To say that I love dragon books would drastically understate it.
Seriously. Why else would I write THE DRAGONMASTERS? But writing well means a lot of reading, so in my ravenous search for new dragon books, I remembered that I bought HEARTSTONE by Elle Katharine White.
Elle is one of those people that’s a friend of a friend, (I think we met at a writing conference a few years ago) and also one of those people that you love because everyone loves her. She has a killer talent for writing, a great style, and an excellent taste in friends.
HEARTSTONE delivered. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. She promises Pride and Prejudice meets dragons, and it happens. There’s a delightful mix of Regency-like England set in an alternate world with fantastical creatures, beautiful characters, and a rich setting.
When EKW agreed to an interview, I knew I had to bring you more. So here is EKW, bringing us a little bit more about the world of Arle.
1. Tell us where you came up with this idea of Dragons meet Pride and Prejudice.
It began with a Hiccup. Hiccup and Toothless, to be precise. HEARTSTONE was born one afternoon while I tried to divide my attention between re-reading Pride and Prejudice and watching the movie How to Train Your Dragon. Halfway through I was struck with the image of Mr. Darcy riding a dragon and, well, there it was. I couldn’t sleep that night until I’d written the first chapter.
2. What is your favorite creature of all the (many!) that you include?
Hobgoblins. I love those mischievous little guys. But beware! For such small creatures they don’t take insults lying down. Cross them and prepare for muddy revenge.
3. Aliza, your version of Lizzy Bennet, rings true of the beloved Pride and Prejudice Lizzy without being a bland replica. Was it difficult to write her and find her?
It was. She had to inhabit the narrow space between homage and reinvention while still preserving Lizzy’s feisty spirit.
4. Lovers of Pride and Prejudice will sink their talons into this book—it hits true in all the right spots. What was it like writing a book alongside such a beloved classic?
Wildly intimidating. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books of all time and I wanted to approach a reimagining with respect. At the same time, the heart of Pride and Prejudice is itself a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth, so I felt in good company recasting these beloved characters in a new world.
5. What is your daily writing process like?
I’m the kind of person who sets four alarms and sleeps through all of them. It’s the fifth one that wakes me up in the morning, the internal one that says, “Write now or drag these characters with you to work.” I write for an hour in the mornings, brainstorm through my lunch break, and write for another few hours at night.
6. Do you have a favorite food for inspiration? (DP 10 is mine, for example, ha ha! 😉
Tea. It’s a problem. At this point I’m pretty sure Earl Grey runs in my veins.
7. Your first novel was published by HarperVoyager—which is one of the biggest publishers for YA fiction in the world. A huge congratulations. It was well deserved! Your writing and story are stunning. What was it like for you to get the agent and be accepted under such a big name?
Thank you! It was a roller coaster of emotion. One long string of rejections, then—huzzah! An agent! Only to be followed by another long string of rejections, this time by publishers. (We still haven’t sold my first book.) I ran around my office yelling like a banshee when I heard Voyager wanted HEARTSTONE. Happily, my coworkers are very understanding.
8. And finally—what’s your next project?
More adventures in Arle. Book Two is just about ready to go to the editor and Book Three is in the ugly, prenatal first draft. And because sleep is overrated, I’m also working on an adult cyberpunk series with sentient malware, sibling rivalries, and lots and lots of GIRL POWER.
9. Where can readers find you? (A newsletter, twitter, FB, or all of them!)
You can explore more about the world of HEARTSTONE at dragonridersofarle.com. If you’re on social media, feel free to connect with me on Facebook at @ellewhite.author, or witness the hilarious spectacle that is an author navigating the 140-character limit on Twitter at @elle_k_writes.
Don’t miss her Tumblr blog–it has drawings of all her creatures so you can see them real time, and they’re amazing.