Today marks the release of Meredith Leigh Burton's new book, The Princess and the Invisible Apple Tree. I have long enjoyed this author's work; she is an amazing woman who although blind sees with profound insight and writes with incredible description. She is truly inspiring, and I am thrilled to share her guest post with you all today! But first, here's a bit about her latest release!
Princess Snowdrop didn’t mean to kill her mother. And now, no one will believe her story about the mysterious peddler who gave her the poisoned pastry. She’s desperate to uncover the man’s identity, but no one else remembers seeing a stranger at the palace on that fateful day or hearing his melodic voice. When Snowdrop’s father goes on a journey in pursuit of answers, he returns newly married. Now Snowdrop must contend with her new stepmother and a stepsister.
Rachel is a lonely, softspoken girl who harbors a harrowing secret. She also carries a mysterious object close to her heart; a mirror that helps her to survive. Could the mirror have come from the same peddler who ruined Snowdrop’s life? Both Snowdrop and Rachel’s stories converge as dark memories are unearthed. A malevolent pursuer lurks in the shadows, and he will stop at nothing to gain the thing hee seeks. Disguises are unmasked, and things are not what they seem. Whom can both girls trust? With the help of two extraordinary artists, a hart, and five swans, Snowdrop will discover that courage and sacrifice will be needed if she is to save her stepsister and herself.
The Princess and the Invisible Apple Tree is a story where secrets abound, and the path to freedom is not easily obtained.
And now--her guest post!
INSPIRATION FOR THE PRINCESS AND THE INVISIBLE APPLE TREE
When I first began to focus on writing as an actual career, I had a mission in mind: to present the Gospel in fantastical ways. My very first novel release was an allegorical tale, one in which two disabled protagonists entered a fantasy world as prophetic helpers to rid the land of evil. I had a tremendous time writing that book, but I always felt that something was missing. While I attempted to make my characters, (particularly Brandon and Hannah, the two disabled protagonists), fleshed-out and believable, my over-the-top villainess in particular lacked substance and was a typical Satan stand-in. I longed to tell stories with more complex characterization while simultaneously glorifying the God who gave me the gift of writing.
The Princess and the Invisible Apple Tree began life as a straight-forward allegory. However, I have been blessed to work with a phenomenal editor named Stephanie Ricker. Through her guidance on many projects, I have learned to tell a story, not to try and make characters conform to a particular theme. So, The Princess and the Invisible Apple Tree has undergone numerous changes. Now it is a story of the destructive power of guilt and how we often strive for things that are unattainable. All my characters make mistakes, and they must learn hard lessons.
Aspects of this story were incredibly hard to write. Rachel, in particular, is a character who must face many struggles. “Snow White” is a story in which the evil queen constantly seeks reassurance that she is still beautiful. I wondered how that would play out if there were two princesses; one from a humble background who has never been told that she is beautiful or even pretty. What if she only receives reassurance from something that others believe to be evil?
Growing up, I struggled with self-image constantly. Being blind, so many people think that you are never bothered when you are not asked to dances or when you have no conception of how you look. Why should that matter when you have no eyes to see? But, things of this nature, even self-perceived slights or overheard whispers have a profound affect on everyone, even those who cannot see.
In order to write something that resonates with others, an author must sometimes delve into painful memories. I did just that when writing this story, and it is better because of that fact. In addition to difficult memories, I focused on the beautiful ones as well. I have learned over the years that I am beautiful in God’s sight, and this struggle is something my characters face. I hope that this story conveys what is true; that the world’s false perceptions do not change the fact that we were created by One who loves us and has a purpose for our lives.
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Meredith Leigh Burton is a voracious devourer of fairy tales. She is a motivational speaker, teacher and writer. She attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University, where she received a degree in English and theater. Meredith hopes to convey through her writing that people with differences can contribute much to the world. "Snow White" has always been her favorite fairy tale. Meredith has written another fairy tale based on "Snow White" entitled Hart Spring, which can be found in her anthology, Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption. She resides in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Find her online at: Goodreads || Amazon