Monday, 15 July 2013

Dragonwitch Release Day Blog Tour: Character Interview: Lady Leta of Aiven


 An Ancient Evil 

Long ago, Etanun buried his sword in the depths of the Netherworld then vanished from all known history. One day, it is said, his heir will find the sword, and the Dragonwitch, firstborn of the Dragon King, will be finally slain.

A Desperate Hope

These stories are no more than nursery rhymes. In a world of cold reality, what room is left for fairy tales? Lady Leta of Aiven is pledged to marry a man she does not love . . . sleepless Lord Alistair struggles to unite the stubborn earls of the North Country . . . Mouse is lost, far from home, slaving as a kitchen drudge . . .

. . . and the reclusive Chronicler, keeping the records of Gaheris Castle, bears a secret so dangerous it could cost him his life and plunge the North Country into civil war.

An Impossible Journey

But when nursery rhymes begin to come horribly true, will these unlikely heroes find the strength they need to fulfill a prophecy of fire? For the Dragonwitch lives. And she has vowed vengeance on all who have wronged her.

description from

Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University.

Character Spotlight:

Lady Leta of Aiven

"Practical" Leta


Leta is the eldest daughter of Earl Lebuin of Aiven, one of the most powerful earls in the North Country. She is a quiet girl who has been brought up according to the ladylike standards of the day: She does not speak unless spoken to and ventures no opinions save those given her by her elders.

"Rebellious" Leta

But secretly, she is at war with herself. While practical Leta tells her to bow her head and marry Lord Alistair as she is told, rebellious Leta wonders if her life might not be meant for more than a loveless marriage . . . .

And now, the interview!

Me: Welcome to The Other World, Leta! I hope you enjoy your visit. We're all quite curious to learn more about you--you seem so quiet and mysterious. Why don't you give us a few introductory tidbits about yourself--your age, your favourite colour, the names of your parents, things like that. Don't be nervous--I won't bite! :)

Leta: Indeed, my lady, I am gratified to be invited to your other world. You must excuse my hesitant speech. I am not over-accustomed to talking about myself. But you put me well at ease.

I am eighteen years of age, old enough to contract a marriage. My favorite colour is blue, and I prefer to wear blue when given the choice. My mother tells me I should wear red because warm colours will warm the blood, and warm blood is much to be desired here in the cold North Country. But I think red makes me appear wan and listless.

My father is Earl Lebuin of Aiven, and my mother is Lady Acca of the House of Sondmanus, second cousin to the earl. Her alliance to Aiven was coveted by Sondmanus himself; yet Mother claims that were it not for her great beauty, her second cousin should never have succeeded, for he offered far too little in dowry. But my father, Earl Lebuin, insisted upon the match.

I wonder if Lord Alistair would have insisted for me? Somehow, I think not.

How interesting! How did you feel when your father told you he'd be marrying you to Lord Alistair? You can be honest here, we won't tell Earl Lebuin.... 

I was . . . not so pleased as my mother thought I should be. I might have liked to be consulted regarding my own wishes in the matter. After all, I had never so much as set eyes upon Lord Alistair! No one could say whether we would have any liking for each other. But Mother insists that liking has very little to do with a good match. As far as liking went, I doubt very much that she cared a great deal for my father. But she has borne him strong sons and secured prestige for her house. I should be grateful for such an opportunity. After all, it was said that Lord Alistair would be king one day.

But still . . . I would have liked to be asked.

Oh, poor dear! At least you have the Chronicler, right? You two seem to be really close friends. Is it true he's teaching you to write? What was it like, growing up without being able to read or write? It's something so many of us take for granted nowadays.

Yes, indeed, my acquaintance with the Chronicler of Gaheris has proven a surprising pleasure! He is very patient with me, for I am slow to learn my letters. I think I might have been faster had I started learning younger, as he did. But I am determined to learn, if ever I can! As I read and write, I see whole new worlds opening up before me, worlds I never knew existed back when I was simply the shadow-daughter sitting in the quiet rooms of my father’s house. I could not give up this opportunity now if my life depended upon it!

Is it true a lot of the history of the North Country is told through oral tradition? What's your favourite nursery rhyme or fairy tale?

There are many I enjoyed on a winter’s night when my father permitted a wandering minstrel to take his ease by our fire in exchange for a song or a tale. There is a story about the building of the final House of Lights, the one that, it is said, was not destroyed by the Flame at Night. The tale is called “The Coward and the Pit,” and it is a terrible, dark, wonderful story, one my mother deemed inappropriate for a young lady’s ears. So she would send me from the room if that tale was to be told . . . yet I, not always as obedient as my mother believed, would creep to the door and listen in. It mattered little how many times I heard the tale, or the variations expressed by the different tellers. I thrilled to the story more each time I heard it.

Sadly, it is too long a tale to share just now. But one day, perhaps. One day . . .

Any favourite memories of growing up in Aiven?

When I was quite small, my nurse would sometimes take me walking down the banks of River Hanna.  We would walk all the way to the pastures where some of my father’s finest livestock were kept. I enjoyed visiting the goat-herder especially, for the young kids were so lively, so wild as to seem lunatic! How I laughed at their antics! I don’t suppose I miss my own brothers or mother half as much as I miss those foolish goats . . . though it is perhaps wicked of me to say.

I heard from a little bird--perhaps a wood thrush--that you had a rather interesting experience with a star. In your own words, what was it like? 

Can one describe an experience such as that? It was like . . . but you’ll think this strange. It was like becoming part of a melody. Not hearing it—becoming it. A single thread of music wound together in a vast chorus, not important alone, never important . . . vital to the whole. It was . . .

No. No, I’ll not speak more of it now. You will forgive me.

Finally, is there anything you can tell us about your story, Dragonwitch? What should we expect?

Expect the unexpected, good lady! Every moment of that story was yet another unexpected twist or turn for me. Even now, I am breathless when I consider all that transpired, all that I have seen, all that I have become. There will be blood. What story does not, indeed, find its spirit in blood? But there will be love as well, for if blood is the spirit, than love is the heart.

Oh, sounds breath-taking indeed! Thank you so much for being here, Leta! 

 Indeed, it was my pleasure, Lady Beka.


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So, are you excited, or are you EXCITED!?!? Next on the tour is a Sneak Peek at The Sassy Sister. Make sure to check it out, and all the other fun stops on this blog tour!

 Tour Schedule