Friday, September 22, 2017

Interview with ELIZABETH GODDARD



Elizabeth Goddard, Scientist, Mom, Writer


Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than ​thirty novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES--a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.
Her website is: http://elizabethgoddard.com

Interviewer: E.E. Kennedy

1)      How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always had the writing gene or gift, if you will, so as far back as I can remember I was writing stories or attempting to journal or write novels. Decades of my life passed before I decided to get serious and hone the craft and pursue actual publication. In my case, I really did answer God’s call to write. But that’s another story. 

2)    I see that your background is in computer science. How has this knowledge influenced your work? 

My computer science degree is much too old to be very useful or even influential. I could say that writing software programs taught me a degree of structure and I use that same structured approach when creating my stories. I’m one of those people who uses equal parts left and right brain, meaning though I’m structured when writing, I also allow significant creative freedom to impact that structure. That said, the computer science degree propelled me to my career as a regional account executive for a software firm and I traveled the entire country, including Canada. Here’s where the real impact came—I love to travel and have experienced many places and I use that knowledge in my stories. 

3)    You write in both romance and suspense. Which is the most challenging? Which is your favorite?  

Even my romances have a suspense thread, so I’d have to say I enjoy romantic suspense. The romance writing came about as an avenue to publication. I love a good romance don’t get me wrong, but it’s even better when the heroine is danger and there’s a puzzle to solve. 

4)    Where are some of your favorite settings to write about? 

Setting is literally where I begin a story. I love amazing, beautiful, exotic settings. They inspire me. Once I’ve chosen a setting, then I figure out the characters and the story. I love the Pacific Northwest where I lived for five years. I love the Rockies--Montana and Wyoming where my husband grew up. I took a research trip this summer to prepare for a three book series set in Wyoming—the first book releases in 2019.

I’ve written stories set in the redwoods of northern California and along the rocky northwest coast and the panhandle of Alaska. See what I mean? Setting is usually a character in my stories. Funny, though, I have NOT written a story set in my home state of Texas until recently when my Harlequin editor asked me to participate in a continuity series. That series, Texas Rangers Holidays, is set to release the first book this October. The books are as follows, Thanksgiving Protector by Sharon Dunn, Christmas Double Cross by Jodie Bailey, and Texas Christmas Defender by yours truly. 

5)    How do you determine the names for your books?

Harlequin requires me to come up with a list of titles and rarely do they pick my original title. They like the titles to be story hooks. 

6)    You began writing in earnest when you had three small children at home! Wow! Most writers would find that challenging if not impossible! How did you do it? 

I think I was easier when they were younger honestly. Hey, I was younger too! Ha! Seriously, part of it, I think, has to do with the fact that I’m very entrepreneurial. Think about it. I spent my whole life preparing to be a professional in the work force. Got my degree. Had a great career. Then suddenly I find myself at home with children. I quit my job because I believed I needed to be there for them. At the same time something was missing in my life. I thrive on work so I found a way to be home with my children and even home school them while pursuing my writing career. I think there’s a huge percentage of Christian writers who are also home schooling moms. Now I actually make a living at writing and I couldn’t be more blessed that God gave me this dream, He wouldn’t let me get away from it, and now He’s hugely blessed me in it.

7)    You’re quite prolific, in my opinion. Here’s the age-old question: where do you get your ideas? 

I love this question. It was my first question to friends I met at my first writing contest. Their answer to me – “What if. Just start asking, what if.” After all these years I’ve super-charged my brain to come up with ideas and the problem is shutting them off. Sometimes I don’t want everything to be an idea for a book. Though everything around me can be turned into a story, not everything is commercially viable, so that’s where the real work comes--choosing the best ideas to turn into stories.  
8)    How does your Christian faith enter into your books?

Since my Christian faith is integral to who I am, I don’t think much about it while writing. It just flows organically. I pray and believe the words flow as they should and often a spiritual message or theme will come out that I hadn’t even considered. Usually it’s a reflection of where I am in my own journey with God, and perhaps writing helps me through.  Readers write me about the spiritual thread more than anything. How it was just what they needed to hear that day. I couldn’t be more blessed that God can use the writing He gave me to speak to others. 

9)    Do you draw from actual experience in your books? Some of the scenes are pretty vivid! 

If I have an actual experience I can use—you bet I draw from it, but even if I haven’t personally experienced something, I do my best to make it as vivid and raw as possible by interviewing others, doing extensive research. 

10)   Have you found something special and fascinating during your research? 

I learn something interesting while researching and often I have to pull myself back from research in order to write the book. My biggest issue with research has to do with the suspense angle of my stories. Sometimes the research takes me into dark places I don’t want to go or read about. I won’t even talk about it here. 
11) Sometimes my characters seem so real to me. Have you found yourself thinking of them in three-dimensional terms, too? 

Oh, definitely. I continually layer my characters and as I get deeper into their stories and lives I keep pulling back more layers to find out who they really are. I’ve never had anyone complain that my characters weren’t deep enough.

12) What are some things you try to avoid in your work? 

Gratuitous sex or violence are the obvious two. I don’t think foul language is necessary. A good well-developed story can be written without having to be rated R.

(13) Tell us about your latest projects. What’s in the future for you?  

The last book in my Wilderness, Inc. series released in July, Wilderness Reunion. This series was set in one of the places I lived and loved, and I enjoyed revisiting it through the eyes of my characters. Coming up next, in December, is the third book in the Texas Ranger Holiday series, which I already mentioned—Texas Christmas Defender. Then in early 2018 the first book in my new series, Coldwater Bay Intrigue, releases. Thread of Revenge was great fun to write and includes a CGIS hero—Coast Guard Investigative Services—and a marine biologist heroine. It’s set on the Washington coast, of course! Then in 2019, my first trade novel for Revell releases, featuring an ex-FBI hero and a forensic geneologist—they join forces to find out what happened to a baby abducted hours after her birth twenty-one years ago. 

I’ve also dipped my toes into the “indie” world writing a short novella and publishing it on my own. Double Exposure is the first book in the Exposure Series—Exposed and on the Run. I’m venturing out and writing a few stories that probably wouldn’t get picked up by my publishers and it gives me more freedom to write what I want. Double Exposure is a novella—meaning it’s short—because it was written to be included in Targeted for Danger—a romantic suspense collection including eight top Christian romantic suspense writers. (Susan May Warren, Lynette Eason, Susan Sleeman, Christy Barritt, Ginny Aikin, Jan Thompson, Margaret Daley, Elizabeth Goddard)


                                                                                ~0~

Please leave a comment WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS below for a chance to win a free e-copy of DOUBLE EXPOSURE!

She is also participating in another contest. To check it out, go here: https://booksweeps.com/enter-win-two-boxed-sets-15-christian-suspense-novels-september-17/






11 comments:

  1. I preordered Double Exposure, and am looking forward to reading it. Can't believe how busy you are!

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  2. What a great group of authors in Targeted for Danger! jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  3. Thanks for the interview! It's so much fun to learn about the authors - kudos to all the wonderful home-schooling Christian authors out there (I can't fathom doing either).
    Thanks also for the giveaway. It really is a great group of authors compiled into a collection.

    mindyhoungATmsnDOTcom

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  4. I really enjoyed the interview. Thank you for a chance to win. Lhanberry1@gmail.com

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  5. Good morning E.E. and Elizabeth. I enjoyed your chat together and Elizabeth I am also a fan of romantic suspense. I wish that the following statement that you shared could be available to all people wanting to be an author. "A good well-developed story can be written without having to be rated R". Amen to that!
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. Great interview. I love hearing all the background information. I know how hard it is to homeschool while holding down a job. I had to work while my hubby got three degrees and taught at graduate level , sometimes at the same time. Kudos to you-- our four kids turned out fine -- so keep it up!
    My favorite genres are suspense and historical, Christian, of course. These books sound so good. Would love to win the ebook! Now that I'm retired I have more time to read! Thanks and blessings! BTW , I lived E.E. 's books, too!

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    Replies
    1. Forgot: paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet!

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  7. I enjoyed the interview. I can always tell if an author does his or her "homework" and it sounds like you truly do. I appreciate that when I read because I love to "be in the story". Romantic suspense is one of my favorites.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. I love your books!!!
    mcaquinn@AOL.COM

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  9. Enjoyed the interview and love your books.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  10. Great interview! I love reading your books! I love reading romantic suspense. Thanks for writing clean books for us to enjoy! d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

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