I’m extremely pleased to introduce Elissa Riley and her independently published premiere novel, Silhouette. I received a copy of the novel in exchange for a review. First, I have to say that I really love the cover for this book. When I first saw it I found it intriguing and after reading Riley’s novel I think it is a perfect choice to introduce the story of a land called D’or, and two fun new characters in YA writing, Leira and Tristan.
After the unexpected death of her mother, Leira Sky goes to live with her Aunt Agatha in a mysterious manor. The giant house seems to take Leira back in time with it’s traditions, housekeepers and maids and one often forgets that the novel is taking place in present day. Aunt Agatha plays a bit of a wicked stepmother that most of the other story participants fight desperately to avoid.
Then one day, Leira meets the sexy and mysterious Tristan, son of the angry, reclusive lord of the house. Curious about this beautiful young man, Leira follows him one day and finds him in his greenhouse. And so begins their interesting adventures of love, travel to fantastic lands with pixies, tiny mushroom men, weather that changes with a person’s mood, and sinister minions of a dictatorial king. (rated PG/PG-13 – the book is definitely in the YA genre, but refreshingly avoids the need for teenagers to have sex. However, intense descriptions of nightmares or some of the monsters in D’or may push the rating to PG-13 for younger readers)
Readers of The Story Realm will know that I enjoy getting to know authors, not just reading their work. And I was not disappointed by Elissa Riley. She kindly took the time to answer a few questions for us about her writing process and her book. Enjoy!
A Short Chat with the Author
SR: What is your writing process like?
Riley: I knew I wanted to write a fantasy. This is my favorite genre, not only to read, but to write as well, as it opens itself up to so many possibilities. I could stretch the story as far as my imagination would take me. Really, the possibilities were endless.
I’m also a big fan of love stories. The characters become more relatable and I find myself more emotionally invested in the story.
So, once I had my basic idea (girl meets boy, girl goes to a fantasy world), I drew up an outline. I found this extremely helpful in keeping me on track while writing. Then, little by little, I filled in the gaps.
Once I had a finished story, I set it aside and worked on something else. Sometimes, when I’m so deep into a project, it’s hard to see the details anymore. After some time, I revisited the story, reading it from start to finish before making any revisions. Then I repeated this process until I was happy with the end result.
SR:How did this story come to you?
Riley: As I’ve found is the case with many authors, the idea for this story came to me in a dream. In particular, the image of Leira arriving at a cold, grey, uninviting mansion (which later evolved into Woodbury Manor), only to find herself surrounded by the haunting characters who live there.
SR:Did you enjoy writing a novel enough to try it again?
Riley: I absolutely enjoyed writing this novel. I found it very therapeutic. And, while the idea of writing another novel seems slightly daunting (this novel took me roughly four years from conception to completion) I found it well worth the effort. I currently have several new book ideas in the works that I am extremely excited about.
SR:The description of Bodhi and his home is very interesting. How did that image come to you?
Riley: Bodhi’s ability to view and alter the future, along with the imagery of his house dripping like wet paint were inspired by the painting “The persistence of memory” by Salvador Dali (the painting depicts several clocks that appear to be melting). In Silhouette, the concept of time is warped for Bodhi and the idea of a fixed cosmic order is questioned by his very existence. Bodhi’s house and body are physical manifestations of this idea.
SR:Who is your favorite character in Silhouette?
Riley: I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have a strong affinity for Leira, as I find her the most relatable. But the character that was the most fun to write was Nevayah. Her unapologetic cruelty is so vastly different from my own personality, that writing a character like her was strangely gratifying.
SR:What is your current favorite book?
Riley:This is always a tough question, as my favorites list seems to be ever-growing. But one book that I always seem to come back to is Stardust by Neil Gaiman. It’s a magical tale, with beautiful imagery. Gaiman’s command of the written word is truly inspiring.
Thank you to Elissa Riley for sharing her novel and a glimpse of her process with us here at The Story Realm! If you are interested in reading more about Silhouette or Riley there are links above or here! Silhouette Elissa Riley
Happy Reading and Happy Writing!