I have been looking so forward to this interview! Today on the blog, I’m talking with Elaine Stock – an author who was new to me until just recently. Elaine writes fiction “fusing family drama with psychological suspense”, and her romantic suspense novel Always With You released in January 2016 from Elk Lake Publishing. Author Marin Thomas said about the book, “Always With You is a riveting read– compelling characters and a fast-paced plot full of twists and turns!”
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 WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association), she also is a contributing author to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” Prior to her release of her debut novel Always With You, her short story “In His Own Time” won the 2014 Short Story Contest’s People’s Choice Award and was included in FamilyFiction’s The Story anthology. Also, her short story “The Forever Christmas Gift” is in the Amazon Best Seller anthology Christmas Treasures. In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging readers and writers through the power of story and hope.
Welcome Elaine! Let’s start out with our usual ‘fast four’…
Elaine: Apples! I haven’t had oranges or orange juice since I attended my first ACFW conference several years ago and put two and two together to discover why I came down with the worst migraine I ever had: oranges (and red grapes) are big no no’s for me. Besides, I love making baked apples slices with maple syrup, walnuts, and cinnamon. Mmm.
Carrie: mmmm…. that does sound good! This question always makes me drool! lol!
Elaine: M&Ms because of the chocolate … but what I really love is dried, all-natural figs.
Carrie: oh you’re one of THOSE people 😉
Carrie: As always, I feel obliged (by the dog staring at me) to give the following disclaimer: Please keep in mind that my dog Zuzu has to approve your answer for the interview to continue. Of course, not really… but I let her believe that so she feels important.
Elaine: Zuzu, I’m rubbing your tummy right now so you’re too occupied to hear this: but I’m a lover of cats, although a little more than a year ago my husband and I said a sad goodbye to Wild Cat, the last of a trio that owned us. We’re taking a little hiatus from being owned by cats (I want twin kitties next!) in hope to do work on the house such as finishing the floors. Okay, Zuzu, you can listen to this part: my husband can spend eons playing with a dog, and I can walk miles with one 🙂
Carrie: The tummy rub saved you here, Elaine! lol! Though I must say, it does look like she’s keeping an eye on you… Or perhaps just begging for another tummy rub.
Elaine: Honestly, neither. But a huge shout-out to a cup of coffee!
Carrie: My answer for the M&Ms vs Skittles question applies here as well haha!
And now for some questions that (mostly) matter:
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Elaine: For better or worse, I’d say my imagination. Of course it comes in handy for writing purposes (<g>), but it has pulled me from quite a bunch of dreary times, giving me a sense of hope. Interestingly, the most common attribute others give me is my superpower of patience.
Carrie: Imagination can be a very powerful thing! So can hope and patience 🙂
Besides the Bible, what have been some of your most cherished books over the years? And what are you currently reading?
Elaine: When it comes to fiction I read both ABA and CBA market books. One novel I keep raving about is Joy Fielding’s The First Time, a bittersweet love story about a couple on the verge of divorcing who learn to love all over again—sad, yet I couldn’t put it down. Another novel I was stirred by and whose characters I still think about is The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. Jodi Picoult’s novels have had a big impact on me—a recent one, The Storyteller was amazing. I just finished Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention Of Wings and my mouth is still hanging open with one big wow: the writing is breath-taking; the characters (based upon actual people) are ALIVE; the place, time, and mood is so real that you’ll leave current times and transport back into the early 1800s. Most of all, there is a clear Christian message that we must respect others’ races and religious beliefs and love each other as ourselves. This is also a big “author theme” of mine.
Carrie: Oh goodness, respect and love for people who think or believe differently from us are so crucial! And seem to be so absent in today’s culture! Working as I do with international adults in my own community, this is a passion of mine as well.
I am a big fan of all things “story”, as one might assume from the fact that I basically write book reports for fun 😉 Your blog is called “Everyone’s Story”, which I also love. In your opinion, why does “story” matter so much?
Elaine: Story is with us from the moment we’re born. Whether we’re sung to in lullabies, told about what our family members from generation ago were like, entertained at library story hours or lured to sleep by, stories provide a source of inspiration for the future. Story makes up the root of each one of us. Story unites us … and we have the obligation to contribute for the collective story of the community or nation or world we live in.
A good story grabs the reader or listener by the emotion. Since it’s emotions that make the human what we are and separates us from our cuddly animal companions, story has the power to ignite us with passion, drive, and spirit. In the four novels I mentioned in Question # 6 I was inspired to love, reminded to live beyond me, me, and me, and taught new ways of respecting others.
I’m so glad you like my blog! Understatement. I named it Everyone’s Story because 1) everyone does have an awesome story or two to share and that many others can relate to and 2) story unites readers and writers and those two groups are my blog’s viewing audience.
Carrie: “Story makes up the root of each one of us. Story unites us…” YES! I <heart> this answer so much!
Along those lines, what is the story behind the story– or the inspiration – for Always With You?
Elaine: Three things come to mind and they all gel together.
First, without playing the strings of the pity-party fiddle but rather talking straight up, I grew up in a very fragmented family. The way it ties into Always With You stems from my father’s side of the family. My grandfather—my father’s dad—passed away from a ruptured appendix two months before my father was born. I’ve always felt sorry for my grandmother who never married again. Married later in life (for the times) she was a poor widow without much support, raising a 5-year-old daughter (my aunt), and expecting another… my father was born 4 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Can you imagine that? But the thing was, as much as my grandmother obviously loved her husband, she refused to talk to me about him. Plus, she refused to share any family history, keeping silent about her parents, siblings, and any other relatives.
I took all these family mysteries into a writing workshop some years ago. The meeting was held in Saratoga, NY—a horse racing Mecca—though I do not participate in these events. In keeping with the theme of horse racing though, each of the workshop attendees were given copies of the daily betting sheets. Racehorses have long, elaborate names! My horse was named Don’t-Tell-Isabelle. We were assigned to write a story premise around the name. Right away I wanted to know what was kept from Isabelle, and why, and who were keeping secrets from her. Don’t-Tell-Isabelle became the novel’s original title.
Then, 9-11 struck and changed the world forever and ever. My writing changed as well. I needed to explore one of my passions from as long back as I can recall: the intolerance of hatred. Years passed, but the story wouldn’t let me go. It wasn’t until I re-wrote it several times with Christian faith elements that a publisher—Elk Lake Publishing—acquired it.
Carrie: I’m so glad that Isabelle’s story didn’t let you go! Someone needs to “hear” it!
Who was your favorite character to write in Always With You? Was there a character who surprised you at all, took off in a direction you hadn’t planned to go?
Elaine: Though I could relate—a lot—to Isabelle who as a young adult is intelligent yet naïve about the ways of the world (I too was a young bride many moons ago and had to open my eyes rather fast!), I enjoyed writing about Patrice. I’m a major seat-of-the-pants writer and will stand up in any writing-anonymous group and admit this. When I began Isabelle and Tyler’s story I didn’t plan for Patrice. She happened all by herself. I like Patrice’s fortitude and can relate to her more as my present adult self than when I was younger and more like Isabelle. Patrice had seen plenty of rough living and had to soldier through prejudice and heartache, yet she clings to God with tenacity that she won’t surrender … or, is it that Someone won’t let go of her?
Yes, there was definitely a character that surprised me by the end of the story, and that was Mack. I don’t want to throw in any spoilers, but … uh … let’s say I wasn’t expecting him [to] turn out the way he did.
Carrie: I’m always fascinated by characters who have a mind of their own and surprise their authors! 🙂 And oh, so thankful for the many times God has refused to let go of me…
Besides being entertained by a great suspense novel, what do you most want readers to take away from Always With You when they’ve finished reading it?
Elaine: I so appreciate you thinking of Always With You as a great suspense novel (thank you, thank you!!) because I want the reader to think carefully of who the real villain in the story really is … and do any one of us have the potential to become like that villain if we close our eyes to the truth?
And yet, Always With You is a love story. It’s the love story between two people from shattered families that are tangled with secrets and hurts and they have to make up their minds whether their love is strong enough to carry them through the ups and downs of life. But more so, it’s a love story of God’s love for each one of us, and how He is always with us. It is not He who abandons us!
Carrie: Those are my very favorite kind of stories… the ones that are more than a love story, more than a thriller, because they point to The Story!
Elaine, I am so honored to have had the opportunity to talk with you. New author friends are some of the best kind. Thank you. 🙂
Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Carrie, believe me, I’m the one who is honored and very touched to be hosted by you on Reading Is My SuperPower. Heartfelt thanks. I hope I can be back in the near future to share more about my next novel:
As a former psychology major I enjoy fusing together family drama and psychological suspense. This also tends to be the type of fiction that lures my reading attention. With this in mind, I’m finishing up another story about a family. Three of its members—a daughter about to turn eighteen, her mom, and her father, all need rescuing but for different reasons, and within a certain time or they will risk their lives.
Come back any time, Elaine!! Your next novel sounds fascinating!
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.
Elaine Stock has graciously agreed to give one of my readers a copy of Always With You.
US entries – choice of paperback or Kindle version
International entries – Kindle version only