I'm a freelance travel writer living in Brisbane. Visit my blog at www.aussieglobetrotter.net.
Published October 27th 2020
Journey to the world of Eliva with Laura Ziegler
Laura Ziegler is a busy woman. Ziegler is a new mum and has just released Eliva's Child, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Elyan Prophecies. In her book, Ziegler invites readers to journey to the magical world of Eliva which is filled with prophecies, sorcerers and drægons and where 15 year old Princess Taliya must discover who is she to become a good ruler for her people. Ziegler writes with a strong sense of place with vivid descriptions drawing readers into this fantasy world. Place has played a strong part in Ziegler's life, having lived in both Canada and Australia.
I was keen to interview Ziegler on her inspiration for the series, travels and time management. Our exchange is below:
Where did you find the inspiration for your fantasy world?
I love reading fantasy books. I read as many as I can, and I don't limit myself to just one type of fantasy, either. High fantasy, urban fantasy…I love it all. When I sat down to write my story, I drew on elements from some of the different fantasy stories. And as I wrote I would imagine the scene in my mind. How would a knight of Country A greet a king of Country B? One of my favourite things to do is try to give a sense of the history and culture of the world through expressions and analogies. We use so many expressions every day that we just take for granted. But a different world with a different history, religion, etc. would use a different analogy. For example, if I said "He was struck by Cupid's arrow" people would understand that he fell in love. But what would replace Greek mythology in the fantasy world? What would they say instead?
Oh, I have so many books on my bookshelf! Most of them are fantasy books ranging from children's books to young adult to adult. A few of my favourite young adult authors include Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Margaret Buffie, and Isobelle Carmody.
When you're writing your book, what's a typical workday for you?
I'm on maternity leave right now, so I'm able to write while my daughter is napping. I aim to work on either writing or marketing for 1-2 hours a day. It's not a lot, I know! Things will look different when I go back to work, which is why I'm working really hard to finish Book 2 before then. I'm almost done the first draft, which is really exciting!
What have you learned about yourself in the writing of this book?
I'm a procrastinator! I sat with this book for years and years without touching it, although I always talked about publishing it. I was working full-time so it was easy to push aside and forget about. But finally, I made it a priority and got it published. I'm also a strong critic about my own work…even now I can't reread any part of the book without wanting to make a change! That was one of the reasons I finally decided to publish it, so I would be forced to stop editing Book 1 and start moving forward with Book 2!
You lived in Queensland for a while. What made you decide to move all the way from Canada?
I was accepted into a master's program at the University of Queensland. I debated about going to Australia to study, but it felt so exotic and exciting and I knew if I passed up this opportunity it would never come again. So I arrived with an open mind about potentially staying on past my master's degree. I loved Brisbane so much I ended up staying another three years.
Laura in Laura, Queensland. Image courtesy of Laura Ziegler
You mention how much you loved living in Queensland. What made you move back to Canada?
Family. I missed them and they felt so far away. It's kind of funny. I set out to explore the world only to find my feet guided me straight back home – it just took them a few years. I wish we had some sort of super speedy way to travel, so I could go back and forth between the two countries on a daily basis. Maybe someday that will happen! We can dream, right?
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Make small goals. Don't set out to write a novel in one go if that feels too overwhelming – just write out one scene or one page to start. Surround yourself with people who will support you, and don't hesitate to ask for their help or advice. Writing groups are a great way to do this.
Have you thought about your next project after this series?
Yes! I have another stand-alone fantasy novel in mind. This one would be more of an urban fantasy book. But first I have to finish this series! As a reader, I always find it frustrating when I fall in love with a series and the author takes a break from it to pursue other projects, which means I'm left hanging for years and years before I can find out what happens to my favourite characters. I'm going to try really hard not to be that author! I'm not sure at this point how many books it will take for me to wrap up the storyline, but I do know exactly how it's going to end.