The Violet Hour: June 10, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

GUEST POST by author Elisabeth Wheatley

I am SO pleased to have sixteen year old author Elisabeth Wheatley at The Violet Hour today! She contacted me to be part of a blog tour, and I was more than happy to join in. Elisabeth is the author of the Argetallam Saga.

"I’m sixteen and I still watch The Electric Company and VeggieTales on occasion. My favorite book is An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle and my favorite song is It’s A Jungle Out There by Randy Newman (theme song for the TV series Monk).

Benjamin Franklin said “Horses are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” and I agree with him 110%.

I live in Texas, but I’m afraid of longhorn cattle. I got to handle one not too long ago (long story for another time) and I found myself desperately praying that the animal’s confounded headgear wouldn’t take my eye out. Then there is the issue of the long, slimy, and rough—and let’s not forget dexterous—cow tongues. Yes, I live on a small ranch but my family does not own cattle (thank heaven!)."

How did you get the idea for The Secrets of the Vanmars?

Excellent question. When I was working on the idea for my first book, The Key of Amatahns, I was already thinking ahead to the rest of the series.

My initial concept for what was at the time simply called “book 2” involved a long-term siege, some river warfare, and a wandering, unfocused plot. I decided that I needed to change that and re-thought the plotline. I ended up writing a nearly 300-page manuscript that was…for lack of a better word…horrible.

So I wrote a second draft and that was pretty bad, too.

Over this past Christmas break, I barricaded myself in my room with tea and granola bars and set to work re-rewriting a third draft of the book that I had now christened “The Secrets of the Vanmars.” My goal with my edits was to make the story more streamlined so that it wouldn’t drag, have a more focused and suspenseful plot, show character development, introduce a few characters I’d been dying to write in, and lastly, set up the scene for book 3.

This turned out to be a pretty good set of rules for me and by New Year’s I had 261 pages ready for the editors.

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