Friday, December 19, 2014

To Refine Like Silver ~ Author Interview/*Giveaway Winner*!!! (Jeanna Ellsworth Blog Tour)

To finish out the blog tour this week, I asked Jeanna Ellsworth some specific questions about her latest novel, To Refine Like Silver for a "Book Interview" - this was super fun to put together and it's always so awesome chatting with Jeanna.

What is the main reason this story is so special to you, as the author?
I found that writing is very cathartic. I suffered severe depression for ten years and although I did not see my growth or the fruits of my efforts to fight it then, I see what it has made me become. It was a harrowing trial to bear, but I am a much better woman now that I continued to put one foot in front of the other. So that was the main message I hoped to get across: Our trials do not define us, rather they refine us.
The Lord works in mysterious ways, and knows exactly what we need to go through to mold us into who He has for us to become to serve Him best! 
Your testimony is a great inspiration! :)

Who's character was the hardest to re-develop?
It wasn’t really hard, but I think the character that is the most changed is Darcy. The setting is in his home county of Derbyshire and so I was able to write him as a more relaxed, less socially inept, and comfortable (even flirty!) Darcy. It was rather fun.
Did Matthew Macfadyen live up to your expectations of Mr. Darcy? Absolutely! A hundred and fifty per cent. I mean, he blew away my expectations of the character. He is the perfect Mr. Darcy. (Keira Knightley)
I loved your unique take on Darcy in this story!

I love this cover! Especially knowing that you know the people posing for it! What made you decide to have Darcy and Georgiana- as opposed to Darcy and Lizzie- on the front? 
Good question! I like my covers to be scenes from the book and this particular scene, where Georgiana finally admits how melancholy she really is, and Darcy catches a glimpse into realizing that he cannot offer her the help she needs, is the turning point of the book. It is where they first turn for help. No one can endure their trials alone, we must all ask for help at some point. And we should! No one should be afraid to ask for help, no matter how great or small the trial. I wanted the turning point in the book to be memorable.
Love it!

What was the hardest scene to write & why?
The hardest scene was when Darcy meets Mrs. Bennet for the first time. Mrs. Bennet is terribly verbally abusive to Elizabeth and up to this point in the book, Darcy has been sweet and lovable, and Elizabeth has been confident and positive. When Darcy meets Mrs. Bennet it is painfully obvious that Elizabeth shrinks in confidence and Darcy has to stand up to Mrs. Bennet in a very commanding way. It was hard for three reasons: Mrs. Bennet was mean, Elizabeth lost her sparkle, and Darcy had to be intimidating! None of which are fun to write!
Hmm...completely understandable. ;)

What was your favorite scene to write & why?
Oh, by far, the bookshop proposal. I loved helping Darcy cross that internal barrier where he starts to open up to her about how he feels for her. It is one of my favorite proposals I’ve written.
but with his guitar instead of books
It's most definitely my favorite of your (and really any) proposals!!! What better place? ^_^

Who was your favorite character to write about (besides Lizzie & Darcy:))?
My heart is with Georgiana and her struggles. Some of her internal dialogue could have been a page out of my journal. I loved writing her growing and stretching until her trials no longer defined her.

How much research did you do this book compared to how much you did for Pride & Persistence?
Quite a bit! I mostly did online research on how to refine silver. I looked at probably 20 articles and a few videos. I read other people’s sermons on the blacksmith metaphor from Malachi 3:3 and pieced it all together. I even did research on silver mines that were active during that time.
That is super cool! I loved the theme of the metaphor running through the whole thing!

What is your favorite quote of Darcy's from this variation? Elizabeth's? 
This is a favorite part of the book that where Darcy does this: ‘Darcy stopped walking, reached up to her cheek, brushed it with the back of his hand. He lowered his voice and said, “I know exactly where my heart is.”’ My favorite quote Elizabeth never really says but it is referred to twice in the book by both Georgiana and Darcy. It comes from Elizabeth’s prayer notebook: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have left.”
pin of the week bestYou never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have
I loved all of Elizabeth's prayer notebook quotes! :D

I'd never read a book or even just someone's opinion on Mrs. Bennet that went so far beneath her abrasive and impolite personality to her deeper character and motivations...
Can you explain a little what motivated you to explore the relationship between Mrs. Bennet and Lizzie so thoroughly? What element were you hoping to add to the story by it?
Mrs. Bennet is basically verbally and emotionally abusive. I have a game I play with myself when I can’t understand why someone would say or act a certain way that seems so mean. I ask myself, what would it take for ME to act that way? What extenuating circumstances would it take for me to say such awful things? Well, I usually can come up with some far-fetched scenario that makes me have some patience and possibly even forgive the behavior. Don’t get me wrong, abuse is never acceptable, but sometimes we need to find meaning to it and in this case, I gave Mrs. Bennet some reasons why she would venture into the realm of abusive behavior. This game helps me not to judge people too harshly because if I think hard enough, I can think of times where I might make a mistake or be impolite like that. I was hoping to add that we should never judge someone solely on their actions. Sometimes we have to have faith in a person until they work through their issues.
Typography Mania #165In the Bible it says they asked Jesus how many times you should forgive, and he said 70 times 7....then who am I if I do not doesn't matter how I "feel" it's what is right that matters!  When you decide to pray for those who hurt's just too hard to think badly and remember the hurt.
Great words, those! Thought-provoking...
Were any of the characters tweaked at all to resemble people you know?
I usually do have people from real life that I filter into the story. I would say Mr. Bennet is more like my dad and a lot of his counsel would be something that my dad would say. I remember having hours upon hours of spiritual discussions with him about heaven and gospel principles. He is a spiritual giant and very compassionate. He was one of the key people that helped me through my depression and divorce.
Family Portraits by Picture It Mine Photography could you imagine taking this at this age then doing the same thing on the day of her wedding with her dad? Soo cuteDaddy Daughter photo. Family Photographer in Menomonie, WI and Eau Claire, WI | Portraits

Here's a totally random question that I thought of while reading and simply wanted to know your opinion- a question I've wondered at ever since I became an avid Janeite: Anne de Bourgh: was she really sickly, or was it a ruse with deeper incentive? :)
I’d say it was a ruse. I always picture her standing up to her mother sooner rather than later but only when a strong man steps in and gives her support.
Hmm...smells like a story cooking. ;D I'm with you, by the way...just look at her face...she's definitely plotting. B-)

If someone asked you to summarize your book in one sentence, what would your answer be? 
Our trials do not define us; rather they refine us.

How about in one key word?
This is hard. I have heard inspiring, stirring, and motivational, but I guess the only honest answer I can give is what I feel it is. Hopeful.
Hope anchors the soul... sometimes it's all we've got but it's a really great start.

How do you keep such a good balance between your drama to comedy ratio?
Oh dear! You may be the first one to state that there is a good ratio! I always feel like my books could use more comedy and less drama but I can’t help writing the things that stir deep emotion.
Drama Mask Ink Tattoo Black Pretty
Not complaining at all! I love to have emotion and drama in my stories, so long as there is any comedy to lighten the mood every so often, and your balance was perfect! Haha!

If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would it be?
I would ask who in her life were some of the characters based off of. I just know that there were loves in her life. Did she know a Mr. Knightly? Which heroine was most like her?
Ann Hathaway as Jane Austen in Becoming Jane.

What habits/customs/sayings from the Jane Austen world do you find yourself using in your daily activities as a result of your writing?
I find myself saying “indeed” or “splendid” frequently. I have caught myself saying stuff like “Do tell me. . .”  or “Are you ill?” I also put more weight in the subtleness of gestures or looks and play a game with how I could describe a look or gesture in words.
I find myself using "proper words" all the time!! :D

What do your hope to accomplish most through this novel in the lives of your readers?

Besides the obvious? A great entertaining love story? Ha Ha. You are right though, I do hope to share a message. I dedicated the book to those without hope. I think if I had read a book like this when I was depressed than I might not have felt so alone in my fight. It would have reminded me that sadness really is just a feeling. To be reminded that sadness cannot consume me would have helped me a great deal because it sure felt like it would! I hope that I touch at least one person’s life. I have had several people contact me and tell me how much it helped them and so I consider it a success.
You are definitely touching lives through your novel(s)! 
Thank you so much for your time and the closer look at TRLS! It's always a pleasure talking with you about your books/Jane Austen!


I'm super excited to announce the winner of their very own copy of To Refine Like Silver to be Anji!!!! Congrats, Anji!!! I know you'll enjoy this wonderful story! 
(Anji- When you read this, please contact me at flutterbug95@ with your kindle information so that I can get that info to Jeanna and she can send you your copy! :) Thank you!)


Thanks, everyone for stopping by the blog to join in on this tour and to welcome Ms Ellsworth! And thanks again, Jeanna, for being my very special guest in Wonderland this Christmas!


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