Tonight I am starting something new. Recently, my book Gunfight at Grace Gulch, was released as part of the new Heartsong Presents: Mysteries! book club (heartsongmysteries.com.)
As a member of the wonderful "spyglass" authors loop and of the larger Christian writing community, I experienced firsthand their amazing love and support. I also heard over and over "I lost someone." "I care." "I'm praying."
So I am inviting fellow authors to share their experiences of loss with me and with my readers. Tonight, I am privileged to introduce you to Elizabeth Ludwig. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, is currently available through the book club.
Q: In this blog, I have been processing the loss of my daughter to suicide. The experience of loss of universal. What significant loss have you experienced? How has it impacted your writing?
A: You’re right, Darlene, experiencing loss in one form or another is universal. I lost my son, Seth, in 1991 when he was three months old. Five years ago, my mother-in-law passed away from cancer. Both of these deaths impacted me and my faith deeply.
Writing about these experiences was a healing balm to me during those troubled days. After Seth passed away, I wrote a short article that chronicled my feelings, my heartache. I never expected those words to see the light of day but God had other things in mind. A few years ago I received an email from Houston author, Charlotte Holt. She was putting together a book all about trusting God during periods of grief. I sent her that article and though the book has yet to be published, many have read it and been helped by the testimonies of others.
I went through a similar process after the death of my mother-in-law. I dedicated an entire scene in one of my novels to a family get-together we had when she was alive. It was a way of memorializing her, I guess, of saying goodbye.
At the heart, that’s what writing is—a way of opening ourselves up and letting others get a taste of who we are and how we came to be at our place in life.
Q: What central truth did you learn through your loss?
A: More than anything else, I learned how precious time is and the importance of making the most of every minute. I had a very short time with Seth, but those memories are sweet. I am so thankful that I am able to remember the way his gaze followed me about the kitchen as I prepared his bottle, and how my husband and I laughed over his skinny feet. Though parting was difficult, I look forward with joy to the reunion God has planned for us in heaven.
Q: Do you write to escape your circumstances or to process your feelings? Or both? Please share examples.
A: As I shared above, writing can be therapeutic. Sometimes, the most intense emotions are the hardest to process. That’s why writing them down was so healing for me. It was an acknowledgement of everything I could not find the words to voice. If you’d like to read the article I wrote about Seth, click here.
Q: What books or characters resonated with you in your time of loss?
A: You know, the book that meant the most to me was a tiny thing called “Death of a Little Child,” by J. Vernon McGee. It’s funny how the simple words this author penned still resonate within me. I’ve often shared some of the truths I found in its pages with other suffering mothers. This book taught me not to overlook the importance of even the simplest work. God can do great and mighty things with the smallest of tools placed trustingly in His hands.
Q. You have recently published Where the Truth Lies. Please tell me a little about your book.
A: This was such a fun book to write, especially because so much of my writing tends toward the morose. I loved gothic romances growing up, so I guess that explains it. :-)
Don’t let me mislead you, however. Coming up with the character of Casey Alexander was just as much a personal endeavor as anything else I’ve done. Janelle Mowery, my co-author, and I spent weeks hashing out just who we wanted this character to be and what her outlook on life was to become.
Casey is a fun person, quirky in her love for detective novels, but someone I would love to hang out with. I think that’s why people who have read the book tell me they hated for the story to end. Hanging out with the characters was fun! That’s the feeling I hope to leave all of my readers