Thursday, January 28, 2016

Introducing Elaine Stock and her debut novel: Always With You

I’m excited to be sharing the platform with Elaine Stock today. Many of the ICFW gang are good friends with Elaine and there will be a few others who know of her blog: “Everyone’s Story”. I first met Elaine in early 2013 as I started out on sharing Angelguard to the world. Elaine was kind enough to invite me over to her place at “Everyone’s Story”. Elaine is like most of us here: a lover of story and writing.

Elaine is also passionate about supporting authors at all stages of the journey and loves promoting “new voices” from all genres. She is a delightful host who spends a lot of time on each of her guest’s posts and actively promotes them over the course of the following week. Angelguard has found its way into a number of Elaine’s readers as a result of her diligence.

Enough of me, please give a hearty welcome to Elaine.

In a few sentences share a little about yourself

I’m a former Brooklyn, NY gal who has been living in rural upstate NY for more years now than my former city days. My husband and I call a 1850s railroad station (that we long ago fixed up) as part home and part piano restoration shop. I work too many hours in the dreaded-day-job but manage to squeeze in as many hours as possible on my writing, which keeps me glued together aside from my faith and friends.

Winter in Elaine's neck of the woods
Now tell us a little about your writing journey. What kind of stories do you write? How many manuscripts have you written to get to this point of being published?

I’ve been writing since my childhood days, although I didn’t take pursuing publication seriously until the loss of my mother when I was in my 20s. My mother loved reading and dabbled in poetry, but because of her mental illness never did anything with her talent and interests. Her death was indeed a wakeup call for me.

I started off writing romances because everyone at the time told me it was “easy” to break into. Not! I give romance writers a lot of credit! What I do write is contemporary fiction with a slant toward suspense and love-story elements. To some readers, my stories may at first appear a bit on the darker side because I enjoy exploring the hurting human psyche/spirit but then, with the help and grace of God, it’s truly possible that everyone has a chance for hope of better days.

Honestly, I’ve stopped counting the number of manuscripts that have helped lead me to the point where I am today. Several times, I’ve gone back and forth between stories. For instance, my current release of Always With You has taken many different forms before concluding in its current published form—it’s a story that would not let go of me.

Perhaps outline the process you went through to get an agent.

LOL—I think I should win some sort of prize for the number of queries I’ve sent out to agents through the years!

My agent is the extraordinary Linda S. Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency. One day she offered a pitch-contest on her blog in helping writers prepare for pitching to agents and editors at conferences. My knee-jerk reaction (and I admit to having bad ones!) was not to enter the contest … woe is me … I’ve entered so many contests but never got anywhere. At the last second I did enter. I pitched on what’s now my WIP, which Linda loved and asked to see it. I told her honestly that it wasn’t completed, but did have another one if she’d like to see it. She was! And the full manuscript! I sent her Always With You (which subsequently has gone through additional editing). Linda read it over 1 wonderful weekend and offered to take me on as a client.

Moral of the story: don’t ever give up your dreams and desires, and learn how to shut up your inner negative voice.

Everyone's Story. Tell us how this evolved. Your passion is to share "new voices" in Christian fiction? Why is that?

While I do at times host new authors on Everyone’s Story, my emphasis is to uplift others through the means of story, though I also do occasionally host non-fiction authors.

I started the blog on April 19th (interestingly, on my mother’s birthday). It had been drilled into my writing brain to jump on the bandwagon of getting my name “out there” and that blogs are a good venue. Yet, I seriously doubted anyone really wanted to read my “thoughts” and since I devour inspirational blogs I decided to hosts guests that would encourage others. I don’t have time to post the minimum of 3 times a week that’s generally expected so I stick to once a week, launching a new guest Friday evening and running that feature until the following Friday. It works well for me and seems to attract viewers. But, the best part for me is to see the amount of life-encouragement this little “community” offers each other.

Talk us through how you got your publisher?

Elk Lake Publishing was the first publisher that completely wanted my story, Always With You, though the story did make it to Committee at another publishing house. Elk Lake is a small publisher with a lot of wonderful connections (Book Fun Magazine, The Book Club Network, Inc.) and I feel very fortunate and honored that my agent submitted to them and that they wanted my story.

Yet, I can’t emphasize enough that I believe the major turning point (for me) that came right before Elk Lake Publishing received my submission was that I’d engaged an independent editor for input on my manuscript.

Why did you choose this path rather than say go Indie?

Many of my friends who have gone Indie were pushing me that route. I whole-heartedly respect their decisions to undertake that direction—their books are first-rate quality and captivating reads! However, call me old-fashioned … or perhaps stubborn (?) … but I wanted to see a traditional pub pick up my work. Maybe it took me longer to see my dream become reality, but it did happen.

Tell us about your debut, Always With You?

This is the story of a lonely, intelligent but a wee na├»ve young adult who falls in love with a young man who offers her everything she desires: love, faith in God (she’s from an atheistic family), and family. Against her dad’s wishes, Isabelle and Tyler fall in love. In blaming the group that Tyler is associated with, The Faithful, her dad ostracizes her. Now, Isabelle wants love, faith, and family even more and marries Tyler. Only when she’s pregnant does she open her eyes to the truth that her husband’s secrets may very well put her unborn baby in jeopardy if she stays or endanger her own life if she leaves.

What do you hope readers take away from it?

Twofold: A mighty big God can lead people to overcome evil in this world, and that this same powerful faith can help one to overcome past or current trials.

Indeed, our mighty God can! Hallelujah!

Elaine, thank you for sharing a little of your story with the ICFW community. I’m certain many will find it of great encouragement to persist in their own writing projects and to keep entering contests, querying agents and so forth.

Wishing you every success with Always With You.

Elaine’s Bio

A former Brooklyn gal, Elaine Stock lives in the Northeast with her husband where she enjoys spring, summer, autumn, and puts up with the winter. A member of several writing associations, she also is a contributing author to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter  Facebook  and Goodreads  she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story  dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.

Elaine is running a BookGiveaway Contest to celebrate her new website

21 comments:

  1. Ian, and the ICFW community, heartfelt thanks for hosting me today!

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  2. Congrats on the debut novel! Thanks for sharing your story with us :)

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    1. Patricia, thanks for your warm welcome! I'm glad you could appreciate my story--I love reading about authors' past and what shapes them to write what they do.

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  3. I have always enjoyed Elaine's blog and interviews of other authors, and I thoroughly her interview reading her story. I am reading her book and I am really enjoying it.

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    1. Ann, so nice to see you here! You're blessed music to my ears. Thanks, my friend.

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  4. I'm so happy to see my dear writing friend Elaine Stock releasing her debut novel. Elaine and I go way back in ACFW, back to 2008 at least in Minneapolis. We've been buddies ever since, and I encourage others to read her wonderful book that is full of realism and yet hope rings on every page.

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    1. Christine, you always bring a smile to my face. Thanks for visiting this evening (well, afternoon your time). That time we met and got to know each other in Minneapolis ranks up there in my very fond memories!

      Thanks for the very kind words about Always With You.

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  5. Congratulations on your new release, Elaine! Sounds like a very intriguing story :)

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    1. Thanks, Kara. I'm glad it captured your interest and I hope you'll have a chance to read Isabelle and Tyler's story. Let me know what you think.

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  6. So excited for you, Elaine!!! Love the upstate NY photo. Reminds me of my hometown Binghamton.

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    1. Thanks, Sara, for the visit. Ha. That pic was from last winter, taken from my doorstep and that is why I rather not see snow again :) though, I love writing about it... certainly inflicted it upon my characters!

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  7. So excited for you, Elaine!!! Love the upstate NY photo. Reminds me of my hometown Binghamton.

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  8. Congrats, Elaine! And what a cool blog here! So glad to find it.

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    1. Wow, Karla, I'm super excited to see you here. I agree--great blog/community. I'm going to check out joining :)

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  9. Thanks everyone for sharing the love with Elaine. In particular, Ann & Karla, thanks so much for popping by ICFW and saying hi. We do appreciate it. Do come back again another time.

    Bless,

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  10. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Elaine. And a huge congrats on your release!!

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  11. An intriguing story, Elaine. I love unusual plot lines. Congrats on you debut novel and may it be the first of many!

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    1. Thank you, Rita. Very motivating words for me as I start this new day. Hope you'll read and enjoy the story.

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  12. Hi Elaine, Congrats on your debut book release :) Very exciting!

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    1. Thanks so much, Narelle. It's an exciting time, for sure. Learning so many new things, not only about the writing biz but also about myself.

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