Readers' Favorite

September 9, 2013

Meet Elsie Park + Giveaway

I grew up in a small town outside of Yosemite National Park, California, U.S.A. I enjoy playing soccer and the piano, reading, writing, art and spending time with family. Years ago I spent 18 months in Italy teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing the castles and old Roman cities enhanced my fascination for ancient and medieval culture (unfortunately, my Italian is now a little rusty). In college I studied zoology, botany and criminal justice. I've worked as a wildland firefighter, security guard and a police officer, but I am currently a stay-at-home mother of three girls all under the age of eight. I love thinking up new ideas for interesting stories and composing musical scores to go with them.

I’d always known that once I had children, I would put motherhood first, though it would constitute a tight income and budget. After leaving my careers behind to be a mom, however, it didn’t take long after having my first baby that I got antsy to do something other than dishes, changing diapers and grocery shopping. I’d always loved books, reading and watching good movies (especially historicals), so when adventurous medieval scenes started invading my head, I thought, “Hey, those would make a good movie or excellent story if coupled with a good plot.” So on a whim I jotted my ideas down and my first step to writing Shadows of Valor was taken. Tapping into my English class days from high school, allowing my journalism-major mother to edit my early manuscripts and attending writers’ conferences have helped me immensely as I’ve entered this field. I feel blessed that writing is something I can do and still remain in the home with my children.

Being a student of piano since age 6, and being inspired by the poems and songs in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I wrote three of my own intoShadows of Valor. I went a little farther and composed the written music for them as well. The ballads in my story were only words at first, but as I pictured someone singing them, I wondered what the songs would sound like if put to music. Tapping into my piano background, I fiddled with tunes to fit the words and after months of working on the music, I felt satisfied with the simple compositions.

Buy Shadows of Valor at Amazon

The first song, “May’s Good Day,” is a lively one about the jovial celebration of May Day (akin to the May Day song from the musical Camelot for those who are familiar with it). Having no deep message to it, it’s just fun. The second song, “One Brave Knight,” (my personal favorite) is a ballad speaking to knights. The words express a maiden’s plea for rescue from the cold grip of life’s shadows and hardships. It’s written in a minor key, so it sounds the most medieval of the three. The third song, “Love Endures,” is about true love standing firm against the test of trials, coming out victorious as two hearts become one. This song is written in a major key and wraps up my story with its message. 

My awesome publisher, Jolly Fish Press, gave me the unique opportunity to compile two of my songs into a 2-minute score for my visual book trailer too. I was flattered and elated to take part in it.

Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Blog  *  Goodreads

Also available at B&N


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by the contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.


  1. Thank you for featuring me on your wonderful blog today! I appreciate it so much! All the best, Donna! *smile*