Liz Long is the author of the young adult series Heroes of Arcania and the Donovan Circus series. To set the stage for the READ LOCAL, Liz fittingly filled us in on local energies behind her work.
BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke: With the recent Harry Potter Festival, another world merged with Downtown Roanoke. How about your work – what’s the intersection between your work of extraordinary possibilities and the Star City?
Liz Long: I tend to write Roanoke into each of my novels, sometimes without even realizing it. I’m constantly inspired by Roanoke’s downtown, and its unique skyline with both traditional and contemporary elements (including the Taubman Museum of Art and Hotel Roanoke). It’s also the little things, like strolling through Grandin and seeing neighborhood details, and of course the people.
BCR: Writers have that eye, don’t they? What else fuels your creativity?
LL: Movies! One of my favorite things to do for an afternoon is go to the movie theater (especially at Grandin Theatre!). It’s the whole experience – the popcorn, the previews, the huge screen that refuses distraction and captures my full attention. I love seeing how other writers work in storylines or problems, seeing characters and relationships come to life, that sort of thing. So many stories, no matter the genre, have similar elements – it’s how those stories use or work with those elements that makes each movie unique. Writers can always learn from movies. They inspire us.
BCR: What challenge are you currently addressing in your writing?
LL: I’m currently wrapping up the fifth and final book in my Donovan Circus series, so I’m saying goodbye. In that sense, it has been challenging. Of course, I’m looking forward to new stories, but those will also challenge me – with new characters, points of view and plot problems. The challenge though is what makes writing worth the work.
BCR: Facing challenges is a big part of success in any arena. Do you have a favorite fictional character that models this for us?
LL: Hermione Granger is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. She’s inspiring and brilliant, and carries so many traits that we should strive for, including bravery, persistence and unwavering loyalty.
BCR: That sounds like someone we all want at our sides! ★