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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH ELIZABETH LUDWIG


This month it is my distinct pleasure to introduce my readers to Elizabeth Ludwig, one of my fellow Heartsong Presents: Mysteries! writers. Her historical romance, Love Finds You in Calico, California, releases this month. Lisa is giving away a copy of her book. Every comment on my blog for the entire month of July has a chance to win their own copy! So come by and comment often!

Elizabeth Ludwig’s first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, was released in spring of 2008 from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. This was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, Elizabeth’s first full-length historical novel, Love Finds You in Calico, California will be released from Summerside Press. Books two and three of her mystery series, Died in the Wool, and A Black Die Affair, respectively, are slated for release in 2011 from Barbour Publishing.

In 2008, Elizabeth was named the IWA Writer of the Year for her work on Where the Truth Lies. She is the owner and editor of the popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and dramatist, having performed before audiences of 1500 and more. She works fulltime, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Texas.

Darlene: I believe Calico is your first historical novel. Tell me about the unique joys and challenges of writing a book with a historical setting. What drew you to Calico, California?

Lisa: Challenges is right! Every aspect of a historical needs to be researched thoroughly (if you want it done correctly, that is). Take the book I’m in the process of writing, for example. It is set in New York in 1896. Two of my characters were walking along the harbor. Just for that simple scene, I had to know what buildings existed in New York in 1896, and what they were named back then (since many of them have changed names). I had know what the streets were made of, if gas lighting was available in that part of the city, and what kinds of ships came into the harbor. Whew! It can be exhausting, but the more time I spend researching these little details, the more drawn into the setting the reader will hopefully feel.

As for what drew me to Calico…it was purely by accident! LOL! My husband and I were on vacation. We had decided to drive across the country, and anytime we saw something we wanted to investigate, we would stop. On one of our fuel fills in California, I noticed some large letters painted across the hillside. The gas station attendant told me a little bit about the history of the ghost town, which was more than enough to spark my interest. We spent the entire day in Calico and loved it! I can’t wait to go back.

Darlene: We both loved writing mysteries for Barbour and had to find our footing again when that line closed down. Tell me a little about that journey.

Lisa: Boy, that was tough. Two weeks before Died in the Wool, my second book, was due to release, Barbour Publishing decided against putting out any more mysteries. This was the sequel to Where the Truth Lies, and I had really been looking forward to its release because of the interest my first book generated.

At the time, I had no idea what would happen to Died in the Wool, or the third book in the series, A Black Die Affair. All three of the books in the series were contracted, and the word from Barbour was that the books would be released in some form, just not as single titles. Let me tell, I was devastated. Though I tried to trust that all of this fell within God’s plan for my writing, it was a hard storm to weather.

In the meantime, I had to make some decisions as to where my writing would go. I had always enjoyed reading historicals and writing them. In fact, the first book I ever wrote was a historical. So, with my pen figuratively in hand, I sat down to draft a proposal for Summerside Press. The result was Love Finds You in Calico, California, a book I am so proud and pleased to have released.

BTW…I only just recently learned that Barbour plans to go ahead with the publication of my mysteries under a new series title called Hometown Mysteries. Died in the Wool will release in May, 2011 and A Black Die Affair will release sometime in the fall—three years after the release of Where the Truth Lies. Who ever said writing was easy?? 

Darlene: What are you currently working on?

Lisa: Currently, I’m working on a three book series proposal about an Irish immigrant who comes to America in search of the brother she thought dead. What she finds is a web of intrigue and deceit that could cost her life.

What can I say? Even my historicals have some mystery in them!

Darlene: What has been your most satisfactory experience as a writer?

Lisa: Well, I wish I could say success came immediately after I submitted my first manuscript. The truth is, I wrote for five years before I sold my first book, and I completed six full manuscripts, none of which will probably ever see the light of day.

I sold my seventh book to Barbour Publishing in 2006 (though the book did not actually release until 2008). It’s a mystery called Where the Truth Lies. I co-authored it and the two sequels with Janelle Mowery.

Now, while I look at my first sale as my greatest success in publishing, it wasn’t my most satisfactory experience in WRITING. That came when I wrote The End on my first full manuscript. What a feeling! From that moment on, I knew I had it in me to start—and finish—a book.

After that were a bunch of small successes…things like becoming a finalist in contests I entered, receiving a request for a full manuscript from an agent, and finding out one of my manuscripts had gone to a publishing board. Though none of these successes led to a contract, they came just when I was at the point of giving up, and they encouraged me to keep trying. I’ve always believed that God knew exactly where I was in this journey He’d sent me on, and He was careful to plant seeds of encouragement for me along the way.

Darlene: Julia Cameron talks about the concept of “artist dates” in her book, The Artist’s Way. What are some things you do to revitalize and reenergize your writer’s soul?

Lisa: For sure, reading is the one thing I do for myself that refreshes that urge inside me to write. Losing myself in a book, letting my imagination wander…yep. That’s a good feeling.

From time to time, I also need to let myself “take a break” from writing. It’s important for me to feel rested in order to be able to sit down and let the creative juices flow. So, unless I’m under a deadline, I give myself permission to just watch TV sometimes, or go to the movies.

Darlene: Where can readers find you on the internet?

Lisa: I’ve actually made quite a home for myself out in cyber space. Readers can find me at www.elizabethludwig.com or read about some of my current projects and interests at www.theborrowedbook.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?ref=name&id=1663260840. Stop on by! I’d love to have you visit.

Love Finds You in Calico, California: A young seamstress weaves her own story in a world run by men. After hearing news of a silver strike in Calico, California, Abigail Watts packs up her needles and thread and follows her beloved father out West. But when she’s suddenly left alone in the rough mining town, Abigail finds herself pressed into a marriage of convenience with the local livery owner, Nathan Hawk. Determined to uncover the mystery surrounding her father’s death in the mines, Abigail agrees to stay in Calico. But when the truth sets her free, she must decide whether to leave the town - and Nathan - for good.

19 comments:

Sherrinda said...

Oh it's so good to hear you say you give yourself permission to watch TV or go to the movies! I have felt guilty turning on the TV when I think I could be writing. Sometimes the muse is just not there and an escape into the tube is just what I need to spark a story.

I absolutely love the cover of your book! Beautiful!!! And the story sounds like a great read! I'd love a chance to win.

sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com

Vickie McDonough said...

Oh yeah! I'm so excited about your LFY book. Congratulations on its release!!

Karen Witemeyer said...

That is a great cover, such a rustic look to it. Perfect for the old west. Love the gun belt over the skirt!

After sharing many ACFW conference moments together, Elizabeth, it's great to hear that your perseverance is paying off. And since I adore historicals, I'm so glad you ventured into the past.

And what's not to love about a seamstress and a livery owner? VBG. It worked out well for my two characters. I bet it works out for yours as well. I'd love the chance to win and see how your two get along. :-)

Hoping to see you at ACFW again this year.

~Karen
kwitemeyer[at]hotmail[dot]com

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Elizabeth, oh, I love Calico! I've got this TBR for sure. THe cover is awesome. Keep on with the great stories!

Thanks for the visitor, Darlene. oxoxox

Janet Lee Barton said...

Sounds great, Lisa! And the cover is great! Congratulations on its release! Great interview, too!

Digging for Pearls said...

I just saw this book at Lifeway yesterday and was really intrigued by the title. Didn't have money to buy it, but thought it looked like it would be good.

digging4pearls(at)comcast(dot)net

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Hi, Sherrinda! Listen, gal. I approach writing like I do work. I don't neglect it, but neither do I work all the time! Sometimes, a gal's just gotta veg, ya know?? (but I do try to write a little extra next time I sit down at the computer) :-)

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Thanks, Vickie!

Karen, I can't even tell you how thrilled I was when I saw the mock-up for this cover. It's so beautiful, and definitely one I would pick up myself if I were in the bookstore. Sometimes, I have to remind myself it's mine!

Darlene Franklin said...

I feel guilty for wasting time during the day, but not for watching tv or going out at night. We need to regenerate. My favorite show to refresh my spirit is So You Think You Can Dance. You have to love the art of dance, however, for that to work ...

Thanks for being my guest!

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

JANET!!! Thanks so much for stopping by. Love you, gal.

Tanya and Digging for Pearls, I wish you both the best of luck in the drawing!

Susan Page Davis said...

Great interview. I can't wait to read this. Lisa, you're always so upbeat. It's great to see success coming your way, and I'm thrilled that your mysteries are going to be published at last.

Karen Witemeyer said...

Darlene,
I love So You Think You Can Dance! I love Alex this season. That man is amazing! I'll think of you next time I watch. :-)
~Karen

Darlene Franklin said...

Alex is phenomenal! Amazing. I'm always delighted to run into another SYTYCD fan.

Lynette Sowell said...

I enjoyed hearing the "story behind the story," plus learning more about Lisa. :) I'm keeping my eye out for this one in stores. :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Elizabeth, there are three reasons that LFY in Calico, California is on my Must Read List. 1) It's set in my home state. I'm a California native living in the heart of the Mother Lode. 2) Marriage of convenience stories are high on my list of favorite reads, coming in close second to mail-order bride stories. 3) Your book is part of the Summerside Press Love Finds You series. I've read several, and they are all winners.

Congrats on your writing successes.

Darlene Franklin said...

Keli, I love your reasons for wanting to read the book!

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

I love Keli's reasons, too, Darlene! LOL!

Thanks for stopping by, everybody. Good luck to you all in the drawing.

Patti Shene said...

Darlene, great interview, as always. I have enjoyed the Love Find you books I have read so far and would love to add this one to my collection.

Please enter me in the drawing!

patgonzales(at)arkvi(dot)com.

Thanks!

Merry said...

I'm so glad the sequels to Where the Truth Lies will be coming out, I will be watching for them. I'd love a chance to win your newest book.
worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com