A Little Bit of Both

“Do your characters tend to have skills that you have yourself? Do you write about people who do things that you wish that you could manage?”

I suppose it’s a little bit of both. I was a teacher for thirty five years, and in that time I had to learn a bit about human nature, mostly that of teenagers. I learned to be mindful of what I said, to think before I spoke and hurt someone’s feelings or made a situation worse. I think I was pretty good at it, and I also think this is helpful for anyone to practice, not just a teacher.

I’m also fairly dependable. Sometimes things happen, but if I make a commitment I try to honor it. I have a passion for animal welfare so I frequently sign petitions asking for stricter animal cruelty laws. I donate to rescues and always adopt my pets instead of shopping.

Many of my characters embody these traits with Flood being the most obvious example. In that book my heroine was a vet who eventually breaks up a dog fighting ring.

I have a whole list of things I wish I could manage. I’d love to learn how to sew, but somehow I don’t have the dexterity to do it. I’d also like to learn how to decorate cakes. I can’t do this either. My flowers always look like blobs. In fact, anything that requires nimble, skillful fingers is pretty much beyond me. I’m a good cook though. I wish I had more motivation to go into the kitchen and turn out good meals, but sadly I’m kind of tired of cooking. I tell my husband that if we ever win the lottery we’ll hire a cook.

In my book A New Dream my heroine Violet is a baker, and in Fortuna my heroine Aimee teaches herself to sew. I can’t do these things, but it’s fun to let my characters do it for me.

What’s your greatest strength? Is there anything you’d love to do that you just don’t have the talent for?

About Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel A New Leaf was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Press. When she isn't writing you can find Elaine playing with her dog or maybe collecting more vintage Christmas ornaments
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6 Responses to A Little Bit of Both

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I think it’s great that one of your heroines can bake and another can sew.
    Projecting onto our characters a few qualities / talents we don’t personally possess … is probably therapeutic.

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  2. You have MANY admirable qualities, Elaine. Just handling teenagers well is a better skill than I have had! However, I wish that you were nearby, (or I near to you). Making lovely cakes is not hard; making ones that are so over-worked that no one wants to cut into is also wrong. Despite my bakery training and owning one, my make-on-nail flowers were far from great, so I never used those Mind you, I made money making wedding cakes! There are tips that can be layered and candy clay flowers that were time-consuming but worth it. I have not made a cake like that in a long time myself and flowers aren’t necessary for a great-looking cake.

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  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I agree, it’s fun to explore different occupations and interests by reading and writing about them. We can live vicariously through our characters!

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