The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Lisa Bogart is Linda St Myers! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (email@example.com)
This week Elizabeth Ludwig is in the spotlight! To win a copy of her No Safe Harbor, leave a comment on this post!
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
Hi, Suzanne! Thank you so much for having me on your blog.
I’ve just recently learned what it means to be an empty-nester. My daughter got married last summer, and my son followed suit just last month! Things are certainly different for my husband and me, but we’re looking forward to this new stage in life. Meanwhile, I do work full-time, so maybe having fewer people to care for will translate into more writing time. ☺
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I’ve sort of been all over the board on this one. My first series of books were cozy mysteries, followed by a contemporary Christmas novella, and then a historical romance. I tried to convince my agent that this latest series is a combination of everything I’ve done before, but I’m not sure he bought it. Regardless, my favorite books to read were always historical, so I think from this point forward, I’m going to stick with that, even if they do have a bit of suspense mixed in.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
Basically, I was just a kid who loved to read. I had a voracious appetite for books, and it was not unusual for my mother to catch me reading at two or three in the morning…on a school night! Since that got me into trouble, I took to reading with a small nightlight under the covers. My poor eyes! I’m surprised I can still see.
Anyway, fast forward twenty…um…thirty years, and that love of reading changed into a love of writing. I still daydream characters in my head, but now, that transfers onto paper.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Well, I wish I could say success came immediately, right 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 two sequels, Died in the Wool (which is a Carol Award Finalist this year) and Inn Plain Sight, with Janelle Mowery.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
Though I try to write during the day, the absolute best times are early in the morning before anyone else gets up, or late at night after everyone has gone to bed. Give me a cup of coffee and I’ll be productive for at least an hour or two.
My favorite place to write is perched on a stool at the bar in my kitchen. I prop that computer up on my lap and peck away until my kids, or the dogs, beg for my attention. LOL!
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
The biggest help to me was by far joining an online writers group called the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) followed by several online critique groups. It was through them that I realized how much I still had to learn regarding fiction. It was also through them that I made the important connections that led to meeting my agent and publisher.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)
Absolutely not! I had no idea how much work there was to do outside of the actual writing. Marketing, blogging, conducting interviews…whew! It certainly is not all glam, glam, glam all day long. ☺
What are your biggest distractions?
Television, email, even the phone can be unwanted distractions when I have deadlines to meet. I’ve learned to be really disciplined with my writing time, and then reward myself with the other stuff once I get my work done.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
One of the best moments in my career 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.
Now, one of the worst moments…well, if I’m honest, I guess I would have to say it was finding out the mystery line where I’d sold my first book was shutting down. 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 had generated.
At the time, I had no idea what would happen to Died in the Wool, or the third book in the series, Inn Plain Sight. 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 you, 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.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
Hearing from readers…and hearing from readers. LOL! Let me explain…
One of things I loved most about reading was being transported into another world, or time period, or experience. So when I hear from readers who say they couldn’t get my story out of their head, I just love that. In the same breath, however, getting a review that is less than glowing hurts!
What is the role and importance of an agent?
Actually, getting an agent was harder for me than getting published! I was pretty particular about who I wanted to represent me (okay…so I had two in mind and I was determined to sign with one of them) but I’d always heard that having the right agent was more important than having no agent. So I did my homework, learned what kind of work these two agents represented, and then I put myself in as many situations as I could to meet these people face to face.
How did I do that? Well, I went to classes where these people taught, I signed up for agent appointments with them at writer’s conferences, and I worked, worked, worked really hard at writing a proposal that would appeal to them. In the meantime, I signed with Barbour Publishing for a fourth book called Christmas Homecoming. Four contracts…no agent.
Finally, in 2008, I signed with Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary. He was my DREAM agent, and I can honestly say he’s been a dream to work with. Waiting for the right agent to come along was hard, but I’m so glad I did! Chip handles everything on the business side of writing for me, from negotiating my contracts, to meeting with editors and publishers, to finding out what kinds of books are selling.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Writers trying to break into the business often ask me what advice I would give. It’s simply this: if your goal is publication, great! But don’t be so focused on the goal that you forget to enjoy the journey you’re on while reaching it. There are some awesome lessons to be learned along the way, and great friends to be made…all of which you will miss if you attempt a shortcut. Trust God. His timing is always perfect.
You know what…I think that works for non-writers, too. ☺
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Fun! Okay, here goes…
Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, a devoted sister sets off on a quest to find the brother she’d thought dead.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I just finished the second book in the Edge of Freedom Series, called Dark Road Home, and am currently working on book three. Each of these books focuses on a different aspect of the struggle in Ireland, and how it translated to America. Overall, I am very excited to have been entrusted with this great project!
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
I’ve actually made quite a home for myself out in cyber space. Readers can find me at:
I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.ludwig.33?ref=tn_tnmn and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/theborrowedbook.
Stop on by! I’d love to have you visit.
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Bleaders…that’s funny! Thanks for having me, Suzanne.