Home About Hartline   Our Agents   Our Authors   Submissions   Blog   Contact Us

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Splash of Serenity


I would like to introduce to our From the Heart readers, Elaine W. Miller, published author and public speaker and a member of The Pencil Box Crew.


So our readers can get to know you better – tell us a little about yourself Elaine.


I’m a small-town girl with a big-time love for Jesus. When I was 32 years old I stood at my kitchen window and prayed, Jesus, I give my life to you. Do with me whatever you please. He pleased to do a lot.


For over 20 years I’ve been a retreat speaker, seminar teacher, and Bible study leader. My husband and I share a wonderful life and ministry together. We have developed and taught 10 marriage retreats and we travel annually to Europe as Pastoral Care Couple to missionaries in Bosnia.


Three married children and seven grandchildren fill my heart with love and laughter and illustrations for my writing and speaking.


I live in a parsonage that overlooks a lake on the edge of the Adirondack Mountains in beautiful upstate New York. Life is good.


Do you have a personal mission statement? I have heard it recommended to authors by writing mentors and I do think it helps to have one.


I agree. My purpose is to share the hope of Christ through writing and speaking by leading unbelievers into a relationship with Jesus Christ and guiding believers into a deeper walk with Him.


Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives is one of your published titles. Can you tell us what it offers the drained wife or author or agent?

Hope! What your marriage is today is not what it will be next year or the next. For many the worse comes before the better. They lose hope and give up and throw in the towel too soon for too little reason. I Corinthians 13 says, “Love… never stops hoping….” I encourage husbands and wives to never stop hoping, to hold on, to be true to their vows, and to allow God time to work in their marriage.

Did this title get birthed from personal trials or weariness?

Oh, yes! I packed my husband’s bags three times the first year of our marriage. Next year we will celebrate our 40th anniversary! Yea, God!!! I shudder to think what my life would have been like had I successfully ended our marriage. I almost threw away the dearest person in the world to me. Why? Because I looked to Dan to fulfill needs that only God could fill. That is an expectation that drains the life out of a husband and a wife and a marriage.

I know you have had some fun presenting this title to groups. What are some of the creative ways you have promoted your books?

The titles are Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms and Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives. Because of the bath time theme, I’ve been tempted to show up for an event in a fluffy bathrobe. I suspect I’d sell more books—at least I’d get more attention. Some book store managers had fun with the bath theme by putting a real bathtub inside and outside their stores. I drew the line at signing books while sitting in the tub, though. A pretty basket filled with complimentary bubble bath beads (supplied by me with permission of the store manager) was a draw to my book table and created conversation, laughs, and book sales. I always gave the store manager a bubble bath bead, a scented candle, and a thank you note encouraging her to have a splash of serenity after her busy day. They really appreciated it and many invited me to return anytime for a book signing.

Splashes of Serenity are lovely hard-cover gift books with color photography. So, I took my books to gift shops, florists, gift basket shops, and bath stores. Many of them ordered the books for their store and some ordered the books for themselves.

The most exciting sale happened at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. During a 45 minute lay over, I passed the time by visiting Borders Bookstore. The cashier asked if I needed help. I (jokingly) said, “Oh, I was just seeing if you are selling my book.” Of course I had my books with me and showed them to him. Turns out, he was the buyer for Borders at Dulles Airport. He got right on the computer and ordered my books for the airport Borders Stores. I was flying before I got on the airplane.

This story continued a year later when I received an e-mail from a mom in Montana who asked me to send my book to her friend whose 5 year old daughter died. She had read Drained Moms and thought it would be perfect for her friend. Curious, I asked her where she bought my book. She replied, “Dulles Airport.” I cried and said to myself, that’s why I write books.

I carry my books with me wherever I go because I never know when I might meet a drained mom or a drained wife.

What type of feedback have you received from your readers?

It is amazing what God can do through a book. I love to give books as presents because I know they can change lives.

At a Barnes & Nobel book signing a woman came to my table and never made eye contact with me. She picked up my book and just read for about 10 minutes. Then she looked up and said, “I have every intention of leaving my husband, but first I am going to read this book.” I prayed for her marriage as she left my table with book in hand.

During a writer’s conference a woman bought a book and then came back and bought five more. She said her husband had been sick for years. Five of her friends were encouraging her to end her marriage. After reading my book, she decided to stay with him. She bought copies for her five friends so they would understand why. She said, “I want to remain true to the marriage vows I made to God and to my husband. What if he is better in five years and I’m gone? No. I love him and I am staying with him.”

I received an e-mail from a dear mother who said she had two babies in Heaven and one in a crib. She lived in fear that God would take her third baby. After reading my book for Drained Moms, she had peace. She thanked me for writing it saying she had had her first good nights sleep in months.

There are more stories, but I need to stop somewhere. I think my books minister to real people because they are true stories of real-life situations and the hope that comes when we trust God to work through the most difficult times.

What was toughest about your publishing journey and do you have any advice for other authors out there?


There are those voices (real and imaginary) that laugh at you and say, You’ll never be published. No one will ever read this. Well, if we don’t write, that certainly will be true.

God spoke to my heart during a sermon on the parable of the talents. He said, What good are all those writings doing buried in your file cabinet if no one reads them? I knew then that I was to write a book, much to my surprise! God uses people, the life they live, the words they say, and the books they write to change lives. Let Him use you. Don’t bury your talent.


Any favorite ‘How To’ book you would like to recommend or any discipline that you have found to be useful?


I like the classic On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I read it every year.


Do you have any hobbies other than writing that you pursue? Or do you consider your writing more of a job than a hobby?


Writing and speaking are my passions. I suppose it is a job, but I enjoy it so much, it seems more like a hobby. Writing relaxes me as well as invigorates me; which, I think, is the purpose of a hobby. My children tell me that I get grumpy if I don’t write. So, perhaps it’s an obsession or an addiction. Whatever, I love it and I have no plans to retire. So, I guess it isn’t a job.

Hobbies? Can my hubby be my hobby? I certainly like pursuing him. We enjoy golfing, hiking, skiing, and kayaking Adirondack waters together.


Before we say goodbye and allow you to get back to your writing, tell the reader where they might find out more about you.


My website is www.SplashesofSerenity.com. I am Elaine W. Miller on Face book and Twitter. My blog address is www.elainewmiller.blogspot.com. I love hearing from people, so e-mail me at www.splashesofserenity@yahoo.com. Thanks for the interview, Diana. I pray the Lord blesses. Keep writing, writers! No one else can tell your story.


Elaine and I pray splashes of serenity are in your near future.

From my heart to yours,

Diana

10 comments:

Elaine W. Miller said...

Thank you, Diana! I thank God for you and our partnership in the gospel. May we reap fruit that will last!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Elaine: You are one of my role models; thank you for saying "Yes" to the Master.

May you continue to touch and change lives by your work, hobby, and life.

Jen
Audience of ONE

Elaine W. Miller said...

Jen, I think we are in a mutual admiration society. Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings, Elaine

Millie Samuelson said...

Marvelous sharing, Elaine! I feel like I just enjoyed a morning cup of coffee and inspiration with you and Diana. . . thanks! December CHRISTmas joys and blessings!

Elaine W. Miller said...

Thank you, Millie. You have been a great encouragement to me. Blessings on your ministry for Him.

Merry Christmas!
Elaine

Caroline said...

Elaine, what a beautiful testimony to what God can do with a yielded life. Thank you for sharing!

Loree Lough said...

Wonderful, enjoyable interview that let me get to know this lovely woman a little better. Thanks, m'dear!
Hope you have a blessedly relaxing weekend!
Loree

Elaine W. Miller said...

Dear Caroline and Loree,

Thank you for your encouragement to me. May our ministries be blessed by Him. Loving this opportunity to become friends with fellow writer.

Merry Christmas!
Elaine

Michelle R. Burroughs said...

Elaine, keep writing and sharing your wisdom with us. Wives and Mommies need Jesus AND a sense of humor. You have both and freely pass on your joy and perspective to us. THANK YOU! I read parts of your books many times a year even though I purchased them many years ago. May God continue to bless you and use you. Keep pursuing Jesus, your husband, and new hearts and readers to be touched by your warm stories. Merry Christmas! Continued blessings in 2010!

Elaine W. Miller said...

Michelle, you are a joy to my heart. You keep writing too, my dear friend.