Meet Elizabeth Ender. I call her Tanzy. There are a few people in this world who, like the fabled blind girl with the magic thread, manage to leave a trail of joy and happiness wherever they go. Tanzy is one of these people. And if her infectious spirit, sense of humor and marvelous willingness to read whatever I throw at her weren’t enough, she’s also an authoress! If you want to know more (and if you don’t, I question your sanity), go to http://www.elizabethender.blogspot.com and have a snoop around! I’ve asked her a few questions, and she’s answered them brilliantly. I hope you have as much fun getting to know her as I have over the past few years!
First off, could you tell us a little about yourself?
If you’ll only let me tell you what I imagine about myself, you’ll think it ever so much more interesting…okay, never mind, I’ll stick to non-imaginings. :) And, of course, the most important non-imagined thing about me could not possibly need anything added to it – the essence of who I am as a child of the Most High and the reason for my existence is to glorify the God who created me, loved me when I deserved nothing, and made it possible for me to have eternal life with Him.
As for the rest…I’m second of five children in my family, I went to school at home and lived with my family all through college (they’re awesome), I love writing (journals, emails, blog posts, or novels – so long as I’m writing something other than lecture notes I’m happy) reading, listening to music (of many kinds…you should have seen the computer tech guy’s face when he tried to test my speakers and hit random play in my music library…), doing anything with my adorable niece, horseback riding, playing with kittens, flying (my license is not current at the moment, but I want to take aerobatics lessons once I have enough money to do so), learning random facts and foreign languages, and I’m starting medical school next Monday!
1. So, what was the first thing you ever wrote?
Oy…well, besides an overly long story about a squirrel that I dictated to my mother when I was about 4, the first “story” I remember writing was something about four kittens. It was very much in the vein of Janette Oke’s Animal Friends series, and I wrote it for a younger sibling. (I was 8, and yes, I was reading that series at the time, I’m pretty sure.) I then changed my kitten’s name from Snowball to Sugar, after the main kitten in my story. 😄
2. What music do you like to listen to while you’re writing? It changes with everything I write. My playlist for the main story I’m writing right now is 60-something songs long, and it has everything from the Gregorian Chant version of My Heart Will Go On to Didrik Solli-Tangen’s Next to You and Kim Junsu’s I Can’t Avoid My Destiny.
Recently I’ve been listening on repeat to One One Thousand Years from the musical Pimatgol Sonata – the Korean lyrics can’t distract me from what I’m writing (since I can’t understand them, yet :), but the feel of the song is perfect for the chapters I’ve been writing. Gackt’s Kimi Ga Matte Iru Kara worked the same way earlier in the story. (Note from Mirriam: I can just tell you all know. I’m the one who got her started on Korea and Japan, and I’m extremely proud of her musical and screen choices.)
3. Have you ever found the PERFECT model for your characters, or do you do that every time?
The most perfect model I’ve ever found was for a story I had set on the shelf for a while – a retelling of the fairy tale Tam Lyn. I stumbled across Park Eun Tae on Youtube, and a new character came absolutely unbelievably to life – Tam’s (crazy insane) best friend who knows everything about everything. The one who makes Tam look normal…and who just might be the key to the story. And yes, I did figure out a way to get a Korean character into a story I had set rather in the European Middle Ages. 🙂 (Note from Mirriam: TAM LYN. TAM LYN. TAM LYN. I’ll shut up now.)
In general, though, I usually find pictures that work nearly perfectly – though I’ve often been surprised to find out later that an certain actor has played a very similar role personality-wise to a character I matched them to, at which point I really can use them for a nearly-perfect model . 🙂
4. What projects are you working on right now?
Besides random snippets of Tam Lyn (whenever I listen to Park singing I seem to end up with a piece of story or two), I’ve been focusing mainly on one I’m currently calling Contract to Time Travel, where a time traveling thief finds himself stuck far in the future. After accidentally falling in with a tiny group of rebels, he has to find the one person who can get him back to his own time to save his younger sister…but The Five (genetically engineered super soldiers with wings, also called the Angels of Death) are now after the rebels and him. (Note from Mirriam: You know I adore your angels. *wink* What’s strange is I’ve been toying with an engineered angel idea, before I discovered yours. Great minds…?)
It’s glorious fun to write, because I can throw all kinds of things I learned in my Developmental and Molecular Biology classes this past year, and also because I love all the characters, even the villains, which is kind of a first. 😄
5. What is the best thing that you, as an author, can hear from a reader?
I think the biggest thing is when someone tells me what I wrote either made them see something in a new way, think about something differently, or helped them get through something they were dealing with. I write because there are stories in my head, but to hear that the stories made a difference in someone’s life…it can’t get better than that.
6. What’s the best compliment on your writing you’ve ever received?
Hmm…that is hard. Because there are a few moments that stick out in my mind where someone normally very chary of praise said something so simple as That’s good! upon catching a glimpse of a story…and it made me actually believe I could write…and then there are the few compliments like this that I think would keep me writing even if I didn’t believe I could write:
I knew you were an amazing writer but this. THIS IS BEYOND AMAZING THIS IS BEYOND INCREDIBLE!!! THIS BEYOND ANYTHING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!! This is beyond EPIC. And I mean…………I shudder at its beauty its story, its manifold beauty its fullness and its depth. I am overwhelmed and blessed by this story. This has gotten me though some nights where I have just wanted to cry myself to sleep. It has been so beautiful and helpful and healing and so manifold-ly beautiful! (Note from Mirriam: Believe it.)
7. What’s one way I can totally make your day?
Honestly, my days are made rather easily. 😀 I’m pretty sure my love language is words of affirmation, so basically tell me you like my writing, you like how I look, you like how I did something, or you like me, and I will be perfectly delighted all day. 🙂 Sending me good chocolate or brilliant stories works pretty well also, though! 😄
8. Are you reading any good (or bad) books right now? *wink*
Right now I’m reading Mark’s Medical Biochemistry…good or bad depends on your viewpoint, I think. 🙂 Also, Teach Yourself Korean, Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Starflower and Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. All so far on the good list. 😀 One Heartbeat Away (Mark Cahill) and two of Francis Schaefer’s books are on my read-in-the-next-few-days-or-cry list…we’ll see how far I get. I’m also reading…8 or so as-yet-unpublished books by various authors or soon-to-be authors. 🙂 Which is always awesome fun.
9. Name ten items on your bucket list.
-Make it through medical school alive. 😉
-Earn at least $500 for Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch by selling Ransomed.
-Publish some of my full-length novels.
-Learn a foreign language well enough to actually speak it, unlike the last 3 I tried. *cough*
-Learn a martial art (haidong gumdo – Korean swordfighting – is very high on the list)
-Become a decent shot with a pistol. (Hitting the backboard, let alone the target, would be a good start.)
-Go on a medical missions trip somewhere in the world. (I have a few spots picked out. 🙂
-Work with orphans in a to-be-determined-at-a-future-point manner. (Maybe simply adoption? but I’d prefer being married first in that case. 🙂
-Make long, focused prayer times an automatic part of my days. (I’m thinking med school might actually help with this, simply because my life will be scheduled, rather than random. 🙂
-Either host a blogger/author convention and make all the awesome people I’ve gotten to know online in the past few years come to it or else travel around the country and visit them all on a massive road trip. 😀
10. And last but not least, who are your biggest writing inspirations?
Oooh, more hard questions. 🙂 I think I’d have to start with my grandpa and my mom – the former told the most awesome stories to me my siblings when we were little, and the latter not only taught me to read and write, she filled our house with literally thousands of books. (Not counting my textbooks or the multiple boxes of books I have packed to take with me to med school, I easily have over 200 books in my room alone.) She also saw to it that I ended up with library cards in two states and three counties (and yes, librarians in multiple towns know us by sight). Also, she makes sure that I get out and have a life, which means I get out and get inspired, period. 🙂
Then there is Jessica Greyson – I call her my alpha reader, and seriously, all authors should have one. She catches all the story ideas I throw at her, and somehow manages to understand my characters when I’m frustrated with them. Sometimes she ends up changing the direction of my stories because of that…but I like the changes. 🙂 And even though I don’t usually have people beta read while I’m writing a story, comments on my finished stories definitely inspire me to work on whatever are my current stories. 😀
Beyond that though, there are a few people whose writing just makes me want to write – Rachel Starr Thomson (I loved her writing style so much I hired her to edit Ransomed; she did a marvelous job), G. K. Chesterton (mostly things like The Ballad of the White Horse), and Amy Carmichael (I don’t know about fiction, but she wrote truth incredibly) are all near the top. (Note from Mirriam: See? Even Tanzy’s reading choices are brilliant. The Ballad of the White Horse is fantastic.)
Thank you, Mirriam! 😀 (Note from Mirriam: Thank YOU for allowing me to host you on my blog!)