Saturday, 13 June 2015

Q & A with Markelle Grabo

The Elf Girl
Journey into the Realm #1
by Markelle Grabo

The beginning of an incredible journey...

At fifteen, Ramsey Wilder spends every day receiving numerous taunts and insults from those around her because of her strange, exotic looks. With her pale skin and striking features – not to mention the pointy ears – she struggles with self-confidence, often feeling out of place in her small home town of Wisconsin.

One night, Ramsey nearly drowns from what she can only describe as a magical encounter, and when she meets a beautiful pair of siblings who happen to have the same physical features as she, Ramsey learns that she is far more different than she once realized. She is an elf.

Whisked away to a magical Realm with unique beings like her, Ramsey finds herself placed with the duty of finding her long lost sister. Kidnapped by fairies in the middle of a dangerous war between fae and the elf kind, her sister is the key to a secret surrounding Ramsey’s past that could potentially affect the outcome of the war. Without her, Ramsey will never know why her parents sent her to live with the humans in the first place, or why threats far deadlier than the war itself seem to be waiting in the wings.

Dangers lie waiting for Ramsey wherever she goes, and as she delves deeper into the world of fantasy, she learns that magic isn’t always wondrous and beautiful; it can be cruel and wicked.

Surrounded by mystery, magic…and even a little romance, Ramsey sets out to save her sister, unveil her past, and discover herself.

Paperback, 370 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by, Incorporated

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap Date:  June 14, 2015

At an early age she took to reading, spending countless hours devouring book after book. In fifth grade, she decided that she wanted to be like the authors she favored. She wanted to tell her own stories. An avid lover of fantasy, she typed out idea after idea, however, nothing was substantial enough to call a novel. On Easter morning of her freshman year in high school, she looked back on an old idea for a story about a girl who didn't know she was an elf and had to travel to a magical world in order to learn her destiny. She took those few pages of writing and reworked them, continuing thereafter until it became her first full-length manuscript. A year later, when she was satisfied with her work, she sent it to an editor. After rereading and editing it so many times she lost count, Journey into the Realm: The Elf Girl (the first in a six-book series) was ready for publication.

When Markelle isn't writing or reading, she enjoys singing, musical theatre, acting, running, tennis, watching epic movies, drinking coffee, dancing for no apparent reason, shopping for more books, laughing at pretty much anything, spending time with friends and family, taking care of her pets, organizing stuff, listening to music that inspires her writing, talking to God, and most of all, thinking about ideas for her writing.

She lives in her hometown of New Berlin, Wisconsin with her amazing parents, Maryanne and Scott, her two cats (Sylvester and Pogo), and her four rabbits (Josie, Moose, Bailey, and Coraline). Her friends mean the world to her, and along with all of the adventures and support they've shared, they have also adorned her with a string of nicknames, the favorite being Marcel (It's a long story...).

And yes, she definitely believes in fairies.


Q & A with Markelle Grabo

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main characters of The Elf Girl are Ramsey, Stellan, and Addison.

Ramsey is the central heroine of the novel. She suffers from low self-esteem because she is taunted and ridiculed by her peers for her unique appearance. Her pale skin, blonde hair, emerald eyes, and pointy ears set her apart from her classmates. To escape the harsh reality of her environment, she loses herself in books about magic and other worlds. When she finds out early on that she is actually a magical being herself and that those other worlds exist, she is both relieved and thrilled to build a new life for herself. She has an adventurer’s spirit and a strong sense of determination. She is also very compassionate, willing to do whatever it takes to help and protect those she cares about.

Stellan and Addison are the brother and sister team who seek Ramsey in the Human Realm and reveal her true heritage. They need Ramsey to help rescue Zora, Ramsey’s sister whom she’s never met. Zora is Addison’s best friend, so Addison will do anything to save her, even if it means trusting Ramsey, someone she barely knows. Addison is a natural leader. She is resilient, practical, and steady in a crisis. Stellan is guided by his emotions. As a result, he tends to make rash decisions based solely on how he feels. He is intrigued by Ramsey’s perspective on life. He likes that she sees things differently than other elves due to her human upbringing.

In your opinion, what makes a good, strong female character?
I believe any honest female character is a strong female character. By honest, I mean a character with both strengths and weaknesses. Being strong doesn’t mean being perfect and right all of the time. Rather, a strong female character tries her best but is willing to accept and admit her failures. And when she doesn’t succeed, she is willing to try again.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
The graphic designer for my first three books, Vassi Slavova, is the cousin of a very close friend, which made it easy to establish a good working relationship since we already knew each other. Due to differing schedules, I went with a different graphic designer for my fourth book. His name is Dan Spitz and he is a family friend. It’s nice to know designers beforehand because I believe it makes communication easier.

I am no artist, so I typically give my designers a written description of what I want, which includes the setting, what I want the focus to be, the colors, etc. The designers provide with me a basic sketch or design depicting their interpretation of the written description. From there, I tell them what I want more or less of, what is working, what isn’t working, etc. The design is tweaked until it presents the image I’m looking for. I love the cover design process because my designers take my thoughts and use them to create beautiful art. I also love it when they add elements I never would have thought of to improve the design. I rely on their creativity to capture the scene I want to depict on my covers.

Describe your ideal writing spot.

My ideal writing spot is at my desk. I’m surrounded by inspiration. I have bulletin boards filled with notes, fantasy-themed artwork, and a collection of pewter figurines I’ve gathered over the years from attending the Renaissance Faire in Bristol, Wisconsin. My room is a magical haven for me. It’s where I get most of my writing done, but I can write just about anywhere if I’m determined.

What is the best advice you have been given?
To write for yourself first. If you don’t love what you’re writing, chances are that others won’t love it either.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I prefer print copies over ebooks. I like holding a book in my hands and the feel of turning each individual page. For me at least, it’s hard to cuddle up with a tablet. And I like collecting books, so I would rather see them on my shelves than in a digital library. Plus, print copies are easier on my eyes. As for hardcover versus paperback, I think hardcover books are more attractive but paperbacks are easier to travel with, so it depends on the situation.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?
It’s a hard choice, but I think I would want the power of teleportation. I love traveling, but I hate how expensive it is. I love going places, but I’m an impatient person, so long bus rides make me restless. The ability to go somewhere in just a matter of seconds would be amazing.

What book are you reading now?

The Bitter Kingdom, which is the final novel in an amazing YA high fantasy trilogy by the very talented Rae Carson.

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