Today I would like to introduce you to a talented author - Loretta Ellsworth. She is celebrating the release of her latest novel IN A HEARTBEAT!
In a Heartbeat has a strong plot line - a star ice-skater is killed suddenly in a freak fall and her heart is donated to a sick teen who has needed a transplant for years and was running out of time. But when her heart is transferred into the new girl's body - some things from the past life linger... here's the trailer:
Q. Loretta, WHAT was the inspiration for this story??
A. As is often the case, the inspiration for my book came from a personal experience. My nephew died in a motorcycle accident, and although they weren't able to save his heart for transplantation, many of his other organs
went to people waiting for transplants. We were surprised to learn that Jason had signed up to be a donor - he hadn't told anyone of his decision. Shortly after that, my mother died of heart failure. Writing this book was therapy for me, a way to work through my feelings and to give voice to Jason as a donor. I purposefully made the donor a girl so that she could develop her own characteristics and there would be no comparison to my nephew.
Q. You talk about ice-skating like an insider (this coming from an outsider - ha!). Are you a part of that world? How did you get it right?
A. I'm not an insider, although in Minnesota I guess pretty much everybody knows how to skate. I spent time at the St. Paul Figure Skating Club and visited with coaches and skaters and parents. I attended skating competitions and I had a competitive skater and her mom both read my manuscript to make sure I had the skating lingo right, and to check my skating terms and descriptions.
Q. The ideas of what happens to us when we die were distinct and new to me. Can you summarize how you described it, and do you hold those opinions yourself?
A. I didn't want to attempt to describe Eagan's version of heaven - that seemed an impossible task to me, so I put her in a sort of limbo, an in-between place. Since she dies in the first chapter, the challenge for me as a writer was to give her some obstacles and her own conflict to resolve. Her relationship with her mother makes it difficult for her to leave her life behind and move on.
Q. You've written many other books I'd like my readers to know about - can you share?
A. I've published two other books - one called THE SHROUDING WOMAN, which is historical fiction about a girl whose aunt is a shrouding woman, an occupation few people know existed before funeral homes and undertakers were around - they were special women in the community who prepared bodies for burial. This book is now being published in Japan as well as the U.S. My other book is called IN SEARCH OF MOCKINGBIRD and it's a story of a girl named Erin whose only connection to her dead mother is through the pages of a worn book her mother adored. Erin decides to take an unannounced and unescorted bus trip from her home in Minnesota to Alabama in search of her literary idol, Harper Lee, the author of her mother's favorite book (and mine).
Q. Tell us a bit about your writer's life. What was your path to become an author and how has it shaped your life?
A. Even though I always enjoyed writing when I was young, I didn't start writing seriously until I had four children of my own. It took many years of hard work, classes, writing workshops and critique groups, and hundreds of rejections and revisions before my work saw publication. It taught me that nothing is easy, least of all getting published, but if you're dedicated to learning the craft and have a lot of perseverance (and I mean a lot!), you will get published.
Q. Anything else you would like to share?
A. Despite the difficulties of publication that most authors face when starting out, it's still a blessing to be able to do what you love. I enjoy the journey that writing each book takes me through and spending time every day with my characters.
Thanks for the interview, E, and best of luck to you
and your wonderful books.
Thanks so much for the great read Loretta!
Wonderful things are already happening for IN A HEARTBEAT - Korean rights have been sold and it has been chosen as a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Bookseller’s Association.
Loretta is officially on tour in the blog world this week - so you can read more by visiting each day:
Feb. 2 – Little Willow http://slayground.livejournal.com
Feb. 3 – Elizabeth Dulemba http://dulemba.com
Feb. 4 – April Hamrick http://aprilnichole.com/
Feb. 5 – Dary Wishard http://www.libraryloungelizard.com
Feb. 6 – Kim Pickett - http://butterflybookreviews.blogspot.com
Feb. 7 – Lauren Rusiloski - http://laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com/
Feb. 8 – Yan Lin - booksbytheircover.blogspot.com
Feb. 9 –Kerry Millar- http://shelfelf.wordpress.com, Alea Adou- aleapopculture.blogspot.com
Feb. 10 – Ashley Thompson - booksaremylove.blogspot.com
Feb. 11 – Cindy Hudson - mother/daughter bookclub (review) www.motherdaughterbookclub.com
Feb.12 – Cindy Hudson - mother/daughter bookclub (interview)
Feb. 13 – Kate C. - http://readthisbook.wordpress.com
And here is Loretta, R.A. Nelson, Me, Jennifer Echols, and Jay Asher at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery back in April 2008. She's a blast to hang out with!