I’m a Texas girl born and bred. I say y’all and sump’n if I’m not careful. I grew up on a Homestead Farm, small acreage with lots of animals, three brothers and a sister. We made our own butter, grew a garden, raised our meat and fished and hunted. I had a wonderful, barefoot childhood. We were close, learning and growing together. I read to my siblings every night. I made up stories and scenarios for our games. We all told stories around a million childhood campfires… and dreamed of the days we live now.
We were probably heathens by today’s standards, running the riverbank and walking the train trestles. Shooting wars with B B Guns… lol. (Don’t tell Mama). We lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone. We used to gather return bottles in a little red wagon and cash them in at a store near our house to buy candy and fish bait for long summer afternoons, but we were an accomplished bunch.
My father demanded good grades and you certainly did not want the alternative he had to offer. At his insistence, we did gymnastics, danced and twirled, played softball, baseball, and football. We lived Friday Night Lights from Wednesday evening to Saturday night as someone was playing football or performing every night. We were always there to support each other.
You know how it is growing up. Charles Dickens said it well, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Leaving my family and going out on my own was to this day one of the hardest things I ever did or will ever have to do. I think that is a testament to our parents in the mishmash of an absolutely huge and close extended family from both the North and South. A young Southern Baptist man and a devout Catholic girl, together raised a beautiful, giving and loving family of which I am the eldest.
In turn, I did the same and raised a bunch of kids I am very proud of today. Mom of four, and I have 18 grand and great-grandchildren. We are a prolific family.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I live in the backwoods of a tiny East Texas town on a red dirt road. A dot on the highway and that is how I like it. The trees are tall and green around the hiking trails. The sky is blue, and we have the most beautiful sunsets over the lake. Orange and coral brilliance reflected in the water. It is just naturally beautiful here … and quiet.
What turns you on creatively?
Well, again, the beauty of nature. The way things smell is an evocation, not only to my senses but to my emotional state. Many of my deepest memories are tied to scent. I love springtime and the fall for that reason. On rainy days I burn candles and make soup for the scents I love most. I can see a tree, bent and gnarly and I perceive an entire world in its life. I can create a story around that tree.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
Favorite word? Are you kidding? Wow. I’m a writer and I have a million favorite words … but one I live by and taught my children. Respect.
Respect is the truest form of love, both for yourself and others.
What is your pet peeve?
I don’t really have pet peeves. I inherited a quick and volatile temper that was here and gone always. I have mellowed with age, confidence and wisdom and there’s not really much that gets to me aside from someone doing my children wrong. That’ll still get my hackles up.
What defines Elaine Marie?
Oh gosh. You saved the good questions for last. I am a person of service to others and I am a person of integrity. My youth was a muddle of nonsense as much as my life today is a joy. So, I guess what defines me is that I am always evolving, learning and growing. I am a very passionate person and I always give everything I do – the very best I have to give.
Elaine Marie Carnegie, formerly a Paralegal and Private Investigator, worked a side gig as a local Newspaper Journalist for many years before taking a hiatus from the P&PI day job and accepting a partnership in the Hill Country Publishing Company, and then Stone Pony Publishing. She has worked with both the FBI and the Texas Rangers, written for Discovery ID on Human Trafficking. Her articles have been used in the Texas Legislature as well as utilized in curriculum for regional Texas school systems. Writing full time now she lives in the idyllic East Texas Piney Woods in a hidden cove on a private lake, doing what she loves and living her best life! You can find her online at her website - Author Elaine Marie.