Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SECRETS UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN - Elisa Marie Crites - Free Book

Welcome, Elisa. What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?

I love youth. I believe they are the front line warriors and as an adult it is my responsibility and privilege to encourage and equip them.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Okay, I’m a natural blond so this is like asking which is my favorite flake in a box of Corn Flakes. I’ll share one of my precious blond moments with you though. A few years ago we built a log home in the winter with the goal of getting the walls up and the roof on so we’d have a warm, dry place to hunker down until spring. (Have you ever tried roofing in 65 below temperatures? One word. Don’t.) We didn’t have electricity or running water, but we did have a wood stove. One day I burned myself on a pan and lamented to myself that if we had electricity, I’d have a refrigerator and would have ice to put on my burn. Several hours later during the two hours of daylight, I gazed out the window at the beauty of winter. Then it hit me. All morning I’d been in pain from the burn and outside my door were tons of ice and snow. What can I say?

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

As a child I loved to read and write. In the late 80’s I took a creative writing course at the university and my professor asked when I planned to write for a living, but at that time I only wrote in prayer journals and never thought of sharing my written words with others.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Oh, that’s a good question. I enjoy a vast range of books in both YA and adult including historical, whimsical, fantasy, mystery. There are so many wonderful authors. I get on kicks and read a bunch of murder mysteries, then switch to something else. And I love Christmas stories so each year I try to have enough of them to keep me entertained for two or three months. My fiction to-be-read shelf currently has books by Kingsbury, Dekker, Bell, Copeland, Snelling, Dooley, Myers, Berry, Eldredge, Collins, Lawton and Williamson, Stokes and Woodhouse.

I see my name on your list. I hope you like my book or books when you get to them. Let me know. I've had other readers compare my writing to Lauraine Snelling's and Tracie Peterson's. What other books have you written?

I’m working on a few stories, including a picture book.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Oops. When they handed that out I thought they said vanity and turned it down. Okay, seriously, I keep my spices in alphabetical order. How can the world get out of control when Adobo and Thyme are where they’re supposed to be?

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?

I think this is the most difficult question you’ve asked, Lena. Time is so fleeting and in my mind, so are accomplishments. Each time I’m urged by my Creator to do something that positively impacts others, I rejoice. But then the next opportunity comes along and shadows the last. I guess being an encourager is the accomplishment I’m most proud of, because it feels so good to lift others up. To buy a Starbucks for a drunk outside the store who looks like he’s been hit by a train, and tell him that God loves him. To stop and hand out popsicles to the road crew on a hot day. Buying a homeless person a meal, writing a note of encouragement to a single mom, anonymously paying for a family’s dinner at the restaurant.

You are my kind of person. I love reaching out to people, too. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A lion. No, a tiger. No, a bear. No, maybe Hugo, my dog because he knows how to love unconditionally, recognizes that every day is a new day, and there’s always reason to be joyful. And he gets taken care of pretty well too.

What is your favorite food?

Hmmm, I love Thai, Mexican, Italian. I’m addicted to Honeycrisp apples. They are the bomb. And salsa is a staple. And a medium rare filet mignon with blue cheese….oh shoot, hang on a sec while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

James and I are excited because we recently found a new little Mexican restaurant where the food is delicious, plentiful, and affordable. We'll be going back soon. Is it hard to break into the YA market?

I think it’s challenging to break into any market. It’s the same rules, write something compelling, write it the best you can, listen to your critique partners, (if you don’t have any, better get you some,) have it edited professionally.

What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that?

Write what you are passionate about. Do you want to tell a good story? Do you want to write something that will change lives or hearts? Do you want to encourage? Do you want to inform? Whatever your reason for writing is, know it, because without passion, you’ll dry up like a spitball in the desert.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Secrets Under the Midnight Sun is a coming of age story, set in Alaska in 1967. Freddie, a quirky twelve-year-old girl, longs for her father’s love and turns to God to fill the voids in her life.

The story deals with abuse and is aimed at YA/MG. Several counselors told me that there were books for adults looking for healing, but not much for kids going through the experience and this book reaches that audience. Interestingly enough, I find I’m not the only adult who reads YA, as a number of people that have contacted me about the impact of this story are adults.

Sounds like a powerful book. Please share the first page with us.


I’d anticipated this day for the last four of my twelve years. I bounced out of bed and floated down the hall to take a shower. I poked myself to see if I’d pop. Nope.

Back in my room I hung my robe in the closet then picked up the framed family photograph from the dresser. It had been taken eight years ago—in 1959—the summer we arrived in Alaska. David stood at attention in his Boy Scout uniform. The twins and Momma could be sisters. Shoulder length walnut hair framed their satin faces. In high heels they all towered inches taller than Daddy. I could easily have been an orphan that got in some nice family’s picture by mistake. My strawberry blond waves were going in every direction and my shirt half tucked into shorts that didn’t hide my skinned knees. I wore flip flops on my feet and clutched Chico, my Chihuahua, in my arms. Daddy’s face looking at me from the picture made me queasy. I set the photograph down and caught my reflection in the mirror over the dresser. I pulled my shirt sleeve down to cover the bruise on my arm. Everything will be okay now. David’s coming home.

I grabbed my baseball cap and pulled it down on my head as I rushed down the hall to the dining room.

Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?

My webpage is, blog,
Facebook, Elisa Maria Crites, Good Reads.

Lena, thank you for inviting me. It’s been such a pleasure.

And I loved having you here.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Annette W. said...

The first page sounds good!! I'd like to enter. derekannette at gmail dot com

grannyvon said...

I think this one would be one I should donate to the church libary. We have alot of kids and teens who come to church without parents. Who knows this might benefit someone. I would like to read it too. Lower Alabama

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

Elisa, what a powerful story. I love your writing style and your heart. Many blessings in your writing!

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview! Looks like a great read and a wonderful book for the young adults! Thanks for a chance to win!
Kari in Oregon

windycindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
windycindy said...

I would love to win this book for my niece! I also enjoy reading YA
fiction and then always pass my books forward!
Many thanks, Cindi

Karen F said...

I love to read!
kkfoster35 at msn dot com

Elisa Maria said...

It's nice to see others enjoying the YA market. Be watching it, because there are more Christian authors entering and I believe you'll find some wonderful stories to read and share.

Delia Latham said...

What a fun, interesting interview! Good job, Lena and Elisa. I'm loving the sound of this book...


fredamans said...

Beautiful cover! Please include me, from Ontario, Canada, Thank you.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read "Secrets Under the Midnight Sun." After teaching fifth through eighth grade English for over 20 years, I learned to love YA/MG fiction.

Tracy Krauss said...

The title grabbed me right away since I, too, have lived in the far north where the 'midnight sun' is a reality in the summer

Elisa Maria said...

It's great that some of the readers would like to read the book and pass it on to others. I met a lady who told me her twin daughters were up way late reading the book until she made them stop. My desire is for the story to get into the 'right' hands and that they'll find hope in the story.

Katie Marie said...

I'd love to be entered into this drawing. Thanks!

~ Katy
from Florida

Anonymous said...

I am Angela from Kentucky. I would love to win a copy of this book. Thank You!!!

Julia M. Reffner said...

This sounds like a powerful story. I would love to share this with some young people at church.


apple blossom said...

love to be entered thanks
I'm from ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

kristen said...

Oh, what a fantastic beginning. Please enter me:)
Kristen from WA

Annette O’Hare said...

I met (and roomed with) Elisa Marie at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference a couple years ago. What a wonderful woman! And I've never met anyone with so much energy! Hi Marie!

Lorna Faith said...

...I love coming of age stories...they bring back so many memories and help people heal from childhood issues as well:) Sounds like a great story!
Please enter my name for a chance to win:)

Lorna from Alberta

Nancye said...

Wow! After reading the first page, I am hooked! I would LOVE to win a copy of this book! Thanks for chance!

Nancye in Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Norma said...

I would love to read this one, too. Please enter me (from SK Canada)

Sidney W. Frost said...

Great interview.

Elisa Maria said...

Hi Annette. Good to see you here. Thank you everyone for stopping by.
You're a nice warm group on a cold Alaskan day.

Molly said...

Would love to win this!

Molly in NC

Cíntia Mara said...

Here I am, another adult that read YA.
I think publishers and writers are starting to figure out that this public can enjoy histories deeply than the usual. I don't know if it is a standard all the world, but here in Brazil, just now these subjects are starting to show themselves. This is good!

Please, enter me in giveway.

God bless you!

sheila walker said...

Would love to win the free book. Its subject inspires me to write. I send books to girls in prison. The one I communicate with has just asked for more. Their library books are mistreated, missing pages, etc...the books have to be mailed from a business, not a person's name.