Sunday, November 24, 2013

Historical Fiction Writer Elaine Marie Cooper

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Elaine! Is there a story behind your book, Fields of the Fatherless?

When I was a young girl living in Arlington, Massachusetts, my brother and I walked by the Jason Russell House on the way to school. Like most older brothers, Bob enjoyed scaring me. As we approached the house on the corner, he’d say in his most frightening tone, “There’s blood on the floor in there, you know.”

I was a bit unnerved, but mostly I was curious. What had happened there? And why was there a sign that said it was a historical landmark? I knew there must be a story. But I didn’t learn—until I became an adult—the full depth of the tragedy that occurred there. It was a story from our nation’s history that begged to be told.

(Laughing) My brother was younger but still did things like that. Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

I’d have to say the heroine of the story, 18-year-old Betsy, touched my heart the most. Caught in a web of fear, frustration and powerlessness, she managed to break free and be strengthened by God while relying on His power in her weakness. It’s a journey many of us who have been through extreme difficulties can relate to.

What started you on your writing journey?

I think God instills a desire to write in many people, usually when they are quite young. In my case, I remember writing my first short story at the age of eleven. At that time, I never imagined that I would one day be writing historical novels!

In between age eleven and now, there were so many encouragers along my writing journey as well as opportunities to do more types of writing that I look back in amazement at how the Lord orchestrated these events to continually prompt my pen, even when I was discouraged and wanted to quit. God is the ultimate creative writer when we pause to peruse HIS works.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

It’s almost easier to list what doesn’t distract! Distractions are not all bad (family needs, working to pay the bills, time in prayer and reading God’s Word) but many distractions are without value and destructive to writing time, such as excessive time on Facebook or chatting on the phone without end. It helps to organize your time (which I’m not very good at!) and be disciplined in finding ways to decrease the distractions.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I recently read a very short book with an intriguing title called Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung. The title grabbed me since that is always how I describe my life. But did I really want to be crazy busy? I thought the book provided a few gems of insight about over-achieving tendencies and ways to find a better balance in life.

I also read Newspaper Code by Lisa J. Lickel. It’s her third book in the Buried Treasure series and I love her cozy murder mysteries filled with fun characters!

One of my favorite genres is (of course!) historical fiction and one of the finest ones that I have read in a long time is Burning Sky by Lori Benton. You will come away longing for a sequel!

If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?

It would be Michelangelo. His exquisite expressions of emotion in the characters he sculpts (such as the Pieta) are a visual example of what many an author aspires to create in words: gut-wrenching emotion.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My grandkids and their hilarious personalities! They are three-year-old triplets and you never know WHAT they’re going to dream up next, whether it’s an impromptu “jam session” on their guitars and fake drums, or wearing numerous outfits (all at the same time) or begging for me to play “Piggies” on their toes and then dissolving into laughter. They are HUG-WORTHY, for certain!

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Probably spring, especially when the perennials in my garden awaken after their long winter snooze!

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

The historical landmarks!! I credit the history in Massachusetts for fueling my interest in writing historical fiction and I continue to savor visits to historical sites throughout New England. Since I now live in the Midwest, it takes some planning, but I make the most I can of my research trips.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

I have several but the one I contemplate often is playing in the woods near my home. Even if I was by myself, I remember my imagination fueling scenarios of a make-believe life as I set up my “home” among the trees. It was the perfect “school” for a future writer of fiction.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

Forgiveness and healing are frequent themes in my fiction. I think these struggles are often the nitty gritty of our walk with the Lord: What will we do with the hurts that inevitably come our way in life? Will they destroy us or renew us?

Would you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
Proverbs 31: 8-9
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
It speaks so clearly of our obligation to not ignore the needs of the poor but to use wisdom and compassion with those in need. There are so many verses throughout Scripture about helping the poor; their sheer number speaks loudly of God’s heart for the needy.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I am still writing a memoir of my daughter’s battle with brain cancer and our journey together in the last two years of her life. I pray that this story will encourage and empower others who walk a similar painful road with a loved one. It has the working title, Bethany’s Calendar.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Elaine!  

Connect with Elaine Marie Cooper at:

Elaine Marie Cooper is giving away a copy of Fields Of The Fatherless. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


Amy Putney said...

Great interview! It's always nice to learn more about the authors behind the wonderful books we read! :) Sounds like such a fascinating read!

aeputney [at] liberty [dot] edu

Lisa Lickel said...

Aw, thanks, Elaine! I still love that story of how the idea for this book came about. All those little things stick with you, don't they? I was asked many times this weekend where do I get ideas for my books, and your story comes to mind.

Elaine Cooper said...

Yes, those historical tidbits adhere to me like velcro, Lisa!! And while big brothers think they're intimidating us, sometimes they are inspiring us. :) I can't wait for Book 4 in your BTS. Thanks so much for stopping by. :D

Elaine Cooper said...

Amy, thanks so much for stopping by! Best wishes in the book drawing. :)

Jackie McNutt said...

Thank you for your post. I am grateful for your mention of Prov:31 : 8-9 It is one I am not familiar with on a regular basis but I plan to add to my prayer time.
Also forgiveness and healing is something everyone needs a dose of everyday.
I am looking forward to reading Fields Of The Fatherless.
Thank you

Amy C said...

What a lovely interview with Elaine! Fun to learn more about an author.
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Susan P said...

I love learning about authors, thank you for sharing with us! I have three brothers who loved to scare me with all manner of things too. :)
lattebooks at hotmail dot com

sam said...

I would like to win your book. An untold story from American history waiting to be told. sharon,ca wileygren1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Elaine Cooper said...

I'm delighted that so many readers stopped by and left comments! Best wishes to everyone in the drawing. Blessings!

Elaine Cooper said...

I'm delighted that so many readers stopped by and left comments! Best wishes to everyone in the drawing. Blessings!

Library Lady said...

If I win this book I will give it to my church library.
Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
Janet E.

Anonymous said...

Hello Elaine.I loved hearing about your childhood. I love what memories I remember of when I was little. But wish I could remember more like some people. I do remember lots of love and laughter in our home. Was born into a GOD loving home and grew up with 7 siblings. So was always activity of some kind. But tottaly different than now days. I was born in 1935 and hard times for my parents. But, as our preacher said this morning, we never knew we were poor. I have really loved getting on these sites where the authors tell of our history where it is so interesting. Just wish my school days history had been so interesting. I know what you mean about brothers. I had 2 older brothers. Had a third but he was 6 years younger. I love these books about history in this time and the ones that include real life stories really adds to the story. I would love to win your book. Thanks.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Boos Mum said...

Great childhood stories. I enjoy learning about history. I currently homeschool and my son and I are getting ready to tackle the Revolutionary War. Thanks for the giveaway.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this and would love to read and review.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Linda Marie Finn said...

Awesome interview, I so love to hear from authors on their lives and on the time period they write in . Would be a blessing to win a copy to use with my kids, my two girls love to read.
Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books

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