Life, On Writing

In Which I have Another Guest

tea
pictured: a cuppa

If you have a moment, put your feet up, grab a cuppa and a biscuit and settle down as I have another guest on this blog. Today, on this slightly overcast English morn’, I am joined by E. Kaiser Writes, author of Jeweler’s Apprentice and the new Thaw series.

Tell me a little about your writing journey.

As a homeschooled child I was given the gift of being an early reader, so I was into the abridged version of Little Women at nine years old. When Jo March tried writing stories and books I had an epiphany; I had no idea books were written by people.  Suddenly I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up!

I asked Mom how I should go about that, and she advised reading a lot; (pretty good advice from someone who was guessing!) So I did, to the detriment of my chores, sometimes!

 In my teens I started trying to wrangle my thoughts on paper and that was very difficult. I went through a tumultuous period all through there where I’d get discouraged that I’d “never be published, so why spend so much time on a dead-end?” as my brother put it. But I couldn’t endure not writing, and so I’d be back at it.

I rarely finished anything, sometimes only brushing out a scene with no story; but it was all great practice.

I wrote my first complete novel draft as a gift for my youngest sister in ’07, and she liked it so much she encouraged me to make a sequel. The first ms of Jeweler’s Apprentice took four years of improvements and tweaking, then we put it out as an e-book in 2011. Met several great fans through that, and they also encouraged a sequel, so I wrote Traitor’s Knife and we released that in July 2013.

What inspired you to write the Thaw series?

I’d wanted to write a Winter Queen piece for some time, but was galvanized into action by all the things Frozen did wrong. It was just wrenching to see how many themes and deep meanings were just SKIPPED by Disney. There was soo much that could have, SHOULD have been done… and once I get mad at someone doing a story wrong, it can be like rocket fuel to my own version ; ). I include summaries of the source tales at the beginnings of the Thaw: books, educating readers on the original tales to prime them for my versions. : )

We do borrow from the Disney version, (it is a universal truth that as soon as Disney does something that becomes America’s version of the tale!) Some of the ideas were too cute to toss, one of them being the family with 13 princes. Having recently met a family with 8 kids under the age of ten, and hearing of the derogatory remarks their mother receives, that opportunity to contrast Noran’s two-daughter family with Demargen’s 13-son one was too good to pass up.

And the spin-offs are irresistible! : )

And Anderson seems a little stuck on roses… they populate his tales quite a lot! In fact a quick search of “Roses Hans Christian Anderson” produces interesting results! So, those definitely needed to feature prominently, and it was actually a little fun to stick rose cameos all over the place. : )

Do you have a favourite character in the series? If so, who is it and why?

Ilise would probably be my favorite because she is so like me… her faults are my own flaws, her triumph what I hope to be someday! Magnifying each for dramatic affect was actually fun, after I pushed past the tough decision to just write deeply honestly. (When writing her argument with her mother as a teen, I could just hear the echoes of my own daughter/mother outbursts!)

But they are all very real and near and dear to my heart.

Can you sum up each book with a single word?

Oh, no!!! That is just too cruel of a question to ask. There’s a REASON I wrote two 100k novels + a novella when I tried to get this story out of my head!! I couldn’t do it any shorter! But, just to humor you, I’ll give it a go:

 Thaw: Winter’s Child – Disappointment
Thaw: Winter Queen – Emergence
Thaw: Prince of Demargen – Victory
Thaw: Reindeer King – Culmination
Thaw: Princess of Noran – Wrap-up

Coffee or Tea?

Definitely not a tea drinker, I only love it if it is nice and sweet, and too much sweet makes my teeth hurt. (True story! My teeth get sensitive to hot of cold, I cut back on sugary stuff, and my teeth get fine again.)

I do like a bit of coffee in my milk and honey : )

Paper or Computer?

My stories come to me snippet by snippet, and Word programs are the greatest thing! I can type loads faster than hand write, as well as rearranging sentences and words a ton quicker! My writing time is often limited, so I have a keen sense of urgency when I sit down to my keyboard.

I am total non-chronological writer, so I sit down the get the scenes out from my head, and let the story grow like that. It can be incredibly frustrating because it’s so obviously out of my control. But if I don’t panic, relax and trust the process: it’s fantastic! I love the stories that come, and I love being a part of writing them.

And I’m super grateful to the Master Writer for letting me join in on the process

Thank you very much for joining me today, Elizabeth, and all the best for your series launch : )

E. Kaiser Writes credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to known the locals) in the Rocky Mtns, the Smoky Mtns, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

 She wears many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondence & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and… authoress!

You can find her on her website, Twitter, Pinterest, and her books at Amazon and Goodreads.

On Research

The Disillusionment of Ness

Raise your hand if you are a person who likes castles.

Brilliant – I like ’em too.

I visited a castle recently. At least I thought it was a castle. It looked like a castle and had walls, parapets, a keep-kinda-thing (actually known as the ‘Little Castle’), courtyard, and view over the surrounding countryside to see the incoming enemy.

I mean look at it:

DSC_0864
model of said castle

Upon seeing it you would think: My word! That’s a castle if I ever saw one.

Hah. No.

It was a Castle with a capital ‘c’. But then after falling into ruin it was bought and rebuilt by a certain Sir Charles Cavendish and later by his son, William.

To defend the realm? To protect their people? No.

It was built for comfortable living. Elegant living. Pleasurous* living.

Sacrilege I say! They turned a castle that was built for defense and for, for sensible things into a place solely for comfort!

Ahem.

introducing Bolsover Castle
introducing Bolsover Castle

The parapets are waist height. And – correct me if I’m wrong – but aren’t they supposed to give protection for the defenders.

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only useful for protection when kneeling

It was built as a fairy tale type castle. The greater part of it is in spectacular condition (particularly the ‘Little Castle’) …

DSC_0850DSC_0822Window

… which was fascinating, but what I enjoyed most were the ruins … and the staircases – who doesn’t love stone staircases?

To be honest, I much prefer the history of Bolsover Castle before Sir Charles rebuilt it. But … if he hadn’t built it and if it hadn’t been preserved in such good order by the English Heritage I would have only visited ruins and would have missed out of having an almost surreal experience of visiting a castle which was built to be a ‘fairy tale’ castle.

What are you complaining about? That question may be asked, but to be honest it was quite bewildering. When you visit a place you go with certain expectations.

It was like Red Riding Hood visiting her Grandma, only to find out to her astonishment that her Grandma wasn’t her Grandma – it was the Big Bad Wolf.

And with that perfectly wonderful comparison I will leave you with the wiki page of Bolsover Castle.

*spell check doesn’t accept the word ‘pleasurous’ … surely this is a word? I know it’s a word. Why isn’t spell check accepting it?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a historian. Sometimes I fancy myself a bit of one but … I know that 1066 was the year in which the battle of Hastings was fought, 1945 was the year World War Two (in Europe) ended and 1966 was when England won the World Cup. That is my knowledge of historical dates (which seem to be a Very Important Part of being a historian). I like reading about history, watching ‘stuff about history and walking around historical sites, I cannot, however, claim an all-knowing knowledge about history. So if this article (or any future one) gets you going, “Wait a minute – that’s not right …” please do leave a comment and I will listen with ready ears.