Elizabeth Ludwig’s interview

» Posted on Oct 30, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Elizabeth Ludwig’s interview

If you want to be entered in the drawing for Elizabeth’s book, Where Truth Lies, please leave a comment with your email address or email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawing will end Sunday evening.

Elizabeth Ludwig’s interview

1. What made you start writing?

I had a fantastic fourth grade teacher who always encouraged my love of reading. In fact, she often let me sit quietly and read to myself when everyone else was doing homework. One day, she asked if I might be interested in entering a science fiction contest for young authors because she knew that was what I was into at that time. I did, and though I didn’t win, I knew then that I wanted to write.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I finished my first novel in 2001. Like every other aspiring author, I sent my (VERY) rough manuscript out expecting every house to beg me for the right to publish my book. After all…I was an English major in college and I had read all the great works. Imagine my chagrin when every single publisher turned it down! LOL!

So, I started entering contests. I joined a critique group. I bought books on writing. All of this led me to understand how much I had to learn. Several years and manuscripts later, I sold my first novel to Susan Downs at Heartsong Presents: MYSTERIES!

I’ll never forget that day. Janelle Mowery, my co-author, called me at work to tell me she had just finished an Instant Message with Susan. She was interested in our cozy.

“How interested?” I asked.

“They want it.”

I’ve never heard more glorious words.

3. How do you handle rejections?

As you can imagine, a collected a hefty pile of rejections from the time I submitted my first ms to the day I completed my first sale. In between is a time I fondly recall now as the desert years.

The desert years were a lonely, desperate time of self-pity and despair. How I wish I had realized then the presence of God in my life. With every tear I wept, He gently and lovingly molded me. Like a potter using water to make the clay pliable, God used my tears to soften and shape me. I’ll never forget the moment the realization hit that nothing, not a moment of time in my long and difficult publishing journey had been wasted.

“Don’t be so focused on the goal that you miss the journey.” (Paraphrased)

I heard these words at a conference I attended. Suddenly, I realized that was exactly what I’d been doing. My goal was publication. Only that. Not the knowledge to be gained along the way, or the friendships forged in adversity. I missed the fleeting opportunities God had prepared to comfort me, and for me to give comfort. Like a darkened landscape exposed by a shaft of lightening, my life suddenly became visible, and I became determined to ENJOY the writing journey God had set me on.

4. Why do you write?

There’s a scene in a movie I love, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” It’s near the end. The entire cast is in church and the pastor starts singing, “Father, Can You Hear Me?” Every time I hear that song I want to stand up and PRAISE God. That is what I want—to write something that SO inspires someone they automatically want to praise God.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Reading. LOL! I love to read.

6. What are you working on right now?

Janelle and I have contracted a second cozy mystery together called Died in the Wool and we’re working on the third book of the same series called A Black Die Affair. I’m also waiting to hear back on a cozy I wrote on my own called The Trouble With Mary. My current wip, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with mysteries. It’s a contemporary romance I’m considering pitching to Heartsong that I’ve tentatively titled Missing Abby. I’m also tossing around an idea for a romantic suspense about a blind woman. It’s kind of fun to be writing something a little different than what I’ve been doing over the past two years. Keeps it all fresh.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I always write a huge part of myself into my characters. I think that’s because if I can’t envision myself as being one of them, I have a very hard time writing them. Take Casey Alexander, for example, the heroine in Where the Truth Lies. Casey loves detective novels and much of her life is centered around the main character. I was a lot like that growing up. Some people…ahem…even say I’m still like that. In fact, it’s not at all unusual to see me driving down the road acting out the lines from a scene I’m working on. I want to get the responses and inflections just right, and the only way I know to do that is to act them out.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

I am so very proud of Where the Truth Lies. Janelle and I wanted to create a really twisted plot with lots of red herrings and leads so that the reader was left wondering all the way through to the end. I think we accomplished that with this story. Here’s a little blurb from the back cover:

Casey Alexander refuses to believe her aunt committed suicide. Convinced a murderer is hiding out in her aunt’s sleepy hometown, she’ll do anything to uncover the truth. But as her personal investigation produces mounting evidence, the danger to Casey grows. Now she’ll be forced to trust certain residents of Pine Mills for help, including local nursery owner, Luke Kerrigan. . .the man with whom she’s falling love. . .and who may be stalking her.
Prompted by strange clues and a mysterious stranger, Casey does a little more digging. The secrets she unearths will turn lives upside down and threaten the peace in Pine Mills’ small community—especially when she discovers that the truth can sometimes be hidden in a lie.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Take the time to learn the craft before you start submitting. Rejections are hard, and they hurt! I learned so much more from entering contests and getting feedback than I ever did from a form letter rejection. If you’re going to spend your money, use it for contest entry fees instead of postage. You’ll get a much higher return.

10. How important is faith in your books?

My faith is SO important to me. It’s who I am, so letting it trickle onto the page as I write is just natural. But it’s the call to write that keeps me going. My favorite scripture, one I sign all my books with, is from Habakkuk 2:2-3. It says:

2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Forgiveness is my favorite theme, and it’s evident in all my books. I think that’s because I’m so grateful for the forgiveness God has shown to me!

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

I wrote a Scottish historical series that I absolutely love. They are all centered around Malcolm Canmore and the time of MacBeth. Maybe someday I’ll get back to them. I also wrote several westerns, a romantic suspense, and I’m currently working on a contemporary romance. Quite a wide variety, huh? None of these other books have been published, but they were all key in helping develop my skill.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Are you ready for this?

I wake up around 6:00 or 6:30. I get the kids up, feed the dogs, and get ready for work all within an hour. If I have time, I throw in a load of laundry before heading out the door.

From 8:00-4:00, I work as an Assistant Superintendent’s Secretary at a public school. I have an hour off for lunch, so I try and answer email, write blog articles, and make changes to my website during that time.

I also work part-time as a youth minister, so on Mondays and Wednesdays, I go straight to the church and start getting ready for my meetings with the pastor and with the youth. Believe it or not, both of these provide excellent fodder for character ideas. ☺

Once I get home, I usually have two or three chapters to critique. I try and do those before starting supper, unless I’m on a deadline. In that case, I work on my own stuff first. After that, I clean up in a hurry and either cook (or buy) something for the family to eat. Then it’s back to the computer for an hour or two more.

Bottom line: housekeeping doesn’t carry the same urgency it used to. ☺