Please welcome author Elizabeth Goddard
How long after you first started writing were you published?
I started writing fiction for publication in 2001 when I joined ACFW after meeting DiAnn Mills and was put into a critique group. The only other time I’d tried my hand at writing a novel was when I was fourteen—so it was another twenty-years before I tried again. Joining that first critique group was key for me because I had to submit a chapter a week and I learned so much. I consider those girls my closest and dearest friends. We’re all published now, Deborah Vogts and Lisa Harris are both with Zondervan.
What motivated you to continue pursuing writing?
The desire to write was pretty much burning inside me for years before I pursued it, and by that time, I finally gave in to what I believe was God’s call to write–I’d been running from that for years. Sticking with writing is a difficult thing, and I think to stick with it a person has to have that drive inside–a desire that won’t let you give up.
How many hours a day do you spend writing? Do you have a schedule?
When I first decided to “answer the call” I set aside afternoon hours from 1-4 PM and I started by writing devotionals. As I began writing fiction I tried to commit a certain number of hours, and to be honest, it was more like I had to set aside hours to focus on my family. I think we can get obsessed or too caught up in things and forget what’s important sometimes. Now with constant, multiple deadlines, I try to write at least chapter a day and that could take three hours or eight, and sometimes I only get half a chapter. Then I have to work in edits or any proposal developments around that, plus I home school three boys so I have to write before we start school and after we finish.
Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why? If not, why not?
In the beginning, I spent a lot of time studying story structure and craft books which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t spend nearly as much time actually writing as I should have. I think I should have started submitting proposals years before I did, because the stories were ready but I didn’t believe in myself. Still, you don’t want to submit before you are ready.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
Yes and no. When you dream of getting published one day, you believe that your heart will be satisfied. That you’ve made it. But that’s not what happens, because then you dream about being multi-published, and then you dream about being award-winning. It never ends. On the other side of that coin, I greatly enjoy coming up with story ideas and sometimes keeping up with the deadlines can be brutal, but I’m doing something I love every day.
I can’t imagine beginning a story without a plot or an outline. Because I started with Heartsong and they require a chapter synopsis, I learned early on how to develop my story before I write it. Now, I find that to be an invaluable tool because I don’t have to stare at a white page and wonder which direction to go. That said, I often see how something will work better differently as I write, but I never veer too far from my roadmap.
When a book idea comes to you, what do you do first?
I write it down! I might not come back to it for a long time, but at least I’ll remember it. In fact, my first novel, Seasons of Love, was set on a cranberry farm. I saw the idea years before I wrote the story. Same thing with Freezing Point (LIS, October 2011) which involves an ice sculptor. I wrote the idea down and didn’t come back to it until three years later.
How do you juggle being a wife, mother, and writer?
I think “juggle” is the key word here. I consider writing my job and I focus on that during the specified time, just like if I had an office in town away from my family. There are days where I have to spend extended hours finishing a book. But when it’s done, I spend extended hours with my family.
Where would we find you in the bookstore?
Most of my books are with the Heartsong Presents Book Club, but I also write for Barbour’s novella collections, and their Hometown Mysteries. You can find me in the romance section, or romantic suspense/mystery.
Why Christian fiction?
I started reading Christian Fiction in my early twenties with Boede and Brock Thoene and I never looked back. I love that I don’t have to worry about language or gratuitous sex (yes I said the S word), plus I love coming away with a spiritual nugget. God uses these novels to speak to people in a big way.
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
You can find me at www.elizabethgoddard.com and sign up for my newsletter, or you can keep up with my daily at my facebook author page, where I’d love for you to stop by and “like” me. www.facebook.com/elizabethgoddardauthor
Thanks, Elizabeth. for your time today.