It's an exciting day here at The Bearded Scribe! Today, we're honored to host author M.P. Ness and his debut novel, E.L.F. Volume 1: White Leaves. I ran across this title while I was visiting Joshua over Labor Day weekend. The Amazon preview got me hooked, so I jumped at the chance to participate in this blog tour. Not only did Mr. Ness give me the book for review; he was kind enough to let me interview him, as well. We have a lot to talk about today, so let's jump in, shall we?
Proud of her Native American roots and ashamed of her lumber-baron father, Shannon Hunter is determined to make amends for the way that humankind has desecrated Mother Earth. A proud member of the eco-terrorist organization Earth Liberation Front, she’s spearheading an attack on a lumber company when things go horribly awry. Just as the FBI shows up to question Shannon as she recovers from a gunshot wound, she is rescued by an elf named Deh Leccend and whisked away to the Veil of the Leaf’s Edge, home of the Elvine and of Addl’laen, the Tree of Life. The Elvine hail Shannon as the Change-Bearer, offering her immortality and a home in their realm—but they, too, are fed up with mankind’s wastefulness, and Shannon and Deh Leccend have just seven days to convince the world’s leaders to change their ways before the Elvine unleash their greatest powers and bring about the apocalypse.
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Gems for Writers:
Mythological Tie-In. M.P. Ness effortlessly weaves mythology from many cultures into his story, including the Tree of Life, Archangel Michael, Quetzalcoatl, and Yin and Yang. The use of all this mythology, reminiscent of Michael Scott’s Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series, paves the way for Shannon and Deh Leccend to traverse the world at the high speeds allowed by the Veil of the Leaf’s Edge, going from Seattle to Washington, DC to the highest peaks of the Himalayas as they try to save the world from destruction. Intentional or not, it also gives the story a theme—subtly reinforcing the message that climate change is a global problem without feeling didactic.
Setting. Setting detail abounds both within and without the Veil of the Leaf’s Edge. Within the Veil, the glorious detail creates a sensory experience for the reader. Sights and sounds and sensations fairly fly off the page, investing the reader that much more in the story. Outside the Veil, the city of Seattle is picked out in perfect detail, from buildings and landmarks to intersections and even the taste of Seattle’s famous coffee. Ness' love for his home city is obvious in his fictional depiction of it.
Ingenuity. What really sold this book for me was the absolute uniqueness of the plot. Ness takes the typical, gentle, tree-hugging portrayal of elves and turns it on its ear. These elves are kind and gentle and tree-hugging, to be sure, but so fiercely protective of Mother Earth that they will go to any lengths, including terrorism, to protect Her. Then, he throws another curve with the addition of Deh Leccend and his fellow Black Leaves, who are essentially Elvine ninjas with superpowers, protecting and defending Mother Earth, Addl’laen, and all the Elvine from both within and outside the Veil of the Leaf’s Edge.
White Leaves is a truly unique story, a fun fantasy ride, and the start of a promising series. I'm excited to see where this series goes next and I can't thank M.P. Ness enough for being with us today! Stick around later today for his Author Spotlight!
Keep Calm and Scribe On!
***[TITLE OF BOOK] (2013), by M. P. Ness, is published by and copyright CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.