One of the things I wanted to do when I started At a Glance was to help support new talent. Those who were out there pursuing their dreams and making a way for themselves. I have always been someone who would share news and updates, doing my part to get the word out for people I ran across on Facebook or Twitter. But At a Glance gives me a venue to showcase some of these folks, and in my own little way, be a part of their journey. I hope to be able to continue to be fortunate to share their adventures with all of you.
That being said, recently I had the pleasure of getting to know a lovely lady named Elisabeth Schneider. Elisabeth, or Beth, is in the process of publishing her first book. Being an aspiring writer myself, I was interested in her journey and the book itself (it’s actually a series!) which uses the legend of Camelot as its backdrop. Beth agreed to chat with me to discuss her journey, as well as where she is in the process. She also shared an excerpt from her first book and her Indiegogo page where we can find information about supporting and becoming part of her amazing adventure!
Thanks Beth, for taking time to share with us! How about a few questions…
Can you acquaint us with a little overview about your book series?
It’s basically a romance, historical I suppose, that gives the Legend of Camelot a new twist. What if the legend didn’t happen as we have been led to believe? What if Guinevere was from the 21st century and not the 5th. The story weaves in and out of the story that’s been written since the dawn of time and asks the questions do fate and destiny really exist or do we make our own? Did the legend really happen the way history has told us, or have we all been deceived? There’s romance, true love, primal urges, sword fights, betrayal, death and a time portal and travel. It puts light on who Guinevere and even Merlin truly are as you follow the most famous love triangle as it unfolds.
Was there anything specific that inspired you into this story line?
Years ago I read a book called The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser. I suppose that’s where the inspiration came from. It was one of the first books I didn’t want to put down.
Did you start out planning the story to be a series or did it evolve over time?
No. I actually intended it to be only two. But when I had finally finished writing the first book, it was about 780 pages before my first edit. I had gone over it several times but it was so large. It was always a worry for me. It wasn’t until I started researching professional editors and speaking to one that I made up my mind to split the initial book into three, with the fourth one still unwritten. I haven’t decided how I want it to end yet. Anyway, once I decided to split the book up, it was rather liberating and I really felt a lot better about it. And it was somewhat easy once I started. The chapters really gave way to where I needed to split it up.
What was the hardest part of writing the series?
I think the hardest part of writing it has been the time that it has taken away from my kids. Writing it was wonderful, an outlet for a lot of things that have been going on in my personal life. It was an escape I think, it helped me through some very hard times but my time with my girls suffered. That was and still is the hardest part, the time and focus all of this takes away from them. They are who I do this for, kind of a double-edged sword.
How much research did you do for your stories and was it more than you had anticipated?
I did a LOT of research. At first, I wanted the historical part to be as accurate as possible; I mean there aren’t really too many people out there that don’t know the story of Camelot and the Love Triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. The problem I found was that there are so many different takes on some parts of the story. I have tried to stay true to the basic story of Camelot, and some of the characters like Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin and even the Green Knight, Sir Gawaine. I tried to weave the story of how he and Guinevere find the spirit of her mother in the woods. Well, my version is a twist on that, but you get the idea. I’ve tried to take the truest parts of the legend and ask what if?
Is there one character that you feel you relate to most, or that is most like you?
I don’t think I can really answer that, except to say that when you write, or at least when I write, I try and do it from within. I love all of my characters. I’ve been writing this for almost 3 years. They’re a part of me, almost like a member of my family. That sounds weird, huh?
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters?
This is the easiest question. I’ve had my muses the entire time. I’m a very visual person so I immediately knew what they looked like, even little mannerisms they have. Arthur/Art is Gerard Butler, Lancelot/Lance is Alex O’Loughlin and Guinevere/Genny is Rachel McAdams.
How did you come up with the title?
It wasn’t too difficult actually. It didn’t have a title at first. I always thought of my story as a reflection of the story, the legend. So once I sat and thought about it for a while, and then thought about the portal, fountain and seeing the reflection… well, it came easy. Is it the right title? I have no clue, but that’s how it is.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I’ve done everything for this project, including the cover. Even that I’m not necessarily content with right now. That’s actually one of the perks in my Indiegogo campaign, to help choose the first cover. I have several in the works.
What process are you going through to get your books published?
First things first, I need a finalization of the first book. I need to get it edited. I’ve decided to self-publish and that is the first step. I want everyone to love this story as much as I do and I don’t want anyone turned off by my dumb grammatical errors or poor sentence structure. I need to have this edited professionally so I can put out a quality product that everyone can enjoy.
How long have you been writing and how did your interest in writing originate?
I’ve always loved writing. I still remember a little two-paragraph story about a puppy I wrote when I was about 7-ish. I was actually the editor of our Literary Magazine in high school. I think my interest stemmed from my dad’s love of reading. I always loved listening to him read to me, those are some of my most vivid memories, not the stories he read, but the joy I felt when he was reading to me.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I think I enjoy the escape it gives me. Writing can is a very good therapist. lol
Do you feel you have a specific writing style?
I’ve never really thought about that. Hmmm. Not really sure.
Did you set aside specific time to write, requiring yourself so much per day, or did you write as inspiration ebb and flowed?
The first part I wrote was from a very dark time and I never intended for it to be in my book, but it seemed to fit. Anyway, I wrote that and tucked it away. Then about two and a half years ago I wrote the prologue. It had been rattling around in my brain for a LONG time, can’t even remember how long. I would write here and there, but not consistently, until almost a year and a half ago. I received some life altering news that was very hard to deal with. I started writing non-stop at that point. As a way to escape, not reality, but from the pain I was feeling. It made me feel better. There were a couple of times where nothing would come, but it wasn’t too bad. (Hmmm too much information?) Kinda lost track of the question there. Lol! Mostly I wrote when I was inspired, which was most of the time. When I wasn’t working, I would write. Sometimes long into the night. Now that it’s summer, I try to write in the early morning before the kids wake up.
Did you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?
A couple of times, but I just tried to write through it. Most of that has been long deleted.
Anyone who has been influential in your work? Authors, mentors, family or friends?
With this story I’d have to say that my Twitter friends helped me more than anyone. Without their kind words and encouragement I don’t think I would have even gotten past the first 20 pages.
Did you learn anything either technically or life lesson from writing your books, and what was it?
It’s never too late to follow a dream.
Any advice to share for someone who is just starting out writing and looking to publish their work?
Write from your heart and of experience. It comes across as more genuine when someone reads it. Know that publishing is a long hard process and that it will be harder than writing the book at times.
What’s the next step for you?
The next step is to have my first book professionally edited.
What can readers who are interested in your book do to help make it successful?
Take a look at my Indiegogo campaign and support either financially or share it with any and everyone you know. The more people that know, the more chance I will have in getting the funding that I need.
Thanks again for sharing Beth! With the final editing still in process, we know you have a ways to go with lots of work to be done, but it looks like you are progressing through the steps needed to fulfill your dream!
Along with the Indiegogo page, we can also connect with Beth on Reflections of the Legend Facebook Page and Twitter! Now read on for our Fast Five fun and then an excerpt from Reflections of the Legend!
“Fast Five” – Questions for Fun!
What is the background on your phone or computer? Phone is a sunset, Computer is forest at sunset (gotta keep focused 😉 )
Favorite food indulgence? LOL There are so many, but… I’d say Mexican (not Tex-Mex)
What’s the last song (or band) you listened to? Bryan Adams
Favorite guilty pleasure (non-food)? Twitter
Celebrity crush? Ha! Gerard Butler *drool* *sigh*
REFLECTIONS OF THE LEGEND
Genny’s head throbbed with pain as she tried to move her body. Sitting up, she reached back rubbing her head, trying to alleviate the pain. Slowly, she opened her eyes, peeking out one eye, then the other, she squinted to bring her surroundings into focus. What she saw puzzled her; she was sitting in a field of tall grass about fifty yards from the tree line of a forest. She looked up to the sky where sunlight glistened through small holes in the clouds. Her mind felt foggy. She stood up and tried to walk. Immediately she was back down on her knees. It felt like she was on a ship being tossed around on huge waves. Steadying herself, she attempted to stand again, this time moving more slowly. Finally able to keep her footing, Genny looked around her.
“Where am I? Hello!” she called, hoping someone would answer, but no one did. Fear gripped her and panic set in. “Lance?” she yelled out. “This isn’t funny. Where are you?” Still there was no answer. Genny reached up and rubbed the side of her head, trying to remember how she got where she was, but no memories came to her. “What the hell is going on? I swear if this is some sort of joke… Guys come on!” She started breathing heavier and was feeling lightheaded. “ART!” she called again, desperate for someone to answer her. “Arthur Lake I swear, you better show yourself. This isn’t funny!” she yelled out again.
Suddenly she saw movement from the tree line. A man came running towards her. He had long hair and a beard and was dressed in what looked like chainmail. She tried to focus on him more clearly; it was Art, but how and why did he look so different. She started walking towards him. “Art, thank God.” she called out to him. “What the heck is going on…” Her words drifted off. He was running at her, waving his arms.
“Move! Run!” she heard him yell. Genny stopped and looked at him even more confused than ever. “Ruuun!” he yelled again.
An odd sound came from behind her and as Genny turned, she was frozen where she stood. A man on a horse was galloping towards her. He was dressed in armor; in his hand was a long sword, raised and ready to strike.
“Get down.” she heard Art yell again, but she couldn’t move; she stared at the man on horseback. The sun shone through the clouds and glinted off his sword. “MOVE!” she yelled to herself, but couldn’t. Genny closed her eyes as the man started to swing his sword. Suddenly she felt arms wrapped around her and she was off her feet and falling to the ground. Opening her eyes, she saw Art lying on top of her. He had tackled her to the ground, narrowly escaping the horseman.
“Woman. Shut your mouth and start running. Now!” he yelled. Art stood up and grabbed her arm pulling her to her feet. “Run woman!” he called again pushing her towards the trees.
Looking over her shoulder, she saw the man on horseback turning around. Genny started running as fast as she could to the trees, with Art following closely behind her. The sound of the horse’s hooves grew closer filling her with dread. All of a sudden another man on horseback came galloping out of the trees towards them. Genny slowed with the sight of him and Art grabbed her. “Keep running.” Art urged her and she obeyed. The horseman passed her; looking up at him as he passed she saw that it was Wayne. Her mind was reeling with the sights she was taking in. They reached the tree line and took cover behind a large fallen tree. Looking out she saw Wayne draw his sword. After a few exchanges, he raised his sword and ran it through the man that had tried to run her down. Genny couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Confusion was swarming in her head; the fear she felt earlier had now turned to rage. Standing up, Genny started yelling. “What the hell is going on Art? What is all this? Where are…”
Again, he grabbed her by the arm, this time pulling her down to the ground and throwing his hand over her mouth to silence her. With anger in his voice he scolded her. “By God woman, if you do not keep your mouth shut, I will run you through myself.”
Genny looked into his eyes and knew he wasn’t joking. Fear took over. Looking up at him she shook her head in agreement with his command. She watched him as he sat back on his heels, keeping her against his leg, his sword poised to strike at anything that came near. He looked around and listened to the sounds of the forest. It seemed like an eternity that he knelt there. Then came the sound that he was listening for, a broken twig. Turning to the sound, he raised his sword to attack. She turned with him and was shocked to see that it was Lance.
“Lancelot.” he called and lowered his sword. Genny couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Lance was standing there, but not looking the way he should. He was unshaven and his hair was a bit longer with wisps of gray at his temples; he was dressed as one of the displays in his father’s library.
“Arthur, what happened, why did you run into the open?” he said as he approached him.
“This woman was out in the field, yelling incessantly. She was giving our position away. I had to shut her up.”
Lance turned to see the woman on the ground behind him. His eyes widened at the sight of her. “My God, Genny. What the hell are you doing here?” Genny sighed a breath of relief that he recognized her.
“You know her?”
“Yes Arthur, I do.”
She was frustrated and scared. Tears quickly formed and flowed from her eyes. “Lance what’s going on? Where are we and why the heck are you calling him Arthur?”
“Because that is my name woman.”
She looked at him bewildered and annoyed with his answer. Standing she got up into Art’s face and squared off. “Art I swear, stop this stupid act. What is going on with you? With both of you?” Genny turned to look at Lance and saw a sword rising up from behind him. Fear for his safety rose and her body reacted without thought. Grabbing Art’s sword from his hand she propelled herself forward towards Lance. Pushing him to the side, Genny plunged the sword under the attacker’s breastplate, into his gut. His armor-clad hand came down swiftly on the side of her head, sending her backwards as a bright golden light grew around her. She squeezed her eyes tight with the brightness then grimaced with pain as her momentum was stopped. Her eyes still closed, she reached for her head. She felt something wet and warm. What the heck is going on? Genny’s head pounded with pain.
** Copyright E.A. Schneider **