Well, it took me a lonnnnnng time before I finally got a sit-down interview with Miss Mercy-Faith "Elm" Sunday, the star of my Visionary Fiction book, Inn Lak’ech: A Journey to the Realm of Oneness and its prequel, Seaglass Christmas: A Little Blessing Mystery.
In this first installment of a three-part blog chat, Elm talks about her fascinating life in Little Blessing. As you will soon learn, Elm is quite opinionated and doesn't have any filters, but that's what happens when you allow your characters free rein to talk back. No censorship here!
Eleyne-Mari Sharp: Welcome, Elm. And welcome, Readers, to the Seashell Carousel in Little Blessing. Before we get to the questions, I thought it would be nice to have a Water Blessing first.
Elm Sunday: I like that idea! Here’s the Japanese lyrics for anybody who wants to sing along: UCHU NO MUGEN NO CHIKARA GA KORE KOTTE, MAKOTO NO DAIWA NO MIYO GA NARI NATTA
E-MS: Thanks. In case our readers don't speak Japanese, the words in English mean: The eternal power of the Universe has gathered itself to create the world with true and grand harmony.
Elm Sunday: Cool.
E-MS: Very cool. So let's listen now to Nalini Blossom sing the Water Blessing Song.
Elm: I’m glad you started with that, E-MS. It puts me in a happy mood. Yeah, I’m ready to talk about Inn Lak'ech now!
E-MS: Great. Let's begin with how I've described you in the book.
Elm: Okay, but I've got a problem with that.
E-MS: A problem?
Elm: Yeah, but I'll tell you after you post the image.
Elm: You see what I mean?
E-MS: It's not accurate?
Elm: I guess so, but did you have to mention the breast thing? It’s super embarrassing!
E-MS: I think you might be overly sensitive.
Elm: Well, I just want to make sure our readers know that I'm much more than what you wrote in that passage. I mean, I’m in the whole book!
E-MS: And that's why we're doing this blog series, Elm. So, how old are you right now?
Elm: Fifteen. How old are YOU?
E-MS: Much older. Tell us, what is it you like most about living in Little Blessing?
Elm: Hmm, let me think. Well, I like my dogs and my treehouse. Miss Vi is the tree, of course. And I like making jewelry and helping my mother at her mermaid store, and I like eating ice cream at Holy Cow Sundaes.
E-MS: Anything else?
Elm: Yeah. I like octopuses, even though it looks like I probably will never get one. I like being the mayor’s daughter and I like my best friend, Snow Whitedove Smith. Well, most of the time.
E-MS: And what about Snow’s hunky brother, Noah Skyfeather?
Elm: Eww, gross! Can we stop this INNterview?
E-MS: Not yet. You know, Elm, I suspect you really, REALLY like him. But I’m not here to judge.
Elm: I appreciate that. Anyway, Noah’s got a girlfriend—Sarah Lightfoot. Remember her?
E-MS: Weren't you two best friends when you were eight?
Elm: Yeah, but that didn't last. She's got big cow lips. They look like they're about to explode!
E-MS: That's not very nice, Elm. Doesn’t Sarah’s mother own Holy Cow Sundaes?
Elm: Yeah. And now there’s an ice cream named after Noah, just because he’s dating Sarah. It’s called "Noah’s Chocolate Ark." So stupid, right?
E-MS: Actually, I think it sounds pretty yummy: "A classic French vanilla bean and rainbow sherbet, cradled inside a molded, chocolate ark...stuffed with white chocolate-dipped animal crackers."
Elm: I don't care how nice you made it sound, E-MS. It’s a stupid flavor for a stupid boy and you couldn't pay me a million dollars to eat it!
E-MS: Let’s change the subject. I know you're having a great Summer, but it will be over soon. Do you have anything special planned for the Fall?
Elm: Well, I’ll be attending public school for the first time. That's a big deal because I've been a homeschooler up until now. I hope they don't try to make me into a cheerleader—they're so fake. During Columbus Day weekend, I plan on selling dreamcatchers and smudge sticks with Snow at the Harvest Fair.
E-MS: Sounds like fun. And what about Halloween?
Elm: You're kidding, right? I thought you knew that Halloween’s not allowed in Little Blessing. Grandma Ruth says it’s the devil’s holiday.
E-MS: So, you've never gone trick-or-treating?
Elm: It's not allowed. Can't you read? Sorry for being rude, but I thought it was obvious.
E-MS: Apology accepted. But didn’t Ruth once punish you because you wanted to dress up for Halloween?
Elm: Yes, she did. In fact, she made me go to church on a weeknight to pray for my wicked soul. So, thanks for THAT walk down Memory Lane, E-MS!
E-MS: Just doing my job. Okay, this question just arrived from one of our readers. Anonymous asks: "How did you get the name of Elm?"
Elm: Good question! It's a nickname that Daddy gave to me when I was born. He said the elm tree was magical and never rotted. Not even in water.
E-MS: I guess your daddy knows best. Here's another question from Anonymous—
Elm: Is this the same person?
E-MS: I don't know, they're anonymous. Anyway, the question is: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Elm: Is this a serious question?
E-MS: I think so.
Elm: Then Anonymous hasn’t read the book!
E-MS: Okay, third question. "What do you like about playing your sea drum?"
Elm: Who's asking?
E-MS: I don't know. Maybe Anonymous again.
Elm: Oh. Well, I like the sea drum because it sounds just like the ocean. Have you ever tried it? It’s very cool.
E-MS: I know, because I have one of my own. Speaking of drums, here's an excerpt from the book: "Elm knelt on the beach sand at sunset, her sea drum held tight between her hands. For each wave that came in, she answered it with her drum, letting the metal beads mimic the wave."
Elm: I like the way you wrote that. You're a pretty good writer when you want to be. Not my favorite writer, but pretty good.
E-MS: Thanks. Don't forget to send a review. Elm, how important is the element of Water in Inn Lak’ech?
Elm: Oh, VERY important. It’s everywhere. Literally.
E-MS: And literarily?
Elm: Sure, whatever that means!
E-MS: For someone who’s only fifteen, you’re very ambitious. You design your own seaglass jewelry and you actually collect the seaglass yourself.
Elm: Uh huh. Hey, did you see that?
E-MS: See what?
Elm: Somebody just grabbed the brass ring!
E-MS: That takes a lot of skill. But haven't you done that before?
Elm: Probably a million times. Hey, ask me about my favorite animal on the carousel!
E-MS: Okay, which is your favorite animal on the carousel?
Elm: I thought you'd never ask. It's definitely the seahorse, even though it's missing one of its jeweled eyes. And before you ask me—no, I didn't take it!
E-MS: I want to get back to the seaglass. What was the most surprising thing that ever happened to you while you were out "seaglassing?"
Elm: Well, it has to do with a guy who follows me to a cave. And that’s all I'd better say about that. Are there any more questions?
E-MS: Why? Do you have something else you’d rather do?
Elm: Actually? I’d rather be hanging out with mermaids or Snow or Miss Vi. But I do have to babysit the Lightfoot twins after this INNterview.
E-MS: I’m surprised their older sister doesn’t babysit them.
Elm: Well, I’m not! Sarah would rather be sucking face with Noah somewhere. Or maybe she’s sucking face with somebody else. You'd have to ask her. Anyway, she doesn't babysit. Can I mention that I just happen to be the best babysitter in Little Blessing?
E-MS: I've heard that. But I'm wondering if you're keeping a secret, Elm.
Elm: Who me? Well, yeah, I know plenty of secrets. And so does Miss Vi. And they're all in our book. But don’t worry. Everything I know, YOU know!
There's more Elm Sunday next week! Meet us here at the Seashell Carousel for Part 2! (And CLICK HERE to order your copy of Inn Lak'ech: A Journey to the Realm of Oneness.)