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Author Interview Series : Author / Ghostwriter Elizabeth Horst

Updated: Apr 11

Welcome to Next Journey Books! This episode of my Author Interview Series provided me the opportunity to chat with author, Elizabeth Horst. She was gracious enough to take time away from her busy schedule to share her thoughts and processes on ghostwriting, as well as shed light on her own writing endeavors.  


About the author:

Elizabeth is a traveling writing coach, editor, ghostwriter, and author, who enjoys connecting with people from far and wide. Originally from rural New York State, most of her journeys have taken her up and down the east coast from seashore to mountain top and everywhere in between. Her favorite part of working remotely is hearing other people’s adventures and helping bring their writing dreams to life. Besides writing stories and traveling, Elizabeth also enjoys hiking, playing music, gardening, and cooking for a crowd.


Website, social media links:

Book covers & blurbs:

Faithless Friends and Replacement Lovers: Short Stories about Love and Loss is an assortment of real life stories that touch on the themes of romance, drama, adventure, and humor.


Adventures Are Everywhere: Short Stories for the Explorer at Heart. From the Wild West to modern day, this collection transports the reader toward exciting adventures from around the globe.


The Questions:

1.   Tell us about your two short story collections debuting soon? (Where will readers be able to find them?)

Faithless Friends and Replacement Lovers: Short Stories about Love and Loss. An assortment of real life stories that touch on the themes of romance, drama, adventure, and humor. Each story has its own flavor, bringing the reader from ancient Europe to modern day America while pointing to the overall themes of friendship and love.


Adventures Are Everywhere: Short Stories for the Explorer at Heart. From the Wild West to these modern days, this collection welcomes the reader on an exciting adventure all around the globe. With some stories having more of a thoughtful flavor and others simply being fun, this book reminds us how the best heroes are ordinary people who want to make a positive difference in the world around us.


Both books will be available as ebooks, paperbacks, and large print hardcovers on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Google, and other major retailers both online and print on demand.


2.    Do you enjoy ghostwriting more so than creating your own work?

While I definitely like working with different people to help them produce their own books, I tend to enjoy writing my own material more. I have quite a few reasons for this, some of which are completely understandable and others that I often struggle with on a regular basis.


First, as a writer myself, it took me some time to appreciate ghostwriting. In many ways, it seemed to me to be cheating and lying, since you’re essentially taking someone else’s hard work of research, writing, and editing and slapping your name to it. I am okay with it now as a ghostwriter, but I could never in good conscience hire someone to ghostwrite for me because it would bother me as a creative.


Second, it is rare to find a person who is completely 100% focused on and dedicated to the book that they want to publish. I am often the same way, since I have a hard time prioritizing myself, but I feel that paying for writing service is on a whole different level. It is rare to encounter an author who has the passion, vision, and dedication to start, continue, and finish a project without any large gaps of time in between.


Third, many clients that I ghostwrite for are looking for a book that will either make them a lot of money or explain their “secret sauce” to the world. Since my own writing is primarily fiction, I operate from the standpoint that I am simply sharing the stories that come to me for anyone who might enjoy them. I have no dream of riches and I have no secret sauce!


Fourth, I have a very difficult time working under pressure. When I am working on a story, it comes naturally and at an easy and comfortable pace. When working for a client, whether or not there is a specific deadline, I always feel some stress to make it the best that it can be to exceed the client’s expectations.


Overall, when I focus on the client’s story more than the process, then it tends to go easier. Though I might not completely grasp their vision, I do my best to respect and support their mindset and create a book that we can both be proud of. Meanwhile, my own writing is more often just fun, even though the editing process can occasionally be frustrating and tedious.


3.    What do you find is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

I have a very difficult time prioritizing myself and my writing. It comes down to a matter of discipline and mindset. Whether I am focusing on a client’s project or trying to get away from the place of words and phrases to enjoy something in real life, there is always an excuse to be distracted!


4.    How many unpublished and half-finished books/ stories do you have?

Right now, I have two very long novels that have been sitting for years. I’m hoping to edit and rework them over the next year to ready them for publication. Beyond that, I have some story concepts and random poetry that I may either clean up or scrap. Most of the time, I avoid keeping short story or poetry ideas for a longer amount of time. I find that if I have a fresh idea, the best time to write it is immediately. If I let something sit too long without bringing it to life, it quickly becomes stale and I forget the main concept that was behind it.


5.    Was there a person who encouraged you to write?

I’ve lost count of the people who have encouraged me to write over the years. From my parents to different teachers, friends, family, and coworkers, most people who know me well recognize that I have a gift in writing. Most of my working years, I was involved in writing in some shape or form, though more in a business or administrative area than creative writing and ghostwriting.


Out of all of the different people who have encouraged me to write, I remember the words of one coworker the most distinctly. I had initially met him during my college years and we reconnected one summer when working at the same ministry. Before leaving for the season, he asked all the staff to write a few memories in his scrapbook. I couldn’t think of anything serious to say, so I scribbled down a little story that made its way into one of my collections. After reading it, my colleague stared at me for a moment and said in a bit of a scolding tone, “Elizabeth! You NEED to write!” I always felt a bit guilty for not prioritizing fiction writing after that, but it continues to be a struggle.


6.  What is one piece of advice would you give to writers?

The advice I give others is the same thing I tell myself. Don’t wait for permission to explore your true passion. Whether you’ve been dreaming about getting into fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or another area, tap into the genre that makes you feel most creative. Whether you’re starting your memoir or completing projects that you’ve been putting off for far too long, find a way to get into your own groove. Time waits for no one, so don’t put off your deepest dreams for another day or another season. Prioritize yourself first!


7.  Name your favorite author.

I have always been inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for his massive collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. While his style is definitely much different than mine, he has always been a favorite because of the way he weaves stories together with intricate details that require close attention while being gripping and exciting. Beyond the Sherlock Holmes stories, I also enjoy his other books like The Poison Belt, The Lost World, and Micah Clarke.


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