MARICOPA — Anita Shepherd lives in two worlds — one world in the present and the other in a land of adventure ruled by elves. The second world is created through her writings, which she is now sharing with readers of all ages.
Shepherd released her newest novel, “The Erthod Chronicles: The Uniting Call,” in August. The book is based on the five elements and the enchantress elves who represent each of those elements.
The Arizona native said she first discovered her passion for writing when she was working as a math tutor for 16 kids.
“It was requested for me to write a play, so I did, and each of the characters were based off the kids’ personalities. That was really fun for me,” Shepherd said.
She said from there, her writing career snowballed. After she wrote the play, she published a five-book adventure collection called the “Holiday Hero Series.” Although she enjoyed writing the series, she soon wanted to try something different. It was at that point in her life where she was learning about elven culture.
Everything about elven culture allured her, so she decided to switch writing gears and pen her first fantasy book. This book took her 10 months to write and is designed to be part one of a trilogy. She is currently writing the second book of the series.
“With this book, I did a lot of shutting everything out, listening to elven music and holding book readings,” she said. “If you were to tell me to write another book, I couldn’t do it. It’s literally when the inspiration hits.”
With the book also came a whole community of fellow elves who wanted to show their support for the author. People joined together online to discuss the books and all things elven. The group currently has about 800 members. Shepherd often uses the people in this society as inspiration for characters in her books. Shepherd herself often transforms herself into a character. Her elven name is Anelsh Mir.
Macayla Eyman is one of the people Shepherd has modeled her characters after since the beginning. She was one of the students Shepherd tutored and featured in the “Holiday Hero Series.” Now, Eyman takes on a new role as Enchantress Norin, the desert enchantress whose element is fire.
Eyman said she gets really into the characters. She can often be seen at book promotions or comic conventions dressed in her corset, long braids and elf ears. She calls herself an “elf in the modern day” and is very in tune with elven culture. She said her goal is for everyone in that culture to feel comfortable expressing themselves.
“In the elven community, it’s about being who you are no matter what,” she said. “So we encourage people to express themselves. Who cares if you go somewhere with your ears on? That’s who you are.”
Shepard said being true to yourself is the same moral she tries to portray in each of her books. She said she doesn’t care about how big or small the following is for her books, she only cares about making herself and the characters in her books relatable to other people.
“This is what I hold dear to me,” she said. “Success to me is to be able to reach out and touch the hearts of others so that those hearts can turn around and touch their dreams.”
Looking toward the future, Shepherd said she is planning to write more books. She is also currently creating and documenting an elven language.
“The Erthod Chronicles: The Uniting Call” is available through Lulu Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or www.elvenmysticaltreasures.com.