Interview With Author Elizabeth Conte
HELLO AUTHOR ELIZABETH CONTE, WELCOME TO WORLDAUTHORS.ORG! PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOU.
I am a wife, mother of two college-aged children, owner of a small interior decorating business, and a writer. I grew up in California–one of the rare natives–and come from a large Italian family of six kids. I am the youngest, but not alone. I have a twin brother. I never considered myself a writer, or as some like to say, as a creative artist. My brothers and sisters are the creatives–artists and musicians. I was the nerd who was “practical” and went into the business world. And I write. But each of my corporate jobs took me into the creative side…designing floor plans, signage, trade show booths and working with designers and the creatives of the company. Once I left the corporate world, I took that creative knowledge and started a garden design business and an interior decorating consulting business. Two of my favorite loves: gardens and design. Even so, that was business, not art! When I began writing nine years ago, I remember someone referencing me as an “artist.” I denied it. I wasn’t an artist-artist! I was left-brain, practical, feet-on-the-ground kind of person. It was my sister, a fine artist and painter, who said to me, “Face it, Lizzy…you’re an artist.”
I write full time now…and recognize I am an artist.
HOW YOUR WRITING JOURNEY STARTED?
I have been writing for nine years, but three of those years I had to take a break.
A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with dementia. I had to take care of her, halting my writing endeavors completely. In 2020, she passed away. No sorrow. She was 90 years old and lived a full life. It was an honor and a gift to take care of her and have her so near to me and my family. But as 2021 began, I said to myself that I wanted to write again…give it my all–get published! I had written three novels, a long list of poetry, and many short stories over the years that needed to get out into the world. A lesson I learned from taking care of my mother, listening to an old woman looking back, over, through her life.
Don’t regret not doing something.
So, I got back in the saddle. Started writing again. I aggressively submitted my work to journals. I hired an editor to help finish my novel. And I took a hiatus from designing and dedicated full time to writing. Within the first few months, I was accepted for publication with several poems, and got a short story and a poem in an anthology. By the time 2021 turned over, I have another story published in a journal, a poem being published in another anthology, and my book ready to release this March.
I thank my mother for that!
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR WRITING?
It was never my dream to become a writer. But as an avid reader, I wasn’t finding books that satisfied me. So, as any good sales and marketing person would do–the practical, business side of me, I saw a niche, an unfulfilled gap in the market and wanted to fill it–the creative, artistic side.
I like books that are layered, deep, unique, clever, and thoroughly developed. Much of what I love about writing came from 19th century writers like Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters. Edith Wharton, Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne. But who reads that kind of literature anymore?
People love Austen-ish stories. How many remakes of Pride and Prejudice has there been? How many retelling of Austen stories? How many period dramas have we seen, based upon the great 19th century writers, like Emma, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, and the rest? People love what 19th century literature encapsulates, but the modern person, distracted and immediately satisfied with technology, does not have the time or attention-span to power through 19th century literature. So, I wrote that book–a book with unique characters, beautiful imagery, meaningful dialogue, deep romance, poetic prose, and a layered story that lingers in the heart–that would appeal to modern sensibilities.
I am taking what I love about 19th century literature and bringing it to the 21st century reader!
With that intention, I also have a goal–to create beauty for the mind.
The world is dark, empty, fearful. It seems we are in the dark ages of our time. It was the arts that brought us out of previous dark ages. It took beauty and enlightenment, to lift our human spirit and inspire our imaginations. I am no Michelangelo, but I am a writer with a purpose as grand–to bring beauty into the world. When I say beauty, I don’t mean pretty or attractive, happy or cheerful. I mean the ethereal quality of beauty: a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense. I want to uplift the mind, the soul, the inner part of humanity, and inspire how one chooses to view the world. Connecting to the imagination, escaping into the creative to stimulate the emotions positively, connects us to our humanness. That is beauty to me, and what I hope I bring to the writing world, and to readers.
I want to counter the darkness with light. I want to create beauty for the mind!