Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Welcome, Elaine Cantrell

Welcome, Elaine. I'm so glad you could visit From the Pages today. I've got lots of questions to ask, so I hope it's all right if we just dive right in.

How do you juggle all of life’s other demands with your writing career?

Oh, that’s so hard! I work full time as a social studies teacher, so I have a busy agenda. I also have a family that expects dinner and clean clothes. For some time I felt almost overwhelmed, but then I realized that no one could do it all. I was killing myself tying to be superwoman. I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to eat out instead of cook on nights when I needed time to write. Sandwiches and canned soup won’t kill anyone either. I also realized that other people could do the laundry and help me with the household chores. Everyone should learn the power of delegating.

Where do you write?

I have a great little office upstairs. It used to be my son’s bedroom until he got married and moved out. It’s only a tiny room, but I love it so! I have my computer desk in there as well as a bookcase, TV and single bed. If I need a nap I can leave my computer and fall onto the bed for a snooze. I told you; the room is very small. I intended it to be my little getaway, but my husband noticed my absence downstairs and came to see what I was doing. He liked the room too. So much so that he squeezed a little desk and chair for himself into the room. It really isn’t big enough for two people, but if my feet get cold he doesn’t mind holding them to warm them up, and if he’s really in a good mood he’ll go downstairs and get me a snack when I need it.

How long does it typically take you to finish a writing project?

Forever! I write a scene and go back the next day and make corrections. Then when I finish the book I go back and edit it again. Then if it gets accepted for publication I have to do more edits. Until it’s actually in print I’m not through.

Tell us a little bit about your book please.

I’d love to! Since I’m not sure exactly when this will be on the blog I’ll tell you about my Lachesis release. I don’t have a release date yet, but it’ll be sometime in 2009. Here’s a little blurb and a short excerpt.


If Kara had it to do over she’d never go into the attic. She’d run away from that trunk screaming and shrieking because nothing-not even losing the love of her life-was as bad as what she found. Oh, and what will Ross say when he finds out? He’s been her lifeline the past few months.

Handsome dairy farmer Ross Williams has waited for Kara Cochrane since they were in the second grade, but Kara only had eyes for Brandon. Brandon’s out of the picture now, and Ross is ready to make his move. Will the contents of that trunk change his mind, or will he continue in his quest to win Kara’s heart?


Kara removed the suit and opened her closet to find a hanger, but she saw her wedding dress before she could find a hanger. Impulsively, she unzipped the plastic bag which covered the dress and ran her fingers across the heavy satin in a caress. She had so loved this dress!

She fingered the small pearls sewn into the bodice, and stuck her arm into one long, sheer, embroidered sleeve. How sad that such a beautiful dress would sit in a closet forever.

Without warning anger flooded Kara. If not for her horrible sister, she would have worn this dress only hours earlier when she married Brandon, the love of her life. How could Kelly have done it? How could she have betrayed her own flesh and blood!

With a cry of pure rage Kara grabbed the sleeve of her beautiful dress and jerked as hard as she could. The gossamer fabric parted with a ripping sound that sent Kara’s temper sky high. She started to tear at the dress, ripping off buttons and pearls and shredding those wonderful, sheer sleeves. She threw the dress to the floor and stepped on the hem to hold it down while she tried to rip the bodice from the skirt. The expensive, well sewn gown gave way so abruptly that Kara staggered and fell to the floor among the debris.

What had she done! Sanity returned with a rush, and sickening shame soon followed. Frantically she bundled the destroyed dress into the plastic bag which had covered it and dropped to the floor to search for pearls and buttons.

Finally, she zipped the bag with trembling hands. What could she do with it? She’d die before she’d let anyone see what she had done. Think! They’ll be home soon.

The attic. Good idea. She’d hide the dress in the attic. Only last month her father had installed a disappearing staircase so they could have easy access to the attic. She’d hide the dress there because staircase or no staircase nobody ever went up there.

She dragged the heavy bundle into the hallway and pulled the staircase down. Thank goodness her father had installed a light up there because it was pitch black in the attic. She had a hard time climbing the stairs while pulling the heavy dress behind her, but desperation lent strength, and she got that dress into the attic.

Any advice for an author just starting out on the writer’s journey?

Absolutely. Be true to your own vision of your story. I’ve had two different critique groups take a look at the same material and tell me totally conflicting things. I submitted a manuscript to a contest where it was critiqued by three different judges. It scored from a 98 to a 70. What I learned is that you can’t please everybody, and if you try you’ll end up with a story without heart or soul. That being said, I don’t think you should be a prima donna and think you’re too good a writer to listen to an editor. They can be very helpful.

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with us today?

I sure do. Try this and see if you don’t get so many compliments you don’t know what to do with them.

Chocolate Delight

1 cup flour
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped nuts

Soften the butter and mix all ingredients. Bake at 300 for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool.

1 8 oz cream cheese softened
1 cups powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip

Mix together and set aside.

2 small instant chocolate pudding mix
3 cups milk


Crumble the baked crust and layer the ingredients in a trifle bowl.

The question most readers want to know but never get to ask, do you ever write in your pajamas?

When I’m not working I always write in my pajamas. I seldom get dressed before lunch time. That’s the good part of being an author. Nobody can see how you look.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading the Twilight series. Some of my students in school were so intrigued by it that I went out and bought a copy to see what was so thrilling. I loved it. I found myself rooting for the underdog, Jacob, even though I think he’ll probably never win Bella’s heart.

What brings you the most joy?

My grandchildren of course. I also love a winter’s night when the moon is bright, and the tree branches are stark against the moon. It brings me joy to hear the insects chirping on a hot summer’s night. I always feel a surge of pleasure when I first see my husband too. Yes, even after 34 years.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, I do. I have one sweet brown dog and two mean cats. Our older cat adopted us. We had a family of strays who lived on the hill above our house, and softies that we are we fed them everyday. They wouldn’t let us touch them, but one day one of the kittens followed my husband back home. He tried to pet it, and it let him-probably because it was so sick. Anyway, he fell in love with it and made me take it to the vet and get it some medicine. She and the dog are jealous of each other. If my husband pets the dog, the cat comes running and gets in his lap between him and the dog. The dog is the same way.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?

Yes, there is. I blog every Friday at I’d love for you to check it out. I have excerpts, guest bloggers and guest interviews, my own take on things, and lately I’ve done a series on Victorian life. Also, if you would like to be eligible for my monthly contest you can subscribe to my newsletter which goes out once a month. Don’t worry; I won’t flood your inbox with spam. To subscribe, go to my web page at and scroll down the homepage until you come to the yahoo button. Click it to subscribe.

Elaine, thanks so much for visiting! I've enjoyed getting to know you.


Emma Lai said...

Great interview ladies! Congratulations on the upcoming release, Elaine! It sounds amazing. Be sure to let us know when you get a release date.