Join us in welcoming Elizabeth Ludwig! She's giving away a copy of her newest release, TIDE AND TEMPEST. If you'd like to enter the drawing, please comment and leave your contact information.
Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of the popular Edge of Freedom series. Her literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.
SS: How long have you been writing?
Well, let’s see…the answer to that is kinda tricky. I started writing in junior high, but I didn’t start pursuing publication until 2001. It’s been a long road since then. I didn’t sell my first book until 2006 and it wasn’t published until 2008! I like to think of the fact that it took me nearly seven years to sell my first book as persistence. My husband calls it sheer stubbornness. ;-)
SS: Do you write full time? If the answer is no, what else do you do? If you are a full time author, what other jobs did you have in the past?
Eventually, my goal is to have sold enough books to write full time. For now, I’m also a full time secretary, freelance editor, speaker, wife, grandmother, and former youth minster. Yeah. I have a ways to go.
SS: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?
This question actually made me sad for a moment, because I realized that somewhere along my publishing journey, I had inflicted too many provisions on what I considered to be success. My prayer when I first started writing was simple—Lord, please help me to get published, and let my words touch someone’s heart.
Oh, how that prayer has changed over time! After my first book contract, I quickly discovered how unpredictable the publishing industry can be (an article for another time). The joy of holding my first published book disintegrated when I learned that the subsequent two books in the series would not be published as had been promised, and I added this line to my prayer—Lord, please help me to get published, and let my words touch someone’s heart, and let there be another contract.
Proving His love and faithfulness, God did provide another contract. I remember celebrating with thanksgiving the upcoming Christmas novella that would allow me to tell the story of my walk into adulthood. But then the book cover came, and I realized that readers would need a microscope to read the teeny-tiny letters of my name beneath the big, bold letters of the lead author, and I added this line to my prayer—Lord, please help me to get published, and let my words touch someone’s heart, and let there be another contract, and someday, Lord, let my name be the prominent one on the cover.
Since then, I’ve added many lines to that first simple prayer. Weights like good sales numbers, positive reviews, and contest awards encumber what was once a sincere desire. God reminded me of this during a dark period of wrestling with Him over the path I was to follow. Now, I measure success not by contracts or sales numbers, but in my level of obedience and my striving to please Him.
SS: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author?
This one’s easy. By far, my husband has been my greatest supporter. Several years ago, my husband bought me a laptop for Christmas.
Okay, you have to understand, money was REALLY tight. We had just recently made a cross-country move, we were trying to buy a house, our kids were going to soon need money for college, and I wasn’t working. I stared at that computer, tears filling my eyes, and asked him why he’d bought it.
“You’re going to need it,” he said. “When you sell your first book, you’re going to need it.”
Now, how could I disappoint him?
SS: Why suspense? Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?
To the eternal frustration of my fantastic agent (waving at Chip MacGregor)—yes, I write in other genres. LOL! No branding for me, I tell ya. I’ve written historical romance, cozy mysteries, and contemporary romance. I settled on suspense because it was the most fun, and I could incorporate it into all of my stories.
SS: How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith is SO important to me. It’s who I am, so letting it trickle onto the page as I write is just natural. But it’s the call to write that keeps me going. My favorite scripture is from Habakkuk 2:2-3. It says:
2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
At a time when I was really questioning whether or not I was called to write, God gave me these verses. I’ve clung to them ever since, and I sign all of my books with them, mainly as a reminder to myself that I’m doing what God called me to do.
SS: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?
If I couldn’t write, I believe I would edit full time. I love the process of strengthening someone else’s work.
Either that…or I’d own a shrimp boat. ;-)
SS: Tell us about your current release.
Tide and Tempest is set in and around New York City, about the time that over twelve million immigrants were entering the United States through Ellis Island. It’s the story of a young Irish girl who must come to grips with the pain of her past while dealing with her anger toward God. Like the previous two books in the Edge of Freedom series, I’ve taken a departure from the typical Historical Romance and added a strong element of suspense.
SS: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
To be honest, if everything had gone as I planned, this book would never have been written. You see, when I first proposed my idea to my publisher, I was only planning for a two book series. Later, I was asked if I could expand my idea. Of course I said yes, though at the time, I really wasn’t sure what the third book would be about. It wasn’t until I finished the first book, No Safe Harbor, that inspiration struck and I realized that everyone I’ve ever met has carried some kind of wound—either pain from a broken relationship, or grief, sometimes even loss. When I sat down to write Tide and Tempest, I wanted to reach out to those who were hurting and offer some kind of hope. To do that, I had to reach into my own past, and touch on the pain and guilt I carried after the loss of my son. The grace I experienced through that traumatic time, the healing and restoration that God fulfilled in my life—that was the inspiration behind Tide and Tempest.
SS: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
Goodness…there is so much! Let me explain it this way…
Do you remember the scene at the very end of the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman? It takes place in a church, and after a very long, very hard struggle with hurt, anger, and the desire for revenge, a young woman finally comes to terms with what it means to look to God for forgiveness and healing. There is a song in that scene called “Father, Can You Hear Me?” Every time I watch that scene and hear that song, a desire to break into praise fills me.
That’s what I want. When readers finish my book, I hope they desire to praise Him.
SS: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
I think I would have to say Tillie McGrath is my favorite. I share a common grief with her—the loss of a child. I think that’s why she resonated with me so deeply. I really hope her triumph over guilt and grief speaks to readers.
SS: Who is your least favorite character in this book? Why?
My editor taught me something a long time ago. He said even my bad guy has to have good qualities. They may be doing something that is morally wrong, but the reader has to believe that they have a reason for what they are doing, and understand why it seems right to the character. For that reason, even my least favorite characters have my sympathy. Once I gave them a motive for being bad, I really couldn’t hate them…even if they were keeping my hero and heroine apart!
SS: What are you working on now?
I’m very excited to have a Christmas novella coming out this September. It’s called “One Holy Night” and it’s part of an anthology collection called Christmas Comes to Bethlehem, Maine (Barbour Publishing, 2014). The stories all revolve around a live nativity hosted by the residents of the town. My story in particular is about a young veterinarian struggling to find her place in the community, and the handsome widower who catches her eye.
After that, I’m hoping to continue in the Historical Suspense genre. I have a couple of proposals floating around that I’m hoping will find a home. Soon. LOL!
SS: A tough question: Where do you want to be career-wise in five years? Ten years?
Career-wise, I’d love to be able to write full time (without all of the other stuff). I’d love to be settled with one publishing house and not have to worry about landing the next contract. I’d love to be speaking full time, and teaching others about writing and promoting.
And can I share one teensy-tiny little personal dream that is totally vain and probably shouldn’t even be on my list of I-hope-this-happens-one-day?
I would love to have someone point and scream and say, “Oh my gosh, there’s Elizabeth Ludwig!” And it would be great if it wasn’t my son. And we weren’t in Barnes & Noble. And he didn’t follow it by lifting up his shirt and saying, “Can you sign my chest?”
SS: Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.
Bucket list, huh? Well, I’ve never gone skydiving. And I’ve never tried shawarma (Avengers, anyone?)
SS: What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
LOL! This is just between me and you, right?
Once, I entered a hog-calling contest because I thought it would draw attention for my new book. Boy, did it.
SS: Where can readers find you on the internet?
I LOVE connecting with my readers. I wish I could visit with every single one—find out where they are in life, and what hope or encouragement (if any) they drew from reading my books. Stop by and visit with me! I post information on upcoming releases on my website at www.elizabethludwig.com.
Or check out my blog at www.theborrowedbook.blogspot.com. We do author interviews, weekly devotionals, and book giveaways. We also post book reviews and list upcoming releases from many of your favorite Christians authors. In other words, there’s something for everyone!
Lastly, if you just want to see what I’m up, search for me on Facebook. I would love to visit with you.
SS: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?
I’d like to leave you with a little encouragement if I could.
For those new writers, I’d say be prepared to work hard. Set aside time before and after your book’s release to only market that book. And leave it in God’s hands. Your success or failure was never up to you anyway! He started you on this journey, and He’ll be faithful to see you through.
For those still pursuing publication, I’d say don’t be so focused on the goal that you miss the journey. God has people He wants you to meet and lessons He wants you to learn along the way. Trust His timing. It’s always perfect.