“Let me get this straight,” a friend recently said to Elaine Thomas. “You set up an appointment to interview people you’ve never met. You sit for hours asking questions about their lives, while you scribble madly in a notebook. You then take what you have heard and write their life stories. How do you do that?”
A love of history, a keen interest in people’s lives and polished writing skills set Elaine Thomas apart. She demonstrates a rare talent for writing feature articles and memoirs that capture and celebrate the essence of an individual’s life or an organization’s history.
Growing up on the family farm in the Alberta foothills, Elaine was 10 years old when she joined a farm newspaper’s young writers club. She hasn’t stopped writing since. A Journalism Administration honors graduate of SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Canada, Elaine has split her dynamic decades-long professional career between public relations management at a major Houston-based energy company and as a writer and public relations consultant in her own business, Calla Communications, based near La Grange, Texas. Elaine’s client roster includes major energy companies, regional and small businesses, non-profit organizations and consumer magazines and newspapers.
Nowhere, though, is Elaine more at home than seated at a kitchen table, hearing stories about years gone by. Two memoirs: Same Moon, Same Stars and Saddles and Service, and a family history called Promises to Keep are her most recent books.
- A love story, Same Moon, Same Stars, takes readers on an odyssey from the comfortable, carefree childhood of German-born Renate Macherauch Meiners through the horrors of life under Hitler during World War II to a chance meeting with an American GI who brought her to Texas.
- Winner of the Independent Publisher’s 2012 silver award for best Western Canada regional non-fiction, Saddles and Service is the life story of Alberta rancher and community builder Winston Parker. He once drove cattle through the city streets to the Calgary Stampede, had a private audience with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and spent four years in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
- A beautifully illustrated coffee table book, Promises to Keep, delves into a Canadian farm family’s larger-than-life ancestors who were officers in the British East India Company, English boys’ boarding school headmasters, soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars and straight-laced Church of England ministers.
Readers of The Fayette County Record newspaper in La Grange, Texas, look forward to Elaine’s long-running weekly “Remember When” and monthly “Stories I’ve Been Told” columns. A special publication Elaine compiled from 40 interviews with Fayette County World War II veterans has not only become a beloved community keepsake, it has won three awards of excellence.
Elaine also writes for magazines such as Texas Gardener, Farm & Ranch, Farm & Home and Alberta Heritage. Her work also has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s The Spirit of America.
A life member of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, Elaine is a member of the Fayette County Genealogical Society and Alberta Genealogical Society, as well as the West Surrey (England) and Dorset (England) Family History Societies, and the Alberta Family Histories Society, as well as the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, Texas Folklore Society, and Texas Oral History Association.
When she lived in Houston, Elaine was honored as an Outstanding Woman by the YWCA and Houston Natural Gas Corporation and won the Chairman’s Award from the Houston Chamber of Commerce. She also was chosen as Communicator of the Year by the Houston Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. Since moving to Central Texas, Elaine has been recognized with writing awards from the Texas Press Association and a Distinguished Disciple Award from the Victoria, Texas, District of the United Methodist Church. She was honored as one of Fayette County’s 10 Outstanding Women in 2011.
With a lively, fresh perspective as a storyteller, Elaine captures people’s memories to help us better understand the past, interpret the present and shape the future. She lovingly creates personal stories that become precious family treasures.