Interview & Contest: Elise Stephens

Jen:  Please help me give a warm welcome to YA author, Elise Stephens.  Elise, will you share a short bio with us?

Elise: I was raised by a very loving family who home-schooled me through most of high school before I moved on to college and a Creative Writing degree at the University of Washington. I started reading at age four, drawing picture story books at age six, typing stories on the computer at age ten, and I haven’t stopped since.

Jen: Can you tell us about Moonlight and Oranges?

Elise: My book is about a marriage that gets off to a rough start, due to unbridled curiosity and broken trust. I’ve intermixed a love-at-first-sight romance with a young bride’s challenge of trying to fix the mess she’s made of her own love story, while at the same time facing threats from a mother-in-law who only wants the heroine’s destruction.

Jen: What sort of research did you do for this book?

Elise: I’ve been rewriting Greek myths into modern stories with unusual twists for several years now. For Moonlight and Oranges, I wrote an entire first draft that I didn’t use and restarted from scratch. It wasn’t till that second draft that I set the story in the modern day. I found translations of the myth, checked out books from the library that retold the myth, and I read books that talked about or directly retold the story, such as C.S. Lewis’ Til We Have Faces. I’ve read countless stories about love fighting against the odds, and this also fueled my writing.

Jen: What three words would you use to describe your writing?

Elise: Dramatic, intense, empathetic.

Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?

Elise: Neil Gaiman, especially his Anansi Boys was a huge influence to me. Margaret Atwood, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, and screenwriter Brian McDonald are authors who I admire immensely. But it’s more than just the big name folks. My family supported me and read my stories as I grew up, affirming that I should keep writing. Several teachers in high school encouraged me to write. My beloved professor Veronica Robertson at UW was especially supportive of me and my writing, and the people in my monthly writers’ group who critique my work are vital parts of my writing life.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?

Elise: I love seeing live theater, singing along to the piano or occasional karaoke with friends, leading a Bible study with my husband, and swing dancing with friends.

Jen: Where can you be found online?

Elise: I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads. My blog is located at www.elisestephens.com.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Elise: I’m in the process of writing another novel: an urban fantasy in which a fifteen-year-old boy discovers a magical door that will allow him to see the future. He uses the door on the day he discovers that his alcoholic father has returned to town to see him.

Contest details:

  • We have 2 ebook copies of Moonlight and Oranges up for grabs.
  • The contest is open to everyone over the age of 13.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, February 19.
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