I hope you are all having a wonderful 4th of July. First, let me apologize for the delay in this week’s post. This week has gotten away from me and I seem to be jogging a length behind my ’chores’. I would like to apologize to my guest above all others and hope that it hasn’t caused her any grief.
Without further delay, help me to welcome this week’s guest, Elaine Cantrell, author of OUT OF PLACE, HER KIND OF MAN and THE SENTENCE.
IDI – Elaine, when did you have your Eureka moment? When did you know that you were born to be a writer?
EC – Don’t laugh. I was four years old. My mother bought me a Little Golden Book about Woody Woodpecker. Er, I don’t know if anyone knows who Woody Woodpecker is. I guess I just dated myself. Anyway, I loved the book so much I decided I should write my own story using the characters in the book. I dictated it to my father who wrote it in pencil and kept it in a cedar chest with his important papers. After he died my stepmother gave it to me. It was a good story too. I know this because I remember how my father laughed as he wrote it down.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek?
EC – My current WIP doesn’t have a title yet because I’ve spent most of my time on edits for my upcoming release Never Trust a Pretty wolf which will be released by Astraea Press. But here’s the last scene I worked on. Remember; it’s only a rough draft.
She rolled over in her sleeping bag and beat her pillow into shape. Her eyes felt so heavy. The sound of a footstep on the stairs sent terror and a burst of adrenalin racing through her veins. No. It isn’t a footstep. The house is old. It creaks. That’s all it is.
The footsteps paused right outside her door. Frozen with fear, Aimee couldn’t move. She lay there and watched as the door slowly swung open. OMG! OMG! In her wildest dreams she wouldn’t have expected the dreadful apparition that confronted her.
A disembodied head illuminated by a golden orb right below its chin floated in the doorway. Aimee found her voice and screamed loud enough to raise any number of ghosts no matter where they rested. Ignoring the hot pain boring into her knee, she scrambled to her feet and ran for the window. It wasn’t that far to the ground.
No, readers, it isn’t a ghost. Only Aimee’s overactive imagination.
IDI – Some writer’s have been known to be ‘eccentric’, from keeping rotting apples in a desk drawer to only being able to write while wearing fuzzy pink slippers. Do you have any quirks or superstitions that have become as integral to good writing as plot and character?
EC – I do. I need a plastic straw to lie beside my computer so when I get stuck I can tap with it. I think better that way. And yeah, I know it’s a little weird. You’d be surprised how contagious it is, though. Several members of my family are now addicted to tapping straws.
IDI – I know I have ideas that cross over the lines of my usual genre. Do you have any such ideas wandering around and if so, what’s your outlook on genre-crossing?
EC – I’ve already crossed some genres. I never thought I’d write anything but contemporary romance, but I decided to give a paranormal a try. That book is titled Out of Place, and at the moment it doesn’t have a home. I thoroughly enjoyed writing in that genre. If I’d had any idea how super cool it is to create new worlds I’d have done it a long time ago. I let one of my students-I’m a teacher-read Out of Place. He loved it which thrilled me because he didn’t like to read.
I also wrote an inspirational novel titled The Sentence. I found this book to be more challenging to write. I had to tell a great story from a Christian worldview, and at the same time not be preachy. That book is available at http://www.astraeapress.com or at Amazon and most other major retail outlets.
IDI – In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
EC – This is funny because I believe everyone always thinks the same thing I did. I thought I’d be on someone’s best seller list a few weeks after the book released. I also spent a little time, okay a lot of time, thinking how I’d spend my royalties.
IDI – They say know the rules and then you may break them. Which ones do you find yourself breaking the most and does it work in your writing?
EC – I like to have multiple POV’s in my writing, yet the fashion is to have only the hero and heroine’s POV. I’ve argued with my publishers to let me include at least one more, and most of them have been supportive. Whiskey Creek who published Return Engagement didn’t argue with me at all about it. I’m super proud that my editor said she had little editing to do because the book was so well written. (Yeah, I know. I’m bragging. Forgive me. I just love that book so much.)
IDI – Tell us about your hobby collecting vintage Christmas ornaments. It sounds fascinating.
EC – It is fascinating. The vintage ornaments don’t look like modern ornaments. I think they’re more exuberant, more joyful than modern ornaments. My own collection dates from the late thirties to 1970, but I think the ones from the 1950’s are my favorites. The shapes please me, and so do the colors. I have two plastic Rudolphs that just scream 1950 when you see them. I also have some elves from Japan whose little faces will steal your heart.
When I was a child, my mother had one pink ornament on our tree. I just loved it, but I had no idea pink was used so extensively for Christmas ornaments until I started collecting. Pink was huge! I now have several pink ornaments in my collection.
If you’d like to see the collection on the tree, check out my Facebook page in the photos section. Look under the album Vintage Christmas Tree. That page is http://www.facebook.com/elainepcantrell
IDI – According to your website bio, you’re a GRITS girl! (Girl Raised in the South). You’re also a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, which is an international honorary sorority for women educators. As such, what would you say is the most important thing educators can do to encourage literacy in the United States?
EC – You can teach reading no matter what subject you teach. Right now I’m reading a young adult time travel novel to my history students. The book is about a girl who travels back in time to the stone age. It’s well researched and factual, but the kids don’t realize they’re learning something. They just like the story. Parents can give books as birthday and Christmas gifts and keep plenty of reading material handy. They can also let their kids see them reading. I think it’s good to make an event out of going to the library too.
IDI – Would you like to leave any links for our readers?
EC - I’d be glad to.
Blog: http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com I have two special features at my blog. The first is Beyond the Book. I give readers a glimpse into the lives of my characters after the story ended. I also do Fashionista Friday where I show some pretty clothes.
IDI – Elaine, thank you so much for appearing here with me today. Again, I’m sorry for the very late start, but now, our readers will have something to cozy up to after a beautiful day in the sun. Best of luck in all of your endeavors.
Ink Drop Interviews are conducted by Kathy Reinhart, author of MISSOURI IN A SUITCASE and the award-winning novel LILY WHITE LIES, both are available to borrow FREE through Amazon for Kindle. Can’t beat FREE! Follow the links below for FREE 5-star reads:
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The following picture is not of me, but of my beautiful daughter, Bear…