My friend and fellow Jolly Fish Press author Elsie Park just published her debut novel, Shadows of Valor. (My review here.) Elsie stopped by to talk story with me as part of her blog tour.
You’ve been a wildland firefighter, a police officer, a musician and composer, a poet, a botanist, a zoologist, an ex-pat Christian missionary living in Italy, a stay-at-home-mom with three little ones, and now an author. I’m exhausted from just typing that! Any other careers on your bucket list?
I know that on several sites my author biography stated that I was a zoologist and botanist, but I actually only minored in those fields in college. I’m far from a scientific expert – LOL. Before I die, however, I’d LOVE to go on different trail hikes around the world to see castles, old monuments, ancient cities, natural structures, forests, wild animals and to try all the different, wonderful cuisine from all around the globe, but I’d like to stay in a hotel every night while I do all these things – LOL – I’m not a “happy camper.” My body doesn’t rough it very well. I need a mattress and pillow.
Me, too! (Showers and room service are nice!) We’ve all been fascinated by stories of people living double-lives, from superheroes like Batman to sleeper agent spies like Mr. & Mrs. Smith to the Count of Monte Crisco. What inspiration helped you tap into your inner secret identity when crafting the backstory to The Shadow?
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy is a story (and movie) I grew up with, and one that I absolutely love. I could watch the film with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour again and again. When I was working on my hero’s story and the challenges that came with being a spy, I often thought of Sir Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernel harboring his dual identity and having to keep it secret from the one he loved. My hero’s backstory, however, came to me from hearing and reading about the evils of modern smuggling and how it hurts innocent children and others.
In your novel you deal with themes of love and redemption. Tell me, does true love heal all wounds or are some betrayals too deep?
I believe we need to forgive others, leaving the ultimate judgment to God, but I’m the first to admit that forgiveness is easier said than done. I’m not perfect at this principle, but it’s a trait I endeavor to uphold. I believe true love CAN heal all wounds, regardless of the betrayal, and no matter how long it takes, but ONLY if all persons involved are working together toward the same goals: Repentance, restitution, forgiveness and becoming better. True love must encompass both sides of a partnership or this will fail. I believe that where betrayal occurs on one side, true love never really existed or was replaced by selfishness and greed. These can be remedied only through hard work, persistence and love. If half of the partnership doesn’t return love, betrays the love, doesn’t do his/her part to make the relationship work, or doesn’t change his/her ways, then the wounds inflicted will fester, but only on the part of the betrayer. True love can only help heal the people holding onto that love. The selfish people will not heal, but will suffer until genuine changes are made. Though true love on the part of the injured can aid eventual forgiveness for the other, it doesn’t necessarily mean trusting the betrayer again or remaining with that person in a relationship that’s harmful. Trust needs to be earned back by the genuine actions of the wrongdoer to repent and remain penitent.
Wow, did I just deliver a sermon? Sorry for that. *chagrin*
Your debut novel is out, yay! So what’s next?
I’m working on another story that takes place several years after Shadows of Valor. I’ve taken a minor character from Shadows of Valor and weaved a story around him. The story takes place in England again, but ventures into Scotland as well, drawing on the historical happenings and battles that took place between the countries at that time. You don’t need to read Shadows of Valor to read my next book. Though they share a common character, it’s not a sequel. It’s a separate story. I will, of course, compose a song for it (probably not three like I did for Shadows of Valor) and it will be another PG-rated romantic adventure.
Connect with Elsie Park
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorelsiepark