Today I have the lovely Elizabeth Marx author of All's Fair In Vanities War. I'm really excited to be featuring her along with her awe-inspiring and enchanting mystical novel, so full of darkness, intrigue, and wonder. Really, guys...this is most definitely going to be a book that you will NOT want to miss out on. There's even a little "giveaway" at the end, that you won't want to miss out on. So, please help me make Elizabeth feel welcome.
Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much for agreeing to be featured on my blog along with your lovely new book, All's Fair In Vanities War. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, by the way, was there any type of inspiration that either you or the artist drew from to create it? It seems to reflect the story being told, in such a wonderful way.
The book is about the deadly sin of vanity and the symbol for vanity is the mirror and skull. The original artwork that caught my eye and captured the essence of what I wanted to convey was Charles Allan Gilbert’s 1892 optical illusion: All is Vanity. But I wanted a modern interpretation, so I worked with a very talented photo manipulation artist, Alexandra Formicheva, who recreated the illusion, so that at first you see a girl at a vanity, but if you step away you see the skull superimposed over the image. Here’s Charles Allan Gilbert’s original masterpiece.
I have to say, that I am in love with the Historical aspect of this novel and the touch of fairytale and realism blended together, so effortlessly. The magic mirror seems reminiscent of the magic mirror on the wall that the wicked queen in Snow White used. Was there any inspiration or comparison's meant to be drawn from that?
The mirror is the symbol of vanity and in Snow White the wicked queen used the mirror as a way to control her environment, and she wanted the mirror to reveal an image of her as the most beautiful in the kingdom, her beauty thereby reflecting her power over her kingdom. Don’t we all wish we had the power to make the mirror reflect what we want the world to see? In my novel, Keleigh’s mirror has powers, powers to astral-project people between worlds, powers that are demonstrated throughout All’s Fair in Vanities War. It has powers I’m not even sure of yet. But Keleigh has a big problem with mirrors and what they show her, but you’ll have to read the book to find out about that.
Few author's that I've noticed or read over the years, seem to take fairytales in the direction that you seemed to have and dared to mix them with modern reality. Has this always been something that you wanted to do? Combining historical elements such as witchcraft and the history of Salem and fairytales together in such a modern and realistic way?
Most fairy tales are morality tales at heart. I wanted to use the story structure of fairy tale, an undercurrent of Celtic myth, and sprinkle all that with hereditary witchcraft. I also wanted to explore the conflict between modern communications versus traditional knowledge. I think the way we have so much of man’s accumulated knowledge in the palms of our hands (i.e. iPhone, Crackberry (that’s what I call my husband’s Blackberry, etc.) is just another form of vanity.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the Order, such as the set-up and the organization it seems to represent, without being spoilery?
The Order is a clandestine organization set up to both protect and shield ExtraOrdinary persons from the Ordinary world. One half of the ruling body is male, The Tuatha of Elders, but their seat of power is in Ireland and we don’t know much about them except for sinister mutterings from the Sisters. Their female counterpart: The Sisters Three, who reside on Salem’s ley line, hide themselves and the skills of ExtraOrdinary’s in plain sight under the guise of the witch mythos of Salem. The Elders and Sisters are like the Supreme Court, each of these halves vote on matters of the Order, if they are at stalemate a High Druid casts the deciding vote.
I love the premise of All's Fair In Vanities War, was there any other inspiration or idea's that you drew upon when spinning such a wonderful story of modern reality meets historical fairytale?
I did a lot of research on hereditary witchcraft, but it was mostly of the Italian variety. Then I decided I wanted to use druids rather than witches, which led me to Celtic mythology. Then I plotted ley lines in the U.S. and one runs up the eastern seaboard, through Salem and Boston. From there it was easy to tie up the loose ends from the Irish of Boston, back to Ireland and their ancient Celtic religion.
If there were any character in All's Fair In Vanities War that you could pick to be your favorite character or a character that may have spoken to you the most, who would they be and why?
It would have to be The Seer, she’s the narrator of the story, and in order to tell the story she was sacrificed by someone, Locke believes it’s possibly someone in the Order. But we know something OtherWorldly took her life, so maybe one of the ShiningOnes is behind her death, or perhaps an ExrtraOrdinary summoned them. No one knows for sure except me and I refuse to tell you here, but I promise all will be revealed in the end. Either way, The Seers dead, invisible, and has these gianormous gothic wings that roll up like scrolls on her back. She’s stuck here on earth, at first she believed she was supposed to watch over Locke, who was the love of her life, but then she finds out who she’s really supposed to be watching over and in that lays the crux of why she’s so interesting to me. Not only how she handles her own death, but what comes after is both intriguing and excruciating to watch.
You can like The Seer at TheSeers7DeadlyFairyTales she can use all the friends she can get!
It seems as if, this book is going to be filled with so much action-packed, suspenseful, heart-pounding romance with just a dash of overwhelming danger, responsibility, and sacrifice placed on the main protagonists’ shoulders. I love to see such a strong female protagonist, who can handle her own. Could you share with us, a little about who Keleigh is and the why's or how's of what she must endure to come out potentially unscathed on the other side?
Keleigh doesn’t really know who she’s supposed to be and after what she’s seen she just wants to be Ordinary, but she’s fighting something that is as much of who she is as her green eyes and red hair. She knows her mother was once a very powerful Vate (prophetess), but her father didn’t believe in the Order’s power and turned her mother away from her calling. But as Keleigh grew older, her father saw in her the same sort of power, and he couldn’t explain it away, but he did find a way to bury it deep within Keleigh. Now Keleigh’s parents are dead, and all her power is being unearthed, one ExtraOrdinary talent at a time. Keleigh is coming to grips with what she’s always known: she’s different. And more importantly she’s learning sometimes different is okay, and sometimes different is the only thing standing between you and death’s door. But to survive unscathed, sometimes you have to look in the mirror and not only face who you are, but who you are meant to be.
Could you share with us, a few of the dynamics of this wonderful novel and how it came about?
I had written two adult novels and my daughter wanted me to right a young adult novel and she wanted to be a character in it. So Madi, Keleigh’s best friend, in the book is loosely based on my Madi. The greatest character trait that the Madis’ both possess is what I like to call ‘good-old-fashioned-Midwestern-tell-it-like-it-is-common-sense’.
Just because I'm curious, what is your favorite fairytale or fairytale re-telling and why?
Today my favorite fairy tale is Little Red Riding Hood, when I was a kid it terrified me. I couldn’t understand why Red would keep going back to grandmother’s house when she knew it was dangerous. Now I understand that Red had to know who she was and the journey through the forest was symbolic of her struggle to find out. And facing the wolf, which was her greatest fear, was a way of testing the boundaries of who she was and finding out just what she was made of. Red is a heroine, and whether it’s over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go, or to the arena in Hunger Games, or to Mystery Hill to face the snarling barguests that slaughtered your parents, heroines put one boot in front of the other and march onward, through whatever muck life throws at them to face the wolf!
If you read All’s Fair in Vanities War and can tell me which fairy tale I based it on I’ll send you an autographed bookmark. Just drop me an email with the correct answer and mailing address to: firstname.lastname@example.org good through January 16 - 30th.
Locke Cavanagh seems a bit mysterious and handsomely dark, if you had to pick anyone to portray him who would they be?
Locke Cavanagh is both mysterious and handsomely dark, even if slightly damaged (physically and emotionally). I wanted him to be a Byronic hero: jaded, dark, brooding, experienced, and tainted. If Locke was portrayed on the big screen I would really like to find a newcomer to play him, but if I had to choose someone today it would have to be Henry Cavill.