Writing Superheroes: Elaine Cougler

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According to Wikipedia, ‘a superhero is a type of heroic character possessing extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and is dedicated to a moral goal or protecting the public.’ Sounds like a writer to me!

Join me as another one of these unsung superheroes invites into their personal ‘batcave’.


Elaine photo 2 from Paula Tizzard6203editThe first writing that I did with meaning was in elementary school where I realized that not only could I read well, I enjoyed writing whatever the teacher assigned. I am fortunate to have attended a one-room school with eight grades so that from my earliest days, I could finish my work and listen in to the other lessons. And I got to be a teacher’s helper and help younger grades with their reading. I loved it. Then in high school a wonderful English teacher encouraged me to write for the essay contest where my personal essay won second prize in the senior division. I was ecstatic. Writing really mattered to me. That essay is the only one of my early efforts still around.

I get my writing super powers from my mother, I think, although she never got to write seriously. She was, however, the one chosen in our community to write the address whenever there was a “presentation” for a young couple or an important community event. In another time she would have been the seer or medicine woman, maybe, her way with words was so good.

Maria Grace has posed a lot of questions having to do with super powers and super heroes. About the closest I can come is to admit my absolute love of the whole Star Trek series and especially Captain Picard on the Enterprise. He always led the crew to a solution in the wisest and cleverest fashion. He was a thinker. That’s what I try to be. My father was that man, too. A community-minded man, he always seemed to listen to the group and then, quietly yet surely, venture his opinion at the end. He was the Captain Picard in our home and, while human, had a lot of super powers.

My writing journey led me through a couple of cookbooks, a children’s storybook and a couple of family memory books, before I stepped up to write my dream. And it’s there I really found my own super powers. Not only could I take courses and join writing groups, but I could go the distance and bring my historical fiction to publication. I guess I’ve grown past the doubts about my own abilities and the fear of failing. My super power now is putting my books out there in the world.

Along the way I’ve learned the importance of listening to others but, ultimately, trusting myself, too. I’ve learned that doubts will assail me as they do other authors but I get to choose what to do with those doubts. My super power there is that I am a bit of a perfectionist and that’s good. The trick is to avoid letting the need for perfection stop me in my tracks. Talk about a life lesson!

This past year as I’ve been writing the third in my Loyalist trilogy, I’ve had to battle shingles. No, I didn’t get the terrible rash you see on those TV ads. Instead the disease attacked my energy. Days, weeks, and months went by with me too tired to do most everything. But my super hero sitting on my shoulder pushed me into writing almost every day and I finished the rough draft, the edits, the next edits and the final edits. Funny thing is, the writing took me out of my personal trials. I escaped into my fictional world. Great medicine, that.

What I’ve learned in my writing journey is to trust my skills but seek help for those parts that I need. Hiring someone to finally do my book trailers was a joyous relief. That person is another of my super heroes. I’ve also learned that if I cry writing a passage, my readers will, too. If I make a character hateful, my readers will feel that hate. If I create characters that I love, chances are my readers will love them, too.

My new book, The Loyalist Legacy, the third in the Loyalist trilogy, is about another type of super hero, those who struggled to create a home, a country, and a life here in Ontario. I love the idea that ordinary people can rise to do extraordinary things. We can all be Captain Picard!




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~Twitter @ElaineCougler


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  1. Thanks for this interesting interview, Maria Grace. Your blog is wonderful!

  2. Inspirational post! Sharing.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Bette! So kind.

  1. […] I got to spend some time over on a different website where Maria Grace has created a dream of a site. She included me in her series about author superheroes, a thrill to be sure. I’ve linked to […]

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