Friday, June 26, 2009

Author Interview: Elizabeth White

Zondervan published Elizabeth White's most recent book, Tour de Force, this past May. Scoti blogged about the book here.

Elizabeth, a.k.a. Beth, agreed to let us get to know a bit more about the person behind the book by answering a few interview questions.

1. How did you get started on the Writing Road?

A love affair with the written word, I suppose. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my father's lap reading the Sunday comics aloud to him. Then my parents bought a set of encyclopedias. I would sit in the floor in front of that bookcase, reading all about exotic places in other parts of the world and people who invented and discovered things. And then, there was the SRA reading program in my elementary school. Once you fall in love with reading, how can you not start writing?

2. Who has helped you along the Writing Road?

My high school English teachers demanded excellence and gave me basic tools for self-expression. Then when I was working toward certification as an English teacher myself, my professor of Fiction Writing informed me there was a growing market for “this religious stuff you write.” In that same class, I met my critique partner, who has been a rock of discipline and encouragement and mentoring for nearly 25 years. Several different published authors have boosted me along as well: Vicki Hinze and Carolyn Haines, Terri Blackstock and Brandilyn Collins, for example. My two literary agents, Chip MacGregor and Beth Jusino have provided invaluable wisdom and protection. Every editor I've had has taught me something, and there are too many to start naming them all, because I'd forget somebody and wind up in trouble!

3. What obstacles have you had along the Writing Road?

Most of my obstacles have been self-imposed-procrastination, self-doubt, impulsiveness. But there have been a couple of major snags. Like the time Tyndale canceled a three-book contract. That was a body slam. But you know, even the blows generally turn out for good. The three books that Tyndale rejected turned into five books with Zondervan and five with Steeple Hill. I tend to be optimistic. I learn from mistakes and don't let myself stay discouraged for long.

4. What's next for you on the Writing Road?

I would love to know. I'm at a turning point right now. I'm working on a historical series set on the Gulf Coast, with elements of romance and adventure and cultural clashes. I'm not ready to talk about it yet. I'm also noodling with a couple of nonfiction ideas. One is the story of my pastor's family's journey from the hills of Tennessee to the Arizona desert, where they ran a hotel on the Miracle Mile in Tucson. The other would be about my experiences as a music teacher in an all-black inner-city high school in South Alabama. Stay tuned for news.

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