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