Elizabeth Hein writes women’s fiction with a bit of an edge. Her novels explore the role of friendship in the lives of adult women and themes of identity. She has published two novels, How to Climb the Eiffel Tower and Overlook. She is currently working on another novel and a mystery series.
In 2002, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood. During her extensive treatment, she met dozens of other cancer patients and developed close relationships with several of them. These friendships were the inspiration for her recent novel, How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. A cancer diagnosis is a life changing experience, yet it does not necessarily change a life for the worse.
Elizabeth Hein grew up in Massachusetts within an extended family of storytellers. Her childhood was filled with excellent food and people loudly talking over each other. After earning a degree in psychology and a short stint as a corporate recruiter, she and her husband embarked on the adventure of parenting their two beautiful daughters. Motherhood led Elizabeth to start a small business, home school one of her daughters for several years, and learn more about competitive swimming than she ever knew possible. She and her husband now live in Durham, North Carolina.
What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?
I was fortunate to have excellent English teachers throughout my education. One of my favorites was the inimitable Barbara Donahue who allowed my fifth grade class start a literary magazine. We named it Excelsior and filled its little square pages with poems and short stories. My contribution was a poem about an eagle. It was heartfelt and had a good message. Excelsior continued through high school and published a few of my awful poems of teenaged angst.
What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?
Being a writer is a double-edged sword. I love being independent and having the freedom to write whatever I want. Few pursuits are quite so flexible. On the other hand, writing is a lonely pursuit. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves if the work doesn’t get done or if the end product is not good. Writers need to be brave, as well as dedicated.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?
I believe that writers get stuck. I’ve certainly come to a screeching halt with different projects. It’s an awful feeling, but you can’t let it define you as a writer. If a project isn’t working, put it aside and work on something else. I am a firm believer in working on multiple projects at one time, so I always have something to work on. I have also come to appreciate the power of “butt glue.” Rather than saying “I have writer’s block” and going off to do something else, I have learned to show up at the keyboard everyday. Some days are unpleasant and unproductive, but eventually I got unstuck and can move forward.
What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?
Right now, I am working on the sequel to my first novel, Overlook, as well as a mystery set in the Galapagos Islands. The biggest challenge to writing the sequel is maintaining the snarky tone of the first book while dealing with some pretty serious social issues. I worry that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I can always start over if I have to. The story is set in 1976, so I have to be careful to have my characters see issues like domestic abuse and divorce through the lens of that time.
What supports you in your writing?
I tend to write about difficult subjects – cancer, infidelity, betrayal, abuse – so I need a lot of support. The thing that keeps me going is the thought that my books might touch a reader’s life. Quite a few of my readers have contacted me to say that How to Climb the Eiffel Tower made them understand what it’s like to live with a cancer diagnosis and that life can still be funny, even in the face of difficultly. On a day-to-day basis, I also rely on an unhealthy amount of caffeine to keep me going.
What are you currently reading?
I always have several books going at once. Right now, I am reading: The Resurrection of Tess Blessing by Lesley Kagen, an ARC of The Theory of Expanded Love by Caitlin Hicks, and If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black.
Where can our readers find you and your books online?
My website- ElizabethHein.com
My writing blog – Scribbling In The Storage Room
20 thoughts on “The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Elizabeth Hein”
Reblogged this on Elizabeth Hein – Scribbling In The Storage Room and commented:
It’s my turn to be the featured author on the 2K International Writers’ Blog tour. Thanks again, Kate Colby and Kate Evans, for organizing the tour.
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You’re welcome! Thank you for joining in and giving us this wonderful interview! Your story is very inspirational!
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Reblogged this on The Writer's Habitarium: the Blog of Author Kara Jorgensen.
I’ve read Elizabeth’s book and it’s amazing 🙂 When I reviewed it, I called it an unlikely Cinderella story, wherein cancer is the prince.
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Reblogged this on Writing Ourselves Well and commented:
Another fab interview on our blog tour…
Wonderful interview with Elizabeth. As someone who has a loved one battling lymphoma, I find her story so inspiring. She is an excellent writer.
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Reblogged this on Lightwalkers Blog and commented:
The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour has showcased some very talented artists. Today, meet Elizabeth Hein, a twice published author.
Reblogged this on To Write With a Broken Pencil is Pointless and commented:
My to-read list is getting longer each and every day with all these wonderful authors! Today meet Elizabeth Hein via her interview on The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour!
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Reblogged this on Zachary Paul Chopchinski.
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Reblogged this on Reading Over People's Shoulders… and commented:
We are trucking along with the blog tour. Check out today’s writer!
Reblogged this on Fia Essen and commented:
Elizabeth Hein – an inspiring woman.
I know this gal! Hi, Elizabeth! Sharing on Twitter!
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Reblogged this on Renee N. Meland's Books and commented:
Welcome to the next leg of the 2K International Writer’s Blog Tour! Up today is Elizabeth Hein
Reblogged this on Ordinary Handsome.
Reblogged this on Of Opinions.
great inspiration. thanks for sharing
I followed Elizabeth over from Scribbling. Very nice interview.