Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview & Giveaway - The Lost Kingdom by Kris Ellsworth

The Lost KingdomThe Lost Kingdom
by Kris Ellsworth
Paperback, 204 pages
Published June 6th 2012


Raised as an unwanted, mute, servant girl in her own house, she lived without a name or a friend. But through Fate's design, she was linked to an Ancient magnolia tree dryad who resided deep in the forest bordering her village. As Fate and the dryad watched over her, a name was finally bestowed, a friendship was formed, and she was given a gift to communicate without the use of her voice. 

However, Fate's plan was not only to grant her heart's desire but to also prepared her to set out on a quest to fulfill an old prophecy of a lost kingdom. 

When an evil creature in the shadow realm kidnapped her only friend, she began a journey to save him with only a spirit guide to lead her. They travel to the dwellings of the five Elements and request a gift in hope of defeating an ancient evil that is set to destroy everything in its path. 

Through her journey, she learns that she needs more than just courage and determination to accomplish this quest and bring her friend back home, especially with many of the forest creatures set to destroy her.

I am so happy to welcome Kris Ellsworth to Colorimetry! As you read this interview, you'll see why. As a person, she is a treasure, not to mention a book blogger. I can't wait to read her book, myself, and I am so excited to share a copy with a reader, as well. Enjoy!!

What inspired you to write your story?  And the spirit guide?
This story began to form the day my niece was born.  It was the first time I became an aunt and was at the hospital and heard her first cries.  Precious moment for me!  Then it took 24 hours until she was given a name!! It reminded me of the nameless main character in Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.  Thus, my book was born - inspired by my favorite tales of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," "Princess Florecita and the Iron Shoes," and "Eros and Psyche" - my favorite fairy tales wrapped into one!
I wanted this story to be full of different types of folklore creatures. On one of my many Google searches for possible characters, I came across information on Lakota mythology that mentioned Chetan, a hawk spirit.  I simply loved the idea to create Chetan as the guide for my character as she travels to visit the Keepers of the Elements.  He's not only a guide, but a protector as well.  My character struggles with her confidence and self-esteem, having been treated so poorly while growing up.  When she feels emotionally worn down and the shadows try to seep doubt and fear into her heart, Chetan is able to banish them away and lift her spirits once again.
 Ah... see, now? I love these stories that have inspired yours!! I just picked up Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow for my Nook yesterday. Seriously. I remember the first baby and baby cry I heard, too. My little sister. Absolutely amazing. I have not heard of the hawk spirit, but it sounds mega-cool. 
Your post on finding a cover is a lot of fun. What books inspired your cover?  
My favorite book series is Once Upon a Time, published by Simon Pulse.  They are fairytale adaptations written by several different authors.  When I first looked in to publication, I researched about Simon & Schuster but it seems I'll need to get an agent first.  So, when I decided to go the self-publication route, I used the new covers of the Once Upon a Time series as my inspiration for the layout.  There wasn't really any book in particular.  I just came up with a vision and tried to create it.  My final cover wasn't even close to my original vision, but after searching through royalty-free stock photos for three days, this was what I came up with that I liked the most.
Well, I love this cover. It makes me feel lonely, beautiful & mysterious all at once.
Can you share your favorite scene?
I've become so attached to this book it's hard to pick a favorite.  But while telling you about Chetan earlier, I though about the scene when he is first introduced.  And since I love book excerpts, I'll quote straight from the book:
Before resting her head, she took Gram Anne’s gift from out of her pocket and cupped it in her hands.  Once again, she could feel the power of the forest radiate from its depth.  Although Gram Anne called it a stone, she knew that this object spoke and felt differently than anything she had encountered before.  She closed her eyes and reached out with her soul to learn more about this gift.  
She felt a soft whisper begin to grow, but it was indiscernible.  What are you? she asked, more to herself.  She was surprised when she received a clear voice answer, “A better question is who am I.” She was so startled, she let her hands go and the stone fell to the ground.  It started to glow a pale blue, matching the light of the moon.  Within its core, she saw the image of a hawk.
Pardon me, but who are you?  She shyly asked.  The light grew brighter and the speckled texture began to form together to create a word.  She read it out loud, “Chetan.”  As soon as the word came from her lips, the stone burst open and she realized that it actually was an egg that housed a hawk shaped creature.  Although its appearance was the same as a hawk, its bluish coloring and float-like movement set it apart as a mystical creature. 
“Thank you, my lady.  I have been in that egg for centuries.  It is a great relief to finally emerge.”
 Whenever I read, I imagine in my mind what it would look like.  Sometimes when I have to take a break to eat or go to work and can finally return back to reading, I have to stop and think what movie I was just watching until I remember I was reading a book instead.  I'm not sure if my writing skill is up to par with descriptive writing, but I hope I do a fair job painting a picture for my readers.
Oh, wow... like a genie, stuck inside an egg. How cool is that?!
Please share something personal about you!! Hobby?
I live and breathe theatre - specifically technical theatre.  I am a hardcore backstage techie!  My skills are with lighting, but I also have a lot of experience with sound, projection, and rigging.  My preferred production focus is dance.  When I attend any type of production with my friends, I wish I could be on headset listening in on the cue calls and backstage chatter.  For the last three years, I tried to take a break from theatre work and it felt like I was having withdrawals.  Thankfully, I recently got back onstage working!
 Lol. That would be fun to hear the backstage chatter. How fun that you're back onstage!!
What's next?  Are you writing now?
I started participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) last November and completed a novel entitled The Waiting Bloom, an adaptation of "Moss Gown" or "The Dirty Shepherdess."  It's in the process of major editing/revision.  This month, for Camp NaNoWriMo, I am in the process of writing a religious fiction. For this year's NaNoWriMo, I'm preparing to write an adaptation linking the tales of "Bearskin" and "King Thrushbeard."
Also, my original idea was to write The Lost Kingdom in several different literary formats including: children's picture book, elementary chapter book, teen fiction, and novel.  It would be a story dedicated to my niece that she could learn to read by.  I've started brainstorming the picture book, but it's been a challenge simplifying the story.  We'll see what happens...
Wow. It's humbling how much writing you're doing. I wrote for NaNoWriMo last November, too, only I'm still working on the same ms. Lol. I love the way you combine & rewrite obscure stories. I really enjoy rewrites like that. Thank you so much for stopping by to visit. I love hearing your thoughts!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog!  I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be "sitting" in the author's chair answering questions.  This whole adventure writing a novel and getting it published feels like a dream come true.  I just hope others enjoy my novel as much as I do!  Although I am totally open to both positive and negative feedback - it's the only way to learn and grow.
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Kris Ellsworth  

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