Jolly Fish Press kindly contacted me regarding a new book by debut author Elsie Park. Excellent reviews on goodreads so one to check out for those who enjoy historical romance. I’ve got an interview with Elsie to share.
On the surface, Graywall is content and booming. Lord Shaufton, who presides over the city, is a fine ruler. The poor are well-cared for, the area is popular, and morale is high—but within Graywall’s roots, something dark is stirring. This darkness threatens to overpower the once-peaceful town, until a mysterious figure appears: The Shadow.
As much a figure of fear to the unruly as legend to the innocent, The Shadow is an enforcer of justice and aid to the King. Due to an outrageous export tax set by King Edward, smuggling has tainted the kingdom, so The Shadow is sent to hunt the smugglers down. Contrary to legend, The Shadow is simply a man known as Sir Calan who, although talented and just, struggles to keep his dark thoughts of revenge from becoming ruthless action.
Due to sheer coincidence, The Shadow learns of a deadly plot against Lord Shaufton on a journey to Graywall. Now, he must enter a pseudo courtship with Lord Shaufton’s daughter under his original guise of Sir Calan, all while old emotions are stirred by the lovely Elsbeth, Lord Shaufton’s niece. Elsbeth, it seems, is the only woman who can heal his troubled soul, but she has a story of her own. What transpires is a glorious tale full of deceit, greed, inner struggles, betrayal, and most of all—love.
SHADOWS OF VALOR by Elsie Park, releases September 7, 2013 through Jolly Fish Press. It can be ordered from any bookstore including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and will be available in hard cover, paperback and on e-readers (including Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, as well as any tablet, smartphone, or computer).
CATEGORY: ADULT / ROMANCE / HISTORICAL
SIZE: 6” x 9”
– Hardcover ($28.99): 978-1-939967-06-0
– Trade Paperback ($16.99): 978-1-939967-07-7
– Ebook ($7.99): 978-1-939967-08-4
Absolutely, and thank you so much for having me here. I’m grateful and honoured.
Well, I’m number two of four children and grew up in the beautiful mountains of Oakhurst, California outside of Yosemite National Park where my main hobbies were reading, writing, playing piano, playing soccer, and drawing. After graduating high school, I moved to Utah (USA) to study zoology, botany and criminal justice at college. I paid my way through school first by working as a security guard, and then fighting fires as a wildland firefighter with the Forest service. I took a year and a half hiatus from school to serve a religious mission for my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in beautiful Northern Italy and then returned to school. I entered the police force after graduation, but soon missed the appeal of firefighting, so I returned to that after a short while. I married my sweetheart and dropped my adventurous careers for motherhood (something I’ll never regret doing). I have three wonderful girls less than eight years of age.
What is something about you that no one knows –
Well this is something that not TOO many people know: My father delivered me at birth. No, it wasn’t an emergency home delivery *laugh* . . . my dad is a pediatrician. Way cool!
What are you reading now? –
Nothing at the moment for I’m looking for a house and getting the girls ready for school and preparing for my book launch, but when I get some time, fellow authors, Ann Marie Meyers’ middle-grade fantasy, Up in the Airis next on my list. My girls and I will also be reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien again soon. With the second movie in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of The Hobbit coming out in December 2013, we’ll need to refresh our memories of the wonderful story.
Favourite books and authors? –
Well, I’ve already mentioned The Hobbit, so with that must come The Lord of the Rings by the same author (Tolkien). I also enjoy all of Jane Austen’s stories along with other PG-rated historical romances. I can’t pass up stories by Charles Dickens or Shakespeare’s comedies, either. Growing up, I fell in love with the Hardy Boys mysteries, Terry Brooks’ Shannara trilogy and Barbara Hambly’s The Ladies of Mandrigyn, The Witches of Wenshar, and The Dark Hand of Magic. All stories I got lost in and didn’t seek to return from.
You’ve had a vast and varied career, why author now? –
I’d always known that once I had children, I would put motherhood first, though it would constitute a tight income and budget. After leaving my careers behind to be a mom, however, it didn’t take long after having my first baby that I got antsy to do something other than dishes, changing diapers and grocery shopping. I had always loved books, reading and watching good movies (especially historicals), so when adventurous medieval scenes invaded my head at this time, I thought, “Hey, those would make a good movie or excellent story if coupled with a good plot.” So on a whim I jotted my ideas down and my first step to writing Shadows of Valor was taken. Tapping into my English class days from high school, allowing my journalism-major mother to edit my early manuscripts and attending writers’ conferences, they’ve all helped me immensely as I’ve entered this field. I feel blessed that writing is something I can do and still remain in the home with my children.
Please tell me about the musical score for Shadows of Valor –
Music and ballads played a huge roll in history, being both entertainment and a way to tell stories and remember important events. Inspired by the poems and songs J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in his stories, I wrote three of my own into ShadowsofValor, but went farther and composed the written music for them as well. The ballads in my story were only words at first, but as I pictured someone singing them, I wondered what the songs would sound like if put to music. Tapping into my piano background, I fiddled with tunes to fit the words and after months of working on the music, I felt satisfied with the simple compositions.
The first song, “May’s Good Day,” is a lively one about the jovial celebration of May Day (akin to the May Day song from the musical Camelot for those who are familiar with it). Having no deep message to it, it’s just fun.
The second song, “One Brave Knight,” (my personal favorite) is a ballad speaking to knights. The words express a maiden’s plea for rescue from the cold grip of life’s shadows and hardships. It’s written in a minor key, so it sounds the most medieval of the three.
The third song, “Love Endures,” is about true love standing firm against the test of trials, coming out victorious as two hearts become one. This song is written in a major key and wraps up my story with its message.
My awesome publisher, Jolly Fish Press, gave me the unique opportunity to compile two of my songs into a 2-minute score for my visual book trailer too. I was flattered and elated to take part in it.
What can readers expect in Shadows of Valor? –
Though it’s a “romantic” adventure, it lacks any intimate scenes beyond kissing. It’s PG-rated *smile*. And though it’s a “historical,” I’ve taken some liberties in my writing to appeal to the modern reader, such as refraining from heavily-laden Old English dialogue and speech. Though I’m a fan of Shakespeare and hearing “thee, thy and thou” at renaissance festivals, I admit that reading those words proves difficult to follow, making the reading sluggish and choppy. The reader can also expect emotional issues surrounding my characters that we share in our modern world today, issues such as: Cynicism in law enforcement positions, misunderstandings with love interests, physical and emotional scars causing low self-esteem, and being humble in admitting less-than-admirable decisions and having the courage change for the better. I hope my brave, but imperfect characters are likeable and believable as they strive to become better people.
What do you have planned next for readers? –
I’m working on another story that takes place several years after ShadowsofValor. I’ve taken a minor character from ShadowsofValor and weaved a story around him. The story takes place in England again, but ventures into Scotland as well, drawing on the historical happenings and battles that took place between the countries at that time. You won’t need to have read ShadowsofValor to read and understand my next book. Though they share a common character, it’s not a sequel. It’s a separate story. And I plan to write ballads for it as well *smile*.
Thank you so much for these wonderful interview questions. I hope readers enjoy Shadows of Valor as much as I enjoyed writing it.
About the author, Elsie Park:
From a wildland firefighter to a security guard, police officer, and student of botany and zoology, ELSIE PARK has done it all. It was only a matter of time before she wrote her first novel. While on a hiatus to Italy, Park was inspired by the thick presence of ancient and medieval history. She felt it in its walls, and slowly, yet surely, a story was born.
Blog – www.elsiepark.blogspot.com
E-mail – email@example.com
Twitter – @elsiepark1