Elise and her best friend Anton grew up in the medieval village of Petheralm, where life, though hard, is good. When a stranger arrives in her village injured and unconscious, his handsome face and sweet demeanor take in Elise.
However, according to ancient legend, the forest surrounding their small town is enchanted, and any stranger unworthy to enter the village would be stopped there. The village is leery of this stranger and wants nothing more than for him to leave.
Elise pays no mind to the silly legend, and is shocked to discover that he’s no ordinary peasant as everyone first thought. Before the stranger is strong enough to leave Petheralm, she is forced to make a startling choice between following her dreams and following her heart. Although Elise feels strongly that she made the correct choice, the day soon comes when she and everyone she loves must deal with the repercussions of her choice.
Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Elise’s Choice
#1: The idea for Elise’s Choice came to me twelve years ago.
While it did not take me that long to write the story, the actual idea came to me in 2002. I immediately plotted it, wrote two chapters, and set it aside to attend college. However, it never left my subconscious and approximately two years ago, two colleagues encouraged me to return to it. It took nearly a year and a half to write and edit and six months to find a publisher.
#2: Elise’s Choice is (very) loosely based on Cinderella.
One evening as I hiked a walking trail at the University of Missouri-Columbia, my mind began to toy with the familiar Disney version of Cinderella. I questioned, “What if Cinderella hadn’t fallen in love with the prince? What if she wasn’t beautiful?” The answer to these questions and more weaved themselves into Elise’s Choice. But don’t expect a retelling; the answers led the story in an entirely different direction.
#3: Elise is named after Fur Elise by Beethoven.
Fur Elise is my absolute favorite piano score by Beethoven. From the moment I plotted the story, the protagonist was always named Elise.
#4: The inspiration for Elise’s personality came from the painting Rest in Harvest by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
I saw this painting in an art museum (I cannot remember which one), and it intrigued me. It seemed like the girl was daydreaming when she should have been working, and I thought, “A-ha! That’s Elise!”
#5: Elise was almost blonde.
When I first plotted the story, I saw Elise as a blonde. Then I realized that several female protagonists are either blondes or brunettes. So, in honor of redheads, I changed her hair to auburn and gave her freckles. Now I can’t picture her any other way.
#6: I used features from several celebrities to characterize Anton.
When I first plotted the story, Lord of the Rings swept the box office and I was a huge figure skating fan. Thus, Anton has Elijah Woods’ eyes, the first name of pair’s skater Anton Sikharulidze, and the hair of figure skater Todd Eldridge.
#7: I created the unique names in Elise’s Choice by combining names and switching letters in familiar words.
For example, Elise’s friend’s name is a combination of Cara and Jill. A bag of sugar inspired the name for the healer, Rugar.
As a child, I loved the animated show The Secret World of Og. I combined Og and den for the kingdom of Ogden. Ogden, however, is not a unique name. There is an Ogden, Missouri, and it is quite possible there are Ogdens in other states as well.
About The Author
Rachel Stiber lives in a small town in rural Missouri with her husband, three rambunctious cats, and a lovable dog. She has the privilege of teaching English Language Arts to seventh grade students at the local junior high.