Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sit down with Elaine Manders

Readers, today we have gems Stitches author Elaine Manders with us to tell us about her brand new release. Elaine writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters who aren’t afraid to show their love for God and each other. She lives in central Georgia with her college-going grandson and an energetic bichon poodle mix named Buffy, the depression slayer.

Linda:   How did you decide to start writing, and when did you know you wanted to pursue publication?

Elaine: I’ve had the imagination of a writer for as long as I can remember. Stories would drift in and out over the years, but it wasn’t until my mother passed away and my daughter went away to college that I had the time to think about typing out those stories. I enrolled in a two-year fiction writing course by McGraw-Hill. I joined a local writer’s group and started going to conferences. But I learned the big publishers expected you to write what they wanted. Since I wrote romance that meant steamy. It wasn’t for me, and when my grandchildren started coming along, I shelved all thoughts of publication. Then in 2012, I joined ACFW and started writing Christian romance, but by that time my health problems made me afraid to take on the responsibility of a contract. I think it was God’s timing that led me to indie publishing, and though I knew it would take a lot more effort to build a platform that way, I wouldn’t be responsible to anyone but myself and my readers. And I could write what the Lord laid on my heart.

Linda: You have a new book out. Can you tell us a bit about it, especially where you found inspiration for the story?

Elaine: That’s the most amazing part of my writing process. My pastor was preaching on the parable of the talents, and for the first time, I looked on my writing as a talent. A strong conviction reminded me I had a number of manuscripts hidden away in my closet—kind of like the man with the one talent who’d buried his talent. I asked God if he’d give me a new story, I’d give it my all. That very week I went golfing with my husband and the story, the entire series came to me as I walked those eighteen holes. The series, entitled Intrigue under Western Skies, covers four books, Pursued, Surrendered, Revealed, and Restored. Surrendered is my current release. There’s a fair amount of mystery and suspense in each book, along with the romance, and the first two books follows one man’s journey from atheism to redemption.

Linda: What sort of research was involved in preparing to write your story?

Elaine: I think the Lord made it easy for me because the series was an historical western romance. I had a whole shelf of books I’d bought years ago with the thought I might one day write a western. I read all those books and went looking for research about my setting. I knew the heroine would start a Wild West show eventually and I found this book about the history of the 101 ranch in Kansas that gave huge shows. But Kansas wasn’t on the Transcontinental Railroad and that figured into my plot, so I moved the setting to Nebraska. An Amazon search sent me to a 900 page book written by the settlers of Nebraska during the exact time of my setting. A coincidence? I don’t think so. As I read that book, the secondary characters for my series came into focus based on those actual settlers.

Linda: You write historical fiction. If you could live during your favorite era, which one would you pick and why?

Elaine: I’d choose late history, right after WWII, through the 1950s. It was a time of peace and prosperity, and small town values, but most of our modern conveniences were already here. The communication era was beginning with radio and TV. I loved the dating scene too, and I know there’s a 1950s romance lurking in the back of my mind that will spring forth someday.

Linda: You’ve written stand-alone books and are working on a series. Which do you prefer?

Elaine: Actually I’ve written a mail-order bride series and half of two other long historical series, the one I’ve described above and one I’m getting ready to launch by Valentine’s Day. My Christmas novellas will remain stand-alone, but I have one other novella I’m going to revise into a short novel and add others into a series about women in peril. So, I guess I prefer series, both those that take the same characters into different stories and series that are connected through a theme, like my mail-order bride series.

Linda: What is your process for coming up with a story? In other words, which comes first, the main character, plot line or theme?

Elaine: I don’t really know. It’s like a chicken-or-the-egg type question for me. I know a lot of writers work out a complete plot and character sketches before they even start writing. I do have a plot outline, but how it comes is hard to tell. I have a premise, a what-if question, and the whole story is there without really thinking about it. It usually plays out in my mind like a movie before I actually write it.

Linda: What can readers expect from you next?

Elaine: I’m going to release the first two books of my The Wolf Deceivers series this spring and early summer. The first book is entitled The Chieftain’s Choice and set in 1770 Scotland. The manuscript is being proof-read now and I’m working on the cover. The second book is entitled The Duke’s Dilemma and set in 1815 Regency England.

Linda: Where can they find you on the web?



  1. Congrats on the new release! Nice interview...thanks for sharing.

    1. Nice to have you visit, chappydebbie. Have a great weekend.

  2. Congratulations on your son to be released books, The Chieftain’s Choice and The Duke’s Dilemma, Elaine. They book sound intriguing. Thanks for the interview--I enjoy learning more about authors and their books. I enjoyed reading Cloaked in Love and look forward to reading more of your books. God bless.

  3. Thanks, Marilyn. Cloaked in Love is the one I intend to extend into a full novel to start a Women in Peril series. It will have 3 historical and 3 contemporary, but that won't happen until 2018. What I was describing today was my 2017 schedule.

  4. Elaine, I enjoyed your interview and I wish you success as you begin this new year.