Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Eleanor Gustafson & Dynamo

I connected with Eleanor Gustafson a few years back. Don't ask me how because as it is with online friendships, I just don't remember how we became author friends. I do remember that during that time she had recently published a book titled, Dynamo, and I was privileged to read it. There are a lot of things to be said about Dynamo (which I had reviewed back in 2014 at Rebel Book Reviews). Of all things good and great about this novel, only one thing stands out to me: it's a literary masterpiece.

Read more about Eleanor Gustafson and Dynamo below. And be sure to read her book. You would find it a great joy to read.

[PP&K] A sentence to sum up Dynamo: God equips the called. How did you decide on how to write this theme?

[EG] Dynamo is complex. One layer is horses and the high-stakes world of horse shows and stable intrigue; another layer is the good, bad, and ugly of human relationships; but the bedrock layer is the sovereign God who interacts with Jeth in unusual and unpredictable ways.  My love of horses was the initial driver for the story, but I also love portraying the power of God to redeem and transform.

[PP&K] You show a mirror effect in two main characters: Jeth and Dynamo. Did you find this challenging? Why or why not?

[EG] An interesting question. I wasn’t trying to mirror one off the other, but there are similarities. Dynamo has a nasty temper, but he’s all business in his five-gaited persona. Jeth’s temperament is more benign, but he’s every bit as quick to bite with words as Dynamo is with teeth. The two have a working relationship and an equal passion to showcase the stallion’s championship qualities. In the end, Jeth becomes Dynamo.

[PP&K] One part of the story is deeply soul wrenching. Was this difficult to write? What symbolism did you hope to achieve?

[EG] The event you refer to is indeed wrenching. For Jeth, however, this pain-filled apex of the story morphs to a spiritual climax during a communion moment: This is MY body, broken BY me. How does he handle it? How will it affect him? Is this God’s way of crafting a servant?

God and his old-lace, handmaiden Maybelle don’t appear to be the main characters of the story, but Jeth soon picks up a healthy fear of them both. Right from the start, he grasps the incredible beauty and power of the stallion, and in the same way, he senses an even greater and perhaps more frightening power in this slip of a woman who serves as God’s interpreter.

[PP&K] This book is powerful, gripping, and gritty. If you had to compare your book to another what would it be and why?

[EG] Mercy’s Rain by Cindy Sproles dragged me through glass shards. Her topic was almost unbearable, but light of grace and redemption comes through powerfully. My novel is far less weighty, but I tried to portray God’s overt, sovereign activity in the mending of shard-strewn lives.

[PP&K] What do you hope readers will gain from your story? How do you hope it will affect them?

[EG] Jeth finds God to be unpredictable, but he never mistakes Him as unjust or mean-spirited. I want readers to consider giving themselves totally to God and finding a new level of grace and obedience that opens the door to that glorious and eternal relationship with Him.

[PP&K] Fun question: What is your favorite classical movie and why?

[EG] The Hunt for Red October is about the USSR’s newest submarine and its daring and dangerous game of passing through American patrols and sonar nets. It is heart-pounding, tension-crackling drama that somehow feeds my soul. Maybe I needed that sort of fodder as prep for writing The Stones, the story of the warrior-king David.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier is one of my favorite novels, so of course I would suck up to the movie version. 
  [PP&K] By the way, Rebecca is also one of my favorite novels. Read it was I was seventeen.

Here's more about Eleanor:

Born and brought up in Branchville NJ (population 1000), she branched out in several directions.

  • Graduated from Wheaton College, IL.
  • Been involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager.
  • Done horses, house construction (including our house, a tepee and log play house), music, Christian camp programming, tree farming (as in logging, firewood, maple syrup), gardening, but, alas, minimal house cleaning!
  • Love to laugh.
  • Love homemade bread, hot out of the oven.

She started publishing fiction and nonfiction in 1978, the most recent novel being Dynamo. Eleanor loves to write. One major writing goal has been to bring scriptural principles to full-color life for today’s readers through strong characters and dialogue. Let her know if you think she has accomplished that.

Connect with her through the following links and don't forget to not only check out Dynamo, but also her other book, The Stones:




  1. THANK YOU, DAPHNE for your kind words, to say nothing of your excellent questions and personal comments. YOU THE BEST! : )

    1. I had fun. Your book sits on my forever shelf and I definitely wanted to share it. :)

  2. I, too, know Ellie. She is a remarkable person and a talented writer who takes her craft seriously. And—despite her being a highly intelligent person--she's fun to be around. :-) Ha! We do make each other laugh. She's a bit older than I am, but I don't try to keep up with her. It's way too exhausting!

    1. :) It's great to have those kind of friends. One in a million and Eleanor is that.

  3. I read Dynamo because I'm the Whitaker House publicist -- I'm not unbiased. But I truly want the rest of the world to read it because it's powerful and beautifully crafted. Oh my, the Holy Spirit got a hold of me somewhere near the beginning and did not let go. As I've promoted Dynamo to fiction lovers I've felt compelled to tell people NOT to expect Black Beauty and NOT to expect a romance. I agree with Ellie -- great questions that reflect the tone of
    Dynamo, a heart piercing thought-provoking tale that is not your grandma's typical "horse story." If you get to the end of Dynamo and don't feel God gently tugging on the reins, you're a better man than I am.
    Cathy Hickling

    1. I was crying at the end. And it had me pondering a lot of issues and most of all my own heart. Some books are meant to tear into your heart, and Dynamo does that. I don't think there are enough words, or any word, to fully describe this book and how powerful an impact it has.