Now on with the Interview…
1) Who do you want to meet and why?
This is the most difficult question for me to answer because I keep thinking of dead people like G.K. Chesterton. I love his wit and his uncommon common sense. He had to have been the most intelligent man in the universe in his time. He debated Clarence Darrow and made mincemeat of him. Too bad he was not at the Scopes Monkey Trial, our history of education might be different. I could also say I would like to meet Jesus, but I meet Him every morning for breakfast and often throughout the day.
2) Whatâ€™s your favorite comfort food?
It used to be chocolate chip mint ice cream, cheesecake and tiramisu, but I don’t seem to need to be comforted by food anymore these days. I do hanker after salty crispy food every other day though.
3) What would be your dream vacation?
All the time I wanted in order to explore the British Isles. There are so many amazing estates and castles and such breath-taking scenery to be experienced there, and the people are lovely, helpful, warm and witty. I have been to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but I never felt I had enough time there.
4) Is there anyone who has influenced / encouraged you to write other than God who ultimately gives us any talents including creativity? Who and how / why?
My mother was my biggest encourager in writing. She wrote poetry herself and took me to college extension courses on writing when I was in Junior and Senior High school. She used to entertain my five siblings and I on long trips in the car by starting a story, getting the main character in a difficult situation and pointing to one of us and saying, “and then…” which meant we had to continue the story and try to stump the next sibling.
5) Can you give a brief synopsis of your journey to publication with your first book?
You’ll be sorry you asked. It was a long frustrating trek. I began writing it over twenty years ago when computers used floppy discs for saving and you had to use a writer’s program. I was teaching full time in a High school, so had to write after correcting compositions, and planning and making up tests etc. It took me four years to write. After sending it to two publishers(one at a time) and waiting three months for a reply from one and six months for a reply (both rejections) from the second one, I researched agents in the Writer’s Guide because I felt an agent would know better where to sell it. The first agent I sent it out to loved it. She wanted me to expand it by fifteen thousand words and send it back. I had begun working on it when my writer’s program crashed. It was a while before we could afford a new computer and the new ones did not use the old programs. I could not access my book. I had taken lots of notes and had printed out the original version, so I knew it would simply mean finding a space of time to retype it. (I type with two fingers; self taught) When my Mom became unable to take care of herself alone, I retired from teaching and brought her to live with me. I began copying and tweaking Gentle Journey. I first tried to contact the agent who had wanted to represent my work. She was no longer in the business. Then life got interesting. I was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus, my mother was diagnosed with altzheimers, and my husband was diagnosed with melanoma cancer. I decided one or more of us might not live to see it published, and I wanted my granddaughters to be able to read the lessons I have included in the book, so I decide to self-publish to speed things up. My mom was able to read it several times and brag to all visitors. My husband lived only two months after he saw the book in print. I do not recommend self-publishing but I have learned a great deal by doing it.
6) What else have you written / are you currently writing (including unpublished works)?
I have completed another Regency which I have entered into some contests and have sent to an agent. I have outlined a continuation of the Gentle Journey story with Diana as the main character four years later. I am also outlining, researching, and taking notes on a modern day screenplay which will take place mostly in a hospital and allow us to “see” the spirit world while also seeing this physical world – lots of special effects!
7) What first gave you the idea for Gentle Journey?
I was teaching a High School Media class and used the then just out video of Pride and Prejudice put out by the BBC to make a point about achieving tension in film without resorting to murder, torture, car crashes and mayhem. I taught in an all girls school, and the students reaction to this movie was amazing. They wanted to know all about the culture of the period. I had researched some, but this drove me to research a lot more for the next year. Then scenes taking place in that time began to invade my imagination. I wanted to provide an alternative to the questionable morals found in the romance novels my students were reading.
8) What else would you like to share with readers about yourself or Gentle Journey? Gentle Journey is an inspirational historical romance, but there is so much more to it than the genre suggests.
9) Share with us one of the craziest things you’ve done or that’s happened to you? Now you’ll think I’m weird. When I was taking an acting class as a kid, the director said that even the actors who played dead bodies got fifty dollars a day and all they could eat at the commissary. He said you had to breathe shallowly so that the camera did not pick up any movement, and you could not let sand or grass annoy you. On the way home from school, I decided to try it by falling in the swale by the side of the road and playing dead. When some ants started crawling over me, I ignored them for the sake of my craft. Some kid recognized me and ran to my house and told my Mom I was lying by the side of the road not breathing, and ants were crawling all over me! My poor mother.
10) What five books would you take with you to a desert island?
The Bible, The Summa Theologica (because I have always wanted to read it, but it’s size frightened me), a beautiful book called The Secret Diary of Elizabeth Leseur, a book on survival in the wilderness, and a collected works of William Shakespeare. (Is that cheating?)
11) What concept or scripture is God revealing more deeply to you in this season of your life? And how is that revelation influencing your life?
Complete surrender to and trust in the Divine Will of God for me. He has brought me through adversity many times before, and he’ll do it again. I can completely depend upon him to provide for me. It is amazingly freeing and stress reducing to know this. I have had the concept as head knowledge for quite awhile, but lately it has become heart knowledge and deep-spirit knowledge as well.
12) Why did you start writing and when?
At the age of nine, I wrote and illustrated a book about a girl who fell out of the back of a truck and was raised by mountain lions. I called it Cat Girl. I always loved to read to escape and always had a vivid imagination which I actually have to reign in so I can do mundane things like drive.
13) How do you choose names and get to know your characters?
I used a lot of favorite names I had gathered over the years, many from Regency literature. I had wanted to name my son Colin, pronounce “kah-lin” but my husband was afraid people here would pronounce it “colon”. Funny thing is that is how Colin Powell pronounces his own name. I did a character interview I had from a writing class for each of the main characters after I had met them in my mind.
14) Whatâ€™s your favorite character / scene from Gentle Journey?
At this moment, the character that comes to mind as a favorite is one of the villains, the chimney sweep. He is quite different. I like all the bantering scenes between Colin and Eden as well as the exciting ending.
15) Do you have any teasers you can share for your next project or a sequel to Gentle Journey if there is one planned?
In the Gentle Journey sequel, the villain who did not get his Divine retribution will return along with many of the other characters. In the screenplay I plan a very scary scene of a descent into hell.
16) Are there any closing remarks youâ€™d like to share?
Never stop reading the Bible; never stop learning about God; never stop sharing with Him in prayer.
Thank you for taking the time to share with my readers.
Readers you can visit Elaine at her author page on the publishers site by clicking her picture, check out the book or purchase a copy at Barnes and Noble click the bookcover, meet more of the CFRB family and read what they have to say using my blogroll and click on the banner of this post to go to the CFRB main blog for introductions of some of the bloggers and links to our featured post each day of this tour.
The featured posts this week will be Cathi at Author Laura Davis: Bringing Biblical Characters to Life on Tues, Susan K. at her MySpace blog on Wed, Rebecca at RebeccaWire.com on Thurs, David at Christian Mystery Writers on Fri, David (one of CFRB’s founders) will also wrap up the tour Sat at the main blog(click the banner with the yellow ribbon to get there). Don’t forget to visit the featured post each day this week and learn more about the bloggers in our family at the main blog on the day their post is featured.
Here’s links to some of the other CFRB posts for Gentle Journey this week:
Cathi’s Tour Intro and contest announcement, Rebecca Wire’s Interview, and Stephen Rice’s “fake” Review I’ll add others as I find them. In the meantime check the blogroll as there will be other posts from members besides the daily featured post and you might just beat me to some of them.