Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Elizabeth Musser

March 3, 2017 Author Interview, Christian, contemporary, Elizabeth Musser, giveaway 108

A Long Highway Home Facebook Party – March 7th 11am-1pm Eastern

I am fangirling a little bit today because Elizabeth Musser is here, chatting with us!

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France.  Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years.  All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple languages. The Long Highway Home has been a bestseller in Europe.

For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams.  The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who all live way too far away in America. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. See photos from scenes in The Long Highway Home on Pinterest. Purchase The Long Highway Home on amazon.

Her newest book, The Long Highway Home, releases March 7th.

When the doctor pronounces “incurable cancer” and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier. Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss.

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession back in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along the refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time? And at what cost?

Filled with action, danger, heartache and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

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Hi Elizabeth! I’m incredibly honored to have you on the blog! Thank you so much for chatting with me!

Elizabeth: I am incredibly honored to be here. LOVE your questions!

I start all of my guests out with a fast four:

apples or oranges

Elizabeth: Love them both, but the real winner is clementines! Small, easy to peel, delicious, citrus, I look forward to their first appearance in the fall over here in France

Carrie: Ah yes! Clementines! I always forget about them…

winter or summer

Elizabeth: Summer—I’m a gal from the South, love the heat, the sun, the ocean, the long days, the simple joy of a late dinner outside sitting around the table when the sun has set and the candles are lit and the company is sweet.

Carrie: Oh I love that! I hate summer but I love your description 🙂

dogs or cats

Elizabeth: Dogs, although I love both. But our sweet mutt, Beau, taught me so much about life, love and what it means to respect and love My Master. And he even made it on the cover of one of my books =)!

Carrie: Zuzu (our dog) has taught me so much of the same. Love my sweet girl.

coffee or tea

Elizabeth: Tea! At least three cups a day—English breakfast to start the day, chai next and an herbal tea (tisane) to finish the day. I’ve never liked coffee—no offense! But give me a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate and a story to write and I’m one happy girl.

Carrie: I’m not a fan of either coffee or tea so no offense here at all 😉

Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

Elizabeth: One of my favorite things in life is to encourage another pilgrim along on her journey. My grandmother modeled this gift of finding and pointing out that nugget of gold in another’s life and helping each straying soul see how valuable and loved she is. I would like my superpower to be believing in others and pointing the way to the One true SuperPower.

Carrie: I love this. Yes!! What a sweet legacy from your grandmother and a much needed superpower in today’s world.

Who is your favorite book character from childhood?

Elizabeth: I have many, but Sara Crewe from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess tops my list. I read this riches-to-rags-to-riches story over and over as a child. I loved the character of Sara as she developed from a spoiled child into a young girl who finds hope in the midst of bleak circumstances and displays kindness to all. The twists and turns in the story inspired me as I was beginning to write stories of my own. Sara made me dream!

Carrie: That book is one of my favorites – as well as The Secret Garden by Burnett.

Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?

Elizabeth: My favorite place to write is in a tool shed in our front yard. I call it my ‘writing chalet’. When we moved into this house, I didn’t have an office. Then we discovered the tool shed. My husband and father-in-law insulated it, put in flooring etc and voila! It is my cozy space with a window that looks out on our front yard (right now the daffodils are ALMOST open and soon will be ‘tossing their heads in sprightly dance!’) In the winter I have a space heater, and I trot down to the chalet before devotions and turn it on so that a little while later, computer case and tea in hand, I can enter a warm office and start work. I’m surrounded by many, many photos of the people and places I love, the books that have inspired me from childhood, and a few spiders! 

Carrie: Oh that sounds lovely! (except maybe for the spiders haha!)

CHECK OUT PICS OF ELIZABETH’S WRITING CHALET!

In The Long Highway Home, Bobbie Blake returns to Austria to visit a refugee ministry she helped start twenty years earlier. Refugees are a much talked-about topic lately – in the news, on social media, at the office, and around the dinner table. If Hamid (the Iranian refugee whose family’s plight so moves Bobbie and her niece) could talk to my readers right now, what would he say?

Elizabeth: “Do what you can.  Offer a smile, a sack of clothes, a warm meal, a whisper of hope, a Bible.  The Lord isn’t asking you to solve the huge worldwide dilemma of refugees.  But you can do something.”

My ‘something’ was to write a story that tells a few of the refugees’ stories.  The Long Highway Home is fiction, but it is based on many, many true stories of refugees finding hope in the midst of the horror as Jesus reveals Himself to them in the most surprising ways. 

Carrie: Yes. So true. My work with refugees here in Kentucky has been one of the greatest blessings of my life and it started because God nudged me to just “do something”.

CHECK OUT REAL PHOTOS OF PLACES MENTIONED IN THE LONG HIGHWAY HOME!

Of the different characters in The Long Highway Home, who are you most like? And who made the most impact on you personally?

Elizabeth: Having been involved in missions overseas for 30 years, I certainly have some things in common with Bobbie Blake, especially the part of not always knowing where ‘home’ really is. She is braver (and a bit more stubborn) than I am, but we both owe a huge debt of gratitude to the prayer warriors back in the States who have supported us, prayed for us, believed in us and cared for us through the thick and thin of ministry.

Hamid and his young daughter, Rasa, made the most impact on me precisely because they were both based on real stories of refugees. I love Hamid, the gentle philosopher who quotes Rumi as he struggles to survive along the frozen terrain of the ‘Refugee Highway’ in Iran and follows this mysterious Isa (Jesus) whom his seven-year-old daughter Rasa has come to believe in. I love Rasa’s innocent and naïve faith in Isa. She hears stories of him from the New Testament and she believes in Him and believes that He will help her family as He helped so many in Bible times. Lord, give us the simple faith and trust of a child!

Carrie: Amen.

What do you most want readers to take away from The Long Highway Home?

Elizabeth: I call my writing ‘entertainment with a soul’. Hopefully there’s more than just a good story with an interesting plot.  I want the reader to find the soul in my book and in my characters.  In centuries gone by, religious themes were naturally incorporated into the great literature of the day, whether Shakespeare or Dickens or Hardy or James Joyce or hundreds of other writers.  My goal is not to write a ‘Christian book.’  My goal is to write the best literature I can, with real characters and themes that strike a chord in the reader’s heart and force the reader to think, to ask questions, to laugh and cry and hope.  To be entertained way down in her soul.

This applies to all of my novels, but specifically in The Long Highway Home, I hope readers will be inspired to do what they can in the midst of the complexities of today’s world. May we Christians be known for our love, not our hate. We are all on a journey ‘home’ and this journey is filled with peril and heartache, whether we’re living in suburbia USA or escaping persecution in a country at war. But our Sovereign Lord is at work in each of our lives in mysterious and marvelous ways to ultimately lead us home.

Carrie: Oh Elizabeth, you have said this so beautifully! There are tears in my eyes. Yes. This. Amen.

Again thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.

Elizabeth: The official launch date for The Long Highway Home is March 7. I’m hosting a Facebook Launch Party on my author page, and we’ll have giveaways, (including some beautiful jewelery made by the real Hamid, a former refugee from Iran who came to Christ at The Oasis, the ministry center outside Vienna which is described in the novel, and now serves refugees with his wife.) I’d love for readers to join in the fun. And I’ll be working on the release of The Wren’s Nest (the third in The Swan House series) for early in 2018.

A Long Highway Home Facebook Party – March 7th 11am-1pm Eastern

Elizabeth Musser is giving away a copy of The Long Highway Home to one of my readers (US/Europe only please). Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found on the Disclosure and Policies page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What about you? If you could commandeer a little backyard shed for your own purposes, what would you use it for?

Carrie

108 Responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Elizabeth Musser”

  1. Mikal

    What a beautiful interview!!! Thank you so much for sharing, Elizabeth. I can’t wait to get my hands on this novel. ❤

    As for what I’d use a shed for…you need to go to Pinterest and type in She Sheds. 😂😂😂 I TOTALLY would set mine up as a library/writing office…and hang a NO OTHER PEOPLE ALLOWED sign. My introverted self would be extremely pleased. 😂

  2. Beth Erin

    I’d use a little backyard shed as a mommy getaway! Nice comfy chair, cushy rug, sound proofing, heating & AC is a must, beautiful window with a view (and blinds in case they come looking for me!), and a nice sturdy lock on the door!!! Ah, I can read and snack in comfort and quiet… I’m totally and completely dreaming here but it was nice while it lasted 😉

  3. Donna B

    I would make it my reading spot without interruptions. I like to get “lost” in the book I am reading and not have to stop until the end of the story. It sounds like Elizabeth’s chalet is a great quiet spot to work and dream.

  4. Melony Teague

    A reading/writing room of course with twinkly lights and all like they have on Pinterest. Problem is, I might like it so much I might move in permanently!

  5. Rachel Dixon

    That would turn into my haven. Reading, writing, napping…Haha! Lots of pillows and blankets and a mini fridge with cold brewed coffee and red bull and a stash of skittles and starbursts.

  6. Janet Ferguson

    Just wanted to pop in and say that I loved The Swan House and the books that followed it. I lived in Atlanta awhile and my sisters still live there, so all the places were so familiar, the one in Hilton Head, too.
    Blessings

    • Elizabeth Musser

      Oh,thank you, Janet! Most all of my books have at least some scenes in Atlanta. Love my hometown! Even though The Long Highway Home takes place in Austria and Turkey and Iran and Holland and France, there are scenes in Atlanta too.

    • Carrie

      Janet, you know I love Atlanta with my adorable nephew living there (and my brother and SIL too lol)

      • Janet Ferguson

        Have you been to the Swan House? They used to serve a nice tea or luncheon. The grounds were pretty, too, but it’s been many years since I went.

        • Elizabeth Musser

          Janet, I go there every time I’m in Atlanta. I often meet book clubs there who have read my novel and are visiting the house and eating lunch at the Coach House. The Gift Shop there always carries my novels, for which I am very grateful.

  7. Patty

    I would turn a toolshed into my own personal library space . Something heated and cooled with lots of light would be wonderful.

  8. Margaret Nelson

    I’d make it into a potting shed. I have cozy spots in my house, and no kids to interrupt, so I can read there.

    Love Elizabeth’s books!

  9. Jeanne

    One of your best author interviews, Carrie! Loved every word spoken by Elizabeth Musser. I have not read her books, but that will change shortly.

  10. Arletta

    I would love a she shed. I’d use it to display some vintage/antique decor I have inherited/collected. I’d have a comfy chair and a good light in it so I could “run away” and read. I have the building – I just need me a handy person that wants to come and convert it into my dream shed.

  11. Jackie Smith

    Loved the Swan House story….am native Georgian and worked in Atlanta for many years. I am anxious to read your new book! Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Lucy Reynolds

    Mine would be a gardening\potting shed with a cozy chair to read in.

  13. Winnie Thomas

    Well, I have some nice cozy spots in my house where I can hibernate when I want to, and since all my kids are grown and gone, the house is usually pretty quiet. I think I’d turn the garden shed into a playhouse for my grandkids. My friend made one for her grandkids and it’s adorable–so inviting!

  14. Winnie Thomas

    What a lovely interview, Carrie and Elizabeth! It was nice getting to know more about you, Elizabeth. Your books sound fascinating! I’m going to put this one on my wish list!

  15. Dianne Casey

    I would use the shed as a get away from every day life. I would furnish it with comfy furniture and make it a peaceful place to read and relax.

  16. Cathy Gohlke

    I would use that little toolshed just as Elizabeth has–to write my heart out. Thank you for a wonderful interview, Carrie. I love Elizabeth’s books and her heart for our Lord. Can’t wait to read this very relevant book!

  17. Paula

    I would use the shed as a place to get away from everyone else and have peace and quiet.

  18. Kay Garrett

    We are building a new home in the Ozark Mountains. So I’d love a little retreat where when not reading that I could observe the nature – both landscape since there’s a mountain behind up and a valley in front of us – and the wildlife. I truly love being out in nature so this little retreat would give me comfort and a visual point to do that without being seen or disturbing the normal routines of nature.

  19. Pam K.

    If my little shed had several windows, I’d turn it into a craft room. I have a space in the basement but miss having natural light. I’ve read quite a few of Elizabeth’s books and always enjoy them. I’m excited to find out she’s writing a third book in the Swan House series.

  20. Elma Brooks

    Fortunately I don’t have one but if I did it would be made into my reading place.Thanks for the interview and the giveway.

  21. Brenda Murphree

    Well I would make it very comfortable. Soft easy couch, recliner, a nice lamp by each and plush carpet. Oh yes a beautiful fireplace for the winter. Then I would read the day away. Sitting awhile and laying awhile. Since it would be small I would be scared to put all my books out there because we have storms a lot and my books might get blown away with the she shed. But I would take a small TBR stack out there.

  22. Anne

    The shed would be an escape which i would use as a reading room with tea and snacks.

  23. Terrill Rosado

    Since I’m fairly pragmatic and love working in my yard and gardens, a dream would be a shed to use for potting, storing and general outdoor use. I’ve wanted a potting shelf for ages, but have yet to make that happen. A shed would be a next step up.

    I was very moved by Elizabeth Musser’s answers and The Long Highway Home’s book synopsis. Being in the midst of a WW2 novel right now with a large refugee focus (albeit Jewish,) the synopsis hit me hard emotionally.

  24. carylkane

    Wonderful interview! I would have a “Strategy Shed” similar the to the War Room. Thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  25. Rachael Merritt

    I wanted to mention that I’ve read this book, and it’s truly unique. It also has stories that touch your heart. I donated it to the library here, tho I have to be honest and admit I’m second guessing that! Lol The Christian Fiction section here is small and all the books are old. I’m hoping to change that…we shall see. Thanks for your wonderful reads. Great interview Carrie, as always! 💗

    • Rachael Merritt

      Oh, as for a shed. I’d use it for my planting tools and to start my plants! My daughter and I love when we can finally see spring and plant our one food!

    • Carrie

      thank you, my friend! Well at least it’s in the library and you can go visit it 💗

      • Rachael Merritt

        Funny thing is, I can SO see myself doing just that! They have old Phillups, Pella, Thoene, and the first by Beverly Lewis. I’m hoping they put the new ones I donated on the top of the shelf. I imagine I will be back in to check on it! Lol Terrible, I know, but the Christian fiction section needs help…so I’m going to try. The lady is suppose to let me know if no one checks out any of my donations. Boy, it was hard, but I’m trying to get people to give this genre a chance. I did my neighbor… now she borrows quite regularly! 😊

  26. Amanda Geaney

    Great interview!
    I want to read this story because of some interaction my mission team had with refugees in Bulgaria.

    If I had a little backyard shed for your own purposes, I would probably modify it for mini goats. We have 27 hens and we’ve had sheep and a pig, but never goats. I think they are adorable.

  27. JJ

    My “she-shed” would be a combination “cathouse” for the cats and a craft closet for me. Then my husband would not be able to fuss about either one of my favorite habits.

  28. Sarah Kasperek

    A quiet place to read! Coffee, tea, fuzzy blankets, comfy chair, chocolate, and a stack of big books. . .Sounds dreamy!

  29. Andrea

    What a lovely place to write! I enjoyed the pictures on Pinterest.

    If I had such a place, I would probably use it for me hobbies including reading, drawing, playing the flute, and cross stitching.

  30. Connie Saunders

    I have always wanted a potting shed. A place for my flowers pots, dirt and tools and a bench or table to work on.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

  31. Donna TURNER

    I love Elizabeth’s novels, and knowing her personally is la cerise sur le gâteau, as we say here in France.

  32. Donna TURNER

    I just love Elizabeth’s books and would love to get her newest novel!! Knowing her personally here in France is the cerise sur le gâteau as we say here.

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