Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Author Interview with Elizabeth Kaiser: Traitor's Knife

I recently interviewed author Elizabeth Kaiser, author of "Traitor's Knife."  We had so much fun and I am so excited about her book!  Here's what she had to say:

What inspired you to write your first book?
I started this story line as a gift for my youngest sister, Abigail. She was turning 16, and always a big supporter of my writing, and I wanted to do something special for her. But she hates all the "sweet 16" cliches, (as well as most others ) so I set myself the challenge to write a cliche-free story about a girl who was 16. I think I mostly succeeded, and she loved the novel. She loved it so much, she insisted there be more to it, and so we came up with more... a lot more! We now have a projected 5 book series, and Traitor's Knife, this summer's release, is the second book.
I chose jewelry making as a main activity because it was something that was uncommon in fiction in general, and something I know quite a bit about.
My other options of Horses, Farm, Shepherdess, Herbs, were all sooo overdone, they've nearly become cliches. So they were out!
And gems have always fascinated me, so they were easy to write about, and Abi's a sucker for a good stone of almost any color, so I knew she'd fall for it.
I think we all do! There's something eternally mysterious about gemstones, they're just so gorgeous. And most of them are pretty useless as far as actual uses, but their allure has held fast in our hearts and minds for centuries and centuries.
(I love finding photos of ancient jewelry, even more today than I did as a girl!)
What books have most influenced your life most? 
Oh, that's a toughy.  I guess my favorite author is easiest, Tolkien would be the answer, and the Hobbit is my favorite work of fiction. I love the language, he polished that book to perfection; in a way that LOTR didn't have time for. I can pick it upand read any sentence, and come away with a smile. It's just that good.
Like I said, I love the language, and one of the thrills of writing is beign able to use words to paint pictures.... and a great source of truly inspiring, hard hitting words is the KJV. That's got a flow and a flavor to the words that can't be replicated. So I do get a lot of inspiration there, but I make sure my writing doesn't slid off the edge of words-for-words sake.
Another place where the Bible is great at, succinctness. Very to the point in most places, and yet there's so much for the imagination to fill in.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Tolkien, with the Hobbit.
What book are you reading now?
I'm actually in the middle of Writer's Digest magazine, and also a couple of Reader's Digest. I find these two magazines are great for short pithy word inspiration. I have a stack on my TBR shelf, but none of them are calling me at the moment.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
New authors... well, there are a smattering of "unknown" writers I've found around the internet , (places like, etc.) that grabbed my imagination and haven't let go; if I were suddenly a famous author I'd get a hold of them and say "let's work something out!"
What are your current projects?
I've got the 3rd Fia book on the burner, and am taking a bit of a break from her world with: 1) a historical romance, 2) another fantasy, & 3) there's a sci-fi story hanging around my brain that serves as great "creative break" material!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. Traitor's Knife worked great. I love the new mastery I discovered while in there, and the plot flowed out really nicely. I'm always up for learning something next book, though!
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Absolutely! I love it when I get to quote my books! (Egotistical of me, I know... but it's true!  )
~ “Why not?” he challenged. “Why shouldn’t your mother receive a fine silver holly sprig from her talented daughter? Especially when that daughter has such a high ranking position: first apprentice to the House of Olayin?”
She chuckled. “The Olayin’s only have one apprentice, Andro.”
“So?” he demanded. “Is it my fault if lesser houses want to go filling up their ranks with apprentices with no talent, and thereby make first apprentice sound better than it is? We…” he laid special emphasis on the word. “We only accept the truly gifted and exceptionally talented.”
Her smile faded into a puckered up mouth. “Aren’t you leaving out the other important qualification? You only accept those truly gifted and exceptionally talented troublemakers who are foisted upon you by your king.”
“That too!” He refused to be put into a serious mood. “Now that… that is a serious talent. Very few people have that.”
She gave up and laughed at him. ~
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I am a "struck by inspiration" writer, so when that happens I can put out 2-4k words in a session of several hours and it's glorious. The words are gold, everything is beautiful, smooth sailing. But for a novel to be finished, there's a whole lot of "trudging" required, and that is my biggest challenge. I'm getting better at finding that balance point between necessary dedication and burn-out... and I think that will always be the thing I have to manage carefully.
Who designed the covers?
My sister and I. I'm blessed enough to have pretty talented genes in the family, and Photoshop for the family business... so we worked them up ourselves. I had the brilliant idea of taking some options to my blog readers for a vote; and the crowd-sourcing worked wonders!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting all the little missing pieces in. The "last part of the middle is sooo hard!" syndrome.

Did you learn anything from writing your book (about yourself, the overall writing process, publishing, etc.) and what was it?
I learned that I'm actually quite influenced by themes that I don't even know are going on. It's been fun to look at the whole work and say, "Oh! I can see what's underlaying this!"
Thanks, Elizabeth!  That was fun!!  
You can find her book at!

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