Top Ten Series of Books I'd Like to Finish. . . | Actually, more like 17

Friday, 25 September 2015

Meet my cute literary-dog, Atticus!
I am an odd little ball with finishing a series, because predominantly in the past, once I started a book in a series, and liked it enough, I was quite prompt to grab those other copies, and finish that series. This year has been a little bit of an exception for me, as I've read the first book in more than one trilogy/series but have not had the opportunity to get my hand on, or find the time to finish the rest of the books. It's something I'm working on, but I am actually not stressed about it, because when a series ends that I like, I feel quite sad about it, so I don't mind stretching the enjoyable experience of anticipation over a long stretch of time ;) Nevertheless, I thought it would be fun if I joined in The Broke and the Bookish "Top Ten Tuesday" of a few weeks ago, and share with you the book-series I've not finished (yet) but really want to!

I read the first book, A Cast of Stone, earlier this year, after hearing Schuyler mention it on several occasions on her blog, and really quite enjoyed the adventure and quest-like nature of the story. Also Errol was a really engaging and interesting hero; the ending of A Cast of Stone left me on tenterhooks with the revelations and plot-twists and danger, so I'd like to see how the story pans out for young Errol and his friends. 

The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl: "Poison Crown".

I've read all of the books and novellas in Stengl's "Goldstone Wood" series as they stand published so far, and they are so good! It's an excellent fairy-tale/ish Christian fantasy series for young people; I highly recommend this series, folks! But the wonderful thing is the series is still unfinished, and Anne Elisabeth has plans for more books which I am eagerly looking forward to :). In fact, she's been working on Book 8 in the series, "Poison Crown: Smallman's Heir" for a long while now, but has currently chosen to put it on hold for a break to work on other projects, so we may have wait a few years before the next Goldstone Wood comes out. . . *sniffs sadly* 

I read A Distant Melody a few years ago, and loved it! Basically, as far as I gather, the Wings of Glory series is a set of three books, each book telling the story of one of the three Novak brothers, Ray, Jack and Walt. A Distant Melody tells the story of the youngest, Walt, who is in the Air Force during WW2, and about a young woman who correspondences with him called Allie. It was a great debut novel and just a sweet historical romance about WW2 which I thoroughly enjoyed - despite the romantic plot, the story had other in-depth themes and well-written characters, so that the romance did not leave out those elements. I also loved the exploration of the themes of honesty, sacrifice, and love through-out the story and really loved that ending! I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest of this trilogy and discover the stories of Walt's two older brothers. (P.S. I'm actually currently reading A Memory Between Us!)

Like with A Distant Melody, I loved the first book in this series, With Every Letter immensely. While some elements of the romance bugged me a little, I loved all the historical detail and richness of the plot! It was just so good. The characters were so well-rounded and captivating, and I loved the idea of two people getting to come and love each other through letters. I then started the second book "On Distant Shores". . . but oh dear! While the historical detail was as stellar as the first book, the romance and the plot of relationships between the different characters got on my nerves too much, and I just had to lay aside the book, sadly. The romance wasn't my cup-a-tea, plus it had a streak of feminism which I didn't like. However, I might consider picking up  "In Perfect Time" sometime and giving it a go, just because of how good Sundin writes WW2 history. We shall have to see. . . 

This was a series I discovered while browsing online, and because of my love WW2 stories, I picked up the first book in the series "All God's Children". It was quite good, and sad in parts. The story dealt with the White Rose movement with Sophie Scholl which I found really interesting. I can't say it was exceptional in any way, and the writing-style wasn't my favourite part, but I think it was good enough so that I'd like to read the other two books in the series.

The Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke.

I was not super keen for the film series with Michael Landon Jr, but I really did like the first two books, Love Comes Softly, and Love's Enduring Promise, better than the films, and would really love to continue the series. . .

Luner Chronicles by Merissa Meyer. 

Now this is technically cheating to include this series in this list, because I've only just started Cinder, but so far I'm intrigued to read the full series, as I've heard quite a few interesting things about it. . . and I know that is a very shallow motivation, but they have such gorgeous book-covers! 
Jeeves and Wooster series P.G. Wodehouse.

So far, I've only read Right Ho, Jeeves, and saw the first two or three episodes of Jeeves and Wooster tv show with Stephan Fry, but I'm hooked! I want to read all the P.G. Wodehouse books now, and most definitely all the Jeeves & Wooster series in particular. Such a good dose of humour, comedy and nonsensical wit to lift the soul :). 
Hercule Poirot series Agatha Christie.

I've seen several of the episodes in the tv show with David Schuett, but so far I've only read one of Agatha Christie's novels, Murder on the Orient Express, but I really liked that one, so I need to read her other stories. . . !
The sequel to The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

The Princess and the Curdie. Technically I don't think this is a series, but I really loved The Princess and the Goblin, so I'd love to continue the story with The Princess and the Curdie.
War of the Realms series by Chuck Black.

I've already read Cloak of the Light, which I really loved, and book 2 Rise of the Fallen, which I am still all in a muddle about (that book challenged me quite a bit, and made me think a lot, but I'm not sure I agree with all the spiritual allegory/symbolism the author used. Need to ponder that one more). But as far as I know, it will end up being a trilogy of three books, so I would like to read the last book when it comes out by and by, despite some of my reservations with the series. I've just really loved a lot of Chuck Black's writing over the years (you should all check out The Knights of Arrethtrae series - so good!), so it would be neat to see how his writing continues to develop in the years ahead.

A good friend introduced me to the author Kim Vogel Sawyer, and I really loved My Heart Remembers - it was a good, decent historical fiction story that I found engaging, so I'd love to read the companion novel, In Every Heartbeat and continue the story with new characters. . . 
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

Well, I read To Kill a Mockingbird earlier this year, and loved it so much. I wasn't surprised it made it to one of my favourite ever book-list :). Atticus Finch was my favourite part of the book, but I just loved Scout as well. And the writing was beautiful and raw and poignant. I definitely loved this modern classic. Despite the controversy around this book, I do want to read Go Set a Watchman - not so much because it's a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird and will wow me the same way. . . I know it won't; but I do love this type of literary fiction, and I'd love to read more of Harper Lee's writing (a wee bit apprehensive though about whether my view of Atticus will be spoilt in any way?).
The Dolphin Ring Cycle by Rosemary Sutcliff.

I've read so far "The Eagle and the Ninth", "The Silver Branch", "The Lantern Bearers" and "The Shield Ring" which all fall under the Dolphin Ring Cycle, but I'd definitely like to read Sutcliff's other novels that are a part of that series (I'd read love to read all the books I can for Sutcliff!)

The Hawk and the Dove series by Penelope Wilcock.

I read the first book in this series back in May after having noticed the series several times online and being especially intrigued by its premise of medieval monastery life and its focus on how to live a godly life and show love to your neighbours. I really loved The Hawk and the Dove, and would love to continue the series and read The Wounds of God soon. . . 
The Plenilune Series by Jennifer Freitag.

Now, I had such mixed feelings about Plenilune when I read it early this year, however I do believe that if Jenny did publish her subsequent books in the series I would pick them up. On two grounds - firstly, I loved the first half of Plenilune exceedingly - I loved the richness of her world and characters and her beautiful prose. That book definitely made me think. And then, though I did not like the ending, and was upset about certain aspects/themes in the story regarding justice, mercy and violence, I would love to re-read Plenilune to see if I might be able to appreciate her perspective better without the shock factor of a first read; I'd also like to read more of her writing because she is a good writer, and I loved what she did in The Shadow Things and I have learnt so much from her over the years. . . 

Ooh, what a cozy English mystery Anon, Sir, Anon, was! I'd definitely pick up more Vivi & Farnham Mysteries if Rachel should ever release another one (which I think she has plans to by and by?). . . 

"She Gathered Books Like Clouds. . . " | The Curious Wren Tag

Sunday, 6 September 2015

It never rains but it pours, they say. . . Well, it's been pouring tags lately, folks, and I can't complain! I love tags, and enjoy the process of reading them on other's blogs, and writing 'em myself. It's been one of those easy things to write on my blog lately, too, considering how busy things are with my studies. (Hope you all don't mind too much!) I do have more in-depth posts planned out in the weeks to come, Lord willing - reviews, literary reflections, musings on life and faith and daily struggles; it's just a working challenge to fit time to sit down and write all my deeper thoughts. Until then, I hope you enjoy this delightful tag hosted by the lovely Annie from her lovely new blog, Curious Wren. (I did an interview with her last Tuesday which you can check out: here !)
1. What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
I finished reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett last week, and I really enjoyed it. It's such a sweet classic story :). It was quite an appropriate season to read it in as well, as here in Australia we're slowly putting aside winter and embracing the joys of Spring, with the twittering of birds and feeling of hope and promise in the air!

But I actually just finished reading the first book in the King Arthur Trilogy: The Sword and the Circle by Rosemary Sutcliff the other day, which was so good. It's my first introduction into the King Arthur legend (I'm trying to get more into it before I start Suzannah Rowntree's novel, Pendragon's Heir), and I must say, I'm loving it so far. . .and I love Rosemary Sutcliff, so there is that too :D. 
2. Describe the perfect reading spot.
A cozy reading nook for me would be in a couch or armchair by a fireplace in the winter, and by a window facing the sea-breeze and sunshine in the summer, preferably with a downy light and bookcases near me; a pretty lace curtain would be an amazing addition! 
3. Favourite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers?
It really depends on the mood I'm in, and the season. I  quite enjoy fresh fruit juice beverages, in particular during the summer months, like mango, berry fruit boosts, or iced lemonade. But I'm very fond of my tea, especially these days in the afternoons in the midst of my studies. A current favourite is Harney and Sons' Paris flavoured black-tea, and forest-fruit tea - ah, so soothing and refreshing!
But I'd take hot chocolate if you offered me, no questions asked ;). 
4. Share favourite quotes from four books.
Well, it's like this. I went on Goodreads and spent a whole evening browsing the richest and most beautiful quotes from my favourite novels, and I came away with the biggest pile of quotes. I then thought. . . how do I narrow them down? So I tried avoiding the quotes I mentioned in previous tags, and hopefully in my friends' tags, though they may be special too. Just, it was painful, okay?

"Oh, I can't describe my home. It is home, and I can't put its charm into words." - Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South.

"But courage, child: we are all between the paws of the true Aslan." - C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.

"It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit.

"The wind blustered in from the sea, setting the horses' manes streaming sideways, and the gulls wheeled mewing against the blue-and-grey tumble of the sky; and Aquila, riding a little aside from the rest as usual, caught for a moment from the wind and the gulls and the wet sand and the living, leaping power of the young red mare under him, something of the joy of simply being alive that he had taken for granted in the old days." - Rosemary Sutcliff, The Lantern Bearers. 

"It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

"It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King.
5. What is your most loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic?
Fantasy: The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit and The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl and The Knights of Arrethtrae series by Chuck Black.

Dystopia: I have not read anything in that genre yet.
Contemporary: I'll give you a few favourite contemporary authors (I don't read in the contemporary genre much, to be honest), so Anne Elisabeth Stengl, N.D. Wilson, Chuck Black, Sarah Sundin, Kristy Cambron, Rachel Heffington, Janette Oke, Jill Stengl, and Rachel Coker's novels are some of my current favourites. 

Sci-fi: I have not ventured into the science-fiction genre at all really (much as Annie begs me to watch Doctor Who!), except for The Cosmic Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength) which I loved immensely and highly recommend. 

Classic: I have too many favourites! They'd include North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, A Tale of Two Cities and Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Emma by Jane Austen, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin, Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Shining Company and The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff . . . oh, you know, you get the idea?
6. List three authors you’ve collected the most books from.
I own quite a few J.R.R. Tolkien novels, almost all of C.S. Lewis' main works (there are many more I still need to acquire though), and then it's a tie between Anne Elisabeth Stengl's novels, Chuck Black's and Patricia St. John's, I think. I also have a decent haul of Dickens' books now ^_^. 
7. What are your thoughts on magic in literature?
As this is a rather lengthy question, I'll refer you to another post in which I discussed this issue on my blog. You can check it out here: "Like in the Great Stories, Mr. Frodo. . . "

I also second both Emily and Ana's responses to the question heartily :).
8. What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? Feel free to include images.
Ooh, I am fond of so many! I'm a sucker for illustrated-covers, and I love beautiful typography, bright colours, foil and gold embossing, art, illustration, and a cover that will give a sense and feel of the type of novel it is, it's themes, characters and genre through its palate of colours, font, and images. I normally dislike movie-tie in editions, and am very picky with having a full-face model of a character on the cover unless they feel in-setting and right from a book-scene . . . not like ahem. . . a photo-shoot or something like that *shudders*. Here are a few I can't quite have enough of ^_^.
I have not read this book,
though it is on my TBR
I have only read the first book in this trilogy so far. . . 

I have yet to read this. . . 
I have only read the first book this trilogy,
A Distant Melody but I really enjoyed it. 
Another book I have yet to read. . .
I still need to read Flannery O'Connor's books too. . . 

9. Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this.
I had a brief scuffle in my mind, like a kaleidoscope of character-images floating past my mind, when my mind finally rested on Margaret Hale from North and South. She's one of my all time favourite heroines in literature, and a character I deeply empathise with and love. It's interesting, because I love how realistic and genuinely real she is with all her flaws and stubborn prejudices, but also with her deep and loving compassion to those in suffering and need, her sense of moral fealty and duty as a daughter to aid and support her father and mother,  her keen sense of conviction, and her humility and gentle endurance through the sufferings she goes through. . .
I also love how normal and ordinary a literary heroine she is, one I can very closely relate to both in character and in the situations she finds herself - the small regrets and griefs of coming into womanhood, the daily struggles of living in her parents' home and suffering the pains that they do alongside them, realizing a growing change of attitudes and perspectives in her life, a clinging to her faith, the weariness of ironing curtains for the arrival of her father's guest ;), and the struggle of being caught up in more than one society.

Much as I love Jane Eyre I confess Bronte's heroine is not one I can closely relate to just because of the experiences and vividly dark, gothic and morbid circumstances/situations and characters she encounters - they are so far removed from anything I could ever imagine or experience. (It's not every day one finds a mad-wife in the attic!) I do love her, but I cannot relate. . . with Margaret I do, and I love that. She's a real character to me. 
10. Do you lend out your books? Or is that the equivalent to giving away your babies?
I don't mind too much lending my books to members to my family because, you know, I can badger them any time without scruples ;). But uhm. . . sending them outside the house? With friends or acquaintances I get to see no more than once a month? *ouch* I'm a hoarder of my precious books and do not part with them easily, but for the joy of seeing a friend being blessed or delighted by a book I love as much as me, I think I can do it! I'd much rather go and buy them a copy though, if I had the available funds ;).

Introducing the Curious Wren | An Interview with Annie Hawthorne

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

My heart is rather full of excitement right now! I am so thrilled in fact, because I've been anticipating this day for years now, and it makes me so happy to finally be able to feature an interview here on Fullness of Joy with one of my very dear and closest online friends. Annie Hawthorne has just launched her own blog in the online writing community, friends!!
I distinctly remember the time (and post) in which Annie stopped by my little corner of the blog-community and left the sweetest comment on one of my sunset-photography posts (back in those days, to have had anyone comment on my blog was something worthy of celebration - Annie's note almost made me tear up!). In typical Annie-fashion, she was sweet, encouraging, joyful and made me smile. 

When later she asked if she could email me and we started sending emails to each other back and forth, I realised Annie was truly a special young woman with a loving, affectionate heart, and a passionate love for the Lord Jesus. She was a girl I truly I wanted to be friends with! It was funny and joyful when we found out just how many things we had in common, despite living on opposite sides of the globe. . . through our long chats, emails, letters o'er the seas and Viber textin' (hey, sending quirky smile-y faces back and forth on Messages is a legitimate form of communication, folks!), we discussed and shared, we laughed and we cried and we prayed together. It's true, we've never met in the flesh (though we dream and pray about it!), but we truly feel like the best of friends, kindred spirits and bonded sisters in Christ. It is not really strange that with our mutual love of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, we frequently call each other "my dear Samwise", and see each other as Frodo and Sam did <3. Because Annie is really a beautiful Samwise friend! :)

So, dear friends, please pick yourself up a nice, warm cup of tea (or hot chocolate if you prefer that!), and join Annie and me as we have a nice, long-ish chat together :). . . 

Hello, Annie, what a delight it is to have you on Fullness of Joy! To start this off, could you share a little bit about yourself? Hobbies, personality, tea or coffee, least favourite household chore, cats or dogs...?
Hello, everyone! *group hug* Joy, you are so sweet for agreeing to host me. I am honored to be featured on your delightful blog today! <3

Hmm... let's see, I color, knit, sew, and collect books among other things. I've been called vivacious, and I'm an optimist with an affinity for hugs, long, in-depth conversations, and smiling at strangers. Tea and coffee -- I like my coffee cold. Cleaning out the science experiments in the refrigerator has never been a favorite task of mine. Washing dishes is lovely because a) it never fails to kick-start my muse, and b) everything is so shiny and clean afterwards. ^_^ Cats, cats, ALWAYS cats. I am an ailurophile all the way. Pluviophile and Nemophilist too. 
Ooh, I'd love to wash and dry the dishes with you - what fun we'd have talking and laughing together over our favourite stories, our fondness for our quirky-loveable families, our mutual  obsession with hobbits, and our love for Jesus!

2. I'm so super excited that you have your own blog now! But for our dear readers, can you tell us a little of what inspired you to launch Curious Wren, and why? What can we most look forward to from your blog?
For several years I've wanted to have a specific place on-line where I could share about my writing and chat about books and plot and everything bibliophile-related with kindred spirits. This January the time felt right, so after much prayer and brainstorming, and planning I finally set the launch date for Curious Wren. I originally intended to launch in July, but Camp NaNo took precedence.

As aforementioned, I'll be sharing lots about books, and writerly stuffage. I'm looking forward to many, many good discussions with you all! :) And I can't wait to share specific articles too, such as: Three Reasons Being A Writer Is Terrifying, and Why Every Writer Should Watch Doctor Who, or a Certain Piece of flash fiction that's been swirling in my head for the last couple days. *rubs hands together gleefully* 
I'm excited about that piece of flash fiction and other wonderful bits of writing you'll be sharing on your blog! *grins* But should I be worried about the Doctor Who post? *fondly remembers the long-night Sherlock-discussions we've had in the past* ;).

3. At what age did you first start writing and develop a love for wordcrafting? Was there someone or something that influenced you to start this journey?
Not any specific age that I can recall. Because my Mum read books like The HobbitThe Chronicles of Narnia, and Little House on the Prairie to us children when we were little pipsqueaks I grew up with a love of literature ingrained in me. My habit of telling stories about mice and hedgehogs to my little sisters at bedtime (which I did until I was about 13) morphed into putting my words down on paper too. Since she fostered such a deep love of books in me, I would say I have my Mommy to thank for my love of writing. She's always encouraged me, and given many a word of caution when I get too excited and charge ahead with things impulsively. And she also doesn't bear grudges when I write things that make her cry. My Dad hugs me when I'm in a rough patch, and is my cornerstone of common sense when I'm too ambitious or not thinking clearly about a book's theme. Seriously, I could never write a shallow book with Dad around. <3 And I couldn't go without mentioning my precious Grandpa who saw potential in every tiny, horrendous scrap of writing I showed him as a young girl, or my sisters who showed (and still show) such enthusiasm over my books and characters. They yank me back in line wonderfully when I slack off on completing things. 
Aww! I love how supportive and encouraging your parents are - they sound like the best inspirations! 

4. On a similar vein, a great man was known to have said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Who have been the giants or “Greats” that have inspired your writing, love of literature and perhaps even your life thus far? 
I will name only a few of the many, and I won't even try to elaborate because I don't think I could find the words. But of all the books I have read the authors that mean the most to me, that inspired me the most, that have taught me so much and tangled their stories into my soul are... Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, L.M. Montgomery, Dickens, Kenneth Graham, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Norton, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. More recently, Eric Nylund, Harper Lee, Stengl, and Mirriam Neal. 

5. Not to quote Fanny Thornton and say “I see you’re not musical, as you have no piano…” ;), but do you play an instrument? What’s your favourite type/style of music? Do you have any favourite composers?
Oh, Fanny. XD I need to watch North and South again... 

Coincidentally, I do play piano, though not very well. My favorite style of music is instrumental, and I love hymns, classical, soundtracks, and different random good songs I've found over the years. My top five favorite modern composers are Murray Gold, Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Henry Jackman (because Captain America has epic music), and John Powell. 
Howard Shore! *grins* He's such an amazing composer. . . I'lll have to look up Henry Jackman's "Captain America" soundtrack :D. 

6. How do you feel your Christian faith affects your writing in general, and allows you to express your worldview of life?
My faith as a child of God is the lens through which I view life, and so naturally that influences my writing. How does it affect it? I attempt to write my stories in a way that I know will please my Saviour, in a way that will not lead people astray or cause them to fall. Example? I write flawed characters but not amoral characters unless they are villains or going to change drastically in their story arc, I don't use actual swear words; if I'm writing about touchy subjects I'm going to write it in a way that I wouldn't blush to have my Mum read it, or be ashamed of myself. I want my books to be wholesome, and unflinching about the truth, and I believe that can be achieved without being explicit or crass. :) 
Amen! That's a wonderful standard and desire in your writing, Annie, and I applaud you for that desire to write true but wholesome fiction. How we need more of that in our world these days!

7. So. . . can you tell us a bit more about your current writing projects, and what you’ve been working on lately? (Also, a few snippets from your work would be a treat!) 
My current WIP I am keeping very close to my chest, but I'll grant you all a tiny sneak peek. ;) It's a shortish steampunk fantasy thingummy I'm writing just for fun and it involves a snarky, proud, impish cat, his bird side-kick called Prism, a wild little girl that they try to contain, vengeful faeries, lots of smog and mechanical things, split milk, and the color blood-red. ^_^ 

My other WIP is a sci-fi Beauty and the Beast re-telling called I am Juliette (the first book in a series of re-tellings) and at the moment I'm editing/finishing the third draft -- which basically means I go into panic mode or happy spazzing mode every time I think about it. Ah, the life of a writer, so confusing to one's emotions. O.o
Well, I am just bursting with anticipation, m'dear, for all your stories! And folks, "I am Juliette" is seriously worth waiting for - such a moving and beautiful story. . .

8. Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks (like standing on your head for research or plotting assassinations in the shower)?
Well, I definitely plot assassinations in the shower! Also, births and kingdoms being overthrown and hearts broken, etc. The usual. 

*thinks* I can't write while listening to lyrical music. I write the best when I am completely alone, and listening to music that fits the mood of whatever scene I am destroying. I have to have a glass of water nearby, but I don't like snacking while I write, unless it's something like chocolate or candy. I tend to take awhile to get into my writing, but once I'm going full-steam I can write for hours, and generally I forget to eat. I wash my face before I write, clip back my hair, and don something cozy -- like my flannel shirt. Lots of times I catch myself saying the dialogue while I scribble, or having conversations with my charries aloud, along with facial expressions that go with the movie in my head. Oh, yes! I see my stories as movies in my mind, complete with camera angles, panoramic view, lighting, and even soundtrack sometimes. Also, I write first drafts best by hand so I have piles of notebooks and pens. 
Ooh, how I would love to hijack one of those notebooks! ;)

9. Can you tell us what are your current favourite movies, TV shows, and books? (Stress is on the current, of course.)
Doctor Who will always be a current favorite, I think. ^.^ My oldest sister-in-law recently introduced me to a Masterpiece Classics crime show called Inspector Lewis. Other than some swearing and parts to skip, it's really good. I love the repartee and friendship between Lewis and Halloway, the mysteries, and the general lovely British-ness. Then there's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which I fangirl over for multiple reasons. The twists and turns! The characters! The fight scenes! The snark! The emotional trauma! COULSON! FITZSIMMOMS! Skye and her Dad!  *calms down*

Bookwise that would be:

-The Eagle of the Ninth. (Rosemary Sutcliff).
-The Code of the Woosters. (P.G. Wodehouse).
-Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures.
-A Wish Made of Glass (Ashlee Willis). 
-Monster (Mirriam Neal).

Ah, yes, British TV-dramas are really some of the best out there, aren't they! :) And it makes me so excited to see a Rosemary Sutcliff novel in this list - her books are so good!

10. Being a home-school graduate from a big family, how do/did you fit writing time with studies, chores and family time as well as other activities?
Back when I was in high-school? The short answer is... I didn't. I wrote an appalling small amount over my last few school years -- and I do mean appalling. I can't tell you how much I regret those wasted years of not honing my craft, not sticking to things like I could have. I thought I was too busy, thought I couldn't have possibly fit it in, but I know now if I had chosen to make time to write even for fifteen minutes a day I could have. It just requires perseverance and sacrifice. Missing out on a movie here, and a social event there; going to bed early, getting up extra early, being a miser with my time... these are all things I'm finally learning to do now. It's hard, and it's a balancing act, and I am terrible at sticking to a schedule and forming good habits, but it can be done. I should actually write a blog post about this..... *ponders*
Well, you don't need to ask me twice, I'd love such a post! :)... I think so many of us would in fact. 

11. What are some of your favourite non-fiction books?
How To Win Friends and Influence People. Steal Like An Artist. Personality Plus. The Hiding Place. I can not say enough in praise of these four books. 
I just re-reread "The Hiding Place" recently. . . I love this book so. much. 

12. What excites you the most about literature and its influence in culture, and how it affects the way people think and act?
Cultures are built and woven with Story. People are shaped by Story, whether it's books or film. And I find that fascinating, and it means writers and screenwriters and publishers and filmmakers have a huge responsibility. With our works we have the potential to directly influence lives for good or evil, and we need to make sure we don't abuse that power, but use it to show light, and hope, and strength, and good things. I firmly believe that people can, and are changed by what they read. Everything you put into your mind has some influence on you, no matter how small. That's why it's so important to weigh carefully what we let in.

"Garbage in, Garbage out." --> Austin Kleon

13. Hands down, what's your all-time favourite holiday food and sweet treat?
Holiday food? Probably turkey and stuffing. Sweet treat? TOO MANY. But tops would be pumpkin pie, gingerbread cookies, and homemade hot chocolate. (My brain is wired for autumn and Christmas right now, apparently). 
(Hey, and so is mine. . . !)

14. What is one thing you feel God has been teaching you this last year?
The importance of being there for my family. Of making sure they know I care, not just assuming it's taken for granted. Of investing my time in things that matter. Of not being afraid to speak out about what I Believe, and that if the God who holds galaxies in the palm of his hands still has time to spend on me individually, then I can make time to be with him, and share my love for him with others
Those are truly wonderful lessons. 

15. Who is your favourite side-kick (secondary character) in a book/movie of your favourite genre? (You are welcome to choose more than one ;). 
Thank you for specifying favorite genres, dear. That helps narrow it down considerably. 

Fantasy: the obvious answer would be Samwise (LOTR), but a runner-up would be Piglet in Milne's delightful stories, or Ratty in The Wind in the Willows.

Science fiction: Cortana in Halo: First Strike. Kelly in Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. Runner up, August and the Doctor in the Firmament series.

And since I just read The Eagle of the Ninth, I must mention Esca. I love that charrie so much. 
Isn't Esca such a great side-kick? Sutcliff is really great with those secondary characters who just wriggle their way into your heart and make you forever love them! 

16. What literary character do you think is most like you? And if someone made a movie of your life, what actress would you cast to play you?
Jo March in Little Women. Every time I read that book I am struck anew by how similar we are. It's actually a bit scary. O.o
I would choose Chloe Bennett as the actress to play me. She acts as Skye in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. who is another character that reminds me strongly of myself. 
I think Jo March suits you perfectly, Annie *smiles fondly* :). <3 

17. Is there a particular song or film that makes you cry every time you watch/listen to it?
There are many of those. o.o 

Okay, movies first... The Last Samurai makes me cry throughout the whole film -- it's just so SAD. The Return of the King definitely. Gettysburg has me in tears also by the end. And Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhatten. Those four are the only ones I can think of where I have out-right sobbed. But there are lots where I get teary and sniffly. 

Songs now: 
*Sniffs* I get tearful every time I hear "The Last Goodbye" or "Going Home" too!

18. Can you name your three favourite colours?
All colors of blue, except pastel. Blood-red. Black. 

19. What is something you especially love about the place you live in? 
It's in the country. O.O I've lived in the city before, and it was like being in a cage. Other things I love are the glorious panorama of fields behind our house, and the tree outside our window that serves as a darkly-green, quivering curtain in the summer. 
It sounds so beautiful . . . :)

20. Do you work to an outline/plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?
I'm a hybrid which means I'm half pantser, and half plotser. Most confusing. I start out with a fairly decent outline of the beginning and specific Big Events that Must Happen and then I pants happily from Event to Event, and all sorts of unexpected and surprising things happen along the way. I think I write more by intuition than anything. I don't always logic very well. 
It's funny because I don't do always do logic very well either and rely much on intuition as I write! It really makes the writing process thrilling and scary at times, doesn't it ;).

21. Do you have a secret talent that most people don’t know about? :D
Yes. *feels all secret agent-y* I can give rather good foot massages, and I'm interested in studying reflexology and acupressure further. 

Also I whistle! Funny story, I'm a soprano and my brother is a bass, but when we whistle together I can only do the low parts and he can only do the high parts. No idea why. O.o 
Ooh, you'll have to teach me how to whistle one day!

22. Do you have a favourite Scripture passage or life verse? What inspires and encourages you the most about it?
I have several, actually. I'll share three of them.

"[...] for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5 KJV

"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8 KJV

(Those two verses I have clung to in dark times, and they are so precious to me).

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17 KJV

(This verse means so much to me, and I cherish its reminder of God's love and goodness. Every. Good. Gift. is from him. Everything).
Such precious Promises, Annie. Thank you for sharing!

23. Elves or dwarves, m’dear? Erebor or the Woodland Realm? Can you name a favourite hobbit from J.R.R. Tolkien’s work? (OUCH!)
Always elves. ^_^ The Woodland Realm. And just for that cruel question I will name two hobbits. ;) Bilbo Baggins who I have loved forever, and Sam because of his unfailing loyalty and sweetness. 
^_^ Bilbo and Sam are truly two of the most brave and loyal characters in literature ever! I highly approve, m'dear :) It *was* a cruel question, though and for that, I am truly sorry, my dear Samwise.

24. Favourite quote by your favourite author?
I'm going to cheat and use a Bible verse for this too. 

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, not crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."  Revelations 21:4 KJV
That is truly one of my favourite Bible verses ever. . . so much hope and comfort in it! <3

25. What is your greatest wish/purpose in picking up your own pen and writing?
To encourage, inspire, challenge, and make people more aware of certain subjects. To do whatever my Saviour wills. If I will have changed one person's life by my writing, if I show one person the way to the Light, I will be content. 

Thank you so much, dear Annie, for joining us today and sharing your heart with us *hugs* :). It's been such a delight! And congratulations on the launch of your lovely blog! <3 So, dear friends, be sure to head over to Annie's lovely new blog at Curious Wren and leave her a little bit of love, hang about a bit and send her the best blogging-wishes :D. Also don't forget to do her fun tag, and enter in her fantabulous giveaway which ends on Wednesday midnight! 

Annie Hawthorne is a twenty-something writer who tends to be guilty of either hyperbole or crafting scenes that make her beta-readers cry. If she’s not scribbling YA fantasy and speculative fiction, then she can be found interacting with her family as one of its more lively members or attempting to shorten her TBR stack (it never works). She practices piano badly, and photography even worse. People-watching, long road-trips, dissecting movies, Doctor Who and LOTR marathons, wearing red heels, and collecting mugs are always on her To-Do list. She chases beauty, and is a child of God. Annie talks books, writing, and life at You can find her Twitter account