Tuesday, June 19, 2007

When I Was Just a Kid...Robert Elmer


Robert Elmer

There are some things about us that do not change as we grow up. Somewhere inside of each of us is a part of that kid, who over the years, grew up, had a multitude of experiences, got gray, got wrinkled, but still there beats a heart of that same person inside. When Bob Elmer gave me this photo for his "kid" memories here, I also got a few of his grown up photos--you tell me--something is vaguely familiar!

TODAY (JUNE 19th) Robert Elmer's fiction book LIKE ALWAYS released from WaterBrook.

As Will and Merit Sullivan hit their early forties, like many couples, they struggle with mid-life decisions. Their solution: Buy a new lifestyle—a small lake resort in north Idaho in need of a little… TLC. They’re welcomed to the small lakeside community, and the Sullivans work together to make a new home. But it’s not long before Merit finds that she’s unexpectedly pregnant—and that she has an aggressive form of cancer. Though she has a chance at survival if she aborts the baby, instead she chooses not to treat the cancer, in the belief that she cannot endanger the life of her unborn child at any cost. The Sullivans face Merit’s uncertain future together in this bittersweet story of faith, sacrifice
and dedication.

You can order it at Christianbooks.com or Amazon.com

He also has a series for young readers right now, called "The Wall." It's a three-book series of Cold War adventures set in Berlin.

Let's get a glimpse of Bob as a child...and how he came to be the versatile writer that he is today:

Where did you grow up? Born in California (San Francisco Bay Area)
but moved to the Chicago suburbs at a young age. Lived for three years in San Juan, Puerto Rico (second through fourth grades) and then back to California.

Childhood Ambition: The earliest goal I remember is that I wanted
to be a forest ranger, and I was a Smokey Bear Junior Forest Ranger when I was five. I could say the pledge and everything. Later I wanted to be a veterinarian, or in the Coast Guard. And all that time, of course, I was writing, writing, writing.

Fondest Memory (then): Family camping vacations to Fallen Leaf Lake (near Lake Tahoe),Devil's Lake (Wisconsin) and La Paguera (Puerto Rico).

Biggest Challenge as a child or teen:Starting in the fifth grade I used to find old wrecked boats and fix them up. That was always a challenge, but fun.

My First Job:
I was a worm shoveler at a bait farm. My job was to turn all the worm beds with a pitchfork, keeping them aerated. Fun, huh? My next job was a little better, driving an old Jeep around a golf course driving range, picking up golf balls and serving as a target.

Childhood indulgence: My dad, who is from Denmark, taught me to love black, salty Danish licorice. We still love that stuff, and I'll eat as much as I canfind. It's an acquired taste.

Favorite Childhood Play Time Activity:
Probably bike riding. Once I got on two wheels, there was nostopping me. I would ride around the neighborhood for hours with my friends.Then as a young teen I would take longer and longer bike hikes.

Favorite Childhood Movie:
Hmm -- We didn't get out to see that many movies, except Sunday
nights we always enjoyed the TV movies on Disney's "Wonderful World of Disney." I loved the animal stories like "Old Yeller" or "The Incredible Journey."

Favorite Childhood Book: Probably my favorite author was Beverly Cleary, and I loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle. But I also loved the Henry Reed books and anything by Robert McCloskey, like Homer Price. I collected Hardy Boys books for a while. You know, boy books! Summer was always my favorite time because I could go to the library and stock up on great adventures.

Childhood hero:
One of my earliest heroes was Ranger Porter Ricks from the Flipper TV show, because he would always come in his big boat to rescue Bud and Sandy when they got in trouble. Interesting that a novelist's early hero was a fictional character, right? But of course my ultimate hero was my dad, and I always looked up to him. He was a salesman, and though I never wanted to be a salesman, I wanted to be like him.

As a kid, life was always a big adventure. Still is. I loved traveling with my family, camping,hiking, biking. I also loved listening to foreign broadcasts on my ancient short wave radio at night. Looking at the stars and building treehouses. Dreaming. Fixing up old boats and exploring San Francisco Bay as a Sea Scout. Training my dog Sheba to do new tricks. Raising and flying homing pigeons.

Now when I write I like to draw on that deep well of adventure, a very happy childhood and a family life where I knew without a doubt that my parents loved each other (and me and my sister)very much.

Though that kind of childhood may not be as common, anymore, I think it helps me instill a touch of optimism in my books, as my characters seek a deeper relationship with God and search for life as it ought to be. So for kids I write adventures, and for adults I write stories
of renewed hope and second chances.

Right now I’m immersed in another world, a sci-fi fantasy trilogy for kids called Shadowside that I’m working on with ZonderKidz. It’s the story of Orianon—a very unusual girl on a very unusual planet, where the people on the light side don’t know of the people on the shadow side… until an odd music teacher arrives to shake everything up. I hope kids will love this story as much as I’m loving the new writing challenge.

Crystal Editor says: One of my favorite Robert Elmer books, besides his fiction, is a little book he worked on as an editor called Practicing God's Presence by Brother Lawrence.

You can find out more about Robert Elmer and his many books at:

Bob also does speaking and school visits and you can find out more about having him in your school or event on his web site.

Bob says:
"Last fall I enjoyed speaking trips to a number of Christian schools in Minnesota and also Florida. This spring I’m planning a trip to California, a visit to a local public school, and then over the mountains to western Washington. If you have any contacts at schools where they might appreciate a visit from an author, just tell them to check out details here at http://www.robertelmerbooks.com/!"


Miralee Ferrell said...

This is the first time I've visited your blog. I enjoyed it, and am going to check out some of the links you've listed on the right. I'm a member of ACFW and saw your link under your name on one of your posts. Nice job! Miralee Ferrell

Crystal Laine said...

Hey, Miralee! Welcome!

Thanks for your kind words. I went by to visit your blog at http://miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/

Great place. Come back to talk to me about your book, ok?

Anonymous said...

Euw. My daughter brought some of that salty licorice back from Sweden. Euw. An aquired taste, I would agree.