Thursday, November 1, 2018

Talkshow Thursday: Author Ellie Gustafson

Talkshow Thursday: Author Ellie Gustafson

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your newest publication An Unpresentable Glory. How did that come about and where did you get the inspiration for the title?

Ellie: It all came from a real-life incident, as related in the Preface:
The night before my husband’s dad died, I volunteered to take the night shift, as a bladder infection made him restless and required constant attention. I sat beside him, serving him—my father-in-law—as needed. But through those difficult hours, I felt I was on holy ground, the room peopled with angels.

This awkward stint of servanthood affected me profoundly, eventually moving me to write An Unpresentable Glory. Whatever hidden, “unpresentable” ways He asks us to serve may reflect God’s glory more vividly than our more well-dressed benevolences. Places or situations that are awkward and not for public view may become God’s platform for displaying His love. This love could be for all to see (presentable) or only for the eyes of the participants.

LM: You have published several books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Ellie: Editing each book—at least fifty times! Writing the first draft is really hard, but I find joy in pruning and scrubbing and polishing text until it shines and sings. Each re-edit comes from a fresh perspective.

LM: Research is an important part of each book. Can you describe a time you had an “aha” moment while researching one of your books?

Ellie: I needed the Teddy Roosevelt National Park to be open on Christmas day—which it’s not. However, I learned that the public road that runs through from south to north has to remain open to provide a corridor for people who live north of the park. YESSS!!!

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example, do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Ellie: I can’t write while listening to music. Music speaks its own emotional language and requires its own attention. I can’t work “bi-lingually.” I prepare for each day—whatever I’m doing—with a time of Bible and other devotional reading, along with prayer. If I don’t keep the right focus, nothing—writing included—amounts to much.

LM: You live in New England, a beautiful area of the country. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Ellie: That’s a hard question. I don’t think in those terms. Vacation, though, is different from destination. I think, at my age and stage, going on a pre-planned tour, with people to feed and water you, take care of your luggage, and drive you to gawk at whatever swell place, sounds really good.

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Ellie: Place: Supai Canyon, Arizona. Occasion: Visiting an Indian mission at the base of a thousand-foot cliff. People involved: Four—me, husband, father-in-law, missionary. Activity du jour: Climbing the thousand-foot cliff. Quirky event: Halfway up, I, wearing old and fragile slacks, feel the seam giving way. Soon, only the hems at the bottom of each leg hold the slacks together. Me—with three men fore and aft—my unpresentable moment! Response: A good laugh for all.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Favorite Color: I don’t have a favorite color. I’m waiting for the new colors I’ll see in heaven.
Favorite Food: Hot, homemade bread!
Favorite Season: Spring

LM: An Unpresentable Glory is your final novel. What big plans do you have for retirement?

Ellie: Right now, unprogrammed, uninterrupted sleep sounds pretty good.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Book Blurb: 
Linda Jenson leads a relatively quiet life in Westchester County, New York, as the owner of a highly-acclaimed garden. Inherited from her parents, the garden is her pride and joy. What is not so joyful is finding a strange man sprawled near her delphiniums! The mysterious man is sick, unable to do anything more than drink water-and beg for secrecy. Ignoring all alarm bells, Linda sees to his needs, but her caring act takes on unexpected significance, an unpresentable glory.

Seeds of trust, and perhaps love, are planted in Linda's garden haven. But as secrets are revealed and scandal hits the headlines, the act of caring for this man threatens to tarnish both of their reputations. Like weeds in Linda's garden, circumstances threaten to choke out their fledgling relationship, and small moments prove to be the biggest influencers-on a national scale.

Purchase Link:


  1. Nice interview, Ellie and Linda. Thanks for sharing your unpresentable moment. Just glad you got up that cliff safely!

  2. Great post, Linda and Ellie! Ellie, we have a couple of mutual friends. I was once in a writing group with your niece Sally Wilkins! And I'm a friend of the incomparable Clarice James and on her list for the road shows. Maybe we'll be on the same ticket some day!

  3. Oh Ellie,
    I also experience that undaunting experience sitting bedside with my dear Mother the last hours of her life, caring to her needs with all the strength I had left and the moments of the Lord's presence carrying she and I too her last breath. I was given the opportunity to give her the dignity leaving this life in the presence of the compassion of God All-Mighty. He helped us through that valley as I experienced the angel of death in her toom. God replaced my fear with her mercy and peace as she drew her last breath and took her home.