Elaine Myers has a way with words — she’s had a lifelong relationship with them.
“When I was little,” she remembers, “one of the things I loved to do was to go to the library and pick out a book. Our side yard had a really tall tree, and I would climb it. No one would know I was there. I got a lot of pleasure, just listening to the birds and reading my book.” That memory of innocent joy links two of Myers’ great passions, the love of nature and the love of reading. Now, with the publication of her first children’s book, The Adventures of Lizzy Beth, Myers can share those loves with the world.
A family tradition
Myers was born and raised in Fostoria, and maintains a strong connection to the area, despite living in Cape Coral, Florida for the past nine years. (“I’ve been back twice this year, for book signings,” she says.) With Larry, her husband of 43 years, Myers has five grown children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren — so she has a feel for what children like.
“My husband and I read to our children all the time,” she says. “They loved books. And
because of that, one of our boys learned how to read when he was three. I thought he was just listening, but he was learning.” Myers never thought she’d be a writer herself. She's spent the last 20 years running her own business, Elaine’s Painting and Wallpapering, first in Fostoria and then in Florida. (Once the children were grown, Elaine and Larry agreed that “the Ohio winter was taking its toll on us.”) But gradually, she felt a need, both in herself and in children.
“At family gatherings, I would notice the grandchildren texting and playing videogames,” she says. "I thought ‘what a shame.’ Nature is fantastic — you need to get out there and discover.” And one day, Lizzy Beth appeared, and a book was born.
Setting out on a journey
“I didn't know if (writing) was going to be difficult or easy. Once it started it was amazing. The book took me on an adventure, a journey. I had to feel what she was feeling, experience what she was experiencing.” And Lizzy Beth has experiences!
Myers is a firm believer in keeping the reader engaged, with “something happening on every page.” She wanted a fast-paced story, saying “I don't want (readers) to be bored.” So ten-year-old Lizzy Beth explores nature with her loyal dog Joey, going from one scrape to another. Oncoming trains! Animal traps! A wounded rabbit that needs her help! The suspense ropes young readers in, and there are few valuable lessons hidden in the excitement.
Tate Publishing liked the book enough that they suggested making it a series. “I said, ‘Sure, absolutely,’” Myers recalls. Lizzy Beth’s second adventure, set in Florida, is already finished, and a third installment will send her to the Pacific Northwest. No doubt there will be plenty of exotic wildlife to give Lizzy Beth new challenges. In the long-term, Myers has a bigger project in mind — a historical novel about an inspiring part of her family history. But she doesn't want to get ahead of herself.
She knows there will be more writing in her future. “Something woke up in me while I was writing,” she says. “Now that I’ve written a book, I know that I’m going to be a writer for the rest of my life.”
The Adventures of Lizzy Beth retails for $7.99, $6.99 for an ebook download.
Available at www.tatepublishing.com, or order through bookstores.