Greetings from Marti Pieper in sunny Seneca, South Carolina, where I am watching the hummingbirds divebomb my feeders during these final days of summer. I’m excited to introduce another CAN member to you, Elizabeth Ludwig. Just as she does through her books, she has much to share that will inspire and delight.
Welcome, Elizabeth. Please tell us about your latest book, Christmas in Galway.
It’s been two years since an accident claimed the life of Elinor Walsh’s fiancé. Prompted by her friends, Elinor heads to Galway, Ireland—a trip that should have been her honeymoon—never dreaming that the people she meets there will change her life forever.
Intriguing! What inspired you to write this book?
I was sad when I wrote this book. I’d lost three of my beloved pets in a terrible coyote attack, my dad was sick and making multiple trips to the hospital, and the pandemic was in full swing. To be honest, I didn’t feel like I even wanted to write. But then a reader emailed me and told me how much my author letter in a previous book had meant to her. She said she felt like she was reading about herself and her own insecurities. She finished by saying she’d copied my words and put them in a spot where she could read them every day and be encouraged by God’s encompassing love. That simple email from a grateful reader was enough to remind me why I’d started writing in the first place. And I knew I had another message to share—one about grief, and despair, and finding strength in God in the midst of it all.
That’s beautiful, and I know so many of us can relate. What’s your favorite scene in this book?
My favorite part takes place near the end of the book. It’s the scene where the main character, Elinor, finally realizes the weight of all the sorrow and bitterness she’s been carrying. Writing that scene was a release for me of all my own pent-up fear and grief.
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Years ago, I came across this quote from Dorothy Parker: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
Seriously though, I wish more people understood that writing is hard. Really hard. It’s also the most gratifying thing I have ever done.
Agree! Tell us about your funniest moment with a reader.
Years ago, I had a lady approach me at a book signing. For several minutes, she gushed over how much she loved my books. But as she started describing her favorite, a niggling question began working its way into my head. Why didn’t I remember anything she was talking about? Finally, I asked her the name of the book. Sure enough, it wasn’t one of mine! I didn’t have the heart to tell her because by this time, a small crowd had gathered to listen (she was quite excited and vocal). Instead, I just smiled and nodded and thanked her for taking time out of her day to encourage a writer. When I got home, I looked up the book and quickly realized how she’d made the mistake. The author’s name was also Ludwig, and her middle name was Elizabeth!
That’s a great story! Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
Years ago—I won’t say how many, but I’ll tell you it was the day I wrote “The End” on my first manuscript—a tiny little niggle of a dream took root in my head:
“Wouldn’t it be nice to see one of my books turned into a movie?”
Well, last week, I received word that this dream would finally be realized. . . sort of. See, I took part in something called a continuity series from Guideposts called the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries. Written by several different authors, this popular series resonated with readers. In fact, I received more letters from fans on the books I wrote for the series than any of my other previously published books. Several even said they thought the books should be made into a movie.
Apparently, they weren’t the only ones who thought so!
That’s so exciting! Congratulations! What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
Recently, a friend recommended In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. A bestseller, this book tells the story of the events that inspired Moby-Dick. This is certainly a departure for me. Normally, I enjoy a good Scottish historical or light-hearted romance. Still, I’m enjoying the story and find the change refreshing!
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I find scheduling time into my day for writing to be very effective. Whether it’s early in the morning before I head to the office for my full-time job as a community relations coordinator, or late at night, after everyone has gone to bed, I know exactly how many words I need to write in order to meet my deadlines. And I don’t let myself do any social media or email until that word count is met!
And that discipline has served you well. Now, tell us about your next project.
I’m currently working on a book tentatively titled A Bitter Pill for the Miracles and Mysteries of Mercy Hospital series from Guideposts. Here is a short blurb:
Faith, family, and friendship are the bedrocks of Mercy Hospital. This is never more evident than when a staff member is mugged and Anne Mabry and her friends draw together to offer help and support. But when a second attack occurs and close friend, Shirley, becomes the target, Anne springs into action and asks friends Evelyn and Joy to help her figure out who is behind the muggings, and why. Will the trio unravel the clues in time to stop anyone else from being hurt, or will one person’s envy become a bitter pill for the people of Mercy Hospital?