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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spotlight On Author: Elizabeth Pina

Happy Monday Everybody,

Before I get to the interview with Elizabeth Pina, I ask your further thoughts and prayers. My uncle died over the weekend. Thank you.

Now, onto the interview...

Introducing Elizabeth Pina, author of Learning To Let Go and an awesome person to boot. I met her at the Todd Stone Conference, and she's a member of the local RWA chapter I'm a member of and we have a lot of fun talking and laughing and hanging out at the meetings.

Anyway, so I emailed her some questions about her book and the craft and she was kind enough to write back with her answers and you all get to see what I asked and she said:

Elizabeth: Hi Bethany and thanks so much for inviting me to stop by.

1. What triggered you writing Learning To Let Go? Was it a personal situation or just one of those flashes of inspiration?

Elizabeth: It must have been a flash! I’d had the idea of someone with problems being inspired by music coming from a church for a long time, but where the rest of the story came from I’m not sure, it just grew. Fortunately I borrowed a lot of eyes along the way to help me cut out the ‘junk’ and shape the story.


2. How did you end up with White Rose Publishing as your publisher?

Elizabeth: A contest win! [Insert plug for contests here.] LTLG had been on the contest circuit for a year. It began in Gotcha! 2008 where it was ranked almost at the bottom, a year (and a lot of work) later it won that contest. At the same time it also won the Southern Heat contest where it was spotted by a WRP editor. They asked for a full and very quickly I had a contract in hand. Very exciting.


3. What made you decide to make the male character, Keith, a neurosurgeon? Did you do a lot of research for his character? Was it hard writing his conversion experience or did you feel it come to you as naturally as it comes across on the page?

Elizabeth: I wanted him to be a doctor, and make it plausible he’d be tired and hoping he could get someone else to change his tire. Enter neurosurgery! Which I knew absolutely nothing about. I did a lot of research, added information, found my research was out-of-date, and started over! It is fascinating and I spent hours reading books and Googling medical web sites. I tried to make him more ‘returned’ than converted. Very often people are bitter and blame God for their tragedies. I wanted Keith to trust God enough to know that when people’s lives are in the balance he should allow God to guide his actions.

4. In Inspirational there is a balance between the personal life of the characters and their faith in God. Your character, Emma, exemplifies this balance by who she is. Did you find it hard writing this kind of a balance in someone who had real, deep human emotions, but also a devout, and loyal faith in God?

Elizabeth: To be honest, Emma is based on my cousin Gill. Gill is a nurse and a more loving, caring, and cheerful person you could not wish to meet. She is also one of the most faithful people I know, despite having been through a lot of personal tragedy. Also, I had a moment in that book when Emma was not so nice. A wonderful friend of mine, Tracy Ruckman, told me to cut that out! So I did and Emma went back to being Gill.

5. Do you plan to write more Inspirational novels or are you looking to cross genres?

Elizabeth: I love writing Inspirational and have a novella under contract at White Rose (they ROCK!!) and several more WIP’s. I also have a couple of straight contemporary stories and a romantic suspense novel, but even they have some Christian elements and/or characters. I don’t want to be preachy but faith is part of who I am and it will eventually show up on the pages.

6. What has been the most rewarding part of being published (aside from having your story in print)?

Elizabeth: The knowledge I can do anything if I try hard enough, and the confidence to offer advice to others.

7. Is there a piece of advice that you found particularly helpful that you can share?

Elizabeth: Keep trying, don’t give up, learn, and listen. Not only to your inner voice but to others that really know what you need to do to get published. If I hadn’t listened to those first Gotcha! judges then I’d still be struggling. Not that all my contest judges have been as – um – encouraging, but the majority have all contributed to my success in one way or another. Hey people, if I can do it anyone can!

8. What helps you overcome writer's block?

Elizabeth: Sometimes it’s not so much block as over-crowding. I rarely work on one manuscript at a time and my head is always full of ideas (and people) and trying to hush the characters I’m NOT working on is a battle. In those rare times I need a little extra I use music or will print and read what I’ve written so far. When I’m relaxed and in tune with my characters the ideas flow!

9. For fun: What's your favorite color?

Elizabeth: Blue. No, purple. Maybe black. Maroon? Hmm. Not yellow.



10. Also for fun: What's 3 of your favorite novels?

Elizabeth: I have to put Pride and Prejudice as it was reading that (again) that got me writing in 2007. Only three? Eek! Sorry, can’t do it. I grew up reading Biggles and Agatha Christie novels, and remember desperately waiting for each release of the Left Behind series not that long ago. But lately I like anything by John Foxjohn or Bill Crider so go figure!


(11) Finally, is there anything you'd like to add that I haven't asked you?

Elizabeth: Yes I would LOVE a piece of apple pie!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I’d like to thank the Academy and…

Couldn’t resist that either. To be honest, probably not. But I would like to put in a plug for all the writer’s groups (especially RWA and ACFW) and the local and online chapters of each. Plus all of the wonderful VOLUNTEERS that hold everything together. To you I owe my success.

Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing me to share this on my blog! You're so cool :-)


Everybody Have A Marvelous Monday!




18 comments:

Elizabeth Pina said...

Hi Bethany and thanks again for taking the time to do this. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

jbrayweber said...

First, Bethany, I am sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

Now, what a great interview. Thanks for bringing Elizabeth on your blog. And thanks Elizabeth for sharing your success!

Jenn!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Great interview, Elizabeth!!! Some really good insights.

Bethany said...

Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers and thank YOU for doing the interview. I was pleased to be able to post it up and share with others what a cool person you are and what a great book you put out! :-)

Bethany said...

Jbrayweber,

Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words.

Absolutely no problem to bring Elizabeth on the blog. It was my pleasure to do so :-)

Bethany said...

AnneMarie,

She's awesome, isn't she? :-)

Merissa said...

Hi Bethany,
I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family duing this difficult time.

You ladies made this a great interview! I really enjoyed this, but Elizabeth, I too now feel the need for apple pie. There goes the diet.
Thanks alot. lol

Donnell said...

Elizabeth, I love where you got your inspiration. I also love that you're not preachy, but you show the joy within you just by being you. Also fantastic about your upcoming novella; I'd love to hear more about that, hint hint!)

Bethany, prayers for your Uncle, and I'm sorry for your loss.

Elizabeth Pina said...

Well I've had one of 'those' days at work and am only now getting to check in. It's great to see so many friends here, and I appreciate your support for Bethany too.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Elizabeth and Bethany. Great interview. And LEARNING TO LET GO is a great read! I highly recommend it.

Bethany, you and your family are in my prayers.

Anna Kathryn

Donna B said...

My prayers are with you and your family Bethany. The loss of a loved one is never easy.

On a brighter note - it was a lovely interview! (As well as a great story!)

Elizabeth Pina said...

Thanks Donna and Anna Kathryn, I appreciate your support!

Bethany I hope you're getting some rest. Take care and let me or your friends at NWHRWA know if you need anything.

Ciara Gold said...

First, condolences regarding your uncle. It's never easy losing someone you care for deeply.

Secondly, excellent interview. You asked great questions and Elizabeth gave great answers. Kudos to you both.

Bethany said...

Wow. I mean, wow. Thanks everyone for coming by!

Also, thank you everyone for your kind words and condolences about my uncle. It means so much to me. (Thank you Merissa, Donnell, Anna Kathryn, Donna B, and Ciara...I read every single comment and I appreciate the support so much).

Thank you everyone for supporting both me and Elizabeth. "Learning To Let Go" is a great read and I'm so happy I could be a part of supporting Elizabeth in this :-)

Elizabeth, I'm getting some rest, but probably not as much as I need LOL (partially my own fault, but oh well). Thank you for your concern and support :-)

Ryan Vukmanovic said...

That was an awesome interview. Bethany, sorry about your loss and again may your uncle's memory be eternal.

Bethany said...

Ryan,

Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked the interview and thank you for your support about my uncle. :-)

Tanya Hanson said...

hi Bethany, here are hugs and prayers to get you through missing your uncle.

Elizabeth, wonderful interview! Your book and future goals sound awesome. I recently sold to White Rose and agree; it's a terrific place to be.

Bethany said...

Tanya,

Thank you very much for your kind words.

Thank you also for supporting Elizabeth :-)