Author Elise Stephens answers the Pivot Questionnaire

Elise StephensElise and I both have stories in “The Toll  of Another Bell” fantasy anthology (Xchyler Publishing, 2015). Mine is “The Year of No Foals“. Hers is “Phoenix”: Orion loses his wife on their wedding day and uses dark magic to seek her in the afterlife.
1. What is your favorite word?

Beauty. It strikes every single person on earth in different ways, and it can be both aesthetic (and thus shallow in in the eyes of many) or deep, in terms of a person’s character, or the overall structure of something. On my old laptop, I had a sticker fastened to it that read “Beauty will save the world.”

2. What is your least favorite word?

Hopeless. I guess that’s because I don’t believe in lost causes. I’m pretty prone to mood swings, but deep down I don’t believe that anything is lost forever. There’s always a chance for light to enter and for brokenness to be rebuilt or used for a good purpose.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
So many things! Music and song lyrics have been a source of story-inspiration. Unsolved mysteries often beg me to invent solutions. Deep conversations with friends often linger with me and twist themselves into the bones of a story.
4. What turns you off?

Mean people. Seriously, when people are rude or unkind or extremely self-centered, it’s an excellent recipe for creative and emotional blockage.
5. What is your favorite curse word?
Ha! Wait, that’s not a curse word. I just think this question is hilarious. Mmmm, I have a one year old son who is about to talk and I’m seriously working on cleaning up my act for him, but I would say that my time in theater and tendency to spurt of hot-blooded returns makes “fuck” and all its derivatives a favorite of mine. (And, Scott, you can retype this as the f-bomb if that suits the nature of your blog better. I typed it out completely, since you asked directly).
6. What sound or noise do you love?

I adore the sound of moving, tumbling water. I’d love to live with a view of the ocean or a lake someday.
7. What sound or noise do you hate?

A baby crying in the middle of the night. My hormones are wired to wake me up with a surge of adrenaline every time I hear it, and there’s no getting around it. I love my baby intensely, but the midnight crying is not at all thrilling.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Acting. Professional theater. Possibly musical theater, though I don’t think my singing voice is hugely stellar. I just love the theater world. My mom was an actress and a lot of it rubbed off on me. Working through the passions and struggles of other characters has always been a delight.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Hmmm, anything that involves high levels of mathematics. Math and I can coexist peaceably enough, but we don’t get along well. I don’t think I’d enjoy being an engineer or a scientist. I’m a bit too disorderly.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Ah, you have hit a deep one, there. Honestly, I’d love to hear God say, “Would you like to see your babies now?” I’ve had the sad lot to lose two babies before they were born, and I am aching to meet them and to hold them in my arms. Right now, that’s what I want the very most.

Thank you for having me here, Scott! These interview questions were seriously fun and interesting.

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