As a second-generation author, Anne Elisabeth Stengl grew up with a deep interest in writing, and began developing ideas for Tales of Goldstone Wood at age 14. Seven years later, she wrote the first draft of Heartless.
“I have always loved fairy tales,” Anne shares. “When I started writing the Goldstone Wood stories, I wanted the characters and situations to be highly relatable even in their fantastic context. Thus Heartless begins with a teenage girl obsessed with finding the man of her dreams. ‘Veiled Rose’ deals with a young man struggling so hard to find or reinvent his identity that he loses himself completely, and with a girl so determined to do the right thing in her own strength that she comes very near to destroying herself.”
Book three, Moonblood (Bethany House), continues the story of Prince Lionheart and Rose Red, but the series is far from over. Anne is currently working on books five and six.
“The ultimate theme of all my fairy tales is undeserved grace,” Anne says. “Though I write stories of classic princes and princesses, heroes and foes, my characters are all very human and very flawed. Though they face monsters of many kinds, the heroes and heroines prove themselves their own worst enemies.”
Anne studied English literature in college, wanting to learn from great authors like Shakespeare and Dickens before attempting a novel of her own. “After all, they figured out all the hard stuff years and years ago!”
Anne is no stranger to fairy tales herself. While taking fencing lessons as research for Heartless, she met a “dashing young man,” and they were married seven months later. When she isn’t writing, Anne currently spends her time helping her husband domesticate wild kittens and enjoying the live music scene in Raleigh, North Carolina.