The WSP team is thrilled to present an exclusive interview with the incredibly talented 16-year-old author, Elizabeth Anderton. We had the pleasure of publishing Elizabeth’s debut novel, “Heroes of the Flame: Rise of Phoenix,” a captivating young adult fantasy that has been generating buzz among readers of all ages. In this interview, we delve into the creative mind of this remarkable young writer, exploring her journey, inspirations, and unique writing style.

Q: Can you discuss the inspiration behind “Heroes of the Flame: Rise of Phoenix” and how it influenced your writing style?

There wasn’t really any inspiration.

Sometimes ideas can come out of the blue, and the idea for this book was one of those.

I decided to try letting the characters lead the way through the book and react by themselves instead of following a script and having my characters act like puppets. I was inspired to do that after I saw an interview quote from one of my favorite authors, Shannon Messenger, where she talked about how no matter what she did, the main character of her series wouldn’t be mad at another character, because of their nature. That intrigued me, and I found it much more fun to write like that.

I also tested my theory of “If I’m bored, the reader’s bored” on this book, as well. I kept having to change things and make Brin’s (nickname for my character) life harder to keep up my interest. If my interest is still piqued, chances are the readers will be interested as well, and there isn’t much you can go wrong with if you’ve gotten to that point.

Q: How did you approach developing the characters in your book? Did their personalities and actions evolve naturally as you wrote, or did you have a predetermined plan for their development?

After creating them, I just kind of let them progress and act on their own, as if I were watching some sort of movie play out on the paper. (well, screen, since I write on my computer) I do usually have some sort of idea how my characters will be at the end–like an image in my head of how they’ll look, or an important or really cool scene the entire series leads up to-but for this book, I have no idea, for the first time. I know abt the other characters to an extent, but not Brin. Or Ace, for the matter.

But Brin is much harder to pre-determine, as she’s the most complicated character I’ve ever made.

Q: In terms of writing style, what techniques or literary devices did you employ to enhance the storytelling? Were there any specific challenges you faced in implementing those techniques?

One of them I often use is first person, but past tense. I like to write my books as if the MC wrote it or is telling it themselves, instead of someone outside of the character. That way you can both: imagine the future and why they’re writing or telling it, and also because then you can see inside their head better in their own voice. That’s the biggest one I use as of now that I’m keenly aware of. I don’t usually have a challenge implementing it.

Q: Can you elaborate on the themes or messages you intended to convey through your book? How did your writing style contribute to the exploration of those themes?

The main theme I was thinking of when I was writing it, is mostly just raising awareness of mental illness. It’s a serious problem, and just important as any physical illness. I did a heck ton of research to be able to an adept description of what it’s like to live with it, but I’m not sure I did it justice. I tried to be as descriptive as | could in a way most people could understand-metaphors, physical visuals, etc-but you never truly know what it’s like unless you live with it.
But it’s always good to try to convey that.

Q: Were there any particular authors or books that influenced your writing style? How did they shape your approach to storytelling, characterization, or the overall structure of your book?

I mentioned earlier that the author Shannon Messenger inspired me to try having my characters lead the way instead of acting like puppets. Also, Brandon Sanderson inspired me, but I can’t say why or how. Otherwise, no, not really.

Elizabeth Anderton is a sixteen-year-old writer who lives in Maine. She lives with her two loving parents, her intriguing brother, her fifteen-year-old dog Sasha, and her five-year-old bird, Rey. When she isn’t attending her high school (Greely High School, class of 2024) or working at her local daycare job, she is getting in some much-needed relaxation, spending time with her friends and family, or working on other hobbies, such as songwriting and drawing.

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