Reader Questions About Elderberry Croft and More!


To celebrate the official release of Elderberry Croft: The Complete Collection, AND to celebrate my birthday today, I’m giving all my NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS the audiobook version of the first episode, Elderberry Croft: January Breeze! If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter, do so soon – the first issue comes out the first week of February, and it will include the complete January Breeze episode on mp3! Here’s a brief sample from the audiobook:

Many of you have asked me some great questions about Elderberry Croft, and since Elderberry Croft: The Complete Collection is officially alive and well (and updated!), both in paperback form – $14.99 on Amazon (but currently on sale for $13.72),  and in Kindle form for $3.99, I thought this would be a great opportunity to answer some of those questions!

Elderberry Croft The Complete Collection by Becky Doughty

And yes, you can still purchase each of the four Volumes for $1.99 each (Volume 1 is free!) from all e-book retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and more.

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Reader Questions About Elderberry Croft…

1. Who is the lovely model on the cover of each of the Elderberry Croft Volumes?

I am embarrassed to say that when I first began using her face (and hair) as Willow Goodhope, I didn’t know who she was. I’d found her face and Madonna smile on a stock photo site and promptly bought several images of her. But as the year went by, and this model BECAME Willow Goodhope to me, I realized I needed to know a little more about her. I’m in the process of locating her, and you can ride along with me on my “Where’s Willow?” journey – I’ll be sharing more about it ONLY IN MY NEWSLETTER!

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2. Is there a real Coach House Trailer Park?

Yes…and no. There is a trailer park here in Southern California that bears a remarkable resemblance to The Coach House Trailer Park. Although I don’t claim to be anything like Willow Goodhope, I spent nearly a year of my life in a little cottage much like the one Willow dubbed Elderberry Croft. Read more about the setting behind the story of Elderberry Croft here. Here’s a picture at the front entrance to my own little cottage, and yes, “…the green front door hung at an angle to accommodate the frame that had been put in with a blatant disregard for plumb lines.”

Is Elderberry Croft Real?

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3. Are elderberries really all that amazing?

Yes. Every cold and flu season, instead of flu shots for my family, my bags of dried elderberries and elder flowers are out on the counter for quick and easy teas, cold syrups, and more. Because we live in Southern California, we also have a wealth of citrus trees producing fruit during the winter and spring seasons, and one of my favorite teas is elderberries, elder flowers, slivered fresh ginger, and the rind of an orange or tangerine I just ate. Sweeten with locally harvested wildflower honey, and we’re good to go.

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4. Why did you choose to publish Elderberry Croft as a serial novel?

Well, my original intention for Elderberry Croft was to make the series a sort of launching pad; a way to introduce myself and my story heart and voice to you. It was also an alternative to a NaNoWriMo challenge (NAtional NOvel WRIters MOnth where authors attempt to write a 50,000-plus word novel in the month of November), in that I thought it would be more beneficial for me to write one short story (8000-10,000 words) each month for the whole year, than it would be for me to attempt to write one full-length story in the month of November. I’d participated in NaNoWriMo in 2011 and 2012, but I wanted to push myself in a different, slightly less frenzied, and perhaps more productive way in 2013. Out of that decision came the idea of turning the monthly short stories into a free serial novel on my website, and out of that, we now have a full-length, 120,000 word novel (more than twice the word count expected through the NaNoWriMo challenge), Elderberry Croft: The Complete Collection! And of course, the four e-book Volumes! So, as you can see, it was quite a success – both the completion of a novel, and the goal to find a more productive challenge than NaNoWriMo. Don’t get me wrong – I think NaNoWriMo is a fantastic method to get things going, but my experiment is evidence that there are many ways to skin a cat…or write a book…or two…or twelve.

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5. Are you going to write another serial novel soon?

Am I ready to do it again? Not at this time. As much as I loved unwrapping Willow Goodhope’s story through the eyes of her neighbors at The Coach House Trailer Park, it was a huge undertaking, partly because I had no idea what I was getting myself into until AFTER I was committed to it. Let me explain. Willow’s whole story was not revealed to me until nearly half way through the writing of it. Seriously. I knew Willow was at Elderberry Croft for a reason, and I knew it had something to do with grief, and with a marriage in trouble, but that was all. In fact, most of the residents at The Coach House changed dramatically between the time of conception and the time of actually writing their stories each month; hence, some of them arrived past their due dates! Some become more likable, some became less…. Some played much larger roles than I’d originally intended, and some were simply shadows until they suddenly appeared (the young couple in the upstairs apartment who played such a pivotal role in breaking down some of Willow’s walls, for instance), and some ended up with completely different stories altogether. Al Tanner, for one. Originally, he was a creepy-creep-creep…but he turned into someone completely different for me as I peeled back the layers of his story.

Another reason I’ve opted out of launching another serial at this time is because I’m in the process of launching our audiobook business, BraveHearts Audiobooks. I’m so excited about this – I mean, come on! Getting paid to read amazing stories out loud????? In the next few months, I’ll be hosting some great authors as we talk about the process of converting their novels into audiobooks. And yes, Elderberry Croft: The Complete Collection is being converted into an audiobook! Stay tuned!

That being said, I do have another story that I believe would work beautifully as a serial novel…or a multi-book series…we’ll see where the Lord leads on this.

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6. Is Elderberry Croft self-published?

Elderberry Croft is author-published. I’ve recently discovered this term – no, I did not coin it, and unfortunately, I can’t recall who did, but I’m hoping it takes off. I think it’s totally appropriate. Author-publishing means the author takes on the responsibility of ALL aspects of the finished product. In traditional publishing, authors write the best manuscript possible, edit with the help of an editor, then hand the manuscript off to the publishing house. The publishing house then formats, designs, markets, promotes, and publishes the book while the author contributes to marketing and works on writing the next book. Yes, I know I’ve simplified this, but please don’t attack me for this. Believe me when I say that I’m simplifying the next statement, too. In author-publishing, authors write, edit, edit some more, and edit again. Then they format, design, research, market, promote, and publish, all while writing the next book. And yes, Elderberry Croft is author-published. Thanks to you, my beloved readers, and this insatiable need I have to put the pen to the paper….

At this time, it is my long-term goal to be BOTH traditionally-published AND author-published. Having author-published some of my own work, I have a much greater respect for what takes place behind the scenes of a publishing house. However, I also know that readers like me just want MORE books, especially when we find authors we like, and author-publishing allows me to continue publishing while waiting on traditional-publishing schedules.

My next author-published novel, Waters Fall, is scheduled to be released this May!

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Do you have any questions about Elderberry Croft? About Author-publishing? About serial novels? Audiobooks?

And can I ask you a favor ? If you’ve read Elderberry Croft, would you mind leaving a review – even one sentence is great! – under the book on Amazon? I need at least 10 reviews on The Complete Collection specifically, to include this book in an online library type program (more on this later). Many of you have reviewed the individual volume(s) or have left great comments here on my website, for which I’m very grateful, so you’re more than welcome to just copy and paste your reviews! If you’d do this for me, I’d be tickled pink – here’s the link! Elderberry Croft: The Complete Collection on Amazon. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page where the reviews start, find the button that says “Write a customer review” and click on it. The process is pretty straightforward from there.

And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter and receive your copy of the first Elderberry Croft episode, January Breeze, on audiobook!

Have a fantastic week!