Wednesday, April 26, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Elaine Littau

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing? 

I guess you could say I got started writing because I loved to
read good, clean books. When I was a little kid, learning 
to read, my mother and  
read Grace Livingston Hill books together. She’d read a 
chapter and then I would read the next. When I became a better 
reader she’d listen while I read book after book to her.

Those books told a story of faith and conflict that held my interest and caused me to think about the kind of person I wanted to become. That result from reading her books has been a goal for me in my writing.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I once heard the statement that every person has a book in them that they need to write. I put it on my bucket list before I knew what a bucket list was. When my sons were growing up I stole minutes here and there and wrote in longhand on a legal pad. (That was before everyone and their dog owned a personal computer.)

It took years to finish that first book. I was transposing what I had of the manuscript onto my first computer when one of my friends sent me an email and asked what I was doing that day. (This was before chat and Facebook.) I told her about the unfinished manuscript and she demanded to read it. It worried me to send it to her, but I did.

The next day, she wanted more. I told her there was no more. That nagging friend pushed me to finish Nan’s Journey after it had been languishing on the pages for over seven years.  I thought I was done with writing. My sons would find the copy of my ‘book’ in a drawer after I died and shrug it off as a way their mother passed her time.
Nan's Journey (Nan's Heritage Series Book 1)
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That wasn’t to be. My friend shared the book with a lot of our friends. Another friend had a relative who worked in the acquisitions department of a small publisher. The relative looked at the manuscript and the publisher took it from there.

While Nan’s Journey was going through the publishing process, my husband urged me to keep writing. Every day he asked if I wrote more on the next book. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so it caused me to develop a habit of writing, at least a little, every day.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

I have an oversized easy chair in my living room where I sit with my laptop and craft the stories. I’ve tried sitting at a desk in my official office, but it was too structured for me and the kinds of stories I write.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I really enjoy researching the history of the times of each book. In my fifth book I wrote about the twenty-mule team Borax and also about the results of Charles Finney’s life and preaching in the 1800s. Another book’s research was on the prisoner of war conditions in Vietnam and the things our soldiers endured. I want readers to enjoy the books, but I also want them to know they have learned something while being entertained.

The least favorite part about writing is not writing at all. It is building confidence that there are people who want to read these books and I should not stop because of lack of confidence.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

There are sixteen books at this writing with two still in prison on my computer waiting to be finished. The first book idea came from an episode of Gunsmoke that I had seen when I was a child. The doctor was treating a young girl who had been beaten on the back by a parent or relative. I had never been exposed to that kind of thing and the image stuck with me. I didn’t remember the rest of the story, so I decided to write an ending to it. That book took seven years to write because of my lack of confidence to actually do it.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

When Nan’s Journey came out in 2008, I had no idea what I was doing. I had watched scads of Hallmark movies where once a person became an author, they were instantly famous. A funny story about that is that I was a little nervous about going into town after my book was released.  I wondered if I’d need to wear sunglasses or if I’d be mobbed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that not a soul knew about me.

Now, I have frequent ebook  promotions where I give away copies of one of the titles I have. That helps get the books to readers who will purchase other titles in the series.  I also send out postcards to readers when a new book is out. I meet many of them when I do a book booth at craft shows.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

The book I’m working on now is “Christian Single”. It is about Internet dating from the perspective of a girl in one of the “fly-over” states. She works at a crop insurance office in a very small town.

The latest book I have out is “Cowboys and Crude Oil”. It is set in the oil patch of western Oklahoma. My husband hauls crude oil in a big tanker truck. He told me about a woman oil hauler who had a bazaar accident while doing her work. It begged to be written about. Of course I had to add in the romance element and what better way than to bring in a cowboy?
Cowboys and Crude Oil: Modern Day Cowboys (The Nashville Series Book 4)
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 Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

The other title I’m stewing about is partially written. It is about a middle-aged woman who is kidnapped. She is not brutalized, but she is held prisoner with no hope of escape. The circumstances of her abduction leave the police with little to go on in their investigation. It is called “Stolen Hope”.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Write because you enjoy it. Publish because that joy will come through and there will be people who understand your heart. Not everyone will applaud your efforts, but there will be those who do.

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Question for Kathryn: 

What is your best marketing advice?

Start early and start small. Once your book cover is finished and your book is still out with beta readers and editors, start promoting it. 

The next best thing you can do is to have a website/blog. Write on your blog at least 5 times a week, and gather up a readership. You can post first chapters, favorite quotes from the book, the cover, the synopsis, a book trailer, and much more on your website. Having a blog on your website will keep that front page fresh and interesting.

For additional ideas, you'll want to pick up this book!

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