It is my pleasure to introduce historical fiction Indie author, Elaine Cougler. Elaine is the author of The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck and her third book, The Loyalist Legacy, just came out.
Elaine is a fellow Canadian whose trilogy covers the lives of British Loyalists from the American Revolution, beyond the War of 1812 to the Rebellion of 1838. From these conflicts, Canada emerged as a nation.
Join me in welcoming Elaine as she shares her thoughts on the writing process.
Did you have any scene which was more difficult to write than the others? One that you pondered whether to include or not?
Actually there were two scenes that I wondered whether to include. This book was so important to me for its fictional story but also for the way it had the ability to speak to some of the exciting and heartbreaking history going on in Upper Canada (Ontario) after the War of 1812. I put in a scene about a Chippewa couple and their struggles with the white people changing their way of life forever with the reservation system. And I knew that long before the American Civil War (1860-65) slavery was part of North America and I wanted to work some of that into my novel. Imagining what my characters might have been experiencing along these lines provided a way for me to present these issues in a natural way. These topics were not my main focus but they provided the backdrop to the central themes of pioneering and the vast differences in human nature.
What do you keep in mind as you write? An overarching question? A theme?
I am most interested in our human ability to rise again, over and over, no matter what difficulties we must overcome. People can be so strong, so amazing. One of my favorite songs is We Rise Again, made popular a few years ago here in Canada by the Rankin Family; in fact, our family quartet sang that at several events, a joy to remember. (Yes, I’m a singer.:-)) And music has such a way of taking a theme and imprinting it on our minds. I try to do the same with my writing; hence, Lucy’s strength and John’s ability to find the positives reoccur with their children’s families in my latest book, The Loyalist Legacy.
Is there an aspect of writing that you favor over others, e.g. dialogue, exposition, description of a scene, setting, or character, etc.? Is there one that is more difficult for you?
The thing I most like about writing is getting so into my characters and their stories that I find myself completely shut off from the actual world around me. I picture the rushing rivers, the single furrow ploughs, and I smell the sweat of a day’s struggle to survive but most of all, I join my characters in heart-stopping danger and unimaginable sadness. At those times my fingers type the words while the tears run down my cheeks and my whole being is immersed in a baby dying or a strong woman finally brought to the brink because she just can’t take any more pain.
Indie authors need to do it all on their own. How do you balance writing, marketing, promoting, bookkeeping, family and work?
Thankfully, I am past the stage of having a day job because my days are spent doing all of the above. While I love the writing, the marketing can be great fun, too, but I have to watch that it doesn’t take over my life. Yesterday I took about four hours off in the middle of the day to accompany my husband on one of his business trips; I consciously did that to work on keeping balance in my life. I now have a trilogy, a second edition of my first book, an audio book, a writing blog, a twice-monthly newsletter to my subscribers and all of the marketing for said initiatives. It’s a lot. And November is launch month with this fabulous blog tour online and many appearances at events in person. Lucky I love people!
How did writing this book change you or change how you look at the world?
That’s a hard question but it has changed me. It’s given me a joy I never had before. Oh, I have always been a happy person but finding my writing legs has tapped into my innermost desires. I think I’ve touched on something that is just mine, just me, and people seem to love it. The rewards go to my soul. Oh, that just sounds mushy! This latest book I’ve dedicated to my great great great grandparents, whose names and whose farm are the heart of the story, and to my two grandchildren who are connected to that history through me. That makes me absolutely thankful.
What would you like my readers to know about you?
Although I loved raising my children, sharing my family’s life, and being a high school teacher, once I started my writing journey a new joy found its way into my heart. I love meeting readers and writers on my speaking tours. Hearing their questions as they share their unique perspectives feeds my adrenalin. Just now I’m working on doing Skype-type speaking gigs wherever book clubs and other groups will have me. But the most fun is sitting at my computer with my hands hovering over the keyboard as my thoughts jump onto my computer screen. It’s fabulous, especially when my words make me smile or laugh out loud or cry real tears, or they just sing out a lyric melody in their own unique way. I am a wordsmith.
About The Loyalist Legacy
When the War of 1812 is finally over William and Catherine Garner flee the desolation of Niagara and find in the wild heart of Upper Canada their two hundred acres straddling the Thames River. On this valuable land, dense forests, wild beasts, disgruntled Natives, and pesky neighbors daily challenge them. The political atmosphere laced with greed and corruption threatens to undermine all of the new settlers’ hopes and plans. William cannot take his family back to Niagara, but he longs to check on his parents from whom he has heard nothing for two years. Leaving Catherine and the children, he hurries along the Governor’s Road toward the turn-off to Fort Erie, hoping to return in time for spring planting.
With realistic insights into the challenging lives of Ontario’s early settlers, Elaine Cougler once again draws readers into the Loyalists’ struggles to build homes, roads, and relationships, and their growing dissension as they move ever closer to another war. The Loyalist Legacy shows us the trials faced by ordinary people who conquer unbelievable hardships and become extraordinary in the process.
In Praise for The Loyalist Trilogy
“….absolutely fascinating….Cougler doesn’t hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.” ~ Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.
“….an intriguing story” ~ A Bookish Affair
“I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story.” ~ Book Lovers Paradise
“Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold.” ~ Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Elaine Cougler is the author of historical novels about the lives of settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution.
Cougler uses the backdrop of the conflict for page-turning fictional tales where the main characters face torn loyalties, danger and personal conflicts.
Her Loyalist trilogy: The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck and The Loyalist Legacy. The Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair selected The Loyalist’s Wife as a finalist in its Self-Publishing Awards. The Middlesex County Library selected the book as its choice for book club suggestions. The Writers Community of Durham Region presented Elaine with a Pay-It-Forward Award.
Elaine has led several writing workshops and has been called on to speak about the Loyalists to many groups. She writes the blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith, about the journey to publication and beyond. She lives in Woodstock with her husband. They have two grown children.