Elizabeth Camden: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

ECamdenI’m chatting with the lovely Elizabeth Camden today about her childhood, Francine Rivers, and pearls! Be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of To the Farthest Shores via the Rafflecopter form below.

The Writer

What do you miss most about your childhood?

I can say it in one word: Ohio! I grew up in the rural American Midwest, but now live in the sunny tropics of Florida. I know that Ohio wasn’t perfect, but I remember it through a haze of nostalgic longing that is never far beneath the surface. The rustling of cornstalks, the smell of autumn leaves, frost in the air, apple cider. Oh, I can go on and on. To this day my mental image of paradise looks something like Ohio.

What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?

Like a lot of readers, it was Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love.  I think it is the most moving and powerful Christian novel I’ve read. Quite frankly, I haven’t seen any other novel that comes close in terms of content or subject matter. I sometimes worry that the Christian fiction market is getting too cautious in our subject matter, and that a novel like Redeeming Love could not be published today. Not that I want a steady diet of abuse or dark themes, but I do feel a little constrained now and again.

The Book

To the Farthest Shores

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett’s heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can’t tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can’t pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

What was the working title?

The American Pearl. That title popped into my mind before I even finished the first chapter. A lot of the novel is about the race to create cultivated pearls in both Japan and America, so it is a fitting title for the novel’s plot, but it also worked on a deeper level. Pearls are formed when an irritant slips inside an oyster, and it builds up a luminous protective layer in response to the pain. This is a perfect metaphor for the heroine, as Jenny has survived a rough childhood and the hero believes her struggles made her a more beautiful, compassionate person….a pearl. Alas, authors rarely get the final say regarding titles, and some folks thought The American Pearl was a little too “on the nose.” They were probably right. I love the wild romanticism of To the Farthest Shores, and the title lent itself to a beautiful cover image, so all is well!

Describe your book in 5 adjectives

Emotional, turbulent, joyful, heartfelt, wistful.

Which character took you by surprise?

The hero! I have always written bold and daring alpha-heroes, and I figured Ryan would be the same, but it didn’t turn out that way. From the moment he showed up on the page he was the exact opposite. He is kind, gentle, a little shy around girls, and he has the soul of a poet. At first I tried to turn him into one of my traditional alpha heroes, but what a mistake that would have been! When a character shows up fully formed and with a fabulously unique personality, the only thing an author should do is thank the Muse and run with it! So Ryan is my first beta-hero, and one of my favourites of all time.

Keshi pearls

What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

The science and lore of pearls. Although the hero is dazzled by pearls and everything that goes into the process of cultivating pearls, I could not be sure readers would share his passion. I included a bit of pearl lore and explained how he harvests pearls, but most of it ended up on the cutting room floor. Oddly, I was never a big fan of pearls before I wrote this book. I thought them stuffy and plain, but now I’m fascinated by them. Especially the imperfect ones. If you google ‘keshi pearls’ you will see some amazing pearls that are anything but plain. These luminous, oddly shaped pearls were often was early pearl farmers produced as they were on the quest to cultivate a round pearl.

Thanks Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

Relz Reviewz Extras
All Things Camden @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Elizabeth’s website and blog
Buy at Amazon: To the Farthest Shores or Koorong

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41 Responses to Elizabeth Camden: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

  1. Charis Zdrojewski

    Hard choice! I would have to say pearls.

    Thanks for the chance to win! It’s always a treat to read anything by Elizabeth Camden!

  2. Personally, diamonds, but I did just receive some really beautiful fair trade pearl earrings, so my answer might be shifting there just a bit.

  3. I just finished “To the Farthest Shores”, and I loved how you wrote the character of Ryan. He was a breath of fresh air! And, as always, I learned about a subject I knew nothing about, in this case, the cultivation of pearls. Elizabeth, your books are always engaging and full of historical information.

  4. Sounds like a great book!

  5. I love both! I love the sparkle of diamonds and the classic elegance of pearls. I’ve never seen the odd shaped pearls – they are gorgeous!

  6. I agree with you about not loving pearls at first. They’ve grown on me over the years. I actually prefer the irregularly shaped ones to the perfectly round ones. The round ones look more like fake pearls to me. I do love diamonds, though. They hold up well to everday abuse, and they really sparkle! Opals are my favorite gemstone, though, and they’re similar to pearls in the way that they shine with multiple colors. I’m still a sucker for rainbow colors! Lol

  7. I’m not a big fan of either diamonds or pearls. I love color so I prefer emeralds and rubies.

  8. Diamonds, I would love to win this book!

  9. Thanks for the interview. I’ve heard so much about this book. It’s on my wish list.

    I like both diamonds and pearls, but i like rubies, emeralds, and sapphires better.

  10. Lovely interview :) I’ve yet to read any by Elizabeth Camden, but would like to change that soon!

    I think I would prefer diamonds, but either one is okay 😉

  11. Hard choice- pearls or diamonds, though if someone gave me one, I would prefer the diamond.

  12. I don’t wear much jewelry besides my wedding ring which of course is diamond . Pearls can be very classic and elegant, but I just don’t normally have the occasion to wear them.

  13. Diamonds only because you can wear every day and not worry about them. I do have some very special pearls that belonged to my Mom and nothing makes me happier than when I can wear them. Not only are they beautiful but they make me feel Mom close to me.

  14. Diamonds for me!

  15. While I like both, I so tend to lean a bit more towards pearls.

  16. I like both, but diamonds! They do go nicely together too!

  17. I like both pearls and diamonds though I don’t often wear either one. They are both beautiful.

  18. I prefer diamonds. Looking forward to reading this book.

  19. Diamonds.

  20. Pearls! I’ve loved them ever since I saw Anne Shirley receive a pearl necklace from Matthew Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables. That was 25 years ago.

  21. Since my birthday is in April, I always say that diamonds are my favorite gemstone, but I appreciate pearls. I like the idea that a pearl is the result of an irritating grain of sand.

  22. Barbara L Thompson

    I prefer diamonds. I enjoyed your interview and your book sounds great I don’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to read one of your books. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.

  23. Tough question! I love pearls so would say I prefer them over diamonds.

    Thank you for the chance to win!

  24. Marylin Furumasu

    Hi Rel,
    This was a nice blog. I haven’t read any of Elizabeth Camden books, but this one sounds really interesting.
    I love both diamonds and pearls, but the whole process of pearls; the fact that they were once a rough piece of sand and then thru all the struggle they then became a pearl is so fascinating to me, because it can reflects so much of our life.
    I look forward to reading this book.

    • Marylin Furumasu » Elizabeth is one of my picks for the top historical romance novelists in the CBA, Marylin. I think you would enjoy her stories.

  25. I prefer pearls. I make strung jewelry so I can buy real freshwater irregular pearls pretty inexpensively . They work well and come in colors. I always get comments on them, they can be dressy or casual! My mother gave me a string of Majorca pearls. They are the best fakes around. She was an antique dealer and always had an eye for good stuff at auctions and little shops.
    This book sounds so good. Love the intrigue! Thanks for the chance to win!

  26. Oh my, how could I forget the Mikimoto pearl earrings my husband got me when we were stationed on Guam! They are very special! I’ve had them over 40 years! Yes, pearls it is! Although, I have my Grandmother’s 1/4 carat Tiffany diamond ( reset) that my missionary Grandfather had sent from Tiffany’s to China back in the early 1900’s when he married Grandma on the mission field!

  27. I cannot choose between diamonds and pearls, for both are stunning. Wow I never knew that before pearls were round, they had such odd shapes! I am certain that this book is a must-read. Thank you for the giveaway!

  28. Nice interview, I definitely would miss Michigan if I ever moved, so I can see how you miss Ohio, Elizabeth! I prefer diamonds, but I do look forward to reading this book and oerhaps it will change my mind about pearls. Even though I like diamonds, I prefer smaller ones that aren’t too flashy.

  29. The song says that “diamonds are a girls best friend” but give me pearls any day of the week.
    My mother gave me her pearls to wear 41 years ago when I married my best friend.

  30. Both diamonds and pearls are unique and beautiful in their own way….but I guess I prefer diamonds. I did look up Keshi Pearls and they are very stunning!

    What a GREAT interview! I really enjoyed hearing about the background of the story and the characters in “To the Farthest Shores”. I am dying to know what this mysterious mission is that Ryan was on that has such a huge effect on the past and the present! I can’t wait to read this book to find out!! Thanks for the opportunity of this giveaway :)

  31. Both are lovely but I prefer diamonds. I have my Mother’s little single strand pearl necklace, which I think probably dates to the 40’s or 50’s. I enjoyed the education!

  32. Rel, thank you for the wonderful interview with Elizabeth! I’ve not yet had the pleasure of reading her books.

    I prefer diamonds and emeralds. Thank you for the giveaway.

  33. Even though my birthstone is a pearl, I must admit that I prefer diamonds.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of To the Farthest Shores.

  34. I’m not really one for wearing jewels, but I guess I would say diamonds. I love how pearls are made, but I think it’s the shine of the diamonds that appeals to me.

  35. Diamonds for me, but I love pearls too.

  36. I have loved pearls since I was four years old and my mother allowed me to wear a string in a family portrait we had taken. It was such a big deal to me. I appreciate the beauty of both diamonds and pearls.

  37. Neither, I prefer sapphires or emeralds :-) I, too, found the whole pearl making process fascinating! Reminds me a bit of the Pearl of Great Price scripture talks about.

    Thanks for the giveaway chance for an author I adore!

  38. Love pearls.

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