Elizabeth Ludwig: The Writing of Words
Nestled among ancient trees at the end of a dirt road in Orangefield sits a two story log home resting quietly. Nothing superbly grand or necessarily unique in its structure. Inside, however, Elizabeth Ludwig is engaged in an uncommon activity. Her part time job is that of a published author. How does that make her and what she has accomplished unique? Statistics show that only five out of 32,000 manuscripts submitted to an agent get picked up and published.
Consider along with this that only about 120,000 books are published in a year puts Ludwig in a fairly narrow field.
Becoming a published author didn’t happen with that first fantastical magical book as almost every author fantasizes it will.
“I have seven books that will probably never be published. But they did serve a purpose, I learned so much with each one,” Ludwig explains with a dimple filled smile.
Her adventure into becoming a writer did not actually start with her first attempt at submissions, but, as she sees it, when she was a child that became an avid reader.
“I was a good child, did what I was told, but when I did get in trouble, it was for staying up late reading a book with a little pen light.”
She explains how she put scenarios together in her mind; made up stories, characters, their victories and their demise one after the next, but all in her mind.
Her life changed course at seventeen when she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. This is as important an event in her writing as the writing itself. Ludwig’s published work fall into the category of ‘Christian’ reading. But it was an incident when one’s habits meet one’s reality that was her final push into the madness of writing.
“I was sitting in church and the pastor began the altar call and I realized I hadn’t heard any of the sermon,” Ludwig says when asked how she came to the decision to write, “I felt so convicted! I had been sitting there making a story in my head! I just prayed and asked God what I should do and I distinctly felt him urge me to “‘write it all down.’” And so she began not knowing where to begin. She wrote and researched and began with undaunted resolve to get her words into the hands of others.
Working on these stories brewing in her mind isn’t all Ludwig does. She is also a full time parent as well as a full time administrative secretary for the Little Cypress – Mauriceville CISD. So writing is, as it often referred to, a discipline.
“I attempt to write every day, especially when I have a dead-line.”
Everyday may mean early in the morning before she leaves for work or late at night while the family sits together in the living room.
“My husband asked me, ‘Is it still fun for you?’ I had to admit it is still fun, but it is definitely different once you have an editor and dead-lines.”
Her first published work was a series she co-authored with Janelle Mallory, another writer from her critique group. “Where the Truth Lies” was released in spring of 2008 from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. Considered a Cozy mystery it has a stand alone, but companion pieces in the series Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, “Died in the Wool,” and “A Black Die Affair,” respectively, are slated for release in 2011 from Barbour Publishing. The first book in the series is accredited to helping her win the IWA Writer of the Year award in 2008.
In 2009, along with three other authors, a compilation of stories titled “Christmas Homecoming” uses the talents of the authors to join independent stories that are also inter-connected.
2010 Ludwig’s “Love Finds You in Calico, California” was released under the Summerside Press label, was her first full length historical novel. Set in the silver and gold rush era in an actual town of that time period, the novel deals with the social, physical and spiritual mores of the day. Calico, California is a ghost town Ludwig and her husband Lee chanced upon on a trip.
“We toured the town and even the mine.”
Her active imagination took over even during the trip in the deep dark shaft making the experience so memorable that she dug through souvenirs and contacted the town historian to get accurate and detailed information for her developing story.
The characters are drawn from many whose boots kicked the dust of the town in the 1880s though Ludwig for possible legal reasons, chose to not use actual names save the town postal dog. It is an intriguing look the effects of real life on women and other lesser citizens of the day. Though it is a Christian Romance the underlying presence of God and answered prayer moves the reader from page to page, it also received four out of four and a half possible stars in a review from the Romantic Times.
“My desire is not just that my writing reflect my love for the Lord, but my personal appearances as well,” again her infectious smile fills the atmosphere. “He gives me what to write and I want to be content when He says, ‘There, you are done.’”
The words are many. For a moderate sized novel she must create an 85,000 to 100,000 word story. Her content goes through rigorous editing in various stages of the process, however she, herself, edits before ink hits page by making sure her works are readable for anyone who loves and respects her.
“I didn’t want my daughter or future grand daughters (when they come along way in the future) to be embarrassed by anything I wrote. I want my husband, my kids to be able to be proud of me, to be able to say, ‘My mom wrote that, My wife wrote that.’ Something that honors them.”
Ludwig continues to rely on God, but also continues to develop her skills. She highly recommends this for any budding author.
“I wish there was someone to just say, ‘Here do this, then this!” There isn’t, and it’s different for every person.”
She does suggest getting into a critique group that has other writers that are all at the same approximate level of writing skill. She includes this can be done and very effectively online. Those in her groups are the people she has co-authored with and become friends. They have been connections in other arenas as well. Ludwig also advises entering writing contests and competitions.
“Though I have never won one, the critiques and suggestions by highly qualified judges is tremendous!” she explains. Along with these two suggestions she says joining writer’s guilds and clubs, attending conferences and taking the time to really learn the craft of writing will save a wanna-a-be writer tons of frustration.
“You want to sit in your little cubby hole and just write, but you can’t! You have to get out there and meet people, learn how to get better at it, learn the elements of good story, find out where the market is going. Hopefully after ‘paying you dues’ you will get to write what you really want to some day.”
She shares her opinions and insights on a weekly blog as well.
www.TheBorrowwedBook.blogspot.com is her site for staying up to date with various authors and included a weekly interview and book give away. Her personal web site gives additional and updated information on her up coming book project: www.elizabetludwig.com.
There are many reasons Elizabeth sits where she does. Strategically placed meetings, investment in herself and her writing both in time and money, hours sacrificed, stacks of rejection letters, thousands upon thousands of written words. She is a writer, she is doing what others only hope to do, she is still paying her dues. She is content, joyful, grateful and humble, but also deserving of more notice. Find her books and read and get ready for her next series.
She is currently working to fulfill her contract with Bethany House for three books. The first is due out in 2012, followed by one a year after in 2013 and 2014. It’s a terrible problem to have. She hopes and prays to continue having it, but has put her trust in the One from who her words flow.