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Interview with Author Elizabeth Maddrey!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m so happy to introduce you to Elizabeth Maddrey. Homeschooling moms who write are always so impressive to me, and Elizabeth is no exception. I always enjoy her when our paths cross in the writing community, and was thrilled to add her to my lineup of interviews. Elizabeth is giving away a paperback copy of her book, too! Read below to see how to enter!

Tell us a little about yourself. Well, let’s see – the first thing that comes to mind is how I always hate this question. I hated it when I was going on job interviews, too. I’m never sure what to say. I’ve been married for 21 years to my best friend from college (we met the first day of our first class freshman year). We have two boys, age nine and four (and he’ll be five very soon – this happened to catch me right between their birthdays.) I stay home with them (and am so incredibly grateful that I’m able to do this) and we home school. In addition to that, I run the Awana ministry at our church and my hubby and I lead an adult Sunday school class together. Despite those things, I’m actually incredibly introverted – Sundays wear me out.

Tell us a little about your current release. I’m so excited about this new release! It’s actually a collection of novellas, but they’re kicking off a series that five other authors and I have been working on for the last year. We created a fictional town in Idaho called Arcadia Valley and each of us is setting a full series there. What’s fun is the characters from my series interact with characters from other series (and vice versa) so, hopefully, it’ll be fun for readers to see the crossover interactions taking place as they read through the books.

My novella, Loaves & Wishes, is the kickoff to the Baxter Family Bakery series that will be set in Arcadia Valley. The Baxters are four siblings: Ruth (the eldest), Jonah, and then Micah and Malachi who are twins. In the novella, Ruth moves to Arcadia Valley from Washington D.C. because she’s inherited a bed and breakfast from her best friend. Because of various things that I can’t tell you since it would ruin the story, she and her brothers end up opening a community supported bakery. And it’s that CSB which serves as the primary focal point for the next three books in the series.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely. Honestly, I’d probably still write it even if it didn’t benefit anyone on their spiritual journey, because the books that I write often help me process things I’m working on and thinking about. I’m not sure I’d be able to shut off the stories if I wanted to, so it seems to make the most sense to write them and then put them out there with the prayer that if someone needs it, God will lead them to it.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? You know, I don’t. Part of that, though, I’m pretty sure is because I waffled about doing anything with my writing for a number of years and a large part of the waffling was because of this question. I could write secular stories, probably, but at the end of the day I don’t think that’s what God’s calling me to do. The stories in my head tend to address some of the trickier issues of Christian living. So I’m not even really writing fiction designed to lead people to Jesus – it’s much more geared toward helping believers wrestle with what it means to live authentic, Biblically based lives in today’s culture. And that’s not always popular, but I think it’s important. (And please don’t think I have big preachy books—I’m told by readers that the messages are subtle and wrapped in enjoyable stories 🙂 ) I could probably have a bigger audience if I didn’t talk about things like abortion and depression and whether or not it’s okay to question God…but those are the storylines that God impresses on my heart and I want to be faithful to them.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? This is kind of embarrassing…but if you’re old enough to remember 21 Jump Street (the TV show), it’s Johnny Depp as he was when he was Officer Hanson.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I probably already hit this one above – but definitely for my own enjoyment. I love to read, and when I try to think objectively about my books (which I’ll admit is really challenging), I think they’re the types of stories that many who read Christian fiction would want to read. But I don’t try to tailor stories or plots to any kind of current trends or anything like that. I suspect if I did I wouldn’t be able to make a cohesive, interesting story because it wouldn’t be organic.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? I pray. And then I sit down and make myself write. There are always words there if you put your fingers on the keyboard. They might not be keepers, but usually the act of writing will get the mental juices flowing.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? I usually do, yes. At a minimum, I need to know if I’m writing a novella or a full-length book. Full-length can vary though. I try to aim for 65,000 words when I think full-length, but sometimes the story needs a little more. Or a little less. With the Arcadia Valley books, because some of our authors also write for Love Inspired (who has contractual clauses that limit what length story the authors can indie publish without first giving LI a chance to buy it), we’re calling the full-length books 50,000 words (because that keeps us out of any issues.) So I have a general rule of thumb that I’m aiming for, but there’s wiggle room.

Find Elizabeth online:

Website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ElizabethMaddrey
Twitter: @elizabethmaddre
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emaddrey/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ElizabethMaddrey/posts

Find Elizabeth’s latest release online:



On iBooks:

On Barnes and Noble:
Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley (Arcadia Valley Romance, #1) 

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An Interview with Author Elizabeth Maddrey

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. Today, I bring you Elizabeth Maddrey. I love anyone who had a crush on Pierce Brosnan in “Remington Steele”, so I already feel like we’re a bit like soul sisters. Add two little boys and a love of crochet, and I feel like we should be next door neighbors who regularly enjoy sharing cups of coffee. I very much enjoyed reading about her writing and hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My husband and I have been married just over 19 years. We met in our first college class (bright and early at 8am) – a computer architecture course. We’re both computer nerds at heart, though I don’t flex those nerd muscles professionally any more, preferring being home with our two boys and getting to write instead! When I’m not writing or being Mom, I enjoy cooking and crochet and playing the piano.

ElizabethMaddreyHeadshot (1024x808)Tell us about your current release.  Love Defined is the third, and final, installment in my women’s fiction series about twin sisters and their attempts to start a family. Infertility is one of those things that’s never really finished, so even though I’m ending the series, not everything is tied up in a pretty little bow. I feel like all the characters have reached a place of resolution and happiness that will see them through the next stage of their life. That, to me, is a happy ending and I hope readers will get that sense.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?  Absolutely! In fact, I spent a number of years wrestling with questions along these lines before I ever ventured into the publishing world. I wanted to be sure that my motives for writing were what they needed to be. Having that understanding that, you know what, it’s okay if I’m not one of those big-name authors from the large houses who everyone raves about, has really helped me focus on the fact that what matters is telling stories that will resonate with people who maybe aren’t used to having stories published that do that. I’m just incredibly grateful anytime God uses one of my books to touch someone.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)?  I’m not sure I actually push past the fear – that fear comes right along with me every time I submit a new idea to my editor. But you know the saying “Feel the fear and do it anyway”? That’s what you have to do. I just remind myself (sometimes I do it a lot) that I’m not in this for fame or fortune but because I want my stories to touch hearts, and they can’t do that on my hard drive. So while there are always going to be people who leave negative reviews, I can look past that and focus on the fact that there are other people who enjoy my books and that makes it possible to take a deep breath and write another one.

Love DefinedWho was your first Screen/Musical Crush?  Johnny Depp in 21 Jumpstreet (the TV show, not the movie reboots) ties with Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher?  I started out looking for an agent and then, hopefully, a contract with one of the big traditional publishers. After several conversations and critiques and mentoring sessions with authors I respect, I realized that the stories I like to tell weren’t probably going to be a fit for what was tending to sell. I considered self-publishing at that point, but I also met with a new small publisher who was interested in the less-mainstream plot-lines. It was a good fit, for both of us, and I’ve been very happy publishing my books with her. I have, just recently, dipped a toe into the indie pool though and that was fun, too. So I might do more of that in the future, we’ll just have to see.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?  I generally have a semi-vague notion of what I want to write before I start – but it could be as simple as one or two sentences highlighting the main plot arc (e.g. twin sisters struggling with infertility). From there, I start writing and I see where it takes me. I usually get a good feel for the next few pages as I’m writing and it just strings along from start to finish. I’ve tried do to more concrete planning…it just doesn’t work super well for me, unfortunately. I kind of envy the plotters of the world.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?  I usually have a target of around 75,000 words, but really it’s all about the story. How many words will it take to tell the story the way it needs to be told? I can fluff or cut if I have to meet some kind of length requirement for my publisher, but generally speaking I don’t like to do that (and haven’t really had to, either.) But I think the 75K mark makes a nice size book to hold in your hand and gives you a good bang for your buck in terms of time spent reading vs. price.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read?  I hope it’s both, but I don’t spend a ton of time analyzing how many people I think are going to like an idea before I sit down and start writing it. I think there are enough people out there in the world that there have to be some who are going to enjoy the stories that I enjoy writing. Maybe not as many as if I tried to follow the market trends – but I also know that when I try to write something that isn’t where my heart is, it turns out horrible. If I can’t love my characters and their stories, the time I spend with them is painful, and it shows in the final product. (And those few manuscripts that ended up that way will never see the light of day!)

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her on Facebook  Pinterest  Google+ and on her Website. You can purchase her  books at:

 

 

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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