Sunday, September 14, 2014

Author interview: Elizabeth Maddrey

Today I am delighted to introduce you to Elizabeth Maddrey, an author whose stories not only reflect real-life but can inspire you to change your world for the better.

Elizabeth started writing as a child and loves to read! She resides in the nation's capital (Washington, D.C.) with her husband and two children. I want to thank Liz publicly for taking the time to answer my questions for this author interview featured on my blog today.

Now here's the exciting news: Elizabeth would like to give away two FREE copies of her book to two lucky winners. She has offered to sign the paperback copy of her book Hope Deferred and mail it to winner #1 and she has agreed to allow winner #2 to choose one of her e-books (Wisdom to Know, Courage to Change, Serenity to Accept, Joint Venture, Faith Departed, or Hope Deferred). The e-book will also be free of charge and sent via a Kindle copy. The winners will be selected in a drawing by me. 


Enter the book giveaway (to win your free book) by going to the comment section and answering Liz's question at the end of her interview. You have from today (Sept. 14) until Sept. 28 to leave a comment. Please include your e-mail address so if you're one of the winners, I can contact you in order for you to receive your free book from Elizabeth!

So without further ado, read my interview with Elizabeth below where you'll find questions asked by me (in bold font) and answers written by Elizabeth (not in bold). Enjoy!


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Alexis: You’ve written a lot of books! How many have you published in total?

Elizabeth: All told, right now I have 5 full-length novels released and one novella. My 6th full-length novel is scheduled to release in December of this year.

Alexis: Did you self-publish or go the traditional route? If you went traditional, please share the story of how you got your agent and book deal. If you went indie, please explain how you moved from writing the book to publishing it and give my readers an idea of how much it cost to publish it.


Elizabeth: I kind of split the difference, honestly. I’m traditionally published, but with a small press. The major difference there is that my publisher will work with un-agented authors and so I’ve put the hunt for an agent on hold for the time being. I ended up choosing this route after about a year of agent hunting with rejection after rejection because they had concerns about the sale-ability of my stories.

Alexis: You write “Grace-Driven Fiction” as it says on your blog. Explain what that means for you as a writer and how you thought of that concept.

Elizabeth: This really ties into my desire to write about the struggles that plague the Christian life. I think sometimes we let ourselves fall into the trap of thinking that becoming a Christian means that we’re going to have smooth sailing from there on out – that we’ll be able to pray our way through any struggles and not really suffer. But real life isn’t like that. For me personally, I like to see that in the books I read – Christians who still mess up (sometimes even on purpose!) and need God’s grace day after day. So the idea of Grace-Driven Fiction came from that – my characters, especially my Christian characters, will always be people who still struggle with sin and all the ugliness that follows us around as we try to make our way and live for Christ in a fallen world.

Alexis: Tell my readers about your Remnants book series. What is the focus and message?

Elizabeth: The Remnants series (Faith Departed, Hope Deferred, and my December release Love Defined) is the story of twin sisters June and July (pronounced Julie) and their respective husbands as they try to start a family and instead of the easy process that we tend to expect, run face-first into infertility. The thirteen years my husband and I tried to start a family opened my eyes to how awful it is to be a Christian who’s infertile. More often than not, you get a pat on the back and a reminder that you need to surrender to God’s will. And while, sure, that’s a true sentiment, it’s not helpful when you’re at the bottom of the dark, angry pit infertility helps you dig. It’s my prayer that reading about June and July will help people who haven’t been through infertility understand just how deeply it can shake your faith and all your relationships, and for those who have experienced infertility, I hope it helps them understand that they’re not alone and it’s okay to struggle and wrestle with God when you’re hurting.

Alexis: Tell my readers about your Grant Us Grace novels. When and why did you start writing that line and how much time did you spend on it?

Elizabeth: The Grant Us Grace novels are all contemporary romances. Wisdom to Know is the story of Lydia and Kevin. Lydia is a pastor’s daughter who makes some bad choices (including an abortion) and has to fight her way back through the consequences of those choices to renewed faith in God. Kevin has been in love with Lydia since high school – but when he discovers her choices, he struggles to reconcile what he feels is God’s call for them to marry and his perceived betrayal.

Courage to Change is the story of Allison (a secondary character in Wisdom to Know) and Phil – two attorneys who are helping an unwed pregnant teen. Phil is still grappling with having been divorced by his wife after he found Jesus and Allison struggles with loving someone who isn’t the ideal she’d expected God to bring her.

Serenity to Accept is the story of Karin (a secondary character in Courage to Change) and Jason. Jason, an ER doctor, is struggling with guilt over his inability to save his father’s life while Karin wants nothing to do with God after the sexual abuse she suffered as a young girl. Though Jason knows better than to become romantically involved with a non-believer, he’s drawn to Karin.

My novella, Joint Venture, is sort of a prequel to the main series. It’s the story of Matt and Laura, who are a married couple already in Wisdom to Know. But I fell in love with them when I was writing about Lydia and Kevin and knew they needed a chance in the spotlight.

I wrote Wisdom to Know as a NaNoWriMo project in 2009. I worked on it for two years before finally getting it to a point where I hoped it was publishable. After contracting for it, I wrote Courage to Change, and Serenity to Accept in about six weeks each (for the first draft – then lots of editing.) I wanted the series to touch on issues that are often swept under the rug, like the fact that Christians do still choose to abort babies and that there is healing from abortion available through Christ, teen pregnancy and its prevalence even in the church, divorce, and dating non-believers – but I still wanted a good, clean romance to tie it all together.

Alexis: You say your books are about Christians who “aren’t perfect” and need God’s grace which I’d say pretty much sums up real-life for us all. Why did you decide these were concepts you needed to create in fictional stories?

Elizabeth: It mostly came out of the kind of book I like to read. I read a lot, and the books I love most are ones where I can identify with the characters and feel like, yep, that could be me. But I also like books that challenge me and leave me thinking. This isn’t to say I can’t enjoy a “simple and fun read” – but it’s not what I crave. Consequently, though, I read a lot of secular fiction because I just don’t see a ton of Christian fiction that speaks to the hurting in our pews. I wanted readers to know that they weren’t alone, and they weren’t failing because they didn’t have the perfect lives we see so often in fiction where a quick prayer suddenly makes everything clear and better. Living for Christ is hard and it’s messy and we don’t do it perfectly the first time, and I think the characters in our books should reflect that reality.

Alexis: Do you have a Bible verse that you would say is the theme of your life or most dear to your heart? If yes, please share and explain why.

Elizabeth: I’ve always loved Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It’s such a wonderful promise – God loves us, no matter what. Even when it doesn’t feel like He’s walking with you, He is. Even when you’re making bad choices and reaping the whirlwind they cause, He’s with you and He loves you.

Alexis: How does your faith in God as a Christian play into your characters and storylines?

Elizabeth: It oozes into almost every word. I want my characters and storylines to always represent what it means to live as a Christian in today’s world. It’s not always pretty or easy, but it’s always full of God’s love and grace. Without that in my own life, I would be nothing – so there’s no way to leave that out of my books.

Alexis: Do you write for a living or do you have another job with a salary and benefits? If yes, where do you work and how do you find time to write stories? What advice do you have for people who want to write full-time and make a living by their pen?

Elizabeth: Neither. I’m at home with my two amazing kids full-time. So in addition to homeschooling and writing, I spend my days driving Hot Wheels, setting up tea parties with Army men (it’s my compromise – both boys love their Army men, but I get tired of everything being a battle, so when I play, they have tea parties before they go shoot things), trying to dig out from under the incessant pile of laundry upstairs, and wondering why I bother mopping the kitchen floor. That said, regardless of how your days get occupied – my advice is really the same: If you want to write, write. You have to make time for the words to hit the screen. Maybe you give up your lunch break or your favorite TV show – if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

Alexis: Give my readers a glimpse into your personal life. Where do you and your family reside? What’s your favorite part of being at home with your husband and children? Do you want your children to grow up to be a writer like you? Why or why not?

Elizabeth: We live in the Washington D.C. suburbs in one of the many sprawling bedroom communities that cluster around the Nation’s Capital, feeding a mass of cars into and out of the city each day. My favorite part of being home with the family is hanging out together either reading or playing Xbox or a board game together….Mostly I want my kids to grow up and do what God calls them to do. If it’s writing, then they should write. If it’s fixing cars, they should fix cars. If it’s program computers, then program computers. Whatever they end up doing, I hope that we will have raised them to work hard at it, give their all, and do it all to the glory of God. I can’t ask for more than that.

Alexis: Complete this sentence: As a writer, I always _______________ because _____________________.

Elizabeth: As a writer, I always cringe when I send off a book to my editor because I’m never convinced it’s as good as it should be.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview Liz! If there’s a question you’d like my readers to answer for you, please type it here.

Elizabeth asks the readers of God is Love blog, "Who’s your favorite hero from a classic novel?"

~*~
Author bio: 
Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

Connect with Elizabeth via Social Media:

Twitter: @elizabethmaddre

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ElizabethMaddrey/posts

10 comments:

  1. My favorite is Laurie from Little Women.

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    1. She's a great choice, though I'll admit to being a Jo fan when it comes to the Little Women. :) thanks for stopping by!

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  2. My favorite is Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind. Not sure if you consider that a classic novel but I've read it umpteen times and it is a classic to me. cathyallenrn87@gmail.com

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    1. It's definitely a classic! It's great that you've read it, too, instead of just relying on the film (also a classic though) :)

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  3. I don't know that I've read any classics!!! Mostly Christian fiction or Christian suspense books! I feel so out of the loop now..lol!
    mom2makayla@hotmail.com

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    1. I'm sure you have, just maybe for a while (if nothing else, in school). I've always been partial to The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck, but probably that has a lot to do with how much it mirrors my grandfather's life.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  4. That was a hard question for me until I saw the comment on Little Women. I loved that series. I really also like Laura from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I liked her character strength and leadership. Love to win your books. I like that you write about real disappointments and encounters and failures as well. True life. sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder! There's a new biography on her coming out soon (or recently out, need to check) that I'll definitely be adding to my "read me" pile. Thanks for coming by!

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  5. The first character to come to mind when I think about classics is Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. But I guess that's because she's such a strong character. I also love Beth from Little Women. So gentle.

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  6. Today (Sept. 29), I'd like to announce the two winners!

    Cathy Allen, you are winner #1! Send an e-mail to me at this address, alexis@alexisagoring.com in order to claim your free, paperback copy of Elizabeth's book Hope Deferred!

    Sharon M. you are winner #2! Please e-mail me at alexis@alexisagoring.com with your one choice selected from Elizabeth's list of e-books (Wisdom to Know, Courage to Change, Serenity to Accept, Joint Venture, Faith Departed, or Hope Deferred) so you can claim your prize!

    Ladies, after you e-mail me, I will put you in contact with Elizabeth Maddrey so she can send your free book to each of you! Thanks for participating in my book giveaway contest! God bless you.

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