I always love chatting with today’s guest, and I’m excited to welcome her to the blog today!
Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has won the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award in fiction. She has also penned the novella And You Came Along plus several short-stories. Her novels fuse romance, family drama and faith in a clean fiction style. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and contributes to the international “Happy Sis Magazine” and “InD’tale Magazine.” Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.
Her new novel, Her Good Girl, released January 22nd!
Sometimes digging deep frees you to bloom.
Sadie Tremont’s will to survive is killing her. Almost 18, she’s battled one mysterious illness after another. Tara-Lynn, her mom, insists she’s the only one with the ultimate cure. Sadie can’t depend on her dad to help when his only interest is underground caving. Her grandmother too easily counts on God to help, but Sadie has stopped waiting for miracles. Callie, a café owner and new friend, might help but can she be trusted?
Then there’s Sky, Sadie’s new boyfriend who offers a sliver of joy, peace, and self-respect. When he schemes that the only way for Sadie to be happy is to escape with him from her native West Virginia hills by killing Tara-Lynn, she’s trapped.
She can’t partner with Sky to hurt the mom who has hurt her for years . . . or can she?
When tragedy strikes and threatens Sadie’s dad’s life and the shaky ground the Tremont family stands on, will they pull together or give in to the weakened earth beneath their feet?
Hi, my friend! Welcome back to the blog!
Elaine: Carrie, heartfelt thanks for hosting me today!!
Elaine: A tie between a huge chewy moist chocolate chip cookie or a stack of Rainbow Cookies.
Carrie: Yummmmmm!!! I’d take either one 😀
Elaine: Another tie: peach roses and sunflowers. Both make me smile.
Carrie: Peach roses make me smile too 🙂
Elaine: Love them all (without the commercialism aspect), but since July 4th is also my wedding anniversary, I do enjoy that one with a different slant!
Carrie: aww how fun!
Elaine: So many, especially show tunes.
Carrie: that totally surprises me – i love it!
Q: When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Elaine: Since I write fiction with the Christian reader in mind, I tend to head immediately toward the Christian Fiction section. Sadly, with that area shrinking seemingly by the day, I usually then comb the General Fiction, New Fiction, YA Fiction, Bargain Books, and then Biography sections.
Carrie: Isn’t it sad how the Christian fiction section in most bookstores is just abysmal lately :-/
Q: If I asked your characters to describe you as an author, what would they say?
Elaine: I believe they would unanimously vote me off the island for making them sweat out the toughest, emotional situations. They’d also gripe that I make them think hard and long about difficulties and how to resolve problems. But my two cents as the author: it’s their own fault for getting themselves into that situation to begin with. They need to deal with their conscience, with their heart, and examine how they interact with each other to make a needed change for everyone (well, most everyone) to come out of a mess with a smile on his or her face.
Carrie: “I believe they would unanimously vote me off the island” – hahaha! that’s awesome.
Q: In Her Good Girl, you explore the theme of mental illness and its effect on a family. Why do you think mental illness is still pretty taboo to talk about in our culture?
Elaine: This is such a great question, Carrie, and I’ve thought about it for days before sitting before my keyboard. From my studies and observations, mental illness—or coping with any emotional difficulty—is still seen as a weakness, a fault. I think that’s a shame. If one has diabetes or a chronic digestive issue or even a broken leg, one would need and seek treatment. Although quite a few people I’ve met over the past handful of years are sharing with me that they are combating depression and other problems by seeing a therapist/taking meds, this is still an exception.
Perhaps it’s a “survival of the fittest”? I can best illustrate this on a personal basis: my own mother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic but not until I was 18, which made her 37 at the time (she has since passed). However, looking back, she definitely showed many symptoms of this tragic disorder ever since I can remember. When I first leaned of her official disorder and began sharing this as a means of needing and wanting to reach out to others (I admit, back then, for my own comfort), what I received instead was isolation and rejection. Was this too freaky for them to handle? Did they believe I was going to start banging my head against the wall and rip my hair out (my mother did NOT do this, nor do I believe this is a classic symptom of the disorder)? Did they think they would become seen as the weird one by association? Face it: people stereotype, even on an unconscious basis. I think, sometimes it’s “easier” for people to see and tend to bruises, blood, rapid pulses and assorted injuries rather than to relate to an unseen but very real emotional—as in, impacting the mind and subsequently the rest of the body—problem.
I hope it’s changing. I think it is. And I for one credit the pharmaceutical companies for developing more tolerable medications… though I sure wish the prices could come down by heaps!!
Footnote: My newest release, Her Good Girl, is not autobiographical.
Carrie: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – “I think, sometimes it’s “easier” for people to see and tend to bruises, blood, rapid pulses and assorted injuries rather than to relate to an unseen but very real emotional—as in, impacting the mind and subsequently the rest of the body—problem.” We so often prefer the known to the unknown, what we can understand to what is uncertain. I think the more people continue to take the risk and share their own personal stories, the more we as a culture will begin to be more comfortable with the topic as a whole. (And … on my soapbox for minute … it needs to start with the Church!)
Q: Sadie Tremont is in a pretty desperate place. If you had the chance to sit down with her, friend to friend, what would you say to her?
Elaine: Sadie, it’s okay to feel these things, to hurt. You’re a good person but don’t deserve bad things to happen to you. No one does. What you’re experiencing is not the norm. And the good thing is that we can do something about it… and you don’t have to do it alone. Better yet, you don’t have to wait until a future time to change things. Let’s get you help right now.
Q: What role does joy play in surviving the darkest places of life?
Elaine: This is a tricky answer because when you believe you’re stuck in the darkest of places with absolutely no hope of a way out, it’s so difficult to see the light. I can’t help but add my faith beliefs that it’s not until one reaches for God’s joy (that He readily gives) that a glimpse of light can be seen, enough to lead toward a much brighter place. Not to say that life will then become problem free (oh, how I wish), but it makes for an easier heartbeat.
Carrie: “it makes for an easier heartbeat” – oh i love that. Beautifully expressed!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Her Good Girl?
Elaine: Expanding on my reply to the last question: there is hope for troubled families that are tangled in the mire of problems. In the novel, I’ve tried to explore a literal dark place—caves below the earth—and seeing the physical as well as the symbolic light when least expected and to contrast this to what’s happening above ground to the others. I’ve also tried to illustrate this with questionable relationships, sour ones that turn positive and good ones that turn negative. Good will always prevail.
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.
Elaine: I’m working on a few writing projects, one a romance series and the other a time-slip family-type drama. As to which comes first, I’ll have to see what occurs in the very next few weeks 😉
Carrie: oooo I’m excited about both!
Elaine Stock is offering a Kindle version of Her Good Girl to one of my readers! (Open internationally, except where prohibited by law. Winner must be able to accept gifted Kindle books from the US.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you about Elaine or her new book?