When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission...and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.
But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?
Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, and STARFLOWER, with DRAGONWITCH due to release in 2013. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.
Writing the Dragonwitch
By: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
One of the primary villains in my new novel, Starflower, is Hri Sora, who becomes
known as the Dragonwitch by the novel's end. She was one of my favorite characters to write, in
part because I did not approach her as a "villain," per se.
Hri Sora has possibly the most tragic story to be found in this novel. In my first novel,
Heartless, we learn that dragons of this world are not born but made, after the manner of
traditional vampires or werewolves. As a result, they often wear their original forms, walking as
men and women in the real world.
But what truly makes a dragon? Is it the scales? The wings? The claws? I don't think so.
What truly makes a dragon is the fire. And when the fire builds up too great inside one of these
transformed dragons, it explodes out of them in painful roaring, turning them into the great,
scale-covered, winged beasts that they truly are inside. Only in this form can they bear the pain
of this flame and burn it out, along with all their hate and vengeance. Then, when the fire is dead,
they sink back into the bodies of men and women.
They are all cursed to this fate. But more cursed than any other is Hri Sora, firstborn of
the Dragon King's children. For she angered her Dark Father by challenging his will, and in his
wrath, he took away her wings and her ability to assume dragon form.
Since that time, when Hri Sora's flame builds up inside, she has no hope of release. She
cannot die, for she is immortal unless slain. But the fire inside her mounds up and consumes her
mind, dragging her into torturous dreams of destruction from which she cannot escape until the
fire is spent, and she lies cold once more.
This is why, though Hri Sora is technically a villain, I found myself writing her as more
of an anti-hero. Her curse is greater and her suffering worse than that of any other character in
the story. Though she is evil at heart, can we truly blame her for the dangerous games she plays,
desperate as she is to regain her former strength and glory . . . desperate to escape the pain of a
dragon's fire in a woman's body?
I loved working with this character as I drafted Starflower. I had had her in mind for
many years before I tackled this novel, and even referenced her a few times in the first three
novels (which are set 1600 years in the future). But she truly came alive for me as I explored
her, not as a despicable villain, but as a sympathetic, even pitiable creature. What a challenge to
write! But what a reward Hri Sora has proven herself to be.
And I am eager to go on and share the rest of her story in my upcoming summer release,