Elizabeth Sumner Wafler

Hi Elizabeth,  I am delighted to have you here on my blog series “Women Write” where I interview my fellow female writers.

Q: Tell us about your books.

A:  A life-long a rabid reader, I've read myself to sleep every night since I was fourteen. On the heels of a twenty-year teaching career, I decided to try my hand at writing my own fiction.

My husband and I love the band The Eagles. When their two-part documentary came out several years ago, we couldn't wait to watch it. When the producers showed concert film footage of undulating kids packed together on the front row, I was struck by a particularly radiant girl on the shoulders of a good-looking guy. Her face was absolutely rapt. I thought that could have been me at the age. Who was this girl? I began wondering about her story--who she became and whether or not as an adult she had seen herself in the documentary. The idea for my first novel IN ROBIN'S NEST was born. I call it my "training wheels" book. Though it's a great story, even a lovely one, it had more plot holes than a colander.

Short synopsis: Robin Hamilton, successful New York attorney and seventies' rock devotee, is poised to reveal a secret that will alter the course of three lives. One winter evening, Robin and her adult daughter Lark is watching a TV documentary when Lark unexpectedly spots her mother in a concert crowd, twenty-one, luminous, and perched on the shoulders of a handsome young man. That man is Lark's father, Dean Falconer, though neither of them knows the truth. Robin decides it's time to come clean.

Flashback to 1977, Robin meets Dean at a rock concert in D.C. and they fall in love over the course of a single transcendent weekend.

But now Robin hasn't spoken to Dean in thirty-five years. While Lark is enthusiastic about meeting her father, Robin must deal with what could have been after three decades of loneliness and broken dreams. A spring full of revelations and one extraordinary summer spent in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia will teach these three people the ultimate measure of honesty, passion, and devotion.

Q:  Why do you write women’s fiction? And if you change genres, why is that?
A:  IN ROBIN'S NEST is a romance. At that time, I didn't understand the genre of women's fiction. I just knew it was a story that women would love. GEORGIE GIRL is a coming-of-age fiction and the story of a faculty daughter growing up on the campus of an all-boys prep school in the early seventies. Let that sink in a minute! Though GG is by no means a memoir, Georgie's situation was inspired by my coming-of-age on the campus of The Baylor School for Boys in Chattanooga, TN, where my father was Chairman of the English Dept. Can you imagine the plethora of opportunities for high drama?

It wasn't until I joined the Women's Fiction Writers Association that I came to understand WF and how to write it. I even became Director of Craft Education for the organization!

I landed my literary agent with book #3 A CLEFT IN THE WORLD, a true women's fiction. Though both books stand alone, CLEFT serves as a companion book to GEORGIE GIRL. In CLEFT, Georgie is an agoraphobic French teacher tucked into "the cleft" of a Virginia women's college that may be forced to shutter for lack of funding. When her first love Truman (from GEORGIE GIRL) randomly arrives as a financial consultant, she is the liaison to his faculty committee by day, and moth to his porchlight by night. To save her sanctuary, Georgie plans a massive rally to help save the school and is thrust into the larger world where she is finally forced to conquer her fears.

Q:  What was the hardest, most unusual, or interesting part of the story to research?

A:  For A CLEFT IN THE WORLD, I had the best day visiting and touring Sweetbriar College here in Virginia. The school was almost forced to shutter several years ago but was ultimately saved by a band of faithful alumnae. The director of admissions not only allowed me free reign of the campus but treated me to lunch in their faculty dining room. I spent a couple of hours sitting on the dock at the boathouse—a legendary, favorite campus spot—where I wrote a draft for chapter two.

Q:  Tell us about your writing day.
A:  I typically write best in the afternoons and for long stretches so that I'm in the zone and feel that sense of urgency. But this question feels funny right now because I haven't written in several months. My agent was unable to place CLEFT in the 2019 market. I went on to write book #4 TOPANGA CANYON a mother-daughter story, written in dual POV. Tagline: Candy heiress Dare O'Day hasn't done a reckless thing in her life. Or so her estranged, version 2.0 hippie daughter Caroline believes. Brief synopsis: Talbots' suit-clad Dare lives in quaint Foxfield, VA, where she is featured editor of the local paper. Caroline, her twenty-seven-year-old daughter lives in an intentional community with other professional Millennials in Topanga Canyon, CA, composting, chasing chickens, and working remotely as a French to English translator. Caroline, reared by emotionally distant Dare, and who consequently never wanted to be a mother herself, has just learned that she is pregnant, and believes she doesn't need Dare's support.

When Dare is involved in a scandal that rocks her community, she needs to get out of town fast. Acting on a hunch that it could be her last chance to forge an authentic and loving relationship with her daughter, she and her one-eared rescue dog head for Caroline's "Crewtopia." Despite their differences, Dare and Caroline confront a lifetime of family secrets and misunderstandings. Dare eventually adapts to and even embraces the wildness of Caroline's world, while at the same time reconnecting with her first love, whom she hasn't seen in thirty-four years. Ultimately, Dare and Caroline learn that a loving and supportive relationship between mothers and daughters has the power to influence generations-to-come and is the strongest and most important bond of all.

My agent is currently shopping TOPANGA CANYON to acquiring editors, while I am working with professional marketing coach Dan Blank so that I can learn to market my own work.

Q:  What are the words you live by? A kind of motto?

A:  To love and glorify God and not to care what other people think. When I was younger, I allowed so many things to embarrass me. Now I revel in a good "laugh at myself of the day."

Q:  Do you have a favorite female author? Favorite book?

A:  I am crazy about the brilliant work of authors Anna Quindlen, Lori Lansens, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Donna Tartt, Kristin Hannah, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, and Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Gosh, my favorite book? That's tough. Here are a few: Tartt's THE GOLDFINCH, Reid's DAISY JONES & THE SIX, Lansens's THE GIRLS, and Quindlen's RISE AND SHINE.

Q:  Apart from your family what can’t you live without?

A:  Uh oh, time to spill the tea. But not my Tervis tumbler-full of unsweetened iced tea with Sweet & Low. Loving friends, chocolate, Café du Monde coffee, Pinot Grigio, books, my i-phone and computer, flowers, aesthetic beauty, music (folk & the 60s-70s rock), farmers markets, TV's Outlander (though due to COVID, we're currently in another Droughtlander,) and my guiltiest pleasure cupcakes.

Author Bio

Elizabeth Wafler writes evocative women’s fiction and is represented by Pamela Harty of the Knight Agency. A member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association, she serves as Director of Craft Education. She enjoys working with other writers through her editorial business Four Eyes Editorial. She lives with her husband and cairn terrier Mirabelle in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she can be found at a farmer’s markets in search of the perfect heirloom tomato, or at one of the fifty vineyards in the area enjoying a glass of Virginia wine.

Social Media Links

Website: elizabethsumnerwafler.com

Twitter: @elizabethwafler

Instagram: elizabethsumnerwafler

Four Eyes Editorial: https://elizabethsumnerwafler.com/editorial-services/

Founder of the Facebook page: Women Writers Version 6.0 for gals 60+ https://www.facebook.com/groups/765678124273129

Purchase Links (of the book you wish to promote.)

Currently, GEORGIE GIRL: https://tinyurl.com/3z3c8hpx.


Fabulous job, Margaret! You're so generous to do this. I'm stoked!!!!! XO

 

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