1. What inspired you to write TEN FINGERS
I wanted to write a romantic fairy tale for adults.
There is nothing sweeter, more tender or beautiful than young love. I dedicated
this book to the youth in every woman to take a woman back to that special time
in her life when she experienced her first loving relationship. I wanted her to
recall the magic of her first kiss and the joy of her first intimate physical
2. What’s the significance of the title?
The title comes from the Prologue which is a 10-line poem. It begins:
Ten toes overlapping,
Ten fingertips pressing,
When the book was done, the title just jumped out at me and it felt right.
3. There seems to be resurgence in fairytales. From TV’s Once Upon A
the film Into the Woods starring Meryl Streep, fairytales are more popular than
ever. Why is that?
Children have always enjoyed fairy tales. I certainly spent a lot of time
reading magical stories and dreaming as a child. But now we're seeing adults
brought into the world of fairy tales. Why?
Perhaps because the world we live in is filled with so many harsh realities,
e.g., war, terrorism, cyber terrorism, hunger, poverty and disease. Technology
and social media communicate all these horrors...all these evils....in real time
and we are confronted with them on a daily basis and often powerless to make a
difference, even when we want to play a role. Also, the outcomes are unknown.
Fairy tales take us out of the present and enable us to escape into magical
worlds of fantasy and imagination where good triumphs over evil and we can align
ourselves with the heroes and heroines.
4. What was your favorite fairytale growing up?
The Princess and the Pea.
5. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you
I don't really have a favorite author. I belong to book club and we read
everything. I have a collection of favorite books. What I enjoy the most is
being swept into a story and not being able to put the book down until I finish it.
6. Tell us more about your main characters, Marianna and Martak. What was
your inspiration for these characters?
Marianna is not only a beautiful maiden but the most intelligent young woman in
her village. Her father, a retired school teacher, taught her to read and write.
She studied mathematics, astronomy, music and many other things. Because she is
so well-educated, she is brought to the court to be the governess to the young
princess, who is a delightful but mischievous child!
Martak is the Master of the Forest. He is strong, brave and handsome. He was
raised in the woods by Good's chosen warrior, who is his Guide and mentor. There
are many special things about Martak, but one is that he communicates with
animals and he learns to fly with a set of wings fashioned by his Guide!
Other main characters include Good, Evil and Princess Rosy!
7. Why are there Pittsburgh references in TEN FINGERS
I am a huge champion of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh references are for fun and to
give Pittsburgh fans a special connection with the story. They are inside jokes!
8. How did you find illustrator John Blumen?
I went to the website of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators and started
clicking on all the names. When I got to John's name and saw his magnificent
illustrations, I was hooked. I called him immediately and the rest is history!
John is incredibly talented!
9. What do the illustrations add to the fairytale?
Everything! The illustrations bring the characters to life and engage the
readers even more.They add beauty and elegance and make the book a work of art
which is what I was seeking.
10. What was the process like deciding on the final cover?
Very fun! We knew we wanted it to be romantic, elegant and striking to catch the
reader's attention, and we wanted to focus on ten fingers touching. John did the
illustration and then we refined it together which is the process that we went
through for all the illustrations.
11. When you were writing TEN FINGERS
TOUCHING, did you know what you
your characters to look like?
The characters are described in the story, so yes, I had a vision of what they
should look like. But, John Blumen, the illustrator brought the main characters
to life, except for Evil. There is no character of Evil because Evil transforms
himself. Evil is deceptive and he can be anything at any time!
12. How long did it take you to write this book?
Years! I began writing it long ago but I never had the time to write the story
that I really wanted to tell because, at the same time, I was growing my
company. All my energy and creativity was going in building my relocation firm
that eventually had a positive impact on the growth of Southwestern PA. In 2012,
I restructured my company in order to carve out more personal time for myself
and to focus on the story.
13. What was the most challenging part?
Chapter one! This sets the stage for the climactic battle between Good and Evil.
14. While many people think fairytales are only for children, adults
reading them too. Why?
For many reasons:
a) A good story is a good story!
b) Fairy tales are escapes and transport the reader to another world and away
from the problems of the day.
c) Fairy tales promote dreaming and magical thinking in adults.
d) Fairy tales such as mine are multi-layered and can be read and interpreted on
many levels. There is a lot to think about in depth if you explore the various
15. Without giving away too much, what is your favorite scene in the
Chapter 12: The scene of ten fingers touching!
16. As a successful business woman who runs her own company, finding
write a novel must have been an interesting experience. How did you juggle your
full time job while spending your off hours writing this book?
As mentioned in response # 12, I cut back on my company to carve out more time
to write. But I am also nocturnal and I write late at night when the rest of the
world is asleep. I now understand why authors go to the Cape to write the great
American novel. You need to immerse yourself in your story and avoid distractions.
17. What lessons did you learn while writing the book?
Surround yourself with great talent! I have an excellent editor and an
I also engaged a professional reader, a grammarian and members of my book club
who were test readers! The end product is not just a book but a work of art. I
love the book and it gives me great joy to have brought my dream to fruition.
18. Are you planning to write any more fairytales?
My next goal is to write the screen play!
19. Are there any other genres that you would like to dabble in?
I have an idea for a children's book but it's not a fairy tale. I have also
thought about writing a story where the main character is loosely based on my
Mother, who passed away 7 years ago.
I miss her terribly.
20. Any thoughts about turning TEN FINGERS
TOUCHING into a movie? If so, who would you like to see play Marianna and
Yes, I would like very much to see it made into a movie. It is very visual and I
could picture every scene in the process of writing. I'm not sure who the
current young actors or actresses would be best for the parts but Marianna
should be played by a younger version of Gwyneth Paltrow and Martak by a younger
version of Brad Pitt! I can picture Meryl Streep in the role of Good!
About TEN FINGERS TOUCHING
Evil plots his return to power and Good fights to defeat Evil’s sinister plan.
Caught between them in this epic struggle are two young lovers—Martak, master of
the forest, and Marianna, a beautiful maiden and governess to Rosy, the
impetuous, young princess. Evil’s desperate scheme to outwit Good and rule the
Kingdom puts Martak, Marianna and the Princess at risk as they are drawn into
the conflict. Will the soulmates realize their “happily ever after?” Martak must
first unravel the curse and destroy Evil. In this land where magical forces vie
for dominance, could true love be the most powerful weapon of all?
A beautifully illustrated tale for women of all ages, TEN FINGERS
explores the complex nature of love and fate. It is an enchanting journey of
romance, mystery and adventure. Ellen A. Roth’s debut novella is an imaginative
take on a classic genre—and a treat for the romantic soul.
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