image: header
image: gownflare

Friday, June 15, 2007

Spotlight on Robert (Bob) Elmer and Like Always

Robert Elmer has 26 years of experience as a news editor and reporter, freelance writer and advertising copywriter, assistant pastor, workshop leader and novelist. During this time he has written, co-written, edited and collaborated on everything from trade articles and corporate brochures to radio scripts, biographies, appeal letters, and full-length novels. He has written more than 45 popular novels under his own name, including youth series like "The Wall" (for Zondervan/HarperCollins), "The Young Underground," "Adventures Down Under," "Promise of Zion," "AstroKids" (all for Bethany House/Baker) and "HyperLinkz" (for WaterBrook/Random House) along with several novels for adults, including The Duet, The Celebrity, The Recital and Like Always (all for WaterBrook/Random House).

Robert also recently updated the devotional classic Practicing God's Presence (NavPress) and co-authored Off My Case for Kids (Zondervan/HarperCollins) with national speaker and Christian apologist Lee Strobel. He is a graduate of Simpson College and St. Mary's College in California, with a B.A. degree in communications and Bible, as well as an elementary teaching credential. When he's not writing (or sailing), he often speaks to young audiences across North America, encouraging them to develop their own writing skills. He's a mentor and board member for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild in Colorado Springs. Robert and his wife Ronda are the parents of three young adults and live in the Pacific Northwest.

Like Always
By Robert Elmer
Waterbrook/Random House


1. You've got an amazing story of love, commitment and sacrifice rolled into this book. What gave you the inspiration for your story?

Like Always was inspired by the true story of a 41-year-old Italian woman named Rita Fedrizzi, who made headlines a couple of years ago when she refused treatment for cancer that was discovered after she was pregnant. Her primary interest was in protecting the life of her unborn child, and she was both praised and scorned for her courageous stand. I expect that kind of gut reaction to the book's plot, as well. In any case, I saved a news clipping on Mrs. Fedrizzi's story, and over the months started wondering how I could transplant the gripping nature of that account to an American setting. The result was Like Always, set near a lake in beautiful north Idaho.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Will and Merit? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Like many writers, I mix and match personal insights and perspectives as I create new characters. Will and Merit have a young adult son, for instance, and my wife and I have two (along with a daughter). Their relationship in the book is strong, and I can relate to that, as well. But I always seek to create new and unique characters that, in the end, are really not like me. That's especially true as I create female characters -- since I'm not a female! But I love the challenge of understanding different perspectives, imagining how people might react under extreme circumstances or trials. That makes the characters come alive for me.

3. What themes exist in Like Always that you hope the reader sees?

I started out with one main theme, and that was basically: "Whom do we live for?" And I placed my characters in a situation where they were forced to make the toughest choice anyone would have to make. But as the story progressed, I found the relationships between the characters deepening, and other themes bubbled to the surface, as well. The theme of reconciliation between sisters came up, and what it takes to overcome estrangement and hurt. And in the end another interesting theme came out, as well. A question, really: Can we ever really put things right, again? Can we ever go back to the way things were? Like they always were? Like always? That's where the title of the book comes from.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I don't cry that easily, but the toughest scenes to write in this book brought tears to my eyes. The scene where Will and Merit are driving home from the hospital was really tough to get through. So was the scene where they're camping next to the lake in a thunderstorm. The Easter Sunday scene had me weeping. Obviously I don't want to give away the storyline to someone who hasn't yet read Like Always, but the emotions in this book really hit me deeply as I imagined myself in those situations. It brought home the Robert Frost quote I have posted next to my computer: "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Right now I'm working on something entirely different, a sci-fi/tantasy trilogy for young teens called "Shadowside." Obviously it's nothing like Like Always, but it's been a challenge -- and a lot of fun -- to write. Meanwhile I also have several proposals out there, as well, so stay tuned. I try to keep readers updated on my website,

* * * * *

Thanks, Bob, for being in the spotlight today. Readers, leave your comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of this book. This week, the drawing is open to US/Canada residents only. Check back here next week for the winner.


tetewa said...

This sounds like a great read count me in!

sherlyn said...

I like emotive covers and this one has a really nice feel to it!

Shauna said...

Hmmm, this book sounds like one that needs to be read with Kleenex in hand. :-) Thanks for another great spotlight!

Anicz said...

the issue of "identity" (who am i) and "purpose" (what am i here for) is always difficult to grasp and more so, find out.. Like Always sounds like a great bok to explore esp with a theme ""Whom do we live for?""

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

And the winner is....


Congratulations. I've sent your information to Bob, and he'll be mailing your book out shortly.

Thanks again to everyone for your continued support. Another spotlight coming up this week!