Travel
Ahh, the genre I said I would never write…because I never liked it, hee. I have read little of it, so maybe that is my fault, but what I did see did not generally endear me to the genre - space ships and transformers just were not my thing.

Then a friend and I began writing a "fan fiction" story where we threw a whole bunch of our characters together in an alternate universe, and we needed some way to get them together. (Don't ask me why we didn't simply make it happen…we're just logical like that. XD) So we came up with this awesome, totally confusing, somewhat physics-related sci-fi-ish explanation that brought all our characters together perfectly.

I also began reading some dystopian stories which I found intriguing…and then suddenly one day I found myself writing a story about a time traveling thief. Ha. So much for never writing science fiction...

I fell instantly in love with the characters, much as I disliked the setting they had chosen. And then I figured out a way to make it more dystopian than science fiction, and the story took off like a jet plane. :P

What I like best:
Probably being able to use what I'm learning in developmental/molecular biology, play havoc with the rules of physics, and generally go places I never went with fantasy. Despite the inclusion of dragon riders and star prophecies, I don't include magic in my stories, which can be slightly limiting. With science fiction, though, almost anything is possible. XD

What I like least:
It's hard! XD Trying to make sure I'm not copying anything from the few futuristic books I've read, coming up with plots that make sense, not writing myself into an inescapable corner…having the freedom to bend the rules does not exactly make plots simple. :)


Allegory
Ransomed

What I like best:
 I've only written one, and it is short, so I can't give much in the way of generalities. But the story of Salvation is the most beautiful one ever written, and this story pretty much wrote itself. I loved writing it, I've loved sharing it, I've loved the feedback I've gotten on it, and I am beyond thrilled to have it illustrated and ready for publication at last. :)

What I like least:
Like Biblical fiction, it's a bit of a tight-rope walk - you can't just play games with the characters. Also unfortunate is the fact that I must pick a specific kind of story to tell. (In this case I chose a medieval setting.) I love how stories like Cinderella can be found in cultures all around the world, and I think it would be fascinating to tell the story of Salvation in a similar manner, with wigwams and braves or palaces and samurai instead of castles and knights.



Elizabeth Ender is a homeschool graduate, private pilot, author, and current medical school student. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness is her life verse, and through her writing she hopes to glorify Him. All net profit from the sale of Ransomed will be donated to Chrystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a Christian ministry that uses rescue horses to help hurting children/families. Check out the giveaway at elizabethender.blogspot.com (beginning this Saturday!) and take part in the Amazon book blitz (also this Saturday!) to help out this amazing ministry.


Miss Melody Muffin

3 comments:

  1. Thank you, Melody! :) I

    ~Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am going to make Jack find the book and read it to me. I want to hear it, I will like it I can tell.

    To Melody:
    Owl City is a good thing to play in bedrooms, but it is very sad your sister is tried of hearing it. I didn't think anyone should get tired of hearing it.

    You could be a whooshy cloaked queen with a high crown and....a tall castle. And a sword. Than if anyone looked at you funny you could point to your sword and they would be very nice.

    Thank you for sharing your bad guys. I will give them back when I have finished stabbing them in the feet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am happy to find you have so many books planned! I saw your book for sale and have been planning on buying it since. It looks good. Actually, all of the ideas you have sound good!

    ReplyDelete

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