Thank you for asking me to take part in this interview! :)
You are so Welcome! First of all, would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Elisabeth Allen. I'm Jewish by birth, but my parents became believers in Jesus before I was born and I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in Him. Today I'm twenty-seven years old, a Preacher's Daughter and the eldest of four sisters.
I would love to visit England someday. Can you describe the area you live in?
I think you'd love England. I may, however, be somewhat baised in favour of "this green and pleasant land"! :) I love the hills and woods of this part of the country where I live. It's SO beautiful! The hills are described as "rolling" and that's because, well, they roll for as far as the eye can see. The woods are cool and green and beautiful as well as ancient and mysterious. There are narrow, twisty lanes and tiny villages comprised of stone churches and thatched cottages. There are lots of beautiful birds and fascinating creatures like hedgehogs - think of Mrs Tiggywinkle!
What is your favorite thing about living in England?
I spent a year when I was a teenager living in a very exciting country that wasn't my own and, oddly, it was this that made me appreciate my own home and my . own country. Now I don't have ONE favorite thing about England! Some of my favorite things about my country are ... the countryside, the history, the potential. I'm not a huge fan of many aspects of our culture, but I believe that our people have huge potential. Well ... so do all people of every country. But I'm born and bred in England and I love the fact that I get to invest in this country and this culture. I also love the fact that we have a Royal Family! :)
What started you writing?
I'm not really sure what got me started. I wrote my first story when I was four years old and just kept writing! I was always imagining and telling stories to myself - the sort that began, "What if there was a girl like THIS and THIS happened and ... ?" I wrote all through my childhood and teenage years and finally decided, when I was 16, to write for publication. I felt that it was a good way to the use the gift for writing that God had given me and I wanted to reach girls and touch their hearts - to encourage them in life. Writing, for me, isn't really about words. Some people write because they love words. I love people, faith, relationships, emotion and history and those are the things that drive most of my stories - girls, their walks with God, their families and friends, their hearts and events in history that forge heroines out of girls "just like me" - and YOU! That's always where I start with a story - and it's where I aim to finish with a novel. Does that sort of answer your question? :)
What was your favorite part of your homeschool experience?
Oh ... there are SO many things that I love about my homeschool experience! I loved being at home with my sisters and they became my best friends; my parents poured their lives into our education and my sisters and I were encouraged by our parents to explore and discover and wonder. I read hundreds of books and studied at the kitchen table while my mother took care of the baby and cooked and cleaned. We also learned a lot about life through living. I have always loved the way my parents gave us a houseful of books (and a library card each!) and the world and said, "This is God what says in the Bible, this is how you read, how you write, how you add and subtract, how you multiply and divide - now go and study what you want because we believe that you can be anything you want to be!"
Is Charity anything like you?
There's a little bit of me in ALL my heroines and, like me, Charity is English, a girl, a homeschooler, the oldest daughter in her family ... and she has brown hair. I almost made her a red head at the last moment before publication! :)
What have people been saying about the Charity books?
I've been so blessed by the kind things that people have said about Charity and her story. I love it when girls say that Charity is a kindred spirit; that's exactly how I wanted them to feel, but it's thrilling to know that they really DO feel that Charity is a real girl and a kindred spirit. The other thing that thrills me is people saying that Charity's journey of faith has encouraged them to walk more closely with God. It's good to know that Charity and her faith appeals to all sorts of girls from all sorts of families and churches and it's humbling to realise that my words are reaching girls and touching hearts. One of the wonderful things about serving God, however, is that we do our best and He does takes our efforts and uses them for His glory!
Tell us about your upcoming book "The Abolitionist"!
I'm so excited about "The Abolitionist"! :) This is Anna Ashwell's story - inspired by "Pride and Prejudice" and the movie "Amazing Grace". Anna, the orphaned sister of a Member of Parliament and an enthusiast of the abolition movement and Mr William Wilberforce, is seventeen years old in 1807 when the British Slave Trade is abolished. Her grandmother Lady Hawkridge, who she hasn't seen for years due to a mysterious breach in the Ashwell family, invites Anna to Bath where she attends parties, makes friends and realises that, although the slave trade has been abolished, slavery is alive and well in her world ... and her family. Anna's enthusiasm for the abolition movement is tested when her cousins tease her and she begins to feel that she cannot make a difference. What will she do when she's given the opportunity to make a difference in the life of just one slave ... but the personal price that Anna must pay in polite society is high?
Where can people go to buy your books?
You can ask for my books in your local bookstore and if they don't have them in stock then they should be able to order them easily. My "Charity" books are also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com; just search for "Elisabeth Allen" and there I am - or, rather, there are my "Charity" books. :) "The Abolitionist" will be available for pre-order soon ... watch my blog, Hope Scribbles, for details about pre-ordering "The Abolitionist"!
Do you have any final words?
God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11) and I believe that He puts godly desires and hopes in your hearts for a purpose. Don't be afraid to embrace His plan for your life and explore His purposes in your desires and hopes. You may have to work a lot harder than you think you can and sacrifice a lot more than you want, but knowing Him and being part of His work in this beautiful, broken world is worth all the work and sacrifice you can imagine. It's not about you, it's about Him. He loves you! Remember that He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5) and makes everything beautiful in it's time (Eccelisiastes 3:11).