Interview with Elsa Bridger

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small village in West Sussex, England. My mother didn't drive then, and my father worked six days a week and as many of my friends lived quite a distance from me, I spent quite a lot of time making my own entertainment.
I was also lucky enough to have riding lessons once a week from about five years old, and longed to have a pony of my own. The rest of my free time was either spent playing outside or reading books. I loved to climb a big holly tree which grew in our garden, taking a book up with me to read sometimes. Reading allowed me to be anyone, travel anywhere and live a totally different life. Books are still like a time travelling porthole to me!
I believe it was having the space and the time to invent my own games and to amuse myself, which has developed my imagination, alongside my love of books, which has lead me to where I am today. Now I get the chance to write my own adventures and it's just as thrilling for me writing them as it is to read them!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing takes me right out of my day-to-day world. I love to create new worlds and characters, which I actually feel a responsibility for! Time just whizzes by and I'm always super-keen to return to it.
Writing, for me, is like painting - creating images which can provoke memories of smells, tastes and emotions, which are all invisible, hidden inside the cover, until you cast your eyes over the written words, then they spring up into life! Equal to this, is seeing Sophie and Felicity's faces light up as I read my stories to them - priceless moments!
When did you first start writing?
Oh, I should probably ask my mother to help me with this one. My earliest memory is at school, in my creative writing class. We had to write short stories on a given theme, of so many pages - I can't remember how many, but I do remember always feeling the thrill of anticipation at the chance to write a story. The majority of my class just groaned at the thought. I had trouble writing a story if the page count was restricted as my head was so crammed full of ideas - so I wrote smaller!
I also recall sometimes having them set for homework and I'd happily spend hours writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Sophie and Felicity asked for me to write The Book’s next adventure around what they referred to as ‘Unipegs’ (although during a recent school visit, a lovely young lady politely informed me the correct name is ‘Alicorn’) a horse, part Unicorn, part Pegasus. They also wanted a few of their ‘besties’ to be in the story, too.
So, I’m currently editing the fourth in ‘The Magic Book’ series. It’s called ‘Mystery of the Missing Book’ and I hope to have it finished in eBook format by the end of October, 2016.
I’ll not spoil the plot for you, but I will tell you that their school friends, (loosely based on their real ‘besties’ - as requested) who are with them on a sleepover, end up being vital in Sophie and Felicity’s race to find their beloved Book, which was carelessly left at the stables the night before and has now seemingly vanished! And, of course, as you may have come to expect, there are more than a few twists, turns and surprises in the plot too, to keep you guessing as to whether this is going to end up being the last in ‘The Magic Book’ series, or not!
Currently, tying in all those ‘twists and turns’ are slowing me down somewhat - but are great fun to write. It shouldn’t be too long now before the first draft falls on my editor’s desk!
Where do you write your stories?
I use my laptop as I love to be able to choose where I sit. Sometimes I like to make myself comfy on the sofa - if everyone is out, otherwise it's too noisy! I also do what I can while Sophie and Felicity have their ballet lesson on Tuesdays, so I take a coffee and a biscuit with me and sit in my car and type.
One of my favourite places to write is up at the stables in the little old caravan that we've had for years and years. It's very secluded and one window looks out over the paddock with our two ponies in. I love the sound on the roof too. When I'm in there, it helps me feel like a little girl again, in a Wendy House, with all my dreams of seeing little mystical beings. Just outside one of its windows is a big old elderflower bush and the moss grows in a lovely carpet around its base and up its branches, I'm sure it's a good place for fairy spotting! So far, they have eluded me but whilst hidden from view, I've been lucky enough to see many wild animals such as deer, rabbits, kestrels, foxes and a friendly robin or two, which is magical in itself.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love to read and write as I've said before, and I've only ever thought of it as being a hobby previously. The thought of sending my stories 'out there' (to publishers) to be judged by strangers, who make the decision as to whether they think they are good or not, was truly daunting! I also know the odds of being 'discovered' are slim and could be soul destroying. But this way, with the help of Smashwords, if just a few people enjoy my books I'd be delighted. If I make enough to cover the costs, then even better! Either way, it's something I've always longed to do. It's being the journey of a lifetime, bringing my family together in a most unexpected way to make it all happen, and it's inspiring my own children to write, draw and read. What more inspiration could I need?!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Unfortunately I don't, but there was a series of books that I remember had a big impact on me as they were different. It was the Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell. I loved the fact that the story was written from the view point of the horse - a wild horse, in America. It not only stimulated my imagination by 'living' the story as a horse and experiencing how a wild animal might perceive the world, but it was set in very different countryside to the only one I had experienced, living here in England. The author describes the sights, smells and sounds through the super sensitive senses of the horse and his herd in such a way that it was impossible not to want to be one! I've recently shared these stories with Sophie and Felicity and they are as hooked as I was - and find I still am in fact!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Not in any particular order I love horse riding, reading, gardening, roller skating - especially along Eastbourne sea front with my daughters, Sophie and Felicity, and my husband, Barry. On wet days one of my most favourite things to do is to snuggle down on the sofa with my family to watch a good film with a bag of popcorn; our cat, Angel, often likes to join in too - yes, it's a squeeze!
What do you read for pleasure?
I mainly read fiction because I like the escapism it provides. I enjoy crime, science fiction, fantasy and occasionally romance, although lately most of my reading has been about how to format, publish and sell as an indie author! :)
I also really enjoy reading the modern children's books to Sophie and Felicity too, as well as the old favourites I grew up with. There are some lovely picture books out there to share.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
My husband asked if I'd like an ebook for my birthday. I said, "No thank you, I like having a 'real' book to hold." He bought me one anyway, my curiosity got the better of me and now I'm hooked! I love to spend time 'window shopping' and picking a book that takes my fancy. With so many at such great prices it's hard to choose! I usually have a few with varying genres, then I can read the one that takes my fancy at the time.
Published 2016-09-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Magic Book Series, Book 4: Mystery of the Missing Book
Series: The Magic Book. Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off!) Words: 29,830. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
Sophie left their beloved Magic Book at the stables by mistake and by next morning, it’s gone! Finding one remaining, torn page gives them a shred of hope of finding it. Joined by three friends on a sleep-over, and an unexpected past acquaintance, the twin sisters embark on a midnight paper-chase of riddles, talking animals and illusive Unipegs. But will it lead them to their very special Book?
The Magic Book Series, Book 3: Mermaid Secrets and Lies
Series: The Magic Book. Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off!) Words: 27,380. Language: English. Published: April 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Legends, Myths, Fables / General
Sophie and Felicity continue their two part underwater adventure (each book can be enjoyed on its own). More mermaid secrets - and lies, are revealed as Felicity, in her desperation to return to dry land, realises her plan to do so, is seriously flawed! Unwittingly, she leads Sophie, and their new merfolk friends, straight into the mouth of danger! Can their Magic Book save them this time?!
The Magic Book Series, Book 2: Mermaid Secrets
Series: The Magic Book. Price: Free! Words: 20,970. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations
Sophie and Felicity are on a family day out to the beach. Felicity makes a hasty decision to dash into the waves after a glimpsed sighting of what she believes to have been a mermaid. Just a short while later, after a dramatic turn of events, they're back in the thick of the action! Will their Magic Book be able to save them? Or are they truly 'out of their depth' this time? Dive in to find out!
The Magic Book Series, Book 1: Saving the Fairies of Serenia
Series: The Magic Book. Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off!) Words: 18,620. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Adventure » Action
When a book isn't just a book and when a school isn't just a school, Sophie and Felicity start to wonder if what they understood to be the mundane and the hum-drum is in fact only the surface! They are drawn into a battle with The Wicked One to save not just Serenia, home to the fairies, but Earth too, the very place we all call 'home'!