The Mosaic Collection – Interview with Deb Elkink

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for The Mosaic Collection, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! Everyday, for the next several days, I’ll be interviewing each author in the collection. So be sure to come back and see what they have to say!!

For His glory…
The Mosaic Collection is an international community of women authors who use faith-based fiction to touch hearts with the good news that Christ’s finished work on the cross has made us one family, and to nurture affection for the people God has placed within our circles of influence, so that the grace and glory of God may become visible and personal to everyone we meet.

…and our good
We are sisters, a beautiful mosaic united by the love of God through the blood of Christ. We have experienced the redemptive, restorative power of God’s grace in our marriages and families, and we believe our God is able to heal, restore and redeem our brokenness. His love fills us with the courage to persevere, and to offer others a Christ-like compassion that is full of His wisdom and grace.

Visit the Mosaic Collection Website to stay posted on each new release & follow the collection blog for meaningful posts from the authors!

Deb Elkink lives with her long-time husband in a cottage beside a babbling creek in rural Alberta, Canada. She grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and studied in Minneapolis–Saint Paul (B.A. Communications), publishing a dozen or so short stories and articles as a young adult. She spent the next twenty years as a rancher’s wife and homeschooling mom (rounding up cattle on horseback, cooking for huge branding crews, earning her private pilot’s license, readying kids for high school).

Graduate studies (M.A. Theology) then prepared her for editing a professional quarterly magazine, doctoral dissertations and scholarly articles, and an online expository Bible study. Today she writes and edits, travels like mad, drinks lots of creamy decaf with friends, and speaks to women’s groups about the Christian faith.

Her debut novel (The Third Grace) received Canada’s prestigious Grace Irwin Prize in 2012, and her literary work on the fiction of a late-Victorian British writer (Roots and Branches: The Symbol of the Tree in the Imagination of G.K. Chesterton) was published in 2015. Her upcoming novel is a contemporary women’s fiction with a historical/theological twist: Eat, Pray, Love and The Wizard of Oz meet the Book of Hebrews in showing that “home” is a state of soul, a state of inner rest.

CONNECT WITH DEB: Website | Facebook

Cornerstone message from the collection: 

Look for God in the Bible. Everything (art, literature, fashion design, engineering, philosophy, travel, cooking, health, romance, community, fitness . . .) can be a way to express or illustrate God’s action on our world, but only the living and breathed-out Word of God can give us knowledge of the Father our hearts are longing for. Only the mind of God revealed to the minds of mortals by the Holy Spirit through Scripture can bring us into alignment with the Person of Jesus Christ. In today’s increasingly pagan culture, “spirituality” has become a buzzword for any belief but the truth—the more mystical the better. But the Holy Book of God is the only source containing all we need for salvation and spiritual life.  

Hi Deb! Welcome to A Baker’s Perspective. So glad you can join me today!

Let’s start with one of my favorite questions. What’s in your current TBR pile?

Some top books I really need to get at (in my bedside pile of TBR): 

EDUCATED (Westover) 

THE WIDOWS OF MALABAR HILL (Massay) 

THE ESSENTIAL VICTOR HUGO (collection)

LOS 10 MEJORES CUENTOS DE HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON (to practice my poor español)

THE BOOK THAT MADE YOUR WORLD: HOW THE BIBLE CREATED THE SOUL OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION (Mangalwadi).

However, I have very many unread titles just waiting for me to begin, and they include THE SECRET WIFE (Paul), WILD ROSE (Butala), BABETTE’S FEAST (Dinesen), THE LAW OF HAPPINESS (Cloud) . . . it just goes on and on!

What an intersting bunch of books – I need to look some of these up! Tell us about any research trips you took while working on this book.

MONTANA: I visited the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell, Montana, and it became the prototype of the Laird Mansion Museum in The Red Journal, set partially in the fictional town of Kirkton, North Dakota. Not only the physical home but the life of the historical founder, Conrad, became important in setting up many plot points in my fictional story.

NORTH DAKOTA: While dreaming up the The Red Journal, I drove through the scenery that appears in my novel: the “barren countryside, the bleak sweep of the greening prairie that meets the shimmer of the flooding river on the horizon” while “clouds spill their shadows onto the tabletop of the fields.” But this was not new country for me; I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada–the northernmost city mentioned in the novel–and drove southward many times through Pembina County, ND, travelling to Bethel College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. These are old stomping grounds for me.

AD HOC INTERNATIONAL SITES: I love to travel, and so the destinations of my antagonist, Sybil, as she sought “sacred places” of the world, were locales I have seen as well (some during the writing): Istanbul, Paris, Buenos Aires, Japan, South Africa . . . Well, read the book for more!  

I love to travel as well, although I don’t get to very often. I’ll just read about our trips 🙂 Did you google something as research for this book and find something funny?

Oh yes! Did you know that many people actually believe that “ley lines” connecting religious sites all over the U.S. form a grid of spiritual power? Or that the healer-medium João de Deus, who performed “psychic surgery” in Brazil (but has since been debunked), was a featured guest on Oprah? Or that some people use household bleach to clean their dentures? Or that widows in the Victorian era wore brooches made of their husband’s hair (oops, don’t give away too much, Deb!).  

Interesting! Tell us about your writing routine.

I write on my laptop at the kitchen table, where I can spread books all around me, and look out at a grove of pine trees and the ancient red barn, and listen to the creek babbling away. I’m a fits-and-starts kind of writer: I’m either drafting furiously or don’t touch my novel for weeks at a time. I plot my stories out, sometimes too carefully, because I find the structure allows me to really “let go” creatively for one scene at a time–otherwise, I write thousands of words going nowhere. I’m not a quick writer. A novel takes me at least three years from conception to birth–twice as long as an elephant’s gestation period! When writing, I often forget to eat but I love to sip creamy drinks between scenes–iced coffees and hot tea lattes. I savor the words as I write them, too–I love my thesaurus! 

Three years is a long time, but well worth it! You can have dinner with any character, who would you pick? What would you eat? What would you talk about?

Any of my own characters? Well, of course I’d choose my protagonist, Libby Walker, who is a fantastic soup maker. I’d insist on trying several of her specialties (and, in fact, have): wild morel mushroom; cream of garlic-herb Gournay cheese with a grating of nutmeg; Scotch broth; turkey noodle seasoned with star anise . . . Ooh, now I’m hungry! And our conversation would center around Libby’s history–her unknown heritage with only hints of her mixed parentage, the grandmother she recently lost, the antique child’s ring she’s recently discovered.

But any character at all? Then I would choose the village priest, Reynaud, in Joanne Harris’s Chocolat. We would dine on chocolate–beginning with an appetizer of spinach/strawberry salad sprinkled with cocoa nibs and dressed with chocolate vinaigrette. This would be followed by a savory chocolate soup and a side of Russian rye-cocoa black bread (with slabs of butter)–the recipe I make in my own kitchen. Next of course would come Mexican enchiladas drowned in mole sauce–a divine concoction of chocolate and peppers and, well, heaven (I ate a dish this past winter from a recipe handed down for generations, and it changed the very essence of my being!). Dessert of Black Forest cake would be accompanied by a mug of thick Parisian cocoa (I drank by first cup of this ambrosia at Cafe Charlot in the Marais–look it up!). Chocolate and Reynaud form a sort of satire; in the novel, Harris used chocolate as a symbol of sin and/or redemption, or possibly the Reformation. I would like to converse theologically with Reynaud about that.

Sounds like a great dinner! What’s your favorite dessert?

Though I’m addicted to chocolate, my hands-down fav dessert is créme brulée–the classic version without a bunch of fancy seasonings, just pure, smooth, slightly thickened cream (not too eggy and never made from a package!) with that burnt-sugar cap fused right in front of me. Mmmmmmm. However, I can’t make a good créme brulée myself–I’d want a true chef to create it for me. What I can and do make will knock your socks off: one is a four-ingredient fresh mango bit of paradise, and the other is lemon ice cream made without any mechanical freezer churn (write me for the recipes).

Oh my goodness, I will take all of that! If you weren’t an author right now, what would you be doing?

Sewing. I absolutely love a Vogue pattern and a pile of top-end fabrics–natural fibers of silk velvet and fine linen and wool suiting and cotton batiste. I’d sew for myself (and I do, when not writing); I’d sew for clients (though not trained as a tailor); I’d sew hilarious and exotic costumes for rental shops (have done, in fact–a wizard, a little Dutch girl, a princess sporting a royal hennin with a long silk chiffon train).

I love to sew, although I’m not that good at it!

You’re on a stranded island and you can only have one book with you. What would you pick and why?

The Bible. I’ve heard it said that all other books in the world a person can read, but the Bible is the only book that reads the person. It’s living; it changes the reader. It changes me. The Bible (someone else said) is the swaddling clothes and manger in which Christ is delivered to us today. That would mean I’d be stranded on that island with the Lord. 

So true! I would pick the same way! What do you want readers to gain from reading this story?

I want readers of The Red Journal to look beneath the surface level of story to see something of Scripture in the message.

I enjoy it when authors put a scriptural message in their stories. Do your characters ever talk to you at odd times?

First thing when I wake up is the most creative fifteen minutes of my day. If I’ve been struggling with a scene or a thought, one of my characters will whisper an idea to me then.

That is cool! What are you working on next?

I’m currently writing a short Christmas story for an anthology, but I’m dreaming of two other novel ideas–one about a woman in her late twenties still living in her parents’ basement (but that’s going change!) the other about a young widow who’s inherited an orchard of cider apples (dealing with true love of the heart).

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year! But I like the orchard idea. I live in Central NY and we are surrounded by them 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I really appreciate it!

Giveaway_MosaicBlitz_JRnew

(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card & an ebook prize pack*!

Winner will receive an ebook of:

  • Where She Belongs
  • Pieces of Granite
  • Lifelines
  • Christmas on a Mission
  • Vigilant
  • Other Side of the River
  • The Third Grace
  • Carolina Grace
  • The Benefit Package (a devotional)
  • Dance of Grace
  • When Love Calls

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 10, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on July 24, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Open internationally, but international winner will receive a gift card only *(may be substituted for a Book Depository gift card if winner cannot accept from US Amazon)

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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See tour landing page for a complete list of authors & book release dates.
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

1 thought on “The Mosaic Collection – Interview with Deb Elkink

  1. Hey Jessica, thanks so much for inviting me to meet your readers. I find it fascinating that you love to sew as well–and travel. So where would you like to travel next and what would you sew to wear there? : )

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