Thursday, February 9, 2012

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Lindsay

Author Spotlight
Meet Elizabeth Lindsay, author of the popular Silverlake Fairy School series.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was very small I wanted to be a famous horse rider.  I soon realized that was unlikely to happen.  Then I wanted to work in the theatre.  In the end I did own a pony and I have worked in the theatre as an actor and a puppeteer. 

Where do you get your ideas?
From all sorts of places!  I use my own experiences with horses, dogs and cats.  Reading other peoples stories often stimulates my imagination and reading newspapers and magazines.  I go to the theatre and cinema a lot and I enjoy talking to people about their lives too.  I'm always asking myself what would happen if?  Or what led up to that?  And I always want to know what is going to happen next?  Ideas pop into my head, often, when I least expect them.  I always carry a notebook.  It's at the ready to write the ideas down before I forget them.

Are your characters based on real people?
So far I have never deliberately used a real person in one of my stories.  I did use my dog, Meg.  She's a character in the Nellie and the Dragon stories and I based the pony Midnight Dancer on my pony, Hotspot.  Yet I am sure that my experience of real people influences how my characters behave.  There will be a little bit of me in there too somewhere!  Everything that happens in my life influences my imagination.  

What do you most like about being a writer?
The nicest thing is being able to create a world where I am totally in charge.  Or at least I think I am when I start to write.  I find that my characters have minds of their own and often want to do things and go to places I hadn't thought of.  Sometimes my pen has to race to keep up with everything that's happening my head. I like that a lot.   I like writing when I want to.  If it's a lovely sunny day, I can take a notebook, go for a walk and pretend that I'm working even if I'm not.  I like doing that very much.

How the Silver Lake Fairy School series was born!

One day I had a conversation with Megan Larkin the Senior Fiction Editor at Usborne Publishing, UK.  We talked about going to school and fairies and the type of stories Megan would like Usborne to publish.

After our chat I went home and ideas started to pop into my head.  In my imagination I saw fluttering fairies and remembered my first days at school.  The thoughts became intertwined and merged into the idea of a school for fairies.   I quickly mapped out a fairy world.
I decided to give the fairies flower or bird names and that started me thinking about colors. I looked in my gardening books to find out about flowers and I looked up birds too.
My heroine, I decided, should have a rare color for a fairy and I chose purple to be that color.  I named her Lilac Blossom and let her friends call her Lila for short.  This is pronounced the same as Lilac but without the c at the end. 
I imagined a beautiful princess dressed in pink and named her Bee Balm after a pink flower that grows wild in North America.  But Bees have a sting in their tails and Princess Bee Balm often stings if she doesn't get her own way.  These stings come as hurtful words and unpleasant deeds.
I set the fairy school far away from family and friends and put it in a castle on an island in the middle of the Great Silver Lake.  On the far side of the lake are the Eerie Mountains where the boggarts live.  But the fairy world has plenty of magic to keep the boggarts away.  Inside Silverlake Fairy School special fairy charms make it always summertime.
A fairy pupil, once accepted, is sent a silver chain bracelet to wear to school.  On their first day new fairies are put in one of the four fairy clans, either the Star, the Moon, the Sun or the Cloud Clan.   Each fairy is given a wand and a special silver charm for their bracelets.
The ideas for Silverlake Fairy School took a long time to work out but now the world is clear in my mind I can pop back to the fairy kingdom whenever I like.

No comments:

Post a Comment