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Elizabeth Engstrom: Writer and Counselor

Excerpt from an article by Christine Sherk in the Register Guard, October 3, 2012.

Author Elizabeth Engstrom has met her demons, but you wouldn't know it to look at her. The grandmother of five has an easy smile, and her eyes glimmer — almost mischievously — when she talks about matters of nonfiction and fiction, the facts and make believe.

Elizabeth's Lizzie Borden, for example, first published in 1991, fictionalizes the gruesome murders of Lizzie's father, Andrew Borden, and his second wife, Abby, in 1892 in Fall River, Mass.

"Strangely enough it continues to be my best-selling book. It's used as a textbook in women's studies classes, even though it's a novel," says Elizabeth, whose 13th published book, Baggage Check, is due out later this fall. She adds, "I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the classes."

She's a spiritual counselor, too. Armed with a master's in applied theology she earned from Marylhurst University, she began her Love and Mercy Ministries to provide nondenominational spiritual care. "One of the things in my training that was so profound to me was the importance of one person touching another, and of being present." She's certainly a good listener, willing to sit and talk about the deeper questions in life. Cancer. Death. Any topic of concern, really. She considers the acts of listening and counseling a blessing.

The craft of writing, however, is never far from her mind. Stories are always working in her mind. "I always knew that someday I would see my name on the spine of a book."

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