You can tell a lot about a person by their favorites so I love to ask . . .
What's your favorite type of ice-cream? Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food; it’s a chocolate lover’s paradise.
What’s your favorite writing beverage? I usually drink coffee or water while I write.
Do you have any favorite writing snacks you like to have on hand? Since I don’t like healthy snacks, I try not to have any snacks on hand. I could easily devour a large bag of Funyuns or M & M’s in one setting.
How did you discover your love for writing? When did you begin writing and was your intention to become an author at that time? I have wanted to be a writer since I was four years old. I guess my grandfather who sat me on his knee and told me impromptu stories that he created inspired me to create stories of my own. I wrote my first “book” (more like a short story) in fifth grade, and a friend illustrated it. My mother still has it in storage.
Tell us about Elise’s Choice. What how did you come up with the premise for your book and what was your biggest influence while writing? One evening as I hiked a walking trail at the University of Missouri-Columbia, my mind began to toy with the familiar Disney version of Cinderella. I questioned, “What if Cinderella hadn’t fallen in love with the prince? What if she wasn’t beautiful?” The answer to these questions and more weaved themselves into Elise’s Choice. But don’t expect a retelling; the answers led the story in an entirely different direction. Here’s the synopsis:
A choice that will change Elise’s world
Elise and her best friend Anton grew up in the medieval village of Petheralm, where life, though hard, is good. When a stranger arrives in her village injured and unconscious, his handsome face and sweet demeanor capture Elise’s heart.
However, according to ancient legend, the forest surrounding their small town is enchanted, and any stranger unworthy to enter the village would be stopped there. The village is leery of this stranger and wants nothing more than for him to leave.
Elise pays no mind to the silly legend, and is shocked to discover that he’s no ordinary peasant as everyone first thought. Before the stranger is strong enough to leave Petheralm, she is forced to make a startling choice between following her dreams and following her heart. Although Elise feels strongly that she made the correct choice, the day soon comes when she and everyone she loves must deal with the repercussions of her choice.
My biggest influences while writing were my husband and my peer editing group. I bounced ideas off them, they helped me work through tough scenes, and they lent encouragement.
Do you have any rituals? When I experience difficulty in writing certain scenes, I take a walk or a shower, tidy the house, or work with my plants. I have mentally written entire chapters while participating in these activities, brushing my teeth, and/or styling my hair.
How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write every day? Since I teach, I don’t have a regular writing schedule throughout the school year. I write when I have a spare moment, and cram as much writing in a weekend as possible. However, I do manage to write a little every day.
How did you come up with the title and was this the original working title? My novel is about the consequences of choices, and the protagonist’s name is Elise. Although simple, the original title fits like a glove.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you and your writing? I read a lot of indie authors because I feel they are overlooked and underrated by a vast majority of readers. One of my favorites is Anita Valle. Her Nine Princesses series is entertaining and well-written. Of course, Raine is on my TBR list as well.
I hesitate to read mainstream novels (i.e. books with upcoming movies, celebrity book club choices, etc.). I firmly believe in Haruki Murakami’s statement: If you only read the books everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, and Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin have influenced me and my writing. Someone once told me that my writing style reminded her of Charlotte Bronte. That was one of the best compliments I’ve received.
What are you reading now? Currently, I am reading Cerulean Isle by G. M. Browning.
If you could adapt this book, or any of your writings, which one would it be and who would play your main characters? If I could adapt Elise’s Choice into a movie, I would want the following people to play the main characters: Elise: Molly C. Quinn; Anton: Asa Butterfield; Ludiford: Jamie Campbell Bower
Tell me more about Elise’s Choice. What was the hardest part to write? Is there a message you want your readers to grasp? Who is your favorite character? The hardest part to write was the ending. I can’t explain why or I’ll spoil it, but I seriously considered changing the ending simple because I found it difficult. It was absolutely gut-wrenching.
The message I want readers to grasp is that choices have consequences, and not all consequences are negative. Good and poor, your choices have the potential to affect those around you.
It’s difficult to choose a favorite character, but I am partial to Elise. The novel is written in first person from her point of view, so I (mentally) spent the most time with her.
What’s next for Rachel Stiber? Since the publication of Elise’s Choice, I decided that I am going to write a series using the kingdom of Ogden and specifically the village of Petheralm as a setting. The series will be entitled Maidens of Petheralm. All of the novels will be stand-alone stories regarding characters from Elise's Choice. Chronologically, the story on which I'm currently working is the last of the series, but it ties the closest to Elise. While it is not necessarily a sequel, it takes place sixteen years after Elise's Choice and focuses on a character that readers seemed to be the most curious about. It will be the next novel to be released.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Simply write, and write often.
Where can we follow you? Please visit my website, Rachel’s Ramblings, at www.rachelstiber.com and like my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Rachel-M-Stiber/530248957109874?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
I can also be found on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8460777.Rachel_M_Stiber
Last question: Flip flops or tennis shoes? It depends on the weather. If it’s warm, definitely flip flops. However, in the winter, I prefer tennis shoes.
Thank you, Rachel, for being a guest on my site!
Happy Reading, y'all!