I have a special treat for you today! M. H. Elrich, author of the Daughters of Tamnarae series, is stopping by for an interview. You’ll also get to learn a little bit about her book, Etania’s Worth.
So let’s get right to it!
Hi, M. H.! It’s great to have you here. Let’s start off with a simple question: How long have you been writing? What first inspired you to write?
I have been writing since I was in second grade. My second grade teacher had us create picture story books. Those construction paper book creations started my love of writing. Along the way, my best friends, C.E. Stone, and C.M. Fritzen, encouraged me to write, helping me to refine my stories to what they are today. I also felt the call to write for God’s glory early in my life during a 40 days of purpose Sunday School lesson. During that lesson, the teacher asked “What is one way you can use a talent God has given you?” What came to mind was writing, and I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that was part of my calling.
How did you come up with the idea for Etania’s Worth?
Etania’s Worth originated from a portal fantasy that I started and scrapped about Etania’s daughter, Lavanna. Even though I plan to write a story about Lavanna in the future, a lot of the details changed. For example, Lavanna was a teenager living in the modern world, and was kidnapped by Etania/Jakin/Keyel in order to help the world of Tamnarae. That is NOT what happens in this series now, and I kind of laugh at my idea then. The very first draft of Etania’s Worth was actually titled Etania and Malkiel (Malkiel was Keyel’s original name), and it was about Etania and her bodyguard (Malkiel), travelling through Tamnarae to defeat an evil king. That premise eventually formed what Etania’s Worth is today.
How did you come up with the names for your characters?
Most of the time, I look up names with specific cultures in mind, but Etania, Jakin, and Keyel are a bit unique. Also, I will often look up name generators (especially for the fantasy based ones), and choose a name from that. Below is the culture, based on the race of my people groups, and an example of a name. After that, I will get back to your question.
Hafif (humans without powers): American
Leici (humans with healing powers): British or Elvish names
Eritam (humans who tame wolves): Vulcan or Greek names
Naymatua (humans who have earth powers): Nigerian names
Ningyo (humans who have water powers): Spanish names
Kinzoku (humans who have metal powers): Scottish names
Draconian (humans who tame dragons): Viking/Nordic names
Pyros (humans who have fire powers): Russian names
Equus (humans who tame horses): Australian names
Lycan (humans who tame wildcats): Indian/Amazonian names
Alephari (humans who have light powers): Japanese/Asian names
Ixite (humans who tame griffins): Japanese/Asian names
For Etania, I actually really liked the name Tania, which is related to the name Titania. This name can either refer to a Christian woman who was martyred or the fairy queen. I think a virtuous Christian woman and fairy queen suits Etania as a name meaning.
Keyel is derived from Malkiel, which means “My king is God” in Hebrew. I decided to take the Mal part away from it and change it to Keyel to make it easier for people to pronounce. That being said, I still have people refer to him as Kai-el instead of Key-el. It’s all good.
Jakin is derived from Jachin, which means “He [God] establishes” in Hebrew. Again, I changed the spelling so that it was easier to pronounce. I don’t think people have gotten confused about this one, so I’m very happy!
I love that naming system so much. You’ve definitely put a lot of thought into it!
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I want readers to know that we are not worthy of God’s love, but he loves us anyway. I want them to realize that God has made them, and that they are beautiful in his eyes. The theme of this book is Proverbs 31:10: “A wife of noble character who can find?/She is worth far more than rubies.” Our identity, and worth, is found in Him.
What are your plans for the series?
Etania’s Worth is book one of a seven book series. I plan on writing three books about Etania, three books about Lavanna, and one book about Tala. Tala is Etania’s mother and Etania is Lavanna’s mother. That is why I called the series Daughters of Tamnarae because it centers around the generations of women who are from Tamnarae, the first made-up continent of my world. Currently, two books of the series are published (Etania’s Worth and Etania’s Calling). I also have free e-books that are exclusive to my newsletter subscribers set in the same world (Sibling’s Sorrow is published now, Beginnings will be published in December). In addition, I have several spin-off series in mind. Toothbreaker and Promisekeeper are a duology that takes place alongside Etania’s Worth and Etania’s Calling and I hope to publish them sometime next year. Daughters of Eyerae is an asian fantasy series that will be after Daughters of Tamnarae is completed and will take place on/around Eyerae, a continent west of Tamnarae. So I have lots of ideas for books, and I’m currently working on Etania’s Destiny (tentative title), the last book in Etania’s arc.
You can visit with the author on her website, mhelrich.com!
Now that we know all that awesome background information, let’s take a look at the book itself!
Cryptic power changes Etania’s life forever…
Etania’s new apprenticeship as a librarian is shattered when she fends off an attacker with Neuma, the hidden power she didn’t know she had. When her father Jakin discovers Etania’s gift, he wants to use her as a weapon to stop a threat rising over Tamnarae. Etania despises the idea of being anyone’s weapon. However, the death of a family member forces her to act, setting her on a journey to save Tamnarae, find love, and accept her newfound gift.
Grab a copy here!
What do y’all think of this book? Isn’t the cover so pretty?? And what about those awesome naming conventions?