Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows: When my son was born I wanted to write short stories to read to him. Alexander has been with me since I was a kid kicking stones around at recess. He was sort of my wandering hero on a quest in a magical land. It only seemed natural once I finally started writing to focus on his journey. The series formed almost instantly from there.
GJR: I love Ferdinand, but I must ask, why a frog?
EPB: That is a really good question. When I was a kid I used to catch frogs, mostly at the neighborhood creek (I know… charming, right?). They are interesting creatures with their pudgy bellies and long gangly legs. The very first visual of Ferdinand was this stiff postured, long legged little creature standing tight-lipped with bulgy eyes and a pudgy belly protruding around his middle.
GJR: How many books are planned for the Azra’s Pith series?
EPB: Three so far; part two, “The Return of General Drake” is complete I just need to polish it up before I send it off. Part three, “The Butterfly Curse” is almost complete. Once they are complete I want to get into what happened in Azra’s Pith before Alexander was born. There is so much to tell!
GJR: What draws you to write Middle Grade fiction? Is this a genre you plan to stay with?
EPB: I think that part of me never grew up. Alexander and Julien are like old friends. They made childhood an adventure. That escape in to my imagination really came in handy… still does to this day. I don’t see myself giving up fantasy; I love the idea of visiting another world for a while with limitless possibilities.
GJR: What do you like about being an indie author?
EPB: The support; if I need anything my publisher is just an email away. This being my first published book, I was unsure about everything. Marci is a saint! She helped me navigate through the whole process without a single gripe. There are periods when we talk everyday.
GJR: Who are your favorite authors to read? Why?
EPB: Roald Dahl’s stories are so much fun to read! My favorite is James and the Giant Peach. It is a wildly imaginative adventure. I love, love, love J.R.R Tolkien; “The Hobbit” is my favorite tale. It’s just so darn brilliant! I had an obsession with Hobbits and wizards for a while. I tend to lapse back into it from time to time.
GJR: Are there any authors you would cite as an influence?
EPB: C. S. Lewis really captured me as a kid. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” had me searching for portals everywhere! If only…
GJR: What are you currently reading?
EPB: I’m doing a lot of writing these days. On occasion I pop in to “Rumi, The Big Red Book” by Coleman Barks. I also keep my books on CD handy. “James and the Giant Peach”, “Treasure Island” and “The Hobbit” get a lot of play time.
GJR: If you weren’t a writer and mother, what career would you choose?
EPB: Before I was married (about a hundred years ago) I was a bell hop; I know it’s a bit tomboyish; but it was a lot of fun! I might still be in hospitality somewhere. That, or I would have taken my lottery winnings and bought a vineyard estate.
GJR: One foodie to another, if you had to prepare an impromptu dinner party, which recipe would you grab and why?
EPB: Hmm, tough one… in gorgeous weather I would do Baja BBQ with fish tacos, home made chips, salsa and guacamole. In not so nice weather I think I might go pull out my Two-Ton Lasagna recipe… the name says it all. One piece is all you need!
GJR: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!
EPB: Thank you, Jenn! I had a lot of fun with this interview!