Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Ludwig. Elizabeth has written numerous mystery and suspense novels, including historicals and Amish. I think you’ll enjoy what she has to share!
Elizabeth, please tell us about your new release, Summer of Suspense.
I recently collaborated with sixteen of Christian fiction’s best-loved mystery and suspense authors to create a collection called Summer of Suspense. These are all short stories geared toward fast-paced summertime reading either at home or on the beach, and for a limited time, we are inviting readers to grab a copy at the pre-order price of just 99¢.
Nice! What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
I am one of those odd people who loves doing research! In fact, it is way too easy for me to get caught up in the research of a story and forget all about the actual writing. This story was especially difficult for me since Martha’s Vineyard is a place I have always wanted to visit. I spent hours browsing photographs and articles about the people, the land, and the history of this fascinating place.
As a fellow odd research lover, I can relate. What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
There are sixteen stories in this collection, which meant that each author had to be very disciplined with their word count. That meant that the writing in this book, more than any I’d written before, had to be very tight. I found myself writing and re-writing lines until I had the most descriptive but still concise sentence I could craft. Of course, I didn’t want to detract from the story, so this was difficult. Overall, I think it was good practice for me in honing my literary skills.
Sounds like a fun challenge! What are your favorite scenes in this book?
I am blessed to have two granddaughters about the same age as one of the characters in the story, a little girl named Lexie. Writing her scenes was especially fun for me since I pictured my granddaughters every time a word came out of Lexie’s mouth. And I won’t give anything away, but the scene near the end, when Lexie is in danger, almost gave me nightmares! Writing from this standpoint definitely lent a realism to the story that I think readers will enjoy as much as I did.
And playing with granddaughters sounds like fun research too. What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
The things I write about are the things I struggle with in my own life. Things like forgiveness, self-image, anger, and insecurity pop up time and again, because though I have been freed from their effects, they do still sometimes have the power to instill doubt. I guess that’s part of the reason I write, because I want readers to know we all share similar burdens, even if we deal with them in different ways.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
Being a writer has definitely deepened my walk with Christ. It is only through Him that I am able to withstand the stress of deadlines, the occasional unkind review, and the ongoing fear of rejections (though those have become blessedly less frequent). I have learned to lean into Christ when it comes to my writing, and to focus more on pleasing Him than I do pleasing people. Of course, this is one of those daily struggles that worms its way into the stories that I write.
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
For me, writing is a full-time job. That means that along with my position as an administrative assistant, I have two jobs. Many times, I think people have the misconception that writing is easy and authors sit around the house in their bathrobes. Let me be clear, I don’t know anyone who has this luxury, especially if they view their writing as a career.
Amen! Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
For as long as I remember, I viewed books in my head like film in a projector. I used to act out the scenes over and over in my mind looking for exactly the right angle and putting that picture on the page in a way that made it easy for the reader to see as well. For me, the absolute fulfillment of my writing dream would be to see my books make that leap from page to screen. Though I do have to say, hearing my characters speak through audiobooks was almost as good.
What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I am a voracious reader, as in, stay up into the wee hours until the words are blurry kind of reader. And it doesn’t matter what the book is about. Sometimes, I want a super-sweet, sappy romance. Other times, YA fits the bill. The last thing I read was a YA novel titled The Shadows We Know by Heart by Jennifer Parks. It’s a modern-day retelling of Tarzan, and it was so, so good.
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
As I said earlier, I work full-time as an administrative assistant. This is a very demanding position, and it requires me to stay ultra-organized and efficient. Surprisingly, this has made being creative much easier for me. When I’m on a deadline, I have a certain word count I have to write every day in order to meet my obligations. I’ve found the best way to accomplish this is to count the number of days on the calendar. Once I know exactly how many days I have to meet my deadline, I divide my total word count by that number and make sure I write at least that much every day.
A great system! What’s your favorite bookstore—and why?
I love the look and feel of books. I even love the smell of freshly printed pages. I guess that’s why my favorite bookstores are the ones owned by private individuals—the stores tucked into a tiny little shop on a quiet street. I found one such place in Denver, Colorado, called The Tattered Cover Book Store. It was many years ago, and to be honest, I have no idea if it’s even still there. But I spent hours browsing those aisles, and I still think of them when I drink from the mug I brought home with me.
I love out-of-the-way bookstores too! Tell us about your next project.
I’m so excited about a brand-new cozy mystery I have coming out called Pride and Pettiness. It’s part of the Mysteries of Lancaster County series from Guideposts. It’s a “hairy” caper about a woman who thinks someone is out to sabotage her salon and a friend who pitches in to help her track down the culprit.
I love that title and concept! Sounds like a fun story. Thank you for sharing with us, Elizabeth!
Writing for Him,