When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, May 4, 2014 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I'll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must have a U.S. mailing address for print books. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.
Dynamo by Eleanor K. Gustafson
Our guest blogger is Eleanor K. Gustafson. Ellie began thinking up stories when she was five or six. When she started to read, God drew her to Himself with, yes—a story. Her fascination with story continued, but after reading early written attempts, friends and even her mother told her straight-out to stick to music as a career. She pushed manfully along, however, and began publishing both fiction and nonfiction in 1978. Dynamo is her fifth novel and builds off her lifelong love of horses. Her previous title with Whitaker House is The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David.
A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, Ellie has been actively involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences include gardening, house construction, tree farming, and parenting—all of which have helped bring color and humor to her fiction. One of her major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable power of story.
Welcome, Ellie. What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself?
My husband and I have been tree farmers since the early 1960s. We did hundreds of hours of timber-stand improvement to give good, straight trees room to grow tall and fat, and the resulting loggings (all of which have harvested some veneer-quality logs) have further improved the forest and put money in our pockets. We’ve made maple syrup, first with buckets and then with tubing. Our kids learned to work hard and have happy memories of reading Paul Bunyan stories by the outdoor fireplace (My daughter and I built that stone fireplace—library instructional in one hand, mortar trowel in the other). We also had adventures with mice, snakes, porcupines, skunks, cows coming to visit us, and basic living (no electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing). On October 4, we’re going to celebrate 50 years of tree farming with a public tour. Y’all come—Popple Dungeon Road, Chester, Vermont. My out-of-print novel Wild Harvest is set on our tree farm. It’s a time travel—modern girl meets boy of 1796 over a stone wall in Vermont. Used copies are still available on Amazon—cheap.
We’ve also done a fair bit of house construction along the way. Big stuff, like our current, two-story house that we really built twice. Nail in a board; rip it out and do it right this time. Then we graduated from tents to a cabin on the tree farm. The cabin itself is MOUSE PROOF!!! The mudroom off the cabin that we’re trying to make mouse proof is NOT. Score: Mouse 4, me 1. We won’t go into other battles. I also built a log playhouse for our grandchildren. They loved it. Finally, going way back, I sewed a 15-foot, canvas tepee that we used until it was practically see-through.
Did I mention that one of my favorite TV programs is “This Old House”?
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Actually, I would like to write in my non-existent spare time. An unfinished novel is calling me, but with the Dynamo roll out, it’s not going to happen soon. I’d also like to grub around in my garden, but (sigh…)
If you could have dinner with one person from today or history (except Jesus), who would it be? Why?
My answer has to be David, the subject of my previous novel, The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David. I worked approximately 15 years, researching, writing, and finding a market for the book, and I’ll want to ask David how close I came to getting it right. I want to meet Abigail, his third wife, as well. Will Joab, David’s ruthless commander-in-chief, be there? Dunno. Asaph the book’s narrator, most certainly. Eugene Peterson and other notables endorsed this book, and Amazon has posted smashing reviews.
When people ask me that question, I find it tough to answer. The book is complex. One layer is horses and the high-stakes world of horse shows and stable intrigue; another layer is the good, bad, and ugly of human relationships; but the bedrock layer is the sovereign God who interacts with Jeth in unusual and unpredictable ways.
Jeth’s boss is a Christian; Jeth is not. But when his girlfriend Janni slaps him really hard after he refuses to go to bed with her, the door of the Kingdom suddenly opens to Jeth. From then on, God begins to work in unusual ways. For instance, he wins a class when he should have come in last. He does amazing things and ends up in the hospital. Jeth finds God to be totally unorthodox, unsettling, unpredictable. But he has a church friend Maybelle who serves as his interpreter in this foreign territory.
Jeth’s obsession with the stallion Dynamo leads to tragic circumstances, and he finds himself in an excruciating situation, needing to defuse three time bombs and bring redemption to the brokenness around him.
So basically, the story is God in your face: Who is he really? What does he ask of us?
What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
Through the power of story, I want to move readers from comfortable Christianity to at least consider the option of true, servant discipleship. I want them to see an extraordinary God who sometimes works in extraordinary ways through servants who fear and worship Him. Like Maybelle, I’m trying to create a hunger in my audience for eating the full banquet God serves up, and not just nibbling crumbs to the point of starvation.
Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
It should be on sale in Christian bookstores, but it’s also available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon, CBD, and Barnes and Noble. If you want a signed copy, go to my website and contact me, and I’ll be happy to send you one.
Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
How about starting with my Author Video? Good for a laugh, especially over my unskilled “teleprompter.” (Watch for flashes of pink.)
I’d love for you to read Dynamo and post a review. People tell me it’s a page-turner, and getting to bed on time doesn’t seem to matter to them. The Stones is a great book, too. That novel, for sure, will keep you busy and off the streets!
Any parting comment?
My own publishing day has arrived, and the novel is now entering its show ring of readers and going through its paces. What sort of “ribbons” will it win? That part doesn’t much matter in the long run, but what does matter is whether or not this horse story can draw readers into the world of a powerful God who sometimes uses extreme measures to shape his servants. That’s my heart’s desire for all my readers.
Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, May 4, 2014 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Dynamo by Eleanor K. Gustafson. Please, please remember to leave your email address. I'll need your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I'll announce the winner in Monday's blog.
The winner of last Thursday’s blog post appeared in this past Monday’s blog. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.
Till next time … keep on smiling.