Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am very happy to introduce to you Elaine Marie Cooper. Elaine is a fellow believer, fellow Nancy Drew lover, and the grandmother of triplets! She is currently releasing the third book in her award winning Deer Run saga. It sounds like a fun, adventurous read! Please enjoy her interview as much as I enjoyed giving it.
I am a Christian, wife, mom, GiGi to triplet grandchildren, and a registered nurse.
My passions are my faith, my family and my writing.
Long a lover of Early American history, my historical novels are set in the era of the American Revolution. My second book in the Deer Run Saga (The Promise of Deer Run) won the Romance category at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. I am so humbled and overjoyed with this award! The third book in this saga, The Legacy of Deer Run, just released this year.
I’m also a contributing writer to the devotional book, Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home, by Edie Melson, and have a short romance story published in the newly-released anthology, I Choose You (OakTara Publishers)
While I continue writing in the historical fiction genre, I also write numerous devotionals. I deeply understand the need for both faith and hope in Jesus Christ. He has been my “Rock of Refuge” since losing my daughter to cancer nine years ago.
Tell us about your current release.
The Legacy of Deer Run is set in 1800 and is the third (and final) book in a family saga. Although part of a series, it reads well on its own. The storyline follows the son in the next generation after the American Revolution. As the offspring of an enemy soldier, the protagonist has long been troubled by his father’s past. Now, he is disturbed by his attraction to a woman not of his class. She also has concerns of her own while she fights her feelings of attraction to the factory laborer that works at the armory making weapons. But overshadowing the class and romantic conflict, this tale involves a struggle to uncover a conspiracy against the new nation of America.
It is a story about intrigue of the times and intrigue of the heart. Something for both the adventurous and the romantic!
What inspired you to start writing?
It was both a brewing desire within me but also the encouragement of my father. He must have seen my interest in the written word because he took the time to suggest I write a story when I was eleven-years-old. My pet hamster had escaped into our bedroom attic and, after three days, he showed up, hungry and thirsty, but none the worse for his adventures. My dad said, “Why don’t you write a story about his journey while he was in the attic?” Well, that stirred my imagination—and it has been on overdrive ever since!
How did you determine whether to self publish or seek a traditional publisher?
When I was ready to approach a publisher with my first manuscript, it seemed like the decision was made for me. It was 2009, the year the publishing industry was in a severe downturn. One industry professional I spoke with was so discouraging, saying the chances of getting published right then as an unknown was pretty much impossible. Undaunted, I decided that I was not going to let my hard labor of love go to the bottom of the drawer. I sought out a self-publishing company, hired one of their editors, and saw my first book release in 2010.
The good news resulting from the upheaval in the publishing industry is that there are now so many options for getting your book self-published. The even better news is that there are now numerous small publishers that offer many opportunities to new authors, as well. My third book, The Legacy of Deer Run, was picked up by a traditional publisher, Sword of the Spirit Publishing. It has made the process easier, less expensive, and still offers a great product. It’s always important to check out any publisher that you are considering working with before you sign any contract.
Yes. Both! LOL. I usually contemplate my plots and characters for weeks before I actually start a manuscript so I have the general over-arching ideas for the story and the characters’ traits. But it’s always interesting to see the characters begin to “write themselves” as the story is unfolding. Authors sometimes joke about this amusing phenomenon! You may be typing up a scene and all of a sudden you type a line of dialogue that you were not expecting to have pop out of their “mouth!” It’s part of the creative writing process that I find both mysterious and fun.
What is your preferred method of writing (computer, pen & paper, etc.)
When I started freelance writing years ago for newspapers, I always wrote every thing by hand. My first drafts were a mess, with words and sections crossed out and written over. It’s a wonder that I could read my own stories! Then I had to type them up on my typewriter. I know—how antique!
Now, of course, I type everything on my Mac laptap. I very much prefer the flatter keyboard which is easier for me since I type one-fingered. I have nerve damage in my left hand from an accident as a child, so I have to type with one finger. But I’m pretty fast.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child?
When I was young, I devoured the Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. I was the typical 6th grader with the flashlight under the bed covers, hoping my mom wouldn’t discover me wide awake reading Nancy’s adventures!
One of my favorite books was also Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I still love that story.
In my teen years, I got caught up in biographies by Irving Stone and a couple by Taylor Caldwell. What impressed me about Ms. Caldwell was the length of research that she did for her historical novels. I guess you could say she left an impression on me to make sure I do sufficient research for my own books. She was inspiring to me in that area.
What is your inspiration for writing?
Real life. There is nothing more interesting than the world around us to inspire a plot or a person. Since I write a lot about Colonial America, I find inspiration from actual incidents that occurred and turn the general story into a novel. History can come alive with dialogue and character development in a fictitious form, rather than dry facts in a history textbook. History can be dynamic, depending on its presentation.
But I also look for inspiration from God when I am writing. Everyday I pray that the Lord will guide my pen so that my writing will not just teach and inform, but illuminate spiritual truths to help us cope with the world we live in. My hope is always that my books can make a difference in the readers’ lives.
Find Elaine Online:
This is a stellar read of the early American period. Elaine Cooper is a gifted wordsmith who brings the era to life vividly and leaves you wanting more. Bravo! — Laura Frantz, Author, Love’s Reckoning
“A plot to wound the baby nation of America, trusted friends who turn into enemies, death, faith, and life, all blend into a tragic yet beautiful tale of life and passion in 1800.” — Lisa J. Lickel, Author, The Map Quest
“It’s no wonder Elaine Marie Cooper is an award-winning author. Her writing shines with an artistic flair to blend deep-heart issues with light romance, love and adventure. Danny and Susannah capture the heart with their innocent love, yet honor and faith. Their story resonates with courage, commitment, faith and victory.” —Janet Perez Eckles, Author, Simply Salsa
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