Novelist Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her historical fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels. Fields of the Fatherless just released in October 2013. For more info, visit her website.
Elaine is a contributing writer to Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson, and I Choose You, a romance Anthology. Her freelance work has appeared in both newspapers and magazines, and she blogs regularly here.
Favorite TV show?
It’s a toss-up between Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife.
What’s your idea of an ideal day?
Finishing a manuscript, then going out to dinner with my husband to celebrate! Maybe throw in a movie, if we’re feeling wealthy! LOL!
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be?
Fixing dinner! I’m not the best cook.
What has been one of your most interesting jobs?
It would probably be a volunteer job when I was a teenager. I worked in the live animal section at the Boston Museum of Science as a junior curator. A lot of it was just plain hard work but it got really fun when we loaded up the animals to take to the local PBS station for my boss to teach about the various creatures.
If someone rented a billboard for you, what would you put on it?
Jesus really IS Alive! Read His Word!
If you could have the lead role in a remake of a movie, which movie might you choose to star in?
“Places in the Heart” starring Sally Field. But I don’t think I could ever replace her in the original! She is amazing!
What is one of the scariest things you’ve ever done?
Support my son’s choice to join the military.
If you could bring one character to life from your favorite book, who would it be?
Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird”
What initially inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
I never thought I’d pursue it as a career, but my Dad inspired me to write when I was a little girl. He must have known that I had a passion for words. The career developed gradually over time as opportunities kept presenting themselves.
Name someone who supported your writing journey outside of family members.
A writer/editor/friend named Lisa Lickel was a wonderful encourager when I was a fledgling writer. She was always ready to answer my questions and refer me to resources that could help. I treasure her advice to this day.
Was there ever a time in your writing career where you wanted to seriously give up? If so, how did you find the motivation to continue?
After my daughter died of a brain tumor ten years ago, I wrote one more article for a church newspaper then threw my “pen” away. It was too difficult. I wanted nothing more of pouring myself into a story whether fiction or non-fiction. I did not have the emotional energy. It was not until four years later, right on the anniversary of my daughter’s death, when I “heard” an inaudible voice in my heart telling me I was to write a book. It was such a persistent voice that I could not deny it. That’s when I began my research for my first historical fiction novel.
What’s your favorite writing quote?
It’s not a quote specifically about writing, but it’s a quote that reflects my thoughts as an author who writes historical fiction: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” — Edmund Burke
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t be afraid of your own writing voice. God made you a unique individual so allow your personality to shine in your words.
What do you think you do best in your writing? Bragging is encouraged.
I think I am unafraid to show honest emotion in my books. I feel that if a character’s thoughts and reactions do not ring true, they will not be believable. I want characters that come to life on a written page, even if they are disagreeable!
What books have most influenced your life?
Definitely the Bible has most influenced me as a person. Historical biographies by Irving Stone have influenced my desire to bring history to life in fiction.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Although I write historical fiction, I would have to say that contemporary fiction writer, Karen Kingsbury, has influenced my writing a great deal. I’ve read over a dozen of her books and I’m amazed at how she can be so real in the situations she writes about. Her characters are believable and relatable and, by the end of her books, I always feel closer to the Lord.