Filmaker to Cowboy, Author to Award Winner

You’ve had an incredibly eclectic career. How has that impacted your writing?
I think I lived my life so that I could write The Legacy Letters.  It really is an autobiography disguised as fiction.  But the beauty of writing fiction is that you can bend time and space to make everything more dramatic.  Your first and foremost job as a writer is to keep your audience engaged and excited about where they’re going, and a mystery about where they will end up!  Thus my writing life is my real life.  And for me, that is the life I’ve always wanted to live.
The Legacy Letters has been recognized for both fiction and non-fiction, a literary “first” – were you surprised by the recognition in both categories? What had your expectations or intent been when publishing the book?
 I was stunned.  You write from the heart.  You write what excites you about life.  You write because you need to entertain, or to share your knowledge with others. You write because you are born a writer.  And as a writer, your job is to give your words to the world, and then the world gets to react, judge, love, or despise what you have written for them.  Like all writers, I wanted to be beloved and be a bestseller.  Fortunately for the type of book I have written, I’m getting slightly more beloved everyday—yet still working hard on the bestseller part. 

The Legacy Letters has won numerous awards and receives high praise for its inspirational messages. How has your philosophy of life changed throughout the success of this book? How has your life changed?
Strangely enough, because I’m busier than ever marketing the book, I’m more wary than ever of getting caught in my own modern day web of “I’m too busy,” which seems to be the mantra for our modern day way of living.  So my life consists of my pen, and the rest of it is for my family and being outdoors with them—hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, riding horses, sailing—as long as it’s outside, I’m happy.  The more successful I am, the more I covet being true to myself.
Check Back December 15 for Part II

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.