Michaelene McElroy makes her debut as an author with The Last Supper Catering Company. She lives on four acres in the woods on an island in the Puget Sound of Washington State, where magic is ever present.
The Last Supper Catering Company is a humorous, heartwarming, elastic reality novel that tells the story of B. Thankful Childe-Lucknow, an enchanted young girl gifted with the power to hear the voices of the departed. Cast aside by a small-minded town, she lives an isolated childhood in the woods until tragedy strikes, and she is thrust from the safety of her woods out into the world. With the help of a cast of quirky characters (both earthly and heavenly), she discovers why God made her special.
2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
There are numerous themes running through The Last Supper Catering Company. Among them are: acceptance; forgiveness; living with an open, nonjudgmental heart; the preciousness of time; the thin veil between this world and the next; the power of food shared with love; the communion that takes place between the giver and receiver; and the eternal bond that remains long after the giver has departed from this world to the next.
3. How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?
The book is entirely fictional, although – like B. Thankful – I did prepare jellied pigs’ feet for my mother at the request of my father in his final days.
4. How did you get the idea for the novel?
The idea for The Last Supper Catering Company came to me while walking on a treadmill in my home office while I was still living in California. I was listening to an NPR piece discussing death row inmates and their last supper requests when I heard a young girl’s voice, steeped in the way of the South, ask me, “What would you want for your last supper?” I immediately stepped off the treadmill, and she began to tell me her story.
5. Which came first, the title or the novel?
Actually, the main character, B. Thankful, showed up first, and then the title. Since I write what I hear and follow the main character’s lead, I don’t outline the story in advance.
6. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
The most important thing I’ve learned is staying true to your voice…and the significance of writing from a place of joy. Writing from a place of joy isn’t about subject matter; rather, it is that state of being that envelops you when you sit down to write. In that state, you feel completely present as you choose each and every word with so much pleasure the rest of the world falls away.
7. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?
My favorite part of the process is getting to know my characters and listening to their stories…traveling the unknown path with them to discovery. I also delight in the days I stay away from the computer and work on the property, allowing the whole of the story to simmer inside me…each character settling in to be felt and known within before finding their way to the page. For me, that time of percolation helps to avoid twisting their story to my will and rendering it barren of the characters’ truth.
Being a card carrying technophobe, my least favorite part of the process is anything having to do with the word “Upload.”
8. What genres have you not yet written but really want to try?
A sci-fi-techno-romance-paranormal-young adult-psychological thriller-chic lit-humorous-erotic-dystopian-mystery-cookbook. I jest.
That’s a good question. I’m steeped in writing elastic reality right now, but if I were to foray into another genre, I would want to write a story where things go bump in the night. I’m more frightened by the suggestion of evil – the faceless malevolence that bears no name – than that which is known.
9. What book are you reading right now?
10. What’s up next for you?
I’m considering rewriting a previous novel that I finished years ago but pulled back from my agent at the time. I’ve also had a new character show up, and she seems to have a story she’d like to tell. Then again, I may just spend the winter staring out into the woods, watching the eagles fly overhead across the great Pacific Northwest sky. I’m happy either way.
11. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
When The Last Supper Catering Company went to print, I wasn’t concerned about how someone might critique my writing style for lack of this or that, but like any protective parent, the thought that B. Thankful might be criticized held me hostage for some time. (As I said, I’m steeped in elastic reality, where the veil between here and there is gossamer at best). To my most humble joy, she has been loved in the same way she views the world – with tenderness and enthusiasm. For this, I thank you.
Genre: Literary Fiction/Elastic Reality
Connect with Michaelene McElroy online:
Facebook – Michaelene McElroy-Author
Amazon – Kindle http://amzn.to/STlVFE
Amazon – Paperback http://amzn.to/NCjv9b
Barnes and Noble – Paperback http://bit.ly/QeYiUp
Barnes and Noble – Nook http://bit.ly/WKOHMu