Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Secrets of the Vanmars-- A Guest Post

Hey guys! Today I'm lucky enough to host a stop on the blog tour for the new YA release of The Secrets of the Vanmars by Elisabeth Wheatley.

About the Author:

Elisabeth Wheatley started writing short stories when she was as young as seven years old. She began working on what would eventually become The Key of Amatahns when she was eleven. The story went through countless total rewrites until Elisabeth began working on what would be the final version when she was fourteen. When she completed the draft at fifteen, her parents (being supportive) sent her manuscript to a professional editor in West Texas. The editor, Suzanne O'Bryan, was so impressed with Elisabeth's work that she recommended it to a friend at a small publishing house, Chengalera Press. Chengalera Press was also very impressed and wanted to publish the manuscript. The Key of Amatahns was reviewed and edited by Professor Emeritus of the English Department at Southwestern University, Dr. T. Walt Herbert. The Kindle version of The Key of Amatahns was released on June 30, 2011, when Elisabeth was still fifteen. The paper version followed days later. Elisabeth is currently working on the second and third installments in the Argetallam Saga, while continuing to attend high school in the Texas Hill Country. Her hobbies include beekeeping, cheesemaking, mythology, and studying American Sign Language.

And now a post from the author herself about the writing process!

Elisabeth Wheatley--

How did you get the idea for The Secrets of the Vanamrs?

Excellent question. When I was working on the idea for my first book, The Key of Amatahns, I was already thinking ahead to the rest of the series.

At first, I created an imaginary world. I sort of had the intention of writing a story to go with it, but the story as well as the world experienced many, many total transformations before anything even remotely recognizable as the Argetallam Saga was created.

After I had been tinkering with the construction of my world for awhile, I decided that I would make my main character invulnerable to magic. Why? Because magic freaked me out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love books with sorcery and magic in them. But I am a big fan of the now cancelled TV series The Legend of the Seeker and the whole thing with the Confessors was scary. With one touch a Confessor could make you her devoted slave for life. Not cool.

Hence, my main character’s invulnerability to magic was envisioned. But having her be completely devoid of enchantment wasn’t fun either, so I gave Janir some of her own powers and magical abilities.

By the time I finished my first book, I had a very general, murky idea of what I wanted the future books in the series to be about. My original idea for the second book (it had no name at this point) involved a siege and large battles. While that might sound intriguing, when I went to write it, it came out all wrong and I decided to rethink the plotline.

I then wrote a completely different draft. It was nearly 300 pages long and it was total rubbish. The plotline wandered and there was no real point to the story. Fortunately, the worst scene in the book, (in my opinion, the worst scene I’ve ever written, in fact) didn’t make it past my brother, who came at me reading the scene out loud at the top of his lungs. A lot of my characters ended up looking silly in that second draft. (To my characters: sorry about that, guys!)

Over Christmas break, I barricaded myself in my room with tea and granola bars and set to work re-rewriting the book that I had now christened “The Secrets of the Vanmars.” My goal with my edits was to make the story more streamlined so that it wouldn’t drag, have a more focused and suspenseful plot, show character development, introduce a few characters I’d been dying to write in, and lastly, set up the scene for book 3.

Over three weeks I typed away in my room, until I emerged with a 261 page manuscript I prayed was better. Everyone who read my early drafts seems to think so and that’s a relief. But being a neurotic, insecure writer, I still have doubts.

About the Books:

Book 1: The Key of the Amathans 

Book 2: The Secrets of the Vanmars 

After her adventures with the Key of Amatahns, sixteen-year-old Janir Caersynn Argetallam returns home to find Brevia on the brink of war with a neighboring country, Stlaven. Her foster-father and even Saoven—a brave young elf warrior—think it will be safe at the castle where Janir grew up. However, while trying to unravel a looming mystery, Karile—self-taught wizard and Janir’s self-appointed best friend—becomes certain that there is danger in the mountains surrounding Janir’s childhood home and that it has something to do with Stlaven’s most powerful family, the Vanmars…

Thanks so much to Elizabeth for stopping by! If you want to know more about her or the books she writes, head to ! Feel free to comment on this post about if you've heard of this series, or what you think of teenage writing in general.


Maria Stanica said...

That is so cool! Thank you for posting this interview!

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Hi my name is Alexis and I'm so excited to be heading to Oregon State University in the fall. I will be majoring in English and hope to become an editor or technical writer in my future.

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