Celebrating Texas Writers Month with us today is Elizabeth Crook (Austin).
To win a signed copy of The Night Journal, leave a comment by May 21 stating the two awards it received. To increase your chance of winning, subscribe to this blog through Feedburner. Giveaway for U.S. residents only.
Elizabeth Crook was born in 1959. She lived in Nacogdoches and then San Marcos, Texas with her parents and brother and sister until 1966 when the family moved to Washington D.C., where her father was director of VISTA for Lyndon Johnson. Two years later her father was appointed Ambassador to Australia and the family moved to Canberra. When they returned to Texas Elizabeth attended public schools in San Marcos, graduating from San Marcos High School in 1977. She attended Baylor University for two years and graduated from Rice University in 1982. She has written three novels: The Raven’s Bride and Promised Lands were published by Doubleday and then reissued by SMU Press as part of the Southwest Life and Letters series. The Night Journal was published by Viking/Penguin in 2006 and reissued in paperback by Penguin.
Elizabeth has written for periodicals such as Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and has served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters. She is a member of Western Writers of America and The Texas Philosophical Society, and was selected the honored writer for 2006 Texas Writers’ Month, joining previous honorees O. Henry, J. Frank Dobie, John Graves, Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, Katherine Anne Porter, Elmer Kelton, Liz Carpenter, Sarah Bird, James Michener, and Horton Foote. Her first novel, The Raven’s Bride, was the 2006 Texas Reads: One Book One Texas selection. The Night Journal was awarded the 2007 Spur award for Best Long Novel of the West and the 2007 Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction.
Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?
A. I was born in Houston at Hermann Hospital, which was the closest big hospital to Nacogdoches where my parents lived. April 1st was the due date, but my grandfather told my mother he would pay all the medical bills if she would wait a few days and have me on his birthday. It turned out he wasn’t joking. She had me induced on his birthday and he paid for private nurses around the clock.
Q. How did you end up writing historical fiction?
A. My mom read to the three of us kids every night when we were growing up—a different book to each of us, so there were always three stories going. A lot of the stories were historical fiction, and I especially loved those set in the west—Old Yeller and Savage Sam, Blue Willow and Caddie Woodlawn. And then there was also the influence of my older brother. He was addicted to westerns like Gunsmoke and the Rifleman, and since the law of the west was still pretty much in effect in our household—meaning whoever was bigger could get control of the t.v. dial—my sister and I ended up watching a lot of westerns. When I started writing stories, they somehow didn’t seem right if they didn’t have horses or mules.
Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?
A. I can’t say I know. Marketing is a puzzle. You’re the genius with that! Whenever I think I understand it, it changes.
Q. Tell us about your latest release. Is it set in Texas?
A. My latest book is The Night Journal, a novel set in Texas and New Mexico. It takes place in two time periods—the 1890’s, depicted in the journals of Hannah Bass, and the present day, in which Hannah’s great grand-daughter is confronted by a shocking discovery that casts doubt on everything recorded in the journals. A mystery comes to light when two dog graves on the sight of the old family home near Pecos Pueblo in New Mexico are excavated and expose a number of things one would never expect to find in dogs’ graves.
Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?
A. My website is http://elizabethcrookbooks.com. I’d love for you to look in.
And thanks so much, Stephanie, for this chance to connect with your readers.
(follower of blog)
This looks interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.
This book is the winner of the 2007 Spur Award for best long novel, and the 2007 Willa Literary Award for historical fiction.
It does look interesting! Looked for the awards on Amazon and didn’t see them listed. Don’t have the time for research, but would love to know: Where’s the best place to see awards for a book?
This one sounds right up my alley. I love a book about secrets and mysteries.
I’m intrigued by the summary of this book. Sign me up for the drawing. It’s obvious that Elizabeth Crook is a talented writer. I wish her all kinds of fame and fortune with this new book.
thanks for the chance to read this novel….’the night journal’ received the 2007 spur award for the best long novel of the west & the 2007 literary award for historical fiction.
i’m a follower and email subscriber, too 🙂
I’m interested in how much research of the area where your books are set you do. Do you believe that living in Texas helps you tell those stories?
The two awards won by The Night Journal were the 2007 Spur for Best Long Novel of the West and the 2007 Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction.
Hi Stephanie. This book won the 2007 Spur award for Best Long Novel of the West, and the 2007 Willa Literary Award.
Didn’t just want to copy and paste from the comments so I went to Elizabeth Cook’s website and found this:
• February 2006 Barnes and Noble Book Club Recommendation
• February 2007 Pearl’s Pick
• Winner 2007 Spur award for best long novel
• 2007 winner Willa Literary Award for historical fiction
I love historical fiction! This one received the 2007 spur award for the best long novel of the west & the 2007 literary award for historical fiction.
I subscribe via feedburner.
This sounds like an interesting story.
lkish77123 at gmail dot com
For Louis Burklow:
Louis, thanks for the question. Yes, I do a lot of research to learn about the locations as well as the time periods for my books. It’s pretty hard to write about a place you’ve never been, and with historical fiction you can’t return to the times, all you can do is return to the places. I also find myself reading a lot about vegetation and landscape, because it’s not enough just to see the place, you have to know what you’re looking at. For me, that means pretty extensive research. Luckily I like that–it’s like a treasure hunt. One discovery leads to another. Thanks for writing!
This book sounds really good. I love a good mysterious story.
• 2007 Spur award for best long novel
• 2007 winner Willa Literary Award for historical fiction
It’s probably too late to leave a comment in time to win a copy of your book, but I’d like to congratulate you on all the awards you’ve won, among them the WILLA and the Spur! I also like your book cover design: simple, elegant, and just the right colors.