Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Aloha to Elizabeth Langston and WHISPERS FROM THE PAST


It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Elizabeth Langston - YA author, AF veteran, and my roomie during the RWA Convention!   She joins us for a cozy chat about her Whisper Falls series ...

Kim:  From your website, you were born in TN, raised in MS, and now live in NC. What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Deep South?

Elizabeth:  For me, living in the Deep South is all about mealtimes—tables groaning with dishes like ham, potato salad, biscuits, and sweet tea in a glass with condensation rolling down the side. When I was a young girl, summers were all about eating outside in the lazy heat with people laughing and talking and fanning themselves. Dessert would usually be an ice-cold watermelon. We would get a slice and stand on the grass dripping juice as we gnawed it down to a green smile.

Kim:  What did you learn in the AF that you could apply to your writing career?

Elizabeth:  My boss must’ve recognized early that I could write, because he often assigned me to draft reports that would float up through the ranks. Higher-ups were more likely to pay attention if the information was both engaging and lean. That was my first lesson. Make every word count.

The second lesson was about patience. Things happen slowly in the government. I could propose an idea and be fairly confident that I wouldn’t hear back for months or years. That didn’t mean it was a bad idea; it just meant that progress moved at its own pace—not mine. I have used that lesson more times than you can imagine with writing and publishing.

Kim:  Who or wha helped you along the path to publishing? What attracted you to write YA?

Elizabeth:  I give my family the most credit for smoothing my journey to publication. They had to put up with a distracted mom/wife, rushed meals, and weekend trips to historical sites for research. They listened to me brainstorm. They heard me squeal over a “good rejection.” They saw me cry. Whenever I felt like giving up, I remembered that my two daughters were watching me. And I squared my shoulders and got back to work.

My daughters are also why I write YA, especially daughter #2. She has Asperger’s, which is on the Autism Spectrum. When she was a tween, her middle school offered her the typical reading list in Language Arts class—and some of the books were too obscure or abstract to make much sense to her. I told her that I would write her a book and discovered that I loved writing for young adults.

Kim:  That is a wonderful reason to write YA!  Tell us about the Whisper Falls series - what inspired it?

Elizabeth:  The concept burrowed into my subconscious during a Twilight Zone festival. I watched an episode called “A Message From Charity”, which had a time-travel feel with glimpses into the Salem witch trials. I loved everything about that episode except the ending, which made me crazy. The story haunted me with What-if’s.

In a separate (but intersecting) plane, I researched the colonial and federal periods of America with a plan to write a “pure” YA historical. Then I uncovered some material on indentured servants. My brain flooded with possibilities. My heroine Susanna took over for Charity. North Carolina in 1796 took over as the setting. I put my hands on the keyboard, and the first book just leapt from my fingers.

Kim:  What's next for Elizabeth Langston?

Elizabeth:  I have a new YA magical realism series starting this fall. I’m currently in revisions on the second book. (Book 1, I WISH, releases in November. It’s the story of a teen girl who is struggling to finish high school while she takes care of her mentally-ill mother. A “genie” appears at the perfect moment to offer help.)

I’ve also started plotting and drafting a YA historical/paranormal that is set in 1776. One of the main characters is Nathan Hale, the first American to be executed for spying during the War for Independence. I am co-writing this book with another author, and we’re enjoying the process! 

Kapena Falls near the Pali Highway on Oahu

Mahalo, Elizabeth, for your enthusiasm!  I thank you for donating your first two books to deployed personnel in Africa.   Elizabeth is celebrating the release of Book Three, WHISPERS FROM THE PAST:

..that's not freedom at all.

With the dangers of the past behind them, Mark and Susanna are reaching for what the future holds. As Mark's final year of high school draws to a close, his focus shifts to choosing a college and moving on. For Susanna, it's time to set down roots and realize dreams of her own.

Yet the whispers from the past continue. A glimmer in the waterfall reveals messages from a dear, old friend. As she fights to resist their call, Susanna must finally confront the consequences that her choices have made across two centuries.

I am giving away WHISPERS FROM THE PAST, winner's choice of format, to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your favorite mealtime.  Mine is breakfast, especially Sunday breakfast when we have time to bake cinnamon rolls.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 11, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 12.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Elizabeth and her books at elizabethlangston.net.

Plus Elizabeth is hosting a special giveaway for her book release at this link



  1. Is afternoon tea a meal time? Never-the-less it is my favourite. Time to put my feet up with a cup of tea & a home-baked goodie.

  2. Breakfast for me! Nothing better than a omelet with bacon and hash browns.

  3. Congrats, Elizabeth, on your new release! I agree with Elizabeth that meals are important to Southerners. I love any meal with home cooked food!


  4. I enjoy a nice breakfast as well.

  5. These are gorgeous covers! I love all mealtimes when delicious food is served!


  6. I always enjoy my full English Sunday dinners. It takes ages to prepare, but only minutes to devour it.

  7. Sunday dinner/lunch when we all gather and have a big meal :) Thanks for sharing!

  8. I like any meal that I don't cook for.

    Thanks to Kim for hosting me today!

  9. My favorite meal time is breakfast. I love breakfast foods. Eggs, hash browns, pancakes, cinnamon rolls. Love them all. And I enjoy having breakfast foods for dinner too.

  10. I love having breakfast out but since I don't usually eat breakfast or lunch (maybe some yogurt lol) I pick dinner time.

  11. Hi, Elizabeth! Great to see you here. I LOVE this: "Whenever I felt like giving up, I remembered that my two daughters were watching me. And I squared my shoulders and got back to work." And then I kept reading and it got even BETTER! This retired school teacher LOVES that you began writing YA so your daughter with Asperger's could understand them!!! What a fabulous story. I'm off to buy WHISPERS FROM THE PAST - and what a gorgeous cover!!!

  12. my favorite meal is any meal where I get to eat!!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!