Louise Gouge interview

» Posted on Oct 17, 2007 in Blog | 3 comments


Don’t forget if you want to be in the drawing for her book THEN CAME HOPE, email me by Sunday evening at Mdaley50@aol.com.
1. What made you start writing?
I have always had an active imagination, creating stories very early in my childhood and writing term papers in the forms of plays and short stories. When my children were growing up, I invented bedtime stories and songs, and also wrote many church plays. Then, at the urging of a friend, I began my first novel, a contemporary romance. It was so much fun that I decided to keep writing.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I’ve been writing since 1984. I sold that contemporary romance in the early 90s, and it came out in 1994. But before I tried to sell it, I went back to college and earned a creative writing degree so I wouldn’t embarrass myself when I submitted it to editors.

3. How do you handle rejections?
Much better than I used to! Now I understand that writing is a business. Editors know what they’re looking for and what their house needs. Since I want to sell my stories, I need to find out what’s working these days and aim my writing in that direction.

4. Why do you write?
I write because it’s very hard to keep my stories bottled up inside. Writing them is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy for me. Of course, I want to see them published, but that’s up to the Lord.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
My other job is teaching part time as an adjunct professor of English and humanities at a rapidly growing community college. If I didn’t write, I probably would teach more classes.

6. What are you working on right now?
My current novel takes place in Florida during the Revolutionary War. My home state didn’t participate in the War despite being an English colony. To find out why, you’ll have to read the book when it comes out. J

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
Oh, absolutely! From earliest childhood, I’ve been an amateur actress. I love the drama of it all. But my characters are not always “me.” They have lives of their own and are able to do admirable things I’d never have the courage to do.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
Then Came Hope is the second book in my post-Civil War series. It tells the story of Delia, a former slave, and Ezra, a soldier in the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Negro Regiment. Separated from his unit in a hostile South, Ezra heads home, encountering a ragtag band of former slaves to travel with. One of the travelers is a shy young girl who catches his eye. But bitter southerners are not the only menace to threaten this hopeful band as they head north, seeking a new life of freedom.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
I believe that writers should write the story of their hearts. But that’s only the beginning. As I mentioned before, writing is a business. We must hone our skills and present the best stories possible if we expect to be published. Never stop learning. Never think you know it all. Listen to the humblest person you meet. You never know when a nugget of wisdom will come your way that will change your entire writing career.

10. How important is faith in your books?
For me, faith is what it’s all about. I want people to know my Savior, so my stories are always about people whose faith in Jesus Christ grows stronger through their trials. This is not some sort of pie-in-the-sky philosophy. It’s the reality of my own life and every Christian who walks this earth.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
My favorite theme is God’s amazing grace. In all my stories, I try to bring out the eternal truth that God has completed all the work necessary for our salvation. When Jesus said on the Cross, “It is finished,” He meant finished. We have only to believe in Him as the sacrifice for our sins, and we have eternal life with Him. Once we accept that salvation, we need to tap into that same grace of God to grow into the people He wants us to be. Those are the themes I love to write about. One of my favorite songs from childhood is, “I love to tell the story … of Jesus and His love.” It’s a lifelong passion of mine.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
Once upon a time, my brother-in-law asked me which one of my four children was my favorite. I said, “The one sitting on my lap at any given moment.” That’s the way it is with my books. My favorite book is the one I’m holding in my hand or working on at any given moment. I love my characters. I love their struggles to understand God’s plan and try so hard to follow it. I weep when they fail and rejoice when they triumph. To me, that’s the joy of being an author.

13. You describe some of your books as a mix of romance, history and adventure. I love all those elements. What is your most favorite aspect of a book?
I love it all: research, history, romance. (My dear hubby of 42 years is still my sweetheart.) Also, I love vicarious adventure. Huge laughter coming from my family here. I’m such a chicken. To me, a wild adventure is riding the monorail at Disney World. But don’t try to get me on the roller coasters! So I put my characters through all sorts of danger and adventure and pretend it’s me. But isn’t that what books are supposed to do for us?

14. What is your writing schedule like?
I teach my college classes on Tuesdays and Thursday and write on Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays. Like any workday at the office, I try to be at my desk from 8 am to 12 Noon and from 1 to 5 PM. Working at home provides many distractions, but so far it’s worked out for me.

15. You are an English professor. What advice do you give to the students you teach who want to be writers?
Because I teach in a secular college, I sometimes modify my advice. But if I sense the student has a spiritual bent or is a Christian, I make sure to tell him/her that the first thing an aspiring writer should do is submit all hopes and dreams to God and seek His guidance. Then, dream big, but complete your education. Never stop learning. Write all the time, even if it’s just a paragraph a day. Be creative, but get a firm grasp on grammar rules. Write down ideas that come across your mind and tuck them away for later use. (I find that when I’m the most creative, multiple ideas fill my mind. I jot down the “strays” so I won’t forget them, tuck them away, then come back to them when I have a chance.) Understand the art of writing stories. Study people. Study the business. Attend writing conferences, because networking can really boost your career. And don’t be a snob about it. Today’s humble student at a writer’s conference might be tomorrow’s powerful editor. Submit queries and proposals to your dream publisher. Get used to rejection and learn to brush it off and try again. Paper your walls with rejection letters. Submit more queries and proposals. Oh, and did I mention? Dream big. I can’t promise anyone success, not even myself. But if you don’t study the craft, if you’re not prepared, if you don’t dream big, then you’ll never see your dream come true.

3 Comments

  1. This sounds like a fabulous book. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Blessings,
    Lynette

  2. Enjoyed the interview!

  3. Love the interview Louise and Margaret!

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