I was excited to receive a copy of Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster recently. Her debut novel, launched in Sydney on November 25th, is a young adult fantasy set in the world of Aeolia, a water world where people can breathe underwater and magic ripples throughout the canal city of Esperance.
After writing, creating and imagining Esme’s Wish, Elizabeth was so pleased to have her novel accepted for publication by Odyssey Books, a small publisher based in the ACT. Founded by Michelle Lovi in 2009, Odyssey Books, as mentioned in the recent AWW blog post Small Publisher Spotlight: Odyssey Books is a small press dedicated to ‘publishing engaging and beautifully written books. Books that stretch the imagination, challenge pre-existing attitudes and beliefs, or take readers to far-flung climes sharing the stories they contain.’
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
I asked Elizabeth a few questions about Esme’s Wish:
It must have been wonderful when you heard your manuscript was accepted by Odyssey Books! It takes so much time to write a novel, especially with the amount of world building required for fantasy, followed by pitching and submitting to publishers. How long was it from starting the book to publication? It took about nine years from first idea to the final publication of the book on October 30 this year. I looked for a publisher for quite a while before finding one. I was down to the last few names on my list! Editors really liked my story but found it hard to convince their marketing teams of its commercial viability, as it didn’t quite fit into established categories. Esme’s Wish appeals to both younger teens as well as preteens (advanced readers) who are keen to make the leap in YA but aren’t quite readier for grittier reads. I survived the rejection process (just!) and Esme’s Wish finally made it to the shelves!
What was the best thing about the publication of Esme’s Wish? For me, one of the best things about publishing Esme’s Wish has been the wonderful reception from readers. It took so long to get the book published that I polished it for a long time, and also spent time incorporating feedback from readers. Australian readers are very particular about character, and their comments were invaluable. I am so used to critiques that it has been a wonderful surprise to get so many positive reviews! Knowing that readers are enjoying my story is so rewarding.
What do you have planned next? Esme’s Wish is the first of three and I am about to recommence work on the second book in the series, entitled Esme’s Gift. It will be slightly darker than the first, but hopefully will still retain the wonder and whimsy which readers like about the first.
Ashleigh Meikle – The Book Muse recently reviewed Esme’s Wish. She writes, ‘Elizabeth Foster has created an engaging story for young adults that I hope many will enjoy reading over the summer break, as it had a delightful summery feel to it as well.’ She also loved the ‘..the references and connections I was able to make to Greek mythology and fairy tale tropes, coupled with the unique world that Elizabeth Foster has created’.
Marie McLean also enjoyed Esme’s Wish, giving it 5 stars on Goodreads. She admitted that although she didn’t often read fantasy Esme’s Wish had her captivated. I was trying to express to my daughter what a wonderful world Elizabeth Foster had created, one that I would love to visit if I could, but Marie puts in beautifully in her review –
‘The magical city of Esperence is reminiscent of Venice, with watery canals and ancient buildings; some of them collapsing into the sea following earthquakes that began seven years ago. But there are also golden dragons, Gifts, enchantresses, sirens and songstresses. Gondolas move by themselves, watering cans refill automatically, and messages are sent in glass bottles that fly – but they look and behave like fish. With velvet-covered, gold-embroidered books, I would visit the library there every day if I could!’
Come along to the Brisbane launch of Esme’s Wish from 10.30am to 12.00pm on December 16th at The Mad Hatters bookshop at Manly, QLD.
Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.
To find out more about Elizabeth Foster click HERE
Lisa Fleetwood is a book lover, writer and blogger at Welcome to My Library, creator of Bookends Publishing and author of travel memoir Destination Dachshund: Three Months, Three Generations & Sixty Dachshunds. She loves tea, travel and is obsessed with dachshunds. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaFleetwood or Facebook.