What inspired the idea for your book?
I’ve written thirteen parenting books, but a magical story has been brewing in the back of my head for a very long time. This year seemed like the perfect time to escape to a fun place of magic.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
I was shocked that the characters wrote their own story! Once I began, the people stepped in and guided the action. Their personalities came to life!
If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?
My main character, Hayden, loves to hike the mountain trails near her home. That’s a new adventure I’ve recently embarked on! I never knew I was a woman who could climb mountains. What a fun thing to do with my character.
How do you define success as an author?
Hearing from my readers is the real success. Getting an email or an enthusiastic book review lets me know I’ve helped someone in some way.
Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
I have to write my story from beginning to end – I’m an A to Z kind of person! I can make lots of notes and rough ideas for future chapters, but I need to feel the story the way my readers will read it. Things change as I write, and characters become real along the way. They often move the story in a different direction than I originally planned, so I don’t like to get ahead too far of them.
What do you look for in a story as a reader?
I love a book that draws me in so much that it plays out like a movie in my mind. Characters who feel real and places that seem like somewhere I’ve actually visited make a book come alive. And it’s critical that it has a happy ending! I get very attached to my book characters and want to leave them on a high note.
What has been your favorite reader feedback?
I’ve had a number of readers say that once they entered Destiny Falls they didn’t want to leave! They comment that the world-building in the books makes the place so real that they feel like they’re actually visiting!
How do you avoid or defeat writers block?
What often holds us back is fear of what others might think. I once read the best advice ever about writing your first draft: Write like nobody’s watching. That’s the key. Just let the story flow. Let the words happen. Once you get the first draft written, then you can ask your trusted first readers to give their feedback and get your grammar and sentence structure edited. Editing the story is where you become more business-like. But for that first draft – just get the story down on paper!
What would your dream library look like?
I built my dream library in Destiny Falls! It’s wild, enchanted and awe-inspiring. It’s everything a library dreams it could be!
I walked up to the building and enjoyed the sweet, typical small-town library appeal. A yellow painted building with white pillars on either side of the entry. The word Library hanging above the front door. A neatly trimmed lawn edged in flowers along the walkway. A flag flying in the breeze. I opened the door, stepped inside, and my jaw dropped. I stepped back outside and looked at the building’s facade. Still a quaint small-town library. It even had lace curtains in the windows. I went back inside. In and out twice more, just to help my brain wrap around what I was seeing.
This place would give the New York City Library a run for its money. It was what every library wants to be when it grows up. Rows upon rows of books with shelves to the ceiling that required special ladders to help you reach the uppermost levels. Cozy reading nooks with comfortable sofas, coffee tables, and softly glowing lamps. Massive chandeliers hung from the high ceiling, making the whole place glow. There were large wood tables in various alcoves, I assumed for spreading out research material in semi-privacy. A grand staircase led up to a second floor, and there was a third floor from what I could see from down below. There was a hallway off to the side with a sign that said ‘Computer Center’ with an arrow to the right for Macs, one to the left for PCs, and an arrow straight up saying ‘Destiny Falls Satellite,’ which was pointing to another set of stairs. I even spied a coffee shop in the corner by what appeared to be the back door. And I noticed an entire section of newspapers and magazines from all over the world—oh, I’d be back to check that out.
Today, since I only had an hour or so, and I was most interested in local history and geography, I searched out a librarian. As large as the building appeared to be, as soon as I began to look, I spotted one. She sat at a large round counter at the base of the staircase. She was a lovely woman, probably in her early fifties. She was wearing a black dress with a white collar, but she covered it with a bright mint green sweater. She had the requisite cat-eye glasses slung around her neck with a colorful beaded chain that matched her long beaded necklace and clever leather fringe earrings. I noticed her white high-top sneakers—probably necessary to get around this gigantic place. She looked up as I approached with a warm smile. “Welcome to the library. I’m Edna. Head librarian and town historian.
Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives near Seattle and is the mother of four and nana to one. This is her first work of fiction.
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