Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A chat with Elaine Marie Cooper

Today we welcome Elaine Marie Cooper as our spotlight author. We’re happy to share her books with you, but are also tickled that she’s the newest member of our blog team her at Pastimes! You’ll get to know her better over the next few months, but this week we’re focusing on her Deer Run trilogy.

Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of The Road to Deer Run (Finalist in Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Religious Fiction),The Promise of Deer Run (Romance Winner for 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival, Finalist in Religious Fiction for ForeWord Review Book of the Year) and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her upcoming short romance story appears in the Christmas anthology, I Choose You (Dec. 2012). She is also a contributing writer for Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson. She is a wife, mom, GiGi to triplets, and a registered nurse.

Welcome, Elaine, and congratulations on your latest release, The Legacy of Deer Run! We’d love to hear about the story and your main characters.

Thank you so much! This story takes place in 1800 in Western Massachusetts. The United States is a fledgling nation and, though the Revolutionary War has ended, there are still enemies afoot. A young worker at the armory where weapons are made is attracted to a young woman completely out of his class. She is the merchant’s daughter and she fights her own romantic feelings for the lower class laborer. In the midst of their class/romance struggle comes a plot to destroy the very means by which America defends itself. This historical romance is filled with intrigue and tension, faith and forgiveness, trial and transgression.

The Legacy of Deer Run completes the 3-book Deer Run Saga. Where did you get the beginning idea, and how did it grow into a series? Can you tell us a bit about how the three books fit together?

The first book in the saga is The Road to Deer Run, which begins in 1777 during the American Revolution. It starts with a wounded enemy soldier rescued by a colonial farmwoman who must make a life-changing decision: Should she follow her political beliefs or her Christian responsibility? By following the story of the Good Samaritan, she is not only obedient to her God, but she finds the love of her life.

The Promise of Deer Run takes place several years after the war is over and involves the now-grown younger sister of the heroine in Book 1. Sarah (the sister) becomes involved with a young veteran suffering from post -traumatic stress from the war. Their own emotional wounds keep them apart until they find healing through God’s love—and then each other.

The Legacy of Deer Run is the story of the next generation but I don’t want to spoil the plot by giving away too many details! All the books follow the same characters through the years, showing the growing pains in both the nation as well as the family.

The first book in the series is loosely based on the story of my 4th great grandfather who actually was a British redcoat during the American Revolution. He did, indeed, meet and marry a farmwoman and become an American. Ah, the romance… :-) 

The romance, indeed! And great fodder for writers. :-) Now that the weather is cooling and holidays are approaching, many of us are enjoying time-honored family traditions. How will your characters celebrate Christmas?

That is a VERY interesting question for my characters because, in Colonial Massachusetts, most citizens did not celebrate Christmas! The Puritan beliefs of many in New England labeled such holidays as “unscriptural.” Undaunted, I managed to carefully work in Christmas scenes in both Promise and Legacy! It was a fun challenge, and I think, added some touching moments to each novel.

Your website includes information on searching family ancestry and the note that you never know what you might find once you start digging. Can you share any surprises you’ve learned along the way?

Yes, I think one of the biggest surprises was finding out that my ancestor, who was formerly a British redcoat, actually ended up working in the Springfield Armory where weapons were made to defend the United States from foreign nations, including Great Britain! The way I discovered this was through a work record from the 1820’s where I actually got to view his signature! I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to see his handwriting. It still tugs at my heart.

You grew up in Massachusetts, but currently live in the Midwest. Was it difficult to write about an area that you’re not near, or do you know it so well the writing  and descriptions came naturally?

Visitors, come back tomorrow for Elaine’s answer to this and other questions.

In the meantime, you can also answer Elaine’s question for your chance to win a copy of The Legacy of Deer Run (paperback if you live in the US, electronic if you’re beyond the States). Include your name and email so we can notify you if you’re the lucky winner! Here’s the question: 

What are two elements in a historical novel that you always look for in order to classify a book as one of your favorites?

What a great question! We look forward to reading everyone's answers, and will see you back here tomorrow!


Carla Olson Gade said...

Great interview! I love that Elaine learned more about her ancestors while researching the series, especially the bit at the armory.
Blesskngs to this sweet lady!

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

Thank you so much, Carla! It was definitely a surprising find at the Armory! That's one reason I love research—you never know what treasures you will unearth. :) Thanks for commenting.

Jasmine A. said...

I really enjoyed the interview!
I was surprised to find out that one of my French Huguenot ancestors (they fled from France to America) were actually involved in the Revolutionary War on the side of the Patriots and one of them even signed an important and dangerous document at that time, 2 of the churches he founded in the 1700's are still standing and are active.

What are two elements in a historical novel that you always look for in order to classify a book as one of your favorites?
The first is historical accuracy and the second is simply the story.
Jasmine A.

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

Love your input, Jasmine, and I'm so glad that, what is important to you as a reader, is also important to me as a writer. Getting those historical details correct is SO important. And, of course, without a good story, who will hang around to read the facts? Great input! And what fascinating ancestry you have! Great history! Thank you for sharing and commenting.