Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Children's Writer Publishes Her First Adult Book and Finds Readers Enthralled With Letter 16, Her Tome About a Floating Bottle
By Diana L. Chapman
Having twin boys, a daughter and a life wound tautly around children, children's author E.G. Ryan took a leap of faith and published her first adult novel -- Letter 16, released this spring. The story converges around two strong, suffering women, walks us through World War II and follows a floating bottle around the world.
Mostly, Elisabeth says, it's a story about karma and faith.
"The bottle is full of karma," she explains over coffee as her three children play by her side. "People are reading it in two days. My friend, a teacher, called me crying, saying she loved it. It's been a whole different response from my children's books. Literally, everyone is loving it."
As she nears the 1,000 mark of her novel's sales, Elisabeth, a former defense analyst for the U.S. Government, can't help but be thrilled that she didn't wait for traditional publishers to cast their eyes her way. As soon as she did two readings at the local Corner Store, she sold 200 books. She also didn't wait for publishers when it came to her ten children's books, all of which she wrote and illustrated.
Her children's works have caught on at schools, book fairs and book clubs and have begun to sell well on line with her strong marketing skills. Those include books such as Spunky the Dog, who doesn't want to live with his family anymore and The Collect-Its, two creatures living under a girl's bed who take her things when she leaves them out. All the stories are based on her mothering experiences with her twins, Nick and Maximillan, 9, who she home schools, and her daughter, Alexa Rose, 5.
As if she wasn't busy enough, Elisabeth plunged into writing novels, such as Irish Eyes and Five, both of which will be published possibly next year.
Her recent novel reflects a lot about the striking, six foot tall woman who often doesn't even begin to write until 11 at night. It shows she's highly prolific (she's working on another set of preteen stories) and that she detests rules. It irritates her inner-spirit so much that she tossed publishers rules out the doors.
Those include: don't both draw and write your own children's books, don't self-publish and don't change genres. In other words, don't explore.
But Elisabeth is all about adventure and decided quickly on she would write novels while she continued penning her children's books. "It fuels my fire," she said. "It just gives me more drive to prove them wrong and I do like the challenge."
Her first published novel establishes the love a young woman named, Anna, a daughter of a Baron, has for her Jewish lover, named Jakub, during World War II and how their romance was pulled out from underneath them by the gathering storm of Jewish hostiles under Adolf Hitler.
Anna then writes letters to her love who vanished suddenly from her home in Poland, and tucks them carefully into a bottle, sending them away with dreams that sometime she will meet Jakub again and reignite their love.
The 16 bottles -- most of which she sends out on streams and rivers, disappear-- but carry an abundance of amour, but only one carries what the author calls "Lissie's justice," and holds karma that will touch other people's lives all over the world like a jigsaw puzzle.
The story entwines with a contemporary woman named Diana, who has suffered hew own tragedy, when she finds the bottle "a world away." Distraught by her loss, but encouraged by the dramatic romance she finds in the letter despite the caverns of war and time, Diana finds a life mission: to return the letter to Anna.
"It speaks to a lot of people because of the cross-culture and the different experiences in their lives," the author said, adding she is Swiss-German. "My grandfather hid two seasonal Polish farm workers" during the war.
He did it in haystacks, cutting out sections in the hay bales where his farm workers could hide, she added. She used this same imagery in her book along with many others she gathered as she traveled the world in her federal job. One minute a reader can be in Japan where a wife has suffered a severe and deep humiliation from her husband and mother-in-law to a space in the expansive ocean where a man who is about as cute Star War's Jaba the Hut engages in human trafficking of young girls.
Her characters, she said, are "a compilation of humanity."
She calls her work "Lissie's justices," she said, because "in my world, if you do bad, bad will come to you."
Advice she has to other writers:
"People say they are always going to write a book," she said. "Write it. Don't share it with anyone until you are done. Who cares who the audience is? You are writing the book because you want to write it. They say every 1,000 words makes you a better writer.
"Write the book for you."
To order E.G. Ryan's books, visit www.EGRyan.com. Her books are also available on Amazon, at The Corner Store at 1118 W. 37th Street, Crafted, 112 E. 22nd Street or Rok'n'Ell, 1438 W. 8th Street, all in San Pedro. She can be reached at EGRyanEnterprises.firstname.lastname@example.org.