Elise Carlson says they include a number of common themes in their writing, including grief, because, they find it cathartic.
‘I hope my writing shines a light on readers’ own experiences with grief and that the stories are relatable.’
Elise wants to ensure there is more nonbinary representation in books, because, they say, there are not many nonbinary characters in fiction and they want to up the numbers. Elise focuses on platonic friendships, because as an aromantic, asexual person, these are the most important relationships to them and platonic relationships between characters are a driving force in their stories. Along with these things, Elise loves exploring castles and including castles in their fantasy works.
‘I write stubborn, hopeful folks, who dare to dream big, hope for the best and refuse to give up, no matter the obstacles stacking up in front of them. I think we can all find life daunting at times and I find it inspiring to see people persevere, and remain determined to hope for better.’
Five Things About Elise’s History
- I’m a primary school teacher who has lived, taught and travelled in Australia, New Zealand and England.
- I’m an adventurous, free-spirited person who loves to travel, especially wandering through mountains and exploring ruins.
- I love nature – the Australian bush, rainforests, the beach -the great outdoors in general and photographing it.
- I’ve never been one to take myself too seriously, which tends to have resulted in a sense of humour my young students can relate to and enjoy in me as their teacher.
- I’m very much the restless, energetic, stimulation-requiring person I imagine my fast-paced, action-packed stories appeal to.
Five Things About Elise’s Work
- I’m working on a queer YA Fantasy trilogy – the Ruarnon Trilogy. Book one, Manipulator’s War, has a couple more viewpoint characters and a lot more complexity than I initially imagined I could write, let alone write well. It was quite an adventure and a great learning curve for me as an author.
- In Secrets of the Sorcery War (book 2) my characters set sail on adventures of their own, on volcanic and desert islands, and to the heart of an ancient empire.
- Book 2 has been my fictional escape and a chance to ‘explore’ when real life is too busy for travel.
- Friendship in the face of adversity is a key theme throughout the Ruarnon Trilogy.
- I’m getting to know my characters and what they can do by throwing said characters into the fire and seeing what they make of it. (I’m not a light-hearted, easy-read YA writer 😉).
Five Things That Help Elise Keep on Writing
- At the heart of it, lies sheer pigheaded stubbornness. When I see writers posting, ‘Oh no, I haven’t written for three weeks. I’ll have to get back into the swing of things.’ I think: speak to me when it’s been three months. I’m often so busy with teaching that I have to drop all my works in progress for weeks or months at a time, but I love them enough to return when life permits, every time.
- Watching inspiring fantasy, usually with a great soundtrack, gets my creative juices flowing and helps me get into the world-weaving mindset after a long time out of my imagination and in the real world.
- I’m a restless person who likes lots of stimulation, and epic fantasy provides plenty of that, especially when you make your epic fantasy portal and throw lost Aussie teens into the mix.
- All of the qualities that serve me well as a fantasy writer, serve me well in pursuing dreams of real-life adventure, and keep my hopes of more overseas travel alive (I haven’t taken any risks there yet and may not for a couple more years).
- People taking an interest in my writing, no matter how long it took to finally have my first book ready to publish, helped me stay motivated during long editing stints or long waits for the time and headspace to write.
In the future, Elise hopes to return to New Zealand to continue pandemic-interrupted travel, including a much-awaited visit to Hobbiton. They dream of visiting more ancient ruins, castles, stately homes, mountains, lakes, forests, waterfalls, rivers, and any other historic or natural spaces that inspire them and fire their imagination.
Elise aims to compile some of their poems into a book one day, which are currently scattered across notebooks and social media accounts, and to finish publishing the two YA Fantasy trilogies they are working on, so they can explore ‘new fantastical concepts and human reactions to these in brand new books.’
Finally, Elise hopes to buy a house and fill said house with friends/ mutuals as housemates and a cat or two.
You can find Elise’s book links and more at their website.
And on social media: