Welcome to Friday Interviews! This is a new series I'm excited to kick off. Our very first interviewee is M.H. Elrich, whose Christian fantasy novel, Etania's Worth, I read last month.
Author Interview: M.H. Elrich
Thank you Ms. Elrich for coming on the blog and providing great answers to my questions!
When you started writing Etania's Worth, did you have intentions of publishing it?
Yes. From the very beginning, I wanted to publish it, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to publish it (Self or Traditional). I chose Self after seeing the success of other great Christian fantasy authors and after prayer. I also wanted more control over my work and its promotion.
What has been the most surprising response from readers?
I think what surprised me most was who is the favorite character of the book. Not many people chose Etania, which surprised me because she is the main character. I have had quite a few people like Jakin, who I felt wasn't my strongest character, but turned out to be the one most people (so far) have related to. The second character was Tala, who must have appealed to others because of her motherly love. The third character was Keyel, who I absolutely love because he's so logical and yet has moments of emotional turmoil.
There are so many places and people groups; where did you come up with all the names?
Honestly, my friends in my writer's group helped me! CE Stone and CM Fritzen both helped me formulate the names and clarify what the different people groups are like. I chose Japanese names like Kinzoku and Ningyo because I am part Japanese, and CM Fritzen chose the word Lehrling because she is German. The others, like Naymatua, Leici, and Eritam, were all creations that were compilations of different languages, with the help of CE Stone. The Praytor is based on the Roman Praetor, and most of the names are based on how I saw the different cultures. The Ningyo appear very Latino to me, so I based their names on Latino origins. The Naymatua reminded me of Africa, so most of their names are based on Africa (Suliman was actually a professor I had!). The Leici don't have a strict culture association, but the Kinzoku definitely were Viking to me. Overall, I picked what names I liked and kept what cultural elements I thought were neat to create the different people groups.
I love the part in Etania's Worth when they all reach Safarast. Was there a part in the book that was your favorite to write?
I love Safarast too! It's my vision of heaven, so it was fun to write. I think my favorite part to write was the scenes with Melchizedek, where Etania slowly starts realizing her worth in God's eyes. My second favorite was definitely the confession in the snowstorm.
Have you ever gotten a negative review and what is your advice?
I haven't gotten a purely negative review (yet), but I have received a few criticisms about my work. When I read those critiques, it caused me to see what I could do to improve my work. Most of the critiques are about confusion regarding my people groups and grammatical errors. As a result, my editor is helping me work on those for an updated edition. However, if anyone told me they hated my story and characters because they felt it was flat or something like that, I would probably blow it off. Like Taylor Swift says, "Haters gonna hate" and sometimes there's nothing you can do about it.
On a less professional note, do you have a favorite animal?
Ohhh this is a hard one! I love horses and own my own horse named Desi. After horses, I love cats because they're so funny and cute (don't touch me, yes, pet me!). Finally, dogs are my third favorite because they're always happy to see you and they make good walking companions.
What's your favorite movie you've watched this year?
Another hard one, eh? I think my favorite movie this year is Thor: Ragnarock. I don't know if it came out this year, but I watched it for the first time this year. I just love Thor's humor and how the characters/plot were intertwined in the movie.
In closing, do you like reading or writing better?
Do I have to choose??? LOL. I like both, but if I could only have one, it would be writing. I just enjoy creating my own stories and writing about different topics. But, I absolutely love books and would so be sad if I couldn't read anymore. I love escaping into the worlds of the author, so it makes me happy to find a book that does a good job at that. I could always write a world to escape in too, so you see my dilemma!
Etania's Worth can be purchased here.
Thanks again, M.H. Elrich!