Narelle here. I'm delighted to welcome Aussie author Lizbeth Klein to our blog today. Lizbeth is giving away a print copy of her debut YA fantasy novel, Firelight of Heaven (Australian addresses only).
LIZBETH KLEIN lives in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney, Australia, with her husband. She has over nineteen years of experience in the classroom and six years as tutor of English for both primary and high school students. Four of her students have completed fiction manuscripts.
She has published several stories for the Yellow Box, a reading kit for early readers in primary school. She has also had many on-line educational articles and lessons published, as well as poetry and stories in two anthologies. In 2010, her YA novel Firelight of Heaven was short-listed in the Caleb Unpublished Manuscript Competition. In 2012, it was accepted for publication by Wombat Books. Her second book in the YA series, Green Heart of the Forest, was awarded a finalist position in the 2011 Caleb competition and has also been accepted for publication by Wombat Books. In the 2012 Caleb competition, her novel Ice Breath of the Earth was also short-listed. She has judged several children's competitions in the Sutherland Shire.
Back cover blurb:
A hundred years ago, Morgran began his conquest of Bethloria. Most of the seven kingdoms have already fallen to his Black Empire.
While he searches for the last king to gain total control, two orphaned brothers and an Elf girl begin a quest to locate the seven lost crystals of the Morning Star. This jewel alone holds the key to Morgran's overthrow.
Their journey leads them through the perilous land of Gardenia, where their friendship is tested. But one dark secret threatens to tear them apart altogether ...
Firelight of Heaven is the first volume in the Bethloria fantasy series.
Narelle: What inspired you to write Firelight of Heaven?
Lizbeth: Originally, Firelight of Heaven was a 3000 word short story called Faery Rock! When I wrote it, the story didn’t quite sound finished and I realised it was because it had the essence of a much larger adventure where incredible worlds and characters had yet to be created. That original short story has now ballooned into seven novels. I was inspired to write it because I wanted to find out what happened in the mythical world called Bethloria, where the story was set. Almost four of the books are now written.
Narelle: Does Firelight of Heaven have a stronger or more subtle Christian theme?
Lizbeth: There are threads of Christianity throughout Firelight of Heaven, but as with all the books they are woven into the story in subtle ways. Neither God nor Jesus are mentioned, but the Morning Star is the deity that is alluded to throughout the series. Jesus Himself declared that He was the Bright and Morning Star in Revelation 22:16. The Morning Star’s unseen presence is revealed in many infallible ways throughout this and my other books in the series. Some strong Christian themes in Firelight of Heaven are forgiveness, faith, courage, trust and the triumph of good over evil. I wrote the books with the unchurched audience in mind and wanted them for the general market as well as the Christian.
Narelle: Please share with us some of your research tips.
Lizbeth: I always seem to be researching something and most of the time the internet suffices. The last research included finding out how catacombs smelt. I have no way of finding this out other than going to a catacomb overseas which is a bit impractical, but there are sites on the internet where people describe their experiences. These are what I look for when minor research is required. Sometimes, research may involve library time. Once I needed to learn how swords or knives were made and I travelled to forges and spoke to blacksmiths about the process. I’ve also read books on this topic. I’m also building up my own resources, which means buying books on topics I know I’ll often revisit.
Narelle: How has your faith influenced your writing?
Lizbeth: Largely. The mere fact that I am a Christian influences everything that I write. For instance, I don’t ever write gratuitous sex or violence; there’s no need for either in good writing. I think the addition of sex is tacky. However, violence on a small scale does feature in my stories. I don’t see a problem with that. Subtle romance, too, will become more relevant in my later books. Foul language doesn’t feature in any of my stories either, nor do inappropriate themes. Although one of the prominent themes is magic in the Bethloria series, nothing explicit is written about it. The whole concept of magic is exposed as dangerous with deadly consequences for those who use it.
Narelle: Please share your writing process with us. Do you plot or write ‘by the seat of your pants’? Do you write every day?
Lizbeth: When I first began the 7-novel project, I plotted out each one in an exercise book, chapter by chapter. After all, Sir Winston Churchill once said, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” But I soon discovered that the characters have a life of their own and take over the story. You could say they hijack the plot and take the story where they want it to go. I just tagged along. At the end of Firelight of Heaven, changes needed to be made in the plot of book 2. However, I didn’t make them on paper. Instead, I began to visualise the scenes in my mind—how the characters spoke, how they faced danger, etc. Visualising what’s happening is just as important as plotting. I don’t write now until I see what’s happening first. Often by book’s end, I begin to get an inkling of what’s going to happen in the next book and how it’s going to open. Then I’m able to write the scene. I try and write most days, although work often encroaches on my time.
Narelle: What do you hope your readers will take away after reading Firelight of Heaven?
Lizbeth: I’d like my readers to remember the story the way we remember a beautiful film. I want readers to pick up the book and read it again and again, and find new gems glinting within the pages.
Narelle: Please tell us about your upcoming releases.
Lizbeth: Book 2, Green Heart of the Forest, will be released early in 2014. It continues where Firelight of Heaven left off. More of the mystery surrounding the two protagonists will be revealed, but slowly like a dripping tap. Much will be left veiled to add to the suspense and intrigue. The element of danger will be raised as evil increases, but overriding it all is God’s sovereignty and care as the Morning Star. In this way, there’s a subtle but powerful Christian influence throughout the book. A varied cast of new and interesting characters is also introduced, and the themes of courage, resilience, loyalty and truth are explored.
Lizbeth, thanks for visiting with us today. By commenting on today’s post, Australian readers can enter the drawing to win a print copy of Firelight of Heaven. The drawing will take place on Thursday, September 19 and the winner announced on Sunday, 22 September. Please leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached.
"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."
To learn more about Lizbeth Klein and her books, please visit her website.
Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). http://acrba.blogspot.com
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins