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English Writer Elizabeth Hopkinson Answers 14 Questions

I’m proud to present a "blog-hop" between the English writer Elizabeth Hopkinson, whose historical fantasy SILVER HANDS came out last year, and me. We’re interviewing each other and posting the resulting conversations on our blogs. So have a look at her entry on

Apart from being a writer, Elizabeth is also a mother, plays piano at her church and sometimes at the Swanwick Writers' summer School, and makes beautiful handcraft jewellery and adornments. I'm grateful she finds the time to grant us a glimpse into her writing-life.

SILVER HANDS was (partly) inspired by fairy tales and legends, and I know that you lead workshops about myths, legends and how to integrate them in stories. How important is traditional folk lore to you?
Very important.  I have loved fairy tales since I was a child, and began to learn more about them when I was at university.  Traditional stories are at the heart of all storytelling and, since the oldest myths and tales are sacred stories that means all storytelling is somehow sacred.

The ending of SILVER HANDS suggests a sequel. Is that so, and when will it come out?
I do have an idea for a sequel, starting in Japan.  But since I am currently seeking an agent for a completely different trilogy, I don't know what will become of that idea.


Why did you begin to write? Was there a specific event that spurred you on?
I can't remember
when I first started to write creatively.  I've been doing it ever since I learned to write.  When I was a young child at school, I used to make books out of scrap paper, fastened together with the teacher's stapler, and written in wax crayon.

I "define" SILVER HANDS as historical fantasy. How would you describe the genre you write?
I would describe it as historical fantasy too.  Although that's really only true for my novels.  My short stories have a lot more variety.  Some are fairy tales, some are surreal, some are comic fantasy, some are steampunk...

Which do you find more challenging, the process of thinking up a story or the editing?
Actually, the hardest part for me is the one in between those two stages.  It's very easy for me to come up with ideas.  The hard part is getting that idea out of my head and into a plot that works.  Editing is much easier, because at least you have something to work with. 

Do you have a favourite among your books/stories and why?
Like many people, my favourite is always the one I'm working on now.  But there are some of my stories that I have a particular soft spot for.  A fairy tale called The Ice Queen and the Mer-king is very special to me.  And also my first ever fan fiction, The Handmaid of Gondor.

How do you fit writing into your daily life?
I fit my writing in and amongst daily chores like shopping and washing.  Often, I will bring my writing with me when I am out shopping etc, and do some writing in a café or something.  My weeks don't always follow the same pattern; I make it up as I go along, and I usually let my writing lead what happens.

Should you ever consider changing genre, what would you like to write?
I would like my poetry to be better.  I used to write poetry more often than I do now.

Which of your senses is most likely to be involved when there’s a first spark of an idea?
I would say vision, because I most often have an idea when I see something unusual.  For example, I just went to visit my brother, and he had a giant gold woman in his bathroom. There's got to be a story in that.

Are there any writing related events that you go to?
I go to Swanwick Writers' Summer School every year.  That is a tremendous help and support.  I also go to Ilkley Literature Festival each year in October.  In fact, I've just signed up to join the blogging team this year, so I will be reviewing some of the events at

Do you belong to any writing related organisations?
At the moment, just Swanwick, although that may change in the future.

How important is reader feedback to you?
Very important.  Writing is a lonely business, and any feedback from readers is a precious gift.  A review online or comment on a blog or webzine can really cheer up a writer's day.

How can readers contact you?
The best way is through social media.  I am on Twitter as @hidden_grove and Facebook as Elizabeth Hopkinson - Author.  I'm also on Google+ and Goodreads.  Or leave a comment on my blog.  I'll always try and get back to you as soon as possible.

What’s your favourite book of all times?
That's a very difficult question, as I have so many.  But the Narnia books and Grimm's fairy tales are definitely in there.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for giving us an idea about what writing and your books mean to you. I've absolutely loved SILVERHANDS (warmly recommend it to anybody who likes a thrilling historical read), and am very much looking forward to reading more of your work in the near future.