Interview with Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley
Witches, Spiders, and Schemes

Elizabeth Pantley braved the drive over for a short interview, so I got out my best tea service and freshly baked cookies.


Interview with Elizabeth Pantley

It’s great to meet you! I hope you don’t mind that I left my Halloween costume on even though it’s November. Your magical book just begged me to. I see you kept yours on for this visit too!

Thanks for having me, Annie! I admit, my go-to costume is a traditional witch. I have the best hat and black-and-purple wig that comes out of the box every Halloween. Add a black dress and all the kids want to share their candy with me.

Those are my colors! You look marvelous in that outfit, and your smile just sets you all aglow! I say keep it all year round! Help yourself to these cookies and tea or coffee. What is that you brought? Is that for me?

Thank you. Yum. These are almost as good as the cookies that Bear makes. I’m so happy to be able to gift you a ticket to Destiny Falls! Grandmother is pretty stingy with these, and she had to pull a few of those mysterious strings she has, but here you go! All you have to do is stand in front of your bedroom mirror tonight at midnight, and you’ll be whisked through the portal. It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but when you arrive, I promise that Hayden, Latifa, Bozidar, and the gang will be there waiting for you. You can join them on their next great adventure.

I love this gift!  I hope the ticket is a round trip! I can’t wait to visit Destiny Falls. I’m sure others have wished for a magic portal to a secret place! I wonder if I can bring my little Yorkie with me. I know you’re busy with the tour and must have a magical secret for staying focused when you get back to your writing desk. What technique do you use to “get into the mood” for your stories?

Here’s the secret – I love writing my stories so much that my husband will tell you I skip to work every day. Writing the Destiny Falls adventures allows my imagination free rein, and the stories flow so easily I barely can type fast enough to keep up.

I hope you have a good ergonomic desk setup for all that writing. Say, what is the strangest thing sitting on your desk this very minute?

Haha! It’s two Lego men in a measuring cup. My grandson spends a day or two every week with me, and I always find a sign of him after he goes home. I always leave the things there because they make me laugh and think of his sweet face. Here, let me show you some pictures: a line of dinosaurs in my bed, a wire whisk in my bathroom sink, and a whole battle scene in my pantry! 

Okay, so the dinosaurs I understand, the battle scene – that could inspire some creativity. The wire whisk. Hmm. Maybe we’ll get some comments about that whisk! You also write nonfiction books, so tell me how do you start a nonfiction compared with what you have to do to begin your Destiny fiction series?

I wrote parenting books for twenty years. As a mom of four, it was easy to decide on topics because I was living the mom experience. Sleep issues, tantrums, picky eating, separation anxiety – as I lived through them with four very different personalities. I researched the best solutions and shared them with my virtual friends – my readers. I’m happy to say that my No-Cry Sleep Solution has helped over two million sleep-deprived parents and has been translated into over twenty languages!With the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series, I learned that storytelling comes easily to me. My characters become so real it’s like watching a movie in my head. Sometimes they surprise me. I’ll laugh out loud. “You want to do WHAT?” It’s a blast.

It’s true that characters do hang around a writer’s room. How do you organize or keep track of character traits?

When I wrote the first book in the series, I created an elaborate character tracking chart in Excel. What I’ve found though is that the characters have become so real to me that I haven’t used the chart since that first book. Every once in a while, I have to go back and check a minor detail (have I ever mentioned a character’s eye color?), but that movie in my head keeps track naturally.

Please have another cookie. I hope you like these – freshly baked. What is your favorite cookie?

Just like these! Homemade chocolate chip. And these are perfect. Yum. Mind if I get a refill on my tea? Lots of cream and sugar, just like my main character, Hayden. She’s a tea nut too. 

Describe the perfect reader for this series.

If you like an enchanted location that you’d love to visit on your next vacation, characters who are real, funny, quirky, and adventurous, and mysteries to solve, you’d love Destiny Falls. Every book has a murder mystery you get to figure out along with Hayden, plus there’s an intriguing story about Destiny Falls that runs through all the books. Each book answers the main who-done-it, provides answers about the magical community… and then leaves you with many more questions about the people and the islands.

What is your most-used reference book other than the dictionary?

Hmmm. Can I say Google? I use it to find photos of locations or activities or people to help me finalize and describe what I see in my head. The next book in the series includes a trip to a Medieval festival – so I’ve been watching YouTube videos of Renaissance festivals!

Do you have a technique for dropping in red herrings, clues, and misdirection for the reader?

I have one amazing Beta Reader, plus my husband who both read chapter by chapter as I write. They’ll tell me their guesses about something or thoughts as we go, so I’ll use those as red herrings! Plus, red herrings, clues, and misdirection seem to come easily in an enchanted place. There always seems to be something odd going on.

Have you had to delete a character out of your story for whatever reason? What was that like?

I haven’t deleted a character, but I have been known to change a name. Once the person becomes real, sometimes I realize that they don’t fit the name I chose. Once I find out who they are, the real name becomes obvious.

Which do you struggle more with, narration or dialogue? How do you balance the two in your story?

The struggle comes from writing first person. Sometimes there is something my main character doesn’t know, but I’d like my readers to be in on the secret. Finding ways to leave hints about what she’s missing is a challenge.

If your main character knocks on your door today, what would be the reason? Selling cookies? Getting a signature? Warning of a fire?

Haha! Great question! She’d for sure what to know the answers to the many questions she has about Destiny Falls and the people. She is curious and a bit of a gossip, so she’d be grilling me about everyone who lives there.

I better let you get on with the rest of the stops in your tour. I’m delighted you made time to visit ePen. Don’t forget your witch’s hat from your costume! Where can we find you and your books?

You can find me on Amazon. The series is available in paperback, eBook, and free on KU. Book one is on audiobook, the rest to follow. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I’m very easy to find under my name: Elizabeth Pantley, or under Destiny Falls.


Here are my links:



This has been the most fun I’ve ever had in an interview, Annie! Thanks for your great questions – and these cookies! Can I get a couple to go? I’m just writing the last few chapters of book six, and these would be great when I skip lunch to write.

Please take the rest of them! And here is some vegan lentil stew I made so you don’t skip lunch. Careful, it’s hot! It’s a recipe from my favorite cooking website. Click the image for the recipe.

I’m so happy you stopped by, and I hope you come back for another visit!




This was a delightful interview with Elizabeth Pantley! She headed out, carrying the stew in one hand, a gift bag of cookies in the other, and still somehow managed to hold on to that broom and hat! 


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