Thursday, July 11, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

On Tour with Prism Book Tours...

Dragonwitch (Tales of Goldstone Wood #5)
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 1, 2013 by Bethany House Publishers

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.

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.


If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you like to do there?

I would love to travel to Sri Lanka, which is my husband’s homeland. It is a vivid, beautiful country that would be so fun to explore! Plus, I would get to meet some of my new married-into family and friends.

How does your writing process work?
I begin with the first seeds of an idea, which I let mull around in my head sometimes for weeks and months before I write down a word. Then, I’ll jam out a few notes and let it sit a little longer, this time for months or even years (meanwhile, of course, I’m working on other projects).
When the time is right for that new story, I’ll write out, in no particular order, all the various ideas I’ve been considering for it. These are sometimes quite disjointed and disconnected, but I’ll write them all out in various degrees of detail so that I can have a look at them on the computer screen. Then I start tweaking and finagling to see how they’ll all fit together, writing out “What if . . . ?” scenarios as I go along. If any idea doesn’t seem to fit the story during this stage, I’ll toss it back into the “idea pile” for later consideration.

Then, I take the ideas that seem to be working and gelling well together, and I compile a loose sort of outline. This allows me to see the story in a glance, from beginning to end—all the major plot points, all the major reveals and climaxes. It helps me to see that every character is serving an important role and purpose, building toward the final climactic sequence.
After this, I create a chapter-by-chapter outline. In this outline, I make certain that I know what needs to happen in each chapter, but I don’t worry about how it will happen. I figure out the how as I go, leaving plenty of room for spontaneity and inspired creativity. The outline is a map to navigate the complex plot twists of my world and to make certain that the current novel is properly connecting to the other novels. But it is not a prison. I can move around as I like inside it.
Then I write from the beginning to the end, starting at chapter 1. I will rarely skip around as I write. I’m always afraid that if I skip ahead, the story will start feeling disjointed. Sometimes I will go back and flesh out and adjust things earlier, but I never jump ahead.
This process can take me anywhere from two to eight months to complete. I don’t think I would write my novels anywhere near as fast if I didn’t carefully outline and plan ahead! They’re tough enough as it is . . . And I definitely recommend outlines to all of my writing students.

I love cats myself. What is your favorite characteristic about cats?
I love that cats are such independent little souls. No two cats are going to be alike, and they will not be put into boxes or forced into stereotypes (though they’re quite happy to jump into any number of boxes on their own!). Winning a cats love and devotion is an accomplishment, because they won’t give their love to just anyone. But when they love, they love completely, and it’s always a satisfying relationship!

How did you become a published author?
It’s not much of a story, really. I knew I wanted to write from the time I was nine years old. I wrote my debut novel, Heartless, the summer after I left university, found an agent for it a year later, who found a publishing house for it a year after that. It was all very quick and very exciting . . . and not, I am given to understand, the normal way of it for new authors. I was very blessed to find people ready to believe in me and my stories so soon. It wasn’t through any great skill on my part! It was all the grace of God.


There are a lot of reasons that Anne Elisabeth Stengl is one of my favorite authors and Dragonwitch does a great job of showcasing them. First of all, I love her writing, it is so lyrical and smooth that I forget about the writing as I read and can focus completely on the story. Second, her characters feel so real with all their strengths and weaknesses. Also her characters always grow and Allistair, The Chronicler, and Leta are no different.

Allistair is haunted by nightmares and does everything he can to get away from them. The Chronicler lives in the Castle Gaheris' library reading and writing and trying to teach Allistair how to read. Leta arrives at the Castle as Allistair's betrothed prepared to spend her life as others direct. Allistair is the heir to Castle Gaheris and the probable king of the North Countries. As they struggle with their own issues, disaster comes their way in the form of the Flame in the Night, the dragonwitch who desires nothing more than to find the sword that has killed her twice before.

Plotwise, Stengl always manages to surprise me. Just when I think I know where the story is going, she throws in the unexpected and yet it all manages to make sense. With enough detail to carry the plot yet not bog it down, Stengl has crafted another winner.  Highly recommended.


July 1 - 26
USA, Canada & UK - Print Copy of the entire series to date!
See Rafflecopter for giveaway details.

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Pull up a chair and a cup of tea... we've invited Anne Elisabeth to every blog on the tour!


1 – Book Release!
5 – JL Mbewe

-          Christy’s Cozy Corner
9 – BookwormLisa

14 – Mommasez…
15 – Dee’sReads
-          Kelly P’s Blog
19 – Grand Finale Blast!


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