Author’s name: Shari L. Tapscott
Title of book and/or series: Pippa of Lauramore, Book 1 in The Eldentimber Series
Brief summary of the story:
With her future happiness resting on a traditional marriage tournament, Princess Pippa decides to take matters in her own hands and choose handsome Galinor of Glendon to be her victor. She’ll do everything in her power to ensure her prince wins—even if she must win for him.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Lauramore is a small kingdom tucked away in the western mountains of Elden. Unlike the jagged peaks farther north, Lauramore’s mountains are soft-stepped terraces blanketed with meadow grass and moss. Tall evergreen woods grow thick father to the south, and if you travel into the valleys, you may wander into the dark bogs where the grim boars make their homes. Many claim Lauramore to be the most beautiful of Elden’s kingdoms, but it’s not without its dangers.
If we were to visit Lauramore as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
You must travel to Palace Lauramore, which is located atop the terraces to the north of the kingdom. A waterfall, fed by a freshwater lake in the terrace above, cascades down next to the palace gardens and falls to a pool below. The sight is especially spectacular in late spring when the runoff is at its peak. However, the falls still run strong through summer when Lauramore holds most of its festivals.
What dangers should we avoid in Lauramore?
Lauramore is considered a fairly safe place to live and travel through as long as you avoid the lower forests. Up higher you may run into an occasional mountain cat, but they are skittish and tend to attack the grazing sheep more often than people. There are rumors that the cries of night-dwelling glasselns—large felines with feathered wings—have been heard recently, but the creatures haven’t been seen in years, and most consider the rumors to be gossip. Still, it would be prudent to use caution if traveling at night.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Lauramore?
Frozen sheep’s milk cream is a delightful treat, especially when paired with mountain cherry pastries.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Lauramore?
Those staying to the main roads may travel by wagon or carriage, but those who wish to venture into the forests must travel by horse or foot. The terraces are steep and, in many places, the paths are narrow.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Lauramore that we don’t see on Earth?
Gold eldentimber trees can be found in the lower forests, as can blue goodleburgen bushes. A variety of smaller plants may also be found, from flowering yallow to medicinal waterchivel. Be cautious of poisonous daphantha berries—they grow in clusters in the higher regions and look similar to blueberries.
If you’re lucky, you may spot a silver stag, though they are elusive. Fairies have been known to inhabit the forest as well, but they don’t tend to stay in one place long. Dragons live farther north. You are likely to find one if you actively seek them out, but with the peace treaty in effect, they tend to keep to themselves.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Lauramore? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Magic is forbidden to humans, who do not possess it naturally. Any enchanted items must be obtained from fairies, dragons, gimlies, or other naturally magic creatures. For example, Princess Pippa wears a purity ring that is dragon enchanted. At one time, wizard-aided breathing spells were frequently used to harvest black pearls from the lake above the palace, but this practice is now forbidden.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Lauramore.
The summer festivals are the highlight of the year. There are archery contests, jousting, and hand-to-hand combat events for both nobility and villagers. Traveling gypsies will often perform as well. Prince Percival and his brother Alexander lead large hunting parties later in the season.
What is the political or government structure in Lauramore? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Lauramore is a monarchy, with the king at present being King Ewan. Many consider him a good and fair king but there are some who feel he is too friendly with Errinton, a harsh kingdom to the far north.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
Lauramore was highly inspired by the mountains near Silverton, Colorado. The area is pristine and almost unreal in its beauty. The creatures and plants I created were often just a mish-mash of things I love. Many of the plants were inspired by real flowers and herbs. The waterfall next to the palace is an image I’ve had in my head since I was young—I’m not entirely sure where it came from.
I live with my husband and two children in Western Colorado. Pippa of Lauramore is my first published novel, and I hope to write a great many more. I love to read, and my favorite stories are the ones with dashing heroes, brave heroines, and a large assortment of plucky side-characters.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book?
Pippa of Lauramore is available for Kindle and in paperback, and you may buy it on Amazon.
Where can readers connect with you online?