It is my pleasure to introduce, Elaine Stock author of Always With You. Elaine and I "met" several years ago on the Internet and a friendship has developed. We lost track of one another for a period of time but are now happily reconnected.
Sit back and relax and meet Elaine through this interview.
1. What inspired you to write your first book? How did you come up with the title?
I have a funny and a too serious answer. First, as part of a writing workshop in Saratoga, NY (a horse racing Mecca), I was given a horse’s name and assigned to develop a story idea. Racehorses have long names! My horse was named Don’t-Tell-Isabelle, which became my story’s original title because so many people have kept family secrets from Isabelle. Throughout her childhood Isabelle had always heard her dad and grandmother whispering Don’t Tell Isabelle. A BTW: I don’t go to the track or gamble on horses!
Then, 9-11 happened. I felt compelled to write a story of how love and faith could conquer horror, and how we all need to love each other no matter our races or faiths.
Always With You was slowly written and re-written a few years after these two influences.
2. What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this book to life?
My greatest challenge was the researching and studying the manipulative power of evil. Aware it has always existed, painfully so, throughout day one of human life since man’s fall in the Garden, I needed to answer the why part of its coexistence with peace and love. My research took me into the minds of not only evil leaders throughout history, but also every day people that permitted the spread of evil. The why-part discovery was a fascinating concept into the human mind and the power of survival. Yet, the answers I found were not easily digestible.
3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Always With You is a story of hope and love in the face of evil. Out of loneliness and desperation, any one of us can latch onto the first seemingly good thing that comes along. I hope this story makes others think twice about their action and responsibilities to loved ones. And even greater than this premise is the theme throughout the story that God is always with each of us and, with us grasping His hand, we do not have to be defeated by evil.
4. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In addition to always being hooked on stories, whether listening to them as a child or then reading, I’ve admired movies and theatrical productions that fall into two categories: musical shows and comedy. When I was a tween, then teen, I fancied myself a playwright such as Neil Simon or Mel Brooks. But a funny thing happened on the road to writing comedy: I veered back toward a combination of suspense fused with family drama. It’s what I love to read and write, and a literary venue where I see myself staying.
5. What books have most influenced your life?
There have been many! One particular book though, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, a children’s book about a boy who ran away from home and self-learned how to survive in the mountains, plus the Biblical stories of Noah and Joseph, were/are inspirations for me to continue forward in life despite adversity.
6. Do you see writing as a career?
I’ve dreamed of writing as a career since I was ten. These days I’ve come to accept that I did not break out in published fiction in my early twenties, as I’d once hoped. God evidently had other plans for me and I’ve since stopped questioning why it took me as long as it has to see my first novel debut. That said, I’m hoping to one day sooner than later retire from my day job and be a full time writer.
7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Is there anything else to do but write? LOL. I love to take walks, kick back with a book, and watch movie musicals and dance flicks. If there’s extra play money around I also enjoy meeting friends for lunch, getting in a car with my husband to explore some quaint town and its shops, or seeing a touring Broadway show. But truthfully, these days I have very little extra time between working a day job and writing.
8. Please give us an excerpt from your book.
From Always With You, Elaine Stock, Elk Lake Publishing
The right moment had finally arrived.
I had to speak up for myself.
At dinner tonight, I’d tell them both.
A strong breeze rocked the wind chime hanging on the porch. The ceramic black bears and pinecones clanked and tinkled, the sound floating through the open kitchen window where I stood beside the copper sink. Before me, sugar maple, poplar, and oak trees, still full of orange, yellow, and red leaves swayed with each gust. They sparkled in the late afternoon sun. Nature had movement, the opposite of stagnancy. If I continued living this way, my life was destined to seep away. I had no choice but to be honest with them.
“Didn’t mean to scare you,” Dad said.
When I turned, Dad’s brows were pinched together.
My heart still raced. “The breeze is picking up. I never heard you enter the kitchen.”
Dressed in business casual tan slacks and a white shirt for an approaching evening meeting, my father appeared as he always did, prioritizing work before pleasure. “Have you seen my silver and blue tie?”
With a tease poised to roll off my tongue, I slipped his necktie out from my pants pocket. “Here you go. I found it draped across the doorknob to the cellar. You know, for a scientist you have the worst record of losing things.”
He looped the tie around his neck. “That’s a secret between us, okay?”
“You’re funny.” I stepped toward him and proceeded to tie it Windsor style. “There you go, à la James Bond.”
“You’re full of surprises. Where did you learn to do that?”
I did have a whopper of a surprise for him. He wasn’t going to like it, though. Neither would my grandmother. “Picked that little trick up online.”
His smile faded. “You sure it’s not a boy you’re keeping from me, one who taught you to master a tie?”
“Right, Dad. So many guys tie Windsor knots nowadays.” My mouth turned dry. Secrets—which I’d never kept. That family trait belonged to Dad and Grandmother. “No, Dad. No guy.” I straightened and looked him in the eye, an action Dad always remarked made for a mature adult. “I’m old enough to see who I want. You need to trust my choice.”
His moon-gray eyes narrowed. He leaned against the counter and loosened the tie I’d worked hard at fastening. “Things are changing around town. I’m concerned about you.”
“I’m fine.” I stared at the now limp tie that drooped like the last of my resolve. “I’m ready for college. Not a little girl anymore.”
“College for you begins the spring semester. You’re still living under my—”
I held up my hand to stop him. “I’ll meet you and Grandmother shortly for dinner—as planned—at Slice of Pie.” I grabbed my knapsack from the table and started for the back door.
“Where are you going?”
**For a fuller excerpt, viewers may enjoy this Goodreads preview.
Book jacket blurb:
Can she move forward without knowing her past?
Will he enjoy his present if he can’t free himself from what he left behind?
In the heart of the Adirondacks, Isabelle lives in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. Tyler belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith.
She wants it; she gets it; they marry.
And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices:
Staying could endanger her child.
Leaving could cost her life.
A former Brooklyn gal, Elaine Stock lives in the Northeast with her husband where she enjoys spring, summer, autumn, and puts up with the winter. A member of ACFW and Women’s Fiction Writers Association she also is a contributing author to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.
website/blog: Everyone's Story http://elainestock.com
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/1PfRyXX
Elaine Stock--Fusing Family Drama and Psychological Suspense.
Out now: ALWAYS WITH YOU from Elk Lake Publishing
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1PfRyXX
website/Blog: Everyone's Story http://elainestock.com
Rejoice in the good stuff. Ignore any discouragement.
Rejoice in the good stuff. Ignore any discouragement.