Elaine Ingalls Hogg is an author and inspirational speaker from the Maritimes. Her books include a children’s book, an collection of Martime Christmas stories, a pictorial history book, and a collection of inspirational writings.
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TKM: How did you become a writer?
Elaine Ingalls Hogg: My journey into writing came late in life. A few years ago I read The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. In the book, Ordinary feels he is a Nobody and lives in the Land of Familiar. That story in a nutshell describes the journey I took to fulfill my childhood dream.
Ordinary has a reccurring dream and he’d love to pursue it but it would involve him leaving his Land of Familiar. People tell him, “You can’t do that. You’d have to leave your comfort zone and travel across Wasteland. There are giants there and you’d have to battle them. Ordinary, your dream is impossible. It will never come true.”
One day Ordinary noticed something on his window ledge. It was a long white feather, something that had never been there before. When he took the feather in his hand, his dream became more powerful than ever.
In my mind, I was Ordinary… illness, poverty and self-doubt were the bullies that kept me from leaving my Land of Familiar. But the Dream Giver left me a feather – a ray of hope. In my dreams I began to believe that if I dared to face my bullies and cross the Wasteland I could accomplish my dream.
One spring morning I woke up with the sun’s warm rays streaming in my window and as I thanked God for the new day, He reminded me of desire to write. I took the ‘feather’ in my hand, and held it. Drawing in a deep breath, I said, “I’ll never know until I try.” And timidly I prepared to take the first steps to leave the ‘Land of Familiar.’
Bullies met me at the border and urged me to go back: “Your dream can’t be accomplished now. You’re too old. But I pressed on, battling giants—personal obstacles—as I gradually made my way across the Wasteland, all the while holding the feather given to me by the Dream Giver. It was my symbol of hope—hope that someday my dream would come true.
Each time I overcame an obstacle, a strange thing happened. The obstacle turned to an opportunity and the opportunity helped me towards my destiny.
TKM: What inspires you to write?
Elaine Ingalls Hogg: As far back as I can remember, I have followed my ancestors’ footsteps in reading and storytelling. Today, when I look at what I write, I recognize the influence my grandfather made when he shared his stories about our family’s roots.
Another strong influence is a result of the Bible stories my parents read to me from an early age. I believe my writing is the voice God has given me in order to share my faith and lessons from history.
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TKM: What authors do you admire?
Lucy Maude Montgomery’s writing captured my imagination as a child. Anne kept me reading and believing that with a good education and much determination, life’s circumstances could change someday.
Laura Ingalls Wilder and I share a heritage through the Ingalls family name, but her real influence came when I learned she didn’t start writing until she was older than I am now. This part of her life’s story has encouraged me to believe it’s never too late to start something new.
One of my special interests has always been history so my third choice would be Rudy Wiebe’s autobiography. The book depicts the history of his family settling in western Canada and leaves the reader with a positive message of how faith played a key role in overcoming obstacles.
If you enjoyed this interview, you may also enjoy my interview with poet Joyce Harback.