Monday, January 5, 2015

Interview with Elizabeth Kaiser

E. Kaiser Writes
Elizabeth, welcome back to Homeschooled Authors! What have you been up to since we last talked?
Thanks for having me, Sarah, and we've been up to a lot, actually! Last time I was here we'd just released the 2nd book in my first series, and now we're got the first 3 in my new series ready to publish! So that's a lot of writing... not to mention brainstorming, editing, cover design, etc. as well. It's all  fairy-tale retellings, (with serious twists) set in a quasi-Victorian world (with portals to fairyland) and it's been a wild ride, but this new series is just so grabbing that it was all worth it. We've had great preliminary reviews, and we're very excited about where the rest of the stories get to go. We've got spin-offs in store to the tune of at least 16 tales. (Think jungles, Neverland, we're even going to twist the Little Mermaid to just this side of "beyond recognition".) 

Your new series, Thaw was inspired by some old stories. What stories, who were they by, and what drew you to them?
Right! This started with the idea to combine elements from the Snow Maiden (Schneekind, Snegurken) with elements from Anderson's Snow Queen and form a retelling that would be much more satisfying then disney's recent version. While they did some things very well, there were a lot of aspects that fell through the cracks big time, and even though it is a universal truth that as soon as Disney retells a fairytale that instantly becomes America's stock version of that fairytale (Quick pop quiz: Does the Little Mermaid die at the end? The original says yes. Cinderella go to the ball three times? The original says so.) We felt that there was a lot missing, and a lot more depth to be found in the scenario.

 We then combined that with European history and added a whole dollop of "what if then...?" to the mixture, and came out with a wintery beginning to a series that will span 50 years and at least 16 people's stories. 

 The first three books are Winter's Child, with most of the Snow Maiden elements in there, Winter Queen  the part that will be most recognizable to a lot of readers, since it was hard to do anything too weird and different there and still lead into; Prince of Demargen, which resolves the problem of the Devil's Mirror. But not the entire story arc, that will be completed in Reindeer King, which we intend to release as early 2015 as we can.

Would you give us the synopses for Winter's Child, Winter Queen & Prince of Demargen?
Winter's Child is about how children can develop a personality quirk into a deal problem, and in this case, there's a lot alike between Ilise and I. We both shut down when we're challenged or stressed, and a lot of times avoidance is our go-to coping mechanism. I've had to learn not combat that in my own maturing process, to work to separate emotions from actions. The more we master this technique, the better we're able to conquer life's problems, so it's a crucial concept.  My parents had the opposite natural tendencies, so I've had to figure a lot of stuff out on my own. But I hope maybe through the journeys of the diametrically opposed princesses Ilise and Girthild folks with either tendency can learn something valuable.

 Just because we may have personality differences doesn't mean we aren't actually needing the same lesson in taking responsibility for our actions, (and conversely, accepting what it truly beyond our control.) 
 Winter Queen is were our girls get to deal with how badly those childhood flaws can be when un-addressed in childhood; and how much harder they are to cure as adults. But it can be done, and that's the triumph of this story, and the set up for the next.

Prince of Demargen addresses the question of someone who has a bad reputation; which they've basically built. Can they repair that and become know for something different, and how hard is it to get to the point where committing to that course is something they're capable of doing?

I had a lot of fun with these books in looking up fun, historically grounded facts to slip in, and I got to research all sort of European countries to help with the setting. Folks have reported that it kind of feels like a trip to Europe, so I hope readers enjoy the atmosphere as much as I did putting it in! 

Who do you see enjoying Thaw most?
Anyone who loved Disney's frozen will love the Thaw: books... and those who didn't like Frozen may love Thaw; as well! These books are highly Christian founded, with the Winter Angel playing a pivotal role, and the themes of accepting our own place where the King of All Kings has put us. The themes of self-responsibility and facing our own mistakes runs strongly through them, and the undeserved gift of grace is very present as well.
 We each have our duties, for He has a plan for all His followers and we must be responsible to follow!

Do you have a favorite quote from the novels you would like to share?
Well, there are several that really appeal to me, but other readers will have a different set, I'm sure! I tend to like the slightly humorous ones, with a hidden meaning.

 "Be the stone."  is one that comes to mind from Winter's Child... or...
"...And here is where I find you. Building walls." the Winter Angel, in Winter Queen.
 "Never send a snowman to do a man's job!" as they're leaping across floating ice floes on a rescue mission in Prince of Demargen...

 But you know what? I'd LOVE to hear what other people's favorite quotes are!!! I'd super love that! :-)

How many books will be in the Thaw series?
First off there will be five. Though the main four are the tightest cluster, so the fifth, Princess of Noran, might be considered a lead in to another section of the spin-offs. But once we're on the subject of spin-offs there's a whole different playing field... we've got Twelve Dark Knights, (a 12 Dancing Princesses twist; Demargen's eldest 12 princes mysteriously disappear in the night) and Runzella, ( a fun, Spanish flavored tale of a crippled girl who won't give up on her quest for justice,) of course the Beaded Slipper is easy to guess the origins of, and the Book of Keld is going to be a mind twisting mystery that I can't wait to come to grips with. The Irish tinted High Isle, and phantom-like mystery? Count me in!

 In all, we have 18 novels planned in this entire series, so it's going to be a lot of fun and keep us busy for some time.

Where can people connect with you and get updates about the Thaw series? 
My blog is a good place to check out, E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog 
My author website
And the usual stuff... which I'd love to connect on! (I'm not super techie, and most everyone I know on any of these I met online... so I'd love to meet more!!! )
Amazon author page, (With links to all my books!)
  Oh, oh, OH!!!! You've GOT to go check out the Pinterest group boards for these books! So much fun... (we've opened it for fans to pin, so sometimes the name spellings aren't correct, or everything on there isn't "straight from the author's mind" but it is so inspiring to see readers getting excited about the tales! If you'd like to join, just message me on there!!!)

Do you have any final thoughts?
I'd love to hear what people think of the cover art, (We spent a lot of time hashing over that!) And if they have a chance to check out the stories I'd of course love to hear from them! I think fairy-tale lovers will be thrilled with where this series can take them, but I hope that all aficionados of literary fiction will give the Thaw books a chance and see what they think. I've aimed for a New Classic feel, not being so antiquated that only few will be able to follow, but also not putting up fences to keep the flavor of the classics out; because my reading base was the old classics first and foremost, those are huge influences on my style.


  1. Oh, they're beautiful! Can't wait to read them.

    And I'm glad there's someone else who agrees with me about Disney's monopoly on the Fairy Tale Market.

    Although actually the French version of Cinderella, the one they were going off of, only had one night for the ball. Don't call the Grimm version the original just because it's Grimm, there are thousands of different Cinderella versions.

  2. About how long are each of these books, Elizabeth? Word length and/or pages.

  3. I love these books! You gave us a very tantalizing description of them and you're right ... I think a lot of people may like them! And those covers are just beautiful. I can't wait to see how the back covers and the insides look.

  4. Thanks, Kendra! So glad you like them! :-) As a professional illustrator it was harder working for myself than it is for others! :-)
    I totally agree with you on the Monopoly! It's not hard to see why, though, since most people only ever come into contact with the Disney film versions of the tales. Though you are right! There are a lot of versions of almost every tale, and you're also right, I'm not clear on exactly which is the earliest! :-) But, yes, my point was made, even if my exact fact may have been up for being challenged! :-)
    Thanks for commenting! Elizabeth

  5. Hello Rebekah!
    Winter's Child is the shortest, being a total of 32k, (which Kindle calls 107 pages.)
    Winter Queen is around 93k, and Prince of Demargen is the longest so far at over 100k.
    Thanks for stopping by, and let me know what you think if you read them! :-)

  6. Glad you liked them, Kelsey! It was so hard to get a description down, there seemed to be so much going on that paring it down to a core point was tough!
    And thanks for the cover compliments! Those are the result of a lot of stressing, so I'm very relieved to hear it paid off!!! :-)
    Thanks for stopping in!

  7. LOVELY interview, and even lovelier covers!! These stories sound so awesome--looking forward to reading them sometime! :D

  8. Thanks for that, Deborah!!! Be sure to enter as many ways as you can, because someone is going to be the lucky winner of some very nice new shiny ARCs! :-)

  9. This sounds like a great series! I think it would be really interesting to get to hear another twist to the fairytale!

  10. I'm curious about the terminology you used in this interview…you said 'we' to refer to yourself. Are you talking about just yourself, or is there someone else included in this 'we'?

  11. Leanne! Glad you like the idea! We have even more fairytale retellings planned for this same world, so there's lots to look forward to!
    Thanks for chiming in!

  12. Mathew! Ha! Didn't fall for the "royal we", hm? ;-) Well, actually my sister and a few other people are so deeply involved in the process of brainstorming, plotting, and then of course the publication, that even though I'm the only one doing all the writing, I don't hardly feel I can claim all the credit. It is DEFINITELY a team effort, and I'm so glad to have them on my creative side of the line. :-) Thanks for stopping by?