Monday, July 22, 2013

Interview with Elsie Park

Hi everyone! Long weekend right? I personally thought it was incredibly long, but that may have been because I couldn't fall asleep last night until about 2 and then I had a nightmare and played Lego Lord of the Rings until 5. Yeah, I'm a half-asleep ghoul right now, so bear with me. =D
Anyway, I'm hosting another wonderful author on my blog! Elsie Park, author of Shadows of Valor, it's been a delight to go through the interview process with her, I can't wait for all of you to read this interview. :)
View Shadows of Valor cover - resized 1.jpg in slide show      View Cropped #2.JPG in slide show
Thank you so much, Tayla, for hosting this interview and allowing me to be a guest on your blog. I enjoyed answering the questions and look forward to any comments people have.

Tayla asks, what inspired you to start writing?

Elsie's answer: I’ve made up short stories since I could write coherently in grade-school, but as far as writing a full-length novel, the notion didn’t hit me until about 6 years ago after I’d had my first baby. I got antsy to do something more as a stay-at-home mom. Always a fan of good action-packed, fantasy, romance movies and novels, I had ideas in my head of what I thought would make good scenes (especially if I didn’t like the way one was played out in a book or movie - LOL), so acting on a whim, I jotted them down and later formulated a plot to tie them together.


2. What inspires you to keep writing, even on days when it's hard to write a single word?

It’s often difficult to find the time to write, as I am in a season of life which includes three small, high maintenance children. So I admit that even though I TRY to write everyday, I simply don’t. For me, writing will always come second to being a wife and mother. That being said, however, the things that keep me inspired to write (when the time allows) is the thought that I have a specific story to tell with a specific message and characters that I want to share with others, and that if I don’t write them out, they’ll NEVER get shared. I’m inspired to write with the hope that someone, somewhere, will like my story and characters as much as I do, find enjoyment taking the journey with them and connect with the issues in such a way that the reader takes a look at his/her own life, having the desire to improve as well in some small way. That’s what I try to do: Learn from my mistakes and try to live a little better today than I did yesterday (easier said than done, but still a good motto).


3. How did you come up with your storyline?

I’ve always loved a hero (and heroine) with a troubled past who struggles (like everyone else) to overcome his/her weaknesses. Drawing on my love of history, I found an era where a heavy tax was levied, causing people to turn to illegal acts. A thought came to me as I pieced together a viable story for my characters. People face choices of integrity everyday. Just because we don’t like a specific rule or law, doesn’t mean we should act illegally and hurt others to defy it (though I admit this is often a gray area especially in circumstances of oppressive governments and hierarchies). Though set in the middle-ages, my story-line relates to the modern reader. The age-old tale of good versus evil, good and bad choices, is something that can be written about over and over again with new plots and characters and never get old. It’s something the human race has dealt and struggled with since the beginning of time and isn’t likely to go away.


4. How do you get ideas for each chapter?

Although I wasn’t this way at the beginning, I am NOW the kind of writer who has to outline and plot out my story-line first. This helps me decide on when, where, how and what growth I want my characters to experience from beginning to end. It allows me to place trials, challenges and triumphs throughout my story in an organized fashion. I decide that in chapter 1, such and such will occur and so on throughout the entire book. Sometimes a chapter placement is just a simple as breaking up a portion of the manuscript that’s WAY TOO LONG. This isn’t to say, however, that once I have a scene for a particular chapter that it must stay there. After the first draft (or second or third or . . .) I often decide that some earlier scenes are best told later and vice versa. I don’t like short chapters, but I do incorporate plenty of scene breaks throughout a given chapter to break it up a bit.

5. When you have writer's block, what helps you push past it?

Setting the book aside for few days (or weeks) and coming back to it with fresh eyes and a sharper mind is great for alleviating writers block. Reading the book again from the beginning and then acting on the thoughts that come to mind when you get to the part in question. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other people their opinion on what they would do if they were your character(s) in the situation. My mom and dad were indispensable to giving me ideas when I heard their various ideas. This isn’t to say that you need to use the thoughts others give you, but it sure opens up new avenues in your own mind that hadn’t occurred to you previously.

6. Who's your favorite characters in your book and all time favorite in literature?

Ah gee, asking for a “favorite” in anything is difficult because there are invariably more than one that fall into that category. But if I have to pick one (besides my two main characters that is) then I’d have to say Sir Giles, a minor character in the book. He’s full of charm and easy-going wit, adding some light reprieve to the more serious issues in the story. He’s always snacking on something, something I personally love to do, but in his case, he never gains weight from all his eating (much like my husband and NOT like me at all – LOL – I simply LOOK at food and I gain weight). In literature, I’d have to say Frodo Baggins and Samwise from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. They are both sweet and humble, yet have as inner strength and integrity that defy all the other characters in the story.

7. If you could change one thing in your favorite book what would it be?

Hmm, another toughy, Tayla , but I’d have to say Sir Walter Scott’s IVANHOE. I would have had Ivanhoe end up with the Jewess Rebekah, regardless of the thoughts of propriety for the day. I loved the character Rebekah and wanted to see her be with the man who rescued her. I mean, IVANHOE is a work of fiction, so why not weave it in such a way as to have them together in the end. Can you tell I’m a fan of “happily-ever-afters?”

8. How have your jobs influenced your book?

This is something no one has ever asked, and yet, my job as a patrol officer has had the MOST influence over my hero, The Shadow. In law enforcement training, officers are taught not to trust anyone, to see everyone as a potential threat to safety, to always be on their guard, to be ready for an attack so they can act promptly to protect themselves and save the lives of others. I know why this view is important and necessary, but at the same time, I didn’t like the kind person I was forced to become as a police officer. After I left the force, I eased up on those cynical views, but only a little. To this day, I still retain strong feelings of distrust as I view situations with a leery eye. Some may say that’s what keeps me and my family from being victims of crimes, while others argue that I hold an unhealthy regard for the human race in general. Be that as it may, my thoughts put me somewhere in the middle, a place I feel comfortable with at the moment.

9. What is the most distracting thing to you while you're writing?

MY CHILDREN! Hands down! *laugh* Even as I’m typing out these answers, I have my precious 20-month-old on my lap trying to push the keys on my keyboard, draw on my computer desk with a pencil and poke me in the eye with the same pencil . . . okay, I just took it away from her . . . so now she’s dripping apple juice from her sippy cup onto my pajama pants *sigh*. I’m also typing all this with one hand *smile*. Why don’t I just do it after I put her down for a nap, you may ask? It’s not that easy, since her nap time often means only an hour or two to get other things done, like laundry, dishes, time with my other girls, groceries, cooking meals, you name it. All this being said, I wouldn’t trade my beautiful children for the world. I love them. I just have to find different ways to get my writing in.

10. Do you ever pretend to be your characters and playact as them?

I’ve heard of other authors doing this to get into character and have dialogue and ideas flow through their minds, but I admit that I’ve never done this. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t get writer’s block *laugh*. I talk out loud sometimes to get the right punctuation and description for dialogue or for facial expressions, but that’s about it. I would LOVE to see my story some out as a movie, however, and view how actors would portray my characters. That would be AWESOME! Yeah, I’ll leave the playacting to people who can actually act, which isn’t me *laugh*


About the author

From a wildland firefighter to a security guard, police officer, and student of botany and zoology, ELSIE PARK has done it all. It was only a matter of time before she wrote her first novel. While on a hiatus to Italy, Park was inspired by the thick presence of ancient and medieval history. She felt it in its walls, and slowly, yet surely, a story was born.


Twitter - @elsiepark1


SHADOWS OF VALOR, will be released September 7, 2013 through Jolly Fish Press. It can be ordered from any bookstore including Barnes and Noble and and will be available in hard cover, paperback and on e-readers (including Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, as well as any tablet, smartphone, or computer).



PAGES: 310

SIZE: 6” x 9”


- Hardcover ($28.99):


- Trade Paperback ($16.99):


- Ebook ($7.99):






  1. This looks great, Tayla! Thanks again for helping me spread the word about SHADOWS OF VALOR! P.S. - I just listed SHADOWS OF VALOR on the Goodreads giveaway for a free signed ARC (advanced reading copy) from 21 July to 17 August - Here's the link if you're interested: - Again, THANKS A MILLION SWEET GIRL!

    1. You're welcome! I'll have to see about this signed copy.:)

  2. Great interview you two! Tayla you came up with some great questions that I'd never thought of asking, and Elsie it was fun to read your responses. I'm excited to read this book!

    1. Those are the questions I'd choose to ask if I ever met another author. =)

    2. Thanks, Rachel! You're such a wonderful friend and supporter. LOVE YA, GIRL!