Monday, March 18, 2013

Q & A with Ellen L. Ekstrom!

Hello! Thank you for inviting me to share something of my writing life with your readers.

1. Tell us about your newest release.

"Scarborough" tells the love story of Alice Martin and Quinn Radcliffe, Berkeley California teenagers from the sixties, from Quinn's point of view. The story began with the novel, "Tallis' Third Tune," a story of 'What-Ifs?' What if you were given a chance to redeem a love, make amends, and correct mistakes with relationships? Alice Martin discovers that chance in a village somewhere in Dorset, or the imagination - is it the after life, or is it life after? - in "Tallis;' in "Scarborough," Quinn Radcliffe, the troubled classical musician, finds himself exactly where Alice was and he now discovers the opportunity to make things right in his life, especially with Alice. "Scarborough" is the second in the series called "Midwinter Sonata." There will be two more books in the series.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
I was surprised to find so much of myself in Quinn, rather than Alice - all I have of Alice is her smart mouth and independence! Okay, and her compassionate nature. I also found my youngest son, Nicolas, in Quinn. Fortunately, our family life is more stable and nurturing, more loving, than Quinn's. I was also kind of worried that these characters got under my skin and wouldn't leave me alone. That's never happened with any character I've created in the past. It could be, however, that "Midwinter Sonata" is loosely - operative word, loosely - based on events in my own life. We write what we know and who among us hasn't had their heart broken, or discovered a love that wouldn't die?
3. How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for over thirty years. It was an early ambition of mine to be an author. My touchstone for success was seeing my books in my hometown library. I have done that. My genres are historical fiction, contemporary women's literature (okay, "Chick Lit,") and in non-fiction, historical theology.
4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, my late sister Kathy, who used to write her own stories and share them after she would read to me from one of the Lang Faery Tale books. My mother used to tell me to do something with my imagination - so I did.
5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
What is thought would depend on which family member you ask! [Insert smiley face here!] My children are very supportive; my siblings probably think it's just another progression in the work in progress that is Ellen. We are all different with different interests. One of my sisters displays my books at the restaurant where she works. I was the child with the most imagination, the most shy (seriously - I WAS shy. I had a stutter, which didn't help), and could always be found with a pile of books checked out from the library, usually the same books! My children grew up sitting on my lap with a toy and Mom with her pad of paper and pen, trips to the local library where we'd spend hours in the Children's Room sharing stories and bringing piles of books home. 
6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I love the cinema, reading of course, knitting, riding my bike, walks in the Berkeley Hills, listening to music. I am a deacon in the Episcopal Church, so on Sundays I'm behind the altar or in the pulpit as The Rev. Ellen Ekstrom, Deacon. People fascinate me and I enjoy listening to others' stories and interests, sharing a meal, a joke. 
7. How can readers connect with you online?
Readers may find me at, my writing website, (my sermon depository), Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I respond to e-mail and queries and I'm active on the boards at

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