[box]This week, I spotlight Elizabeth Van Liere. A widow for twenty-two years, she has three sons and one daughter and helped her daughter raise her four boys. Her growing family now includes ten grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren. Seeing how her children react as grandparents makes her smile and gives her ideas for her articles.[/box]
ADG: How long have you been writing?
EVL: Grade school was a magical place with hundreds of books to read. I became an avid reader and loved writing book reports. In possibly the third or fourth grade, I wrote my first story about a young slave girl, brought from Africa to the United States. A map in my dictionary helped me trace her journey to a land far from home.
ADG: Why did you decide to become a writer?
EVL: I believe a rooster started it. My father-in-law had undergone eye surgery and had to lie perfectly still. (Laser surgery was not yet available). His seven grown-up sons, daughters and daughter-in-law (me) took turns sitting with him, and my shift occurred 4 am to 8 am. As I waited near dawn for a relative to relieve me I heard a rooster crow. When I returned home, I wrote about Rufus Rooster, whose job it was to wake people up every day with a song. Because of his pride he tried to keep other birds from waking people up by singing earlier and earlier. Finally the people complained and the king punished him by replacing his lovely voice with a Cock-a-doodle-do. I typed the story up, sent it away and Child Life published “The Early Bird.” The year was 1961.
ADG: What types of writing do you do?
EVL: After the acceptance of the children’s story, I moved on to write devotionals, inspirational articles, a poem here and there, and other children’s stories for Sunday School papers. Writing devotionals became an important part of my life because it is a way to reach out to others. Devotionals show others they are not alone and offer hope. At age 88, in 2011, Dare to Live, Devotions For Those Over The Hill, Not Under It, came to life. Now, at almost 90, a second book, Laugh. I Dare You, is with the editors. It is my hope Laugh. I Dare You will help people laugh in spite of troubles because of the hope they find in God’s promises.
ADG: What are you currently working on?
EVL: Still writing short inspirational articles. One is due in Standard in November, 2014. A story about a great-granddaughter donating a lock of hair to “Locks of Love” is to be published in Clubhouse, Jr., also in 2014. I hope to continue writing for maybe another 10 years—when I hit 100.
ADG: What piece of writing advice do you wish you had at the beginning of your career?
EVL: As an ignorant newcomer to the publishing world I sent the rooster story to Child Life, single spaced, without margins and with no other information. No way would this be accepted today. I wish I had read how-to-write books, joined writer’s critique groups and attended workshops and conferences before sending out any manuscripts. (I might have had a book written and published a bit sooner). Do editors scare you? At the conferences you find editors are super people and not the hard to please ogres you feared. As a bonus you meet other writers who become friends.
ADG: How can readers find out more about you and your work?
EVL: Join me on facebook: email@example.com and also on my slow-moving blog: View from the Hilltop, Word Press.com; Amazon for reviews about the first book; Goodreads. A friend in Florida, Jeanne Dennis, skyped me for an interview for “Heritage of Truth.” (Part of this “truth”: log on and meet an almost ninety year old lady). Jeanne’s interview saved the day.