Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interview with Author Elizabeth Ludwig — Day 1

Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of No Safe Harbor and Dark Road Home, Books One and Two in the popular Edge of Freedom series. Her literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.

Welcome, Elizabeth Ludwig, and thanks for joining us at Novel PASTimes! We’re so happy to have this chance to learn more about you and your books.

Tell us a little bit about the storyline for your latest novel, Dark Road Home.

DARK ROAD HOME is the sequel to NO SAFE HARBOR. It begins where the first book left off, with Eoghan feeling abandoned and betrayed by his sister, and desperate to re-join his beloved Fenians. Also back is the mysterious Celt and his workings behind the scenes (expect more danger, more intrigue, and more information about his ulterior motives!).

As for Ana, the reader only got a glimpse of her history in the first book of the series. Book two reveals the truth behind her tortured past, and gives added insight into how her story ties to that of Cara and Rourke before her.

Introduce us briefly to the main characters in this book.

My hero’s name is Eoghan (pronounced “Owen”) Hamilton. He’s the lean, muscular type, stubborn, with a fiery temper to match his russet hair. Thankfully, he’s also steadfast and loyal, and he loves to tease.

Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan hopes to rejoin the Fenians, an organization pushing for change back in Ireland, by securing information against Rourke, the man his sister married. Ana Kavanagh, Cara's friend, may be his best source, and despite the attraction he feels, Eoghan determines to use the girl's sweet nature to his advantage.

Adding to the danger is a specter from Eoghan's own past, one whose thirst for vengeance knows no bounds. Eoghan must choose which road to follow--bitterness or forgiveness--and where to finally place his trust.

Ana is the opposite of Eoghan. She’s quiet and modest and prefers to remain in the background. Though she’s tiny in stature, she possesses an inner strength that immediately fascinates Eoghan. Ana’s memories of Ireland are mostly of fire and pain. As a girl she survived a blaze that left her an orphan, left her scarred, and left her angry at God.

I love that you choose to write about New York City, Ireland, and immigration. What excited your passion for these locales and this topic?

Family members on both my side and my husband’s emigrated from Europe in the early 1900’s. Some of my ancestors were from Spain. My husband’s ancestors were from Holland, Ireland, and Germany. These brave men and women risked everything in search of a better life, and they were the inspiration for this series. I hope I’ve done them proud!

As for Dark Road Home, oddly enough, the inspiration for Eoghan came from a young man I met while working in youth ministry. Though he was charismatic and intense, he was also desperate and searching. I always sensed that he was pulled in two directions—the world and the Lord. I still pray for him often.

The inspiration for Ana came from a conglomeration of sources, but mostly from a young woman very close to me who has never understood how beautiful she is, both inside and out.

Was it difficult doing the research for this novel?

I have to say, this book, and in fact the entire series, definitely required more research than anything I’ve published so far. On top of all of the historical facts I could dig up from New York in 1897, I had to research Ireland and everything that was occurring during the same time period there. Thank goodness for the Ellis Island Foundation’s website. I found a lot of information there.

Tell us about life before writing for Elizabeth Ludwig and what led you to become a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer pretty early, actually, though I didn’t get serious about it until much later. It started with a fantastic fourth grade teacher who always encouraged my love of reading. In fact, she often let me sit quietly and read to myself when everyone else was doing homework. One day, she asked if I might be interested in entering a science fiction contest for young authors because she knew that’s the genre I was into at the time. I entered, and though I didn’t win, I knew then that I wanted to write.

Now fast forward a few years to 2003. I was attending my first writer’s conference (ACFW, and it was fantastic, btw). The first day during one of the worship sessions, the speaker asked if there was anyone in the audience who wanted to commit their writing to God. I stood up and made way to the front. A wonderful lady waited for me there. She laid her hands on me and began to pray. Suddenly, I felt as though the theme for that conference, which was based on Habakkuk 2:2-3, was specifically for me. Here’s how the Scripture reads:

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision. And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. (NKJV)

These became my life verses, though it was not until a year later that I fully accepted God’s call to write, which also meant believing in the call. Also, verse three speaks on waiting. I came to realize that God was telling me I would need to be patient, and in fact, it took another three years before I sold my first book.

With writing a series of books, how do you balance the publicity and marketing for one, while going through writing and editing for another project?

To read Elizabeth's answer and the rest of her charming interview, please come back tomorrow for Day 2!

Elizabeth is giving away a copy of her latest release, Dark Road Home, to one blog reader. To be in the drawing just leave your name, e-mail address AND answer Elizabeth's question for this week. Here is her question:

Have you ever been to New York or visited Ellis Island? If so, what one thing do you remember most from your visit?


Amy C said...

I have not been to New York or Ellis Island. But I would love to. Maybe one day I will.
Campbellamyd at Gmail dot com

windycindy said...

No, I have never been to New York or Ellis Island...My paternal grandmother came over to Ellis Island on a cattle ship with her
parents, from Calais France. We have
her ship's manifest.
Many thanks, Cindi

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Me too, Amy! I was supposed to go this summer, but several weddings later...

Ah well. Maybe next year!

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Cindi, that's awesome! Do you speak French?

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

I've been to NYC several times but never Ellis Island! Why, I have no idea! My mom is from NYC and when we lived in New England we would often travel to New York and, one time, did "the city!" Radio City Music Hall and the Empire State bldg stand out in my mind. But I would LOVE to visit Ellis Island as my great grandparents emigrated from Ireland. One day maybe...

Cindy Thomson said...

Yes! I've been to Ellis Island. It's a trip I think everyone should make. Elizabeth, it's just as well you didn't go yet. The museum is not yet re-opened after Super Storm Sandy, but hopefully soon. One of my most memorable experiences was hearing all the different languages spoken around me. People visit from all over the world to walk the path their family members walked, and seeing and hearing that made me think of those who came through Ellis Island and heard all the different languages being spoken around them. The museum itself is a fabulous experience, packed full of information and exhibits and the words of those who came through.

Susan P said...

Sadly, I have never been to Ellis Island. I love researching my ancestry, though.
Great interview and I love the hero's name. :)
lattebooks at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

No, I have never visited NY. I do have a brother living in NY, but don't believe it is anywhere close to Ellis Island.
I would love to go and visit him, but haven't been able to yet. I would love to win this book of "Dark Road Home" for I have the first book in this series. Thanks for the chance.
MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Elaine, I can't believe you've never been! And your grandparents emigrated from Ireland?? Wow! I hope this story resonates with you.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Cindy, you lucky girl! Didn't I hear you also made a trip to Ireland??

For those who don't know, Cindy Thomson has her own amazing story about Ellis Island. Check out GRACE'S PICTURES (Tyndale, 2013)

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

I'm glad you like it, Susan! I was a little worried that my editor would make me change it (Eoghan is pronounced Owen). It's unusual for Americans, but quite popular in Ireland.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Hey Maxie! Good luck in the drawing. I hope you get to add book two to your collection. :-)

Cindy Thomson said...

Yes, I've been to Ireland twice and I have the pictures to prove it. ;-) I hope you all get to go. But Ellis Island is closer for most of us and I think you all should plan to go to next year!!!

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel....no, I've never been to NYC or Ellis Island.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com