In the Beginning,They Were Writers – Elaine Cantrell

To start off this series on writers during their early years, please welcome multi-published author, Elaine Cantrell.


My writing career began around age four or five. I told my dad that I wanted to write a story about Woody Woodpecker, one of my favorite cartoon characters. He took a piece of notebook paper and hand-wrote the story in pencil. It must have been a work of art; he laughed hysterically as he wrote it. Daddy kept that story until the day he died. After his death when my stepmother cleaned out a cedar chest where he kept his treasures, she found the story and gave it to me. I can even remember the day I dictated it to him! Trust me; that memory is an unexpected treasure from the past that warmed my heart for days afterward.

I wrote nothing from that long ago day until the year 2002. At that time my son inspired me to try my hand at writing when he wrote a novel himself. I had always wanted to write a book, but I had no idea I could do it.  The light dawned when my son told me that he always made up stories in his head to amuse himself, so he thought he might as well write them down.  Well!  I had always done the same thing.  I took it as a sign that I should try to write a novel.

I sat down and stared for a long time at that blank computer screen.  I could think of so many ways to begin!  Finally, I realized that I had a delete key.  If my first effort was no good, I’d just start over.  Words flew from my fingers to the keyboard.  I could barely stop writing.  How exhilarating.  Who knew writing would grab you and refuse to let you go?

After I finished my first story, I wrote a second book which I submitted to a small press called Oak Tree Press. Oak Tree sponsors a yearly contest whose prize is publication of your novel. To my great and utter surprise, I won.  My book A New Leaf was published in 2004.

Since that time I’ve become addicted to writing, and in the process I’ve had ten more books published and am working on another.  Why do I do it? It isn’t for the money; very few authors ever get rich off their writing. It isn’t for fame and recognition because I’m not on the New York

Times bestseller list. No, I write because I can’t help myself.

My characters reveal themselves to me and demand that I tell their story for them. They get under my skin and nag me until I seat myself at my computer and let them express themselves. I’m totally consumed by their problems and triumphs, and until I give them resolution I can’t get them off my mind. I’ve even been known to take my computer on vacation so I won’t lose an entire day of writing. Often, after a book is finished I have a hard time letting my characters go.  They’ve become a part of my family. If you’d like to get to know me a little better, you can find me at the following locations:





Kay, thanks so much for letting me bend the ears of your friends and fans.  I’d love to host you on my blog anytime.


15 thoughts on “In the Beginning,They Were Writers – Elaine Cantrell

  1. jeff7salter says:

    wonderful to have parents who support & encourage your creative efforts. I was also blessed in that regard.
    I see your characters pester you about like my characters harrass me. I have some six dozen novel ‘starts’ many of which already have several thousand words. But some of them are just a notion of a character in a particular situation. Some are snips of dialog which fly into my head from somewhere.

  2. Iris B says:

    Beautiful post, Elaine, and I LOVE your memories of your dad writing down your story and keeping it. That is one mighty treasure you have there! Also like your reason for writing: for the love of it and not fame or money! Keep on writing Elaine.

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