Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yet Another Guest Blogger: Introducing Elizabeth!

Greetings Beardies,

Yesterday I did an Author Spotlight on Court Ellyn as a way to introduce her to you all--I figured it fitting, as she will be doing the occasional guest post on The Bearded Scribe.

Today I have yet another introduction to make...  Beardies:  Meet Elizabeth Norton, a fellow Beardie and a great friend of mine from my time spent at Alma College.

Like Court, Elizabeth has jumped at the opportunity to be a Guest Blogger on The Bearded Scribe, and I couldn't be more thrilled to have not only one, but two great minds joining my ranks.  Perhaps we'll take over the world!

Elizabeth and I have been friends since our first encounter at Alma--a voice class of only four students--and our  friendship only grew as the years passed and each of our friends became mutually connected through Choir and other organizations on campus.

{On a side note: I must also add that this shy, nerdy (that's a compliment, folks, just in case you were worried) young woman has a voice that will knock your socks off!}

Elizabeth has been an avid follower of The Bearded Scribe, commenting on many-a-post (providing me with some great feedback and mind-stirring insight), but it wasn't until a certain comment that she had posted when I stupidly remembered that she was a librarian.  A librarian!  What better asset to a blog about books (mostly) than a librarian?!?

It was in this dumbfounded realization that I extended the same invitation to Elizabeth as I also extended to the readers of LegendFire... and, well, she accepted.  Graciously, I might add.

As I did with Court, I decided to post a quick interview to introduce Elizabeth to all of you... so here it goes...

The Bearded Scribe: Please tell me a little more about your education, degree, and your position as a librarian and how it has influenced your love of books and writing.

Elizabeth: I hold a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. My concentration was School Library Media, but I changed to Youth and Teen Services and public libraries when I found out you had to have a teaching certificate to work in a school library. I actually chose Library Science because I love too many kinds of literature to specialize in one, and youth and teen services more specifically because youth librarians are fun and teen librarians...well, teen librarians are rock stars. I'm not a rock star, but if I stay in the field long enough, maybe I will be someday.

I've been in my current position, Teen Librarian at Commerce Township Community Library in Commerce Township, Michigan, for five years--and I love it. I buy all the books for the teen collections (grades 6-12), which gives me a lot of exposure to all areas of YA literature, movies, and music. I also do programs for grades 6-12, which means I get paid to play a lot and eat loads of pizza. It's so much fun and so rewarding. When I connect a teen to a book that suddenly makes them a lifetime reader, I know I'm doing what I was put on Earth to do. Hooking them on one of my favorites is always a bonus, too. World domination, one book at a time.

The Bearded Scribe: On what projects, if any, are you currently working?

Elizabeth: I've been reviewing teen books and professional resources for a library journal called Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) for the last year.

I actually started following your blog hoping for an impetus to go back to more creative writing, and it's worked. A notebook full of scribbles is slowly becoming a short story that I'm hoping will turn into either a collection of short stories or a novel. It doesn't have a title, because my titles always come last; and it's literally been in a desk drawer for four years, but the characters are glad to have me back. They're waking me up at all hours. Your blog is an impetus for creativity and a cause of insomnia. Are you sorry? ;)

The Bearded Scribe: Yes, very sorry for the insomnia, not for the creative spark I've incited :)
                                   What is/are your favorite book(s)?

Elizabeth: Don't you know this question is a librarian's personal brand of cruel and unusual punishment? I'll try to keep it to three, not counting series. Here goes:

Lisa Mantchev's Theater Illuminata Trilogy (Eyes Like Stars, Perchance To Dream, and So Silver Bright) is fantasy brain candy, especially if you have a literature/theater background. It's about a girl who grew up in a magical theater where every character of every play ever written is alive behind the curtain, born to play their parts. The main character doesn't know her parents, but her surrogate family consists of a batch of Shakespeare's fairies, a pirate, and Ophelia from Hamlet, among others.

Croak by Gina Damico is a recent favorite. As a YA librarian, I've read a lot of paranormal fiction since Twilight (which I didn't like), so it takes a lot to impress me with a paranormal story. This one about a sixteen-year-old Grim Reaper named Lex was impressive for its originality and sense of humor. I cannot wait for the sequel.

Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant series is the only series I've ever paid to import from overseas, so it deserves a mention. Landy's world-building is superb, and who can resist a wise-cracking skeleton detective? If you're an audiobooks fan, check out the audio of the first book (Skulduggery Pleasant) read by Rupert Degas. It's fabulous!

And one more, because steampunk is my latest obsession and it gets ignored too often. Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan Trilogy is a gem. It's a steampunk alternate history that centers around the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the start of World War I. It's another case of superb world-building, and Westerfeld sets up his entire third book in one sentence. It's mind-blowing.

There are, of course, a million more, but I'll stop there... For now.

The Bearded Scribe: Which book sucked you into the Fantasy genre?

Elizabeth: It's hard to say. I played on the fringes of fantasy for a long time, but Harry Potter was a game-changer for me. I got sucked in anew, though, by the work of Laini Taylor. Daughter of Smoke and Bone has such beautiful descriptive language. Deep in my heart, I'm a word nerd, and descriptive writing will get me every time.

The Bearded Scribe: Is there anything else you would like to share with The Bearded Scribe readers?

Elizabeth: I am really, really honored to be here.

The Bearded Scribe: Well, Thank You, Elizabeth.  I am truly honored to have you as a new addition to the blog, and I am greatly looking forward to your reviews (and other posts, should the opportunity call for it)--I can only imagine, as a librarian, how well attuned to the written word you must be.


When Elizabeth isn't walking the shelves at her library, you can find her sailing--one of her other passions--though, undoubtedly, with a book not too far away.  :)  You can check out her part-time blog (unrelated to writing but still just as cool)--The Captain's Table--a blog about cooking and sailing.

Happy Scribing,

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