Today we have a guest blogger with us, author EC Stilson. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her latest book Homeless in Hawaii from Wayman Publishing. Elisa is such an amazing writer as well as a talented musician and singer. She is raw and uncensored with her emotions and promises to deliver laughter and tears all in one sitting. I’ve read several of her books so far including what I consider her best, The Golden Sky. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to read one of her books.
Do you prefer tooth paste or gel? Anything that isn’t cinnamon flavored. 🙂
What is your favorite part of the day? I love the morning. It feels great waking up before my four kids, drinking coffee and writing for the day.
What is your favorite space to write in? I usually write in the kitchen since it’s convenient. But last year, when I had writer’s block, I hiked high up into the mountains. It was just me, a spiral notepad, a pen and nature. I’ll never forget how great that felt when the words started flooding onto the paper. If I could hike there every day, that would be my favorite place to write.
You often write about your children in your blog posts. What is the craziest thing one of your kids has done? Last year my oldest daughter, the Scribe, held a fundraiser at school. She asked classmates to draw a picture for the next cover of my book. (I wasn’t thrilled about that!) She collected over $60, charging each kid 50 cents each. Later that day the teacher asked, a bit concerned, “What’s this fundraiser for?”
“Myself,” the Scribe said.
I got a phone call after that, and the Scribe refunded all of the money.
That night I asked my entrepreneur what she’d learned from the situation. She said, “That when you work hard for something it DOES NOT pay off!”
What are three words that describe how you feel about writing? Empowered, Free & Happy :0)
Have your stories inspired music you’ve written and vice versa? All three of my memoirs were strongly influenced by experiences I’ve had playing music, from being homeless, to the time a newspaper reporter took a picture and wrote an article about me playing for tips in an airport before 9/11.
Cade (my husband) and I wrote a song about how music changed our lives. One of the lines says “we’re tied together in these musical strings.” That’s how I feel about my writing–it’s tied to my music.
What is the overall message in Homeless in Hawaii that you want the reader to take away with them? We can run from everything except ourselves. Sometimes when we feel as if our world has fallen apart, we can find hope in God and ourselves. That’s what happened to me while being homeless on the streets of Hawaii.
How was it reliving that time in your life as you wrote Homeless in Hawaii? At first it was hard because I hurt so many people when I ran away. Over the years I’ve had to deal with a lot of guilt and regret. But the further I got into the story, many of the memories from Hawaii itself were exhilarating, adventurous and fun. Part of me fell in love with Cade again as I remembered what it was like traveling with a man I hardly knew.
But the best thing about writing this? I finally forgave myself for running away. And I remembered why I’d left in the first place.
In hindsight, would you have made the same decisions? Being homeless taught me so much. Even if someone is missing teeth, dirty and sad-looking–even if the only thing YOU can afford to buy is a dollar item at McDonald’s . . . even when things feel at their worst, there is always something good to be seen under the surface.
After living through everything that happened in Hawaii, I found myself. And those experiences helped me survive the death of my son less than two years later.
Most of your books are based on real events in your life. Do you find it hard to share those moments with your readers? Sometimes it can be really hard. Several of the people in my memoirs have read them. Most have been very understanding or even apologetic. Others have been mean. One lady emailed me saying we shouldn’t have pulled our son off of life support. . . .
There are funny things about this too though. One woman came to a signing just to meet Cade because she said she loved his “character” in my books.
Mostly, writing about my life has been rewarding. Last month I received a letter from a girl who read “Bible Girl & the Bad Boy.” She said she’d felt so alone until reading my book. And that now she knew everything would be all right, and she’d make it through the teen years. That letter meant so much to me because my biggest writing goal is to simply help others feel like they aren’t alone.
Now that you’ve published several novels , what advice do you have for those of us who are trying to get their first publication? Edit. Edit. Edit. There are good books out there that could have been published if the authors had only perfected them by condensing and revising with the advice of a professional editor.
What has influenced your life the most? God. Just the thought that someone took the time to create me–and everything in our world–is astounding. I need to remind myself of this. Far too often I forget what a gift it is to be alive.
Here is an example of what EC Stilson used to play while homeless on the streets of Hawaii.
Description: Running away from her past, Elisa finds herself homeless in Hawaii. The streets aren’t what they seem, though, and cops make her stay in homeless park.
She’s only seventeen and with a man she hardly knows. They must work together if they’re going to survive as street musicians.
They might be in paradise, but even there, her past will hunt her down and make her face an uncertain future.