|Elaine Marie Cooper, author|
I’m pleased to welcome novelist Elaine Marie Cooper to share her journey of becoming a published writer. Her latest book is Fields of the Fatherless.
Q: When did you first know you were a writer?
I’ve written stories and poems since I was a child but I suppose I understood that I might be a writer when a newspaper editor saw some of my work and she offered me an opportunity to do freelancing. Since then I’ve freelanced for another newspaper as well as magazines. I began to research for my first novel in 2007.
I still find it difficult to grasp the concept of being called a writer. Every time someone introduces me as an author, I have this uncomfortable feeling that I should be looking around the room for the real author!
Q: How long did it take from the time you started writing your first book until it was published?
Since I was working full time as a nurse when I started my research, it took over a year to get it written. Then the edits and getting it published took another year. At the time (2009), the publishing industry was in a crisis with layoffs and almost no new authors being picked up by traditional publishers. Because of the discouraging situation, I opted to self-publish. Much has changed since then including a huge number of authors choosing self-publishing. Were I starting out today, I would attend writer's conferences where you can meet with acquisitions editors and pitch your book ideas. But self-publishing through Amazon works well for many authors. The important thing if you self-publish, however, is to remember to hire a capable editor. :)
Q: What do you enjoy most about writing historical fiction?
The fact that history can be brought alive in a way that a textbook cannot. When you assign personality traits and dialogue into a story form, suddenly a character becomes a person, not just a name on a page. Suddenly, history seems amazing and real.
Q: Can you give us a brief synopsis of your latest release?
Fields of the Fatherless is historical fiction set in 1775 and is based on actual events and persons from history. Betsy Russell is an 18-year-old woman facing the unthinkable: War coming to their peaceful village of Menotomy, Massachusetts. Struggling to deal with fear, hatred and bitterness, Betsy’s emotional and spiritual journey takes unexpected paths.
Q: Fields of the Fatherless is a very serious book. What age reader did you write it for?
You’re so correct about it being very serious. I wrote it for adults and young adults. I believe it is far too intense for younger children, although several homeschooling parents recommend it for teens.
Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from your books? And can you hint at any works to come?
I want my readers to first of all be drawn into the characters in my story, to feel their fears, joys, and hopes. But I also want my readers to come away spiritually awakened in some way so they feel closer to God. Since I write historicals, I definitely want my readers to be swept up in another era so they can, hopefully, understand life long ago.
Works to come? I am taking a one-book-break from historical fiction to write about my journey with my daughter through her battle with brain cancer. She passed away ten years ago when she was only 24-years-old. What I hope to accomplish in Bethany’s Calendar is to show God’s grace and mercy in the midst of my life’s greatest trial. But I also hope that my journey with my daughter will help other families going through similar circumstances know how they can be an advocate for their loved one. And how they can survive, with God’s strength.
Q: What word of encouragement do you have for other Christian writers struggling to get published, especially when rejection letters keep coming?
I would say, "Congratulations!" You've joined the ranks of true writers! At our Word Weavers meeting last month our mentor was discussing this very issue, reminding the group that rejection is part of the business. It doesn't mean that you are no good. It means that what you are pitching is not what they need for their current program. Keep trying. Keep perfecting your writing skills. Join a good writer's group. Buy "How To" books for writers. If God has called you to write, pray for His guidance—He will open the right doors. You just need to keep knocking.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your journey, Elaine!
Novelist Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her historical fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels. Fields of the Fatherless released October 2013. Visit her website at: ElaineMarieCooper.com.
Back Cover Blurb for Fields of the Fatherless:
In the early months of 1775, war is brewing in the American colonies. Although frightened, eighteen-year-old Betsy Russell of Menotomy Village, Massachusetts, wants to be prepared in case of attack by the British troops.
Her father, prosperous farmer Jason, is the fourth generation of Russells on this land—yet their very rights as British Colonials are being stripped away one by one. Will the King of England take the Russells’ land as well?
Tensions are growing here in the countryside west of Boston and the outbreak of battle seems almost a certainty. Jason desperately wants to protect his family—his wife, children and grandchildren—and their future. Betsy makes every attempt to be prepared for the worst.
But not even the American militia could have predicted what was about to occur—right on the Russells’ doorstep. If Betsy loses everything she holds dear, are the rights of all the Colonists endangered?
(Based on a true story.)
You can purchase Fields of the Fatherless at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.