Elkink, who is originally from the Hazlet area, but now resides near Elkwater in the Cypress Hills, published her first novel The Third Grace in 2011. She was honoured to receive the Grace Irwin Award in 2012 for that work, from The Word Guild (https://thewordguild.com). It is Canada’s largest literary prize for authors who write from a Christian worldview.
Work began on her second novel which she has to the stage of pedaling to publishers. Earlier this year she was contacted by a gentleman from the U.S. who has his own small publishing company called The Habitation of Chimham Publishing based in Titusville, Florida.
“He is a charter member of the G.K. Chesterton Society of central Florida,” explains Elkink.
He happened across a paper she had written about G.K. Chesterton’s body of fiction and the symbolism of the tree in his work. Chesterton, a British writer who lived from 1874-1936, is known for his “paradoxical, pithy quotations” with fan clubs showing up across North America. He wrote 100 books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, five plays, five novels, more than 200 short stories, more than 4,000 newspaper essays and edited his own newspaper G.K.’s Weekly.
According to The American Chesterton Society website, “G.K. Chesterton was the best writer of the 20th century. He said something about everything and he said it better than anybody else.”
“This book is my thesis,” explains Elkink about her second work titled Roots and Branches: The Symbol of the Tree in the Imagination of G.K. Chesterton.
Elkink attended seminary in Caronport Saskatchewan in the late 1990s and to complete her Masters in Theology, to complement her Bachelor of Communications, she wrote her thesis in 2001.
Her latest book has been published in a similar manner to how she wrote it originally, including the footnotes with additional information and references.
The first part of the book is a biography of Chesterton and then Elkink, who read all of his fiction work looking for the tree theme, analyses his use of the single motif.
Two individuals with experience and knowledge of Chesterton’s work wrote forwards for the book. Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, endorses the “penetrating analysis” while Dr. Bruce Hindmarsh, a professor at Regent College in Vancouver, states Elkink’s work provides “a tremendous insight into the sacramental imagination of Chesterton.”
Elkink’s sister Lorenda Harder, did the pen and ink drawing on sepia tone paper that graces the front cover of Roots and Branches which was officially released in June. It is only available in print form by ordering online or at bookstores.
While keeping busy seeing this project come to fruition and working on her second novel, Elkink has also been attending writers’ conferences. She spent the last weekend in September in Edmonton at InScribe, a Christian Writers Fellowship fall conference. There she hosted four 75-minute workshops speaking about various topics including how to share layers of meaning in a writer’s work and tips and tricks about writing.
She was busy when she returned preparing to teach a five-week introduction to creative writing course in the evenings through Medicine Hat College that is set to begin Oct. 14.
“I’ve never done something like this,” she says, but adds she is excited about teaching others how to find their creative side when it comes to writing.
With all of the activity in her life, Elkink still finds time to market her own writing, as she sees that the publishing industry continues to change drastically. She is accepting individuals to sign up for her e-mail list to receive a newsletter a few times a year as well as learn when her next piece of work will be published. She will also let people know about local writing events taking place such as a mixer through The Word Guild to be held at the end of October in Medicine Hat. She also hopes to see an InScribe “wordshop” held in the city.
Anyone who e-mails Elkink to be added to her e-mail list will receive, as a special free gift, two award-winning short stories she has written in e-book format called Wet Thaw.
Elkink is working on her second novel with the hopes it will be picked up by a publisher soon. She says it’s about a woman pushing 50-ish who is facing the threat of homelessness. Her best friend convinces her they should travel the world to seek out sacred spaces and when they end up touring a museum in North Dakota, the main character finds out the true meaning of house and home.
As for future work, Elkink is considering a young adult series that would include a 1940’s circus and time travel.
“That’s all I’m going to say about that one,” she adds, with a knowing grin.