Elizabeth Jane Kitchens loves tales of romance, adventure, and happily-ever-afters and strives to write such tales herself. When she’s not thinking about dashing heroes or how awesome bacteria are—she is a microbiologist after all—she’s probably photographing flowers, telling people she’s crocheting not knitting, or talking about classic books and black-and-white movies. Elizabeth is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in the beautiful, green South.
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Author Interview | Elizabeth Kitchens
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I was into science growing up, science and daydreaming. I didn’t like writing even though a tendency toward it runs in my family. My dad actually calls it “the family curse.” I thought I’d escaped, but then a strange thing happened after I finished graduate school—my daydreams starting changing from short, unrelated scenes to long, interconnected ones. They gained plot and the characters became more realistic. Maybe it was the effect of more time for reading and watching movies or simply less stress, but my imagination really kicked into gear. Next thing I knew, I had decided to write a children’s book; I would write it, and a dear friend would illustrate it. Once I put pen to paper, I fell in love. The illustrated children’s book never came to be, but other stories have and many more are waiting their chance.
...Could I give up writing? Yes. I could go back to spending my time watching movies or reading, but I would be rejecting a gift God gave me. I don’t want to do that. Writing is work, but it’s worth it.
Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?
...Have you ever wondered about the enchantress from Beauty and the Beast? I love watching the prelude to Disney’s version of the classic tale. The mysterious enchantress shows up at the castle as a hag, turns into a beautiful enchantress, curses the handsome prince to become a beast, and then disappears, never to enter the story again. Why did she do it? Did she go there purposely to test him? What if she was under a curse herself? What if she was once as proud as the prince?
...I wrote The Beast’s Enchantress to answer these questions, and in my story the beautiful enchantress goes through her own “beast” phase, has adventures, and has her own happily-ever-after ending.
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...Definitely Mr. Woodsman. He’s a kind, clever hero with a sense of humor that perfectly matches Alexandria’s (the enchantress).
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...You’re worthy of love and attention, and others are worthy of love and attention, without regard to appearance, cleverness, or social status. While the heartless prince in Beauty and the Beast wouldn’t give food or shelter to an ugly hag, Alexandria would throw a beggar woman coins, but certainly not speak to her. She’d slight any attempt at conversation made by someone less beautiful, intelligent, or wealthy than herself. But when she becomes the poor and ugly one, she’s forced to ask, is she still worth loving?
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Inspiration for my other stories comes from many different places. Often, I’ll come to like a minor villain in one story and have to write another one just to redeem him, or write a story for a secondary character I want to have a happily-ever-after. Once I was editing a story where the heroine was in a carriage crash, necessitating an introduction of the coachman. He suddenly went from a nameless servant to a charming man trying to take over the story and steal the heroine away from the hero. I had to put a stop to that, so I came up with another story with a carriage crash and a heroine just for him.
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...To provide fun, clean entertainment. Some other intention, like to help people realize their self-worth, comes later as the characters develop.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Go to conferences, get into a critique group, and keep at it. Don’t expect it to be easy or quick.
Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, which one(s) and what were most helpful about it?
...Yes. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Southern Christian Writers’ Conference were helpful (SCWC). SCWC is a nice first conference because it’s small. It also includes sessions on non-fiction writing. ACFW is lots of fun because of all the people and getting to meet authors whose books I’ve read. The chance to meet agents and publishers is great too.
What’s your favorite green food? (In honor of St. Patrick’s Day of course!)
...Raw green beans. They’re okay when cooked, but fabulous when raw.
If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?
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___________________________Loved having you on the blog today Elizabeth! Many of your favorite things mentioned in your bio are some of my favorite things too :D I especially love how you say that, though writing is work, it's not something you'd give up because it's a gift from God! I also love the premise for you novel. The best part about hearing the inspiration behind what people write is to see their unique perspective. I love that the "old hag" caught your attention. And I completely know what you mean when you talk about characters suddenly having a story as well - I go through the same thing thinking, "I wonder about so-and-so and their story!" haha. Thanks again for stopping by, Elizabeth.