Author Interviews

4 Questions with Award Winning Elizabeth Camden | Author Interview

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

It’s always such a joy to be able to feature some of my favorite authors! One of those? Elizabeth Camden. Not only because she covers such interesting parts of history, but I love the women she creates, women who are strong and inspiring. And what better way to kick off the week than with a 4 Questions and giveaway right?

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
Easy! I would never have dreamed that I’d be writing and publishing novels. It was one of those pie-in-the-sky dreams I worked hard for, but never really expected it would happen. And when it did? It was more thrilling, more challenging, and more heartbreaking than I ever imagined. It’s one thing to write novels in the privacy of your home, quite another to hand it over to others who will slice and dice the text, pick out a cover for it, and send it out into the world where it will be subject to the slings and arrows of public opinion. For the most part folks have been very kind to my books, but I sweat bullets over each one. I never thought about the realities that happen on the other side of getting that first book contract.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I wish I’d been more of a risk-taker when I was younger. I was always very cautious and worked hard, trying to save money for a rainy day, buckle down to get an education, become gainfully employed, etc.

But I’ve always had a couple of wild, unfulfilled dreams. I wanted to move to Alaska for a year and work in a fish cannery. When I was in college I met a girl who did the Alaska-thing, and I immediately glommed onto it as a wild, wonderful adventure I wanted to try, but I was too timid to pursue it. I wish I had. I know the work would be hard, smelly, and uncomfortable, but I wish I had such a year in my memory bank. Now that I’m older I realize that my early twenties was the perfect time to do such a thing. It’s too late now. I’ve got elderly parents who I’m a caregiver for, and a husband who has zero interest in moving to Alaska. When I was in my twenties I was so worried about money and building my own safety net that I didn’t realize it was the perfect time to do something wild and adventurous.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Oh my….there isn’t any one thing I can point to. The days I am happiest are not linked to grand events. They come in the quiet moments, or at the end of a long day when I’m tired in both body and mind, but have the satisfaction of a job well done. Those are my happiest times.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
I worry that we are robbing our kids by trying to keep them constantly amused and stimulated. Television, video games, amusement parks. Now we can stream movies to kids riding in a car. Kids who are bombarded with this sort of entertainment don’t know what to do when the power fails. They grow into adolescents who expect to be entertained, but lack the ability or emotional heft to venture forth and become productive.

There is a certain magic to going out in your own backyard to search for fossils among the rocks in the garden, or riding a bike on a hot summer’s day. Perhaps even more importantly, there is terrific value in learning to do something hard. Kids who train for a sport, build model airplanes, or join the scouts learn great skills. When my husband was in boy scouts he learned to build a fire, catch, skin and cook a fish. This leads to a sense of accomplishment that no video game can ever provide. So I hope the next generation can move away from short attention spans and learn to enjoy things that are hard. Those are the things we are proudest of.

Then again, my husband says my Indian spirit name is “Dream Killer,” and I never learned how to have fun. Maybe that’s true, but I’ve also learned to derive immense satisfaction from sinking my teeth into a big, hard project, and I learned that skill when I was only a kid. I hope the next generation can put down their cell phones and learn to enjoy doing something hard.

Thank you so so much Elizabeth! I love your books, so it’s a pleasure featuring you on the blog!

Where to Connect with Author
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Ponderings

Let’s Promise to Finish

This post from an older blog I no longer write popped up on my Timehop a few days ago and it’s just what I needed to hear.

A few years ago I laughed at the thought of running a 10K, let alone a half. I also swore on all creation I would never run a full marathon. Then things changed a couple of years ago. First, my girlfriends somehow convinced me to join in the Austin half marathon. I almost died. I actually did get injured, but after some therapy I was determined to try again. I was half injured again for the next one, but I still went for it. You think I’d get the hint, but there’s something about running that’s too alluring.

Then came a full marathon. Maybe it was a twilight zone kind of day, but when the aforementioned girlfriends said “let’s do a full marathon!” I didn’t hesitate. But training for a full marathon is totally different. Suddenly 13 miles seemed like nothing when long runs for training were 18+ miles.

But let me be the first to say, I am by no means hard core. Let’s really emphasize that. This is coming from someone who thinks a 12 minute mile pace is fast. And I probably hold the record for the slowest finishes in all of my races. The sprint triathlon I did a few years back? Last place for my age group. Do I kid? Nope, dead last.

I share this because I didn’t start at 18 miles. I literally started with 1. I never won, nor will I ever come close. But I’ll always finish.

It’s easy to portray (especially with the world wide web and social media) that things are going awesome (in everyday life or even while pursuing a dream and goal), but I don’t think that’s fair to anyone, especially yourself. When it’s something worth it, the path isn’t going to be easy. And if you’re honest about the struggles, then not only will the end product be much more sweet, but I believe many more people will be inspired by your journey.

I’ll be honest, my training sometimes sucks. And by sometimes I mean most runs. After a long run, I’ll check my time and think of how horrible it was. Just this past weekend, I averaged near 14 minute miles. For non-runners, that means slow and lots of walking. But I kept going. Sometimes the lesson is in the journey too.

So whatever it is you are working on or if you are just trying to survive, here’s to starting with that one mile (even if it takes you 20 minutes to complete)!

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1-2

What are some ways you want to try and start with one step? One block? One mile?

Love and Faith

The Valley of Vision

A couple of years ago around Christmas, my church did a sermon series based upon prayers from this book. It was an incredible series. Valley of Vision is composed of prayers and meditations that have been a great edition to my devotional times.

While I could probably type out every day’s prayer, here’s a few of my favorites:

Take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul;
Through thee may I daily learn more of His love, grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty;
Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds, the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan;
May I see my sins as
the nails that transfixed Him,
the cords that bound Him,
the thorns that tore Him,
the sword that pierced Him.
Help me to find in His death the reality and immensity of His love.
– The Spirit’s Work

Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of
atonement achieved,
expiation completed,
satisfaction made,
guilt done away,
my debt paid,
my sins forgiven,
my person redeemed,
my soul saved,
hell vanquished,
heaven opened,
eternity made mine.
– The Spirit’s Work

Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.
The Precious Blood

Thy name is excellent,
thy glory high,
thy compassions unfailing,
thy condescension wonderful,
thy mercy tender.
– Living for Jesus

Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.
– Continual Repentance

I thank thee for the temporal blessings of this world –
the refreshing air,
the light of the sun,
the food that renews strength,
the raiment that clothes,
the dwelling that shelters,
the sleep that gives rest,
the starry canopy of night,
the summer breeze,
the flowers’ sweetness,
the music of flowing streams,
the happy endearments of family, kindred, friends.
Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort.
My cup runs over.
– Evening Praise

Strengthen me to give thee no rest until Christ shall reign supreme within me,
in every thought, word and deed,
in faith that purifies the heart,
overcomes the world,
works by love,
fastens me to thee,
and ever clings to the cross.
– Meeting God

Have you ever heard of Valley of Vision? What do you think of some of these meditations? I hope you are encouraged like I was!