Elizabeth Goddard is a 7th generation Texan who recently spent five years in beautiful Southern Oregon, which serves as a setting for some of her novels. She is now back in East Texas, living near her family. When she’s not writing, she’s busy home schooling her four children. Beth is the author of several novels and novellas. She’s actively involved in several writing organizations including American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and loves to mentor new writers.
When did you decide to be a writer?
Like many authors I’ve been writing since I was a child but it wasn’t until 2001 when I finally accepted God’s persistent call to write. It was that year that I met DiAnn Mills and joined the newly started American Christian Romance Writers. Of course, the name has been changed to protect the innocent and it’s now American Christian Fiction Writers.
At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?
Great question. I think that point finally came this year. I had three books and a novella to write and the rough draft of a bigger novel to complete. I realized that at some point the writing became strong enough that the decision of whether something is right or wrong is simply a matter of opinion and ultimately, it’s the editor who has to decide their preference. Still, I rely heavily on my writing partners for their suggestions.
Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?
A little of both, but mostly I’m disciplined. I try to start writing every morning. But sometimes there are too many things weighing on my mind and I simply have to put things aside for that day. I’m especially disciplined when I have a deadline and allot myself a certain amount of words a day and a week. I give myself a personal deadline much earlier than the contracted deadline.
What kind of activities do you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?
I love to exercise—running on the treadmill and the elliptical. I hate doing housework, but I often do that when I’m procrastinating writing—the writing and the cleaning have a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Getting things accomplished really helps me to relax and the caveat is that I always come up with an idea for a new scene while doing something else. I don’t want to leave out that I enjoy playing games with my kids.
What is your favorite novel and what made it special?
You know that’s a tough question! I have several favorites by authors such as Stephen Lawhead, Francine Rivers, and Kathy Tyers to name a few. I’ll pick one here—I loved Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series. It was a wonderful depiction of Roman times, but I also saw our own modern society reflected in Rome, which is both scary and enlightening. Mostly, I was very much convicted by her character, Hadassah—--she was relegated to position of a slave, yet she never stopped loving the people she served though they treated her poorly. She never stopped giving thanks to God or praying—a model servant of Christ. I aspire to become like her.
How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
For me, I find it somewhat freeing. In my own writing I begin to erect walls filled with rules and fitting my story into a certain style for a specific publisher and I don’t want to cross this or that line. But when I read someone else's work, I relax and realize that I’m free to be as creative as I want. What a great reminder!
Tell us a little about your latest release:
Exposing Amber released with Heartsong Presents this month. It’s about a college intern who works at a museum and falls in love with the director but they both have pasts they have to face before they can move on.
Where did you get your inspiration for Exposing Amber?
I love science—paleontology, archaeology, astronomy—you name it. I’ve always wanted to go on a fossil dig, but I figured I could at least write a story about one. When I found a museum connected with a fossil dig I knew that would make a great setting.
Which character is most like you?
I think Amber is much like I was when I was in college, unsure of what I really wanted to do with my life and future. She’s a little insecure too, at first, though some might not like that in her character, I think a lot of people suffer from that. The hope is that by the end of the story, she gains a sense of herself—who she is and where she wants to go.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Well if you’re referring to Exposing Amber, Amber has a side-kick, Muriel. She’s uninhibited and great fun. She also reminds me of myself.
Did you know how Exposing Amber would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?
I love it when that happens. In fact, in my upcoming mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES, I wrote the entire story with another killer in mind, then I changed my mind in the end. I hope that doesn’t give too much away! In Exposing Amber, there were some things that changed because I visited a local museum and they gave me some new ideas. I knew it was the right thing to make the change. I don’t want to give too much away here, though.
What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
One message that surprised me in the story ( and yes, this could answer the above as well) was that we can’t hope to spread the message of Christ by keeping to ourselves, remaining in our comfortable Christian circles. My characters have both entered fields that aren’t Christ-friendly, but they continue forward following God’s direction.
What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?
I haven’t found the missing key to marketing, no. I’m simply answering blog interviews. I also plan to participate in the East Texas Book Fest to promote my books and a few other speaking engagements. I hope that works.
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
I recently sent in a romantic suspense proposal for a category romance publisher and I’m working on a “big” book that I’m very excited about! But I can’t give away company secrets. LOL!
Thanks for being with us today, Beth!
Thanks you for the interview, Lisa. Keep up the good work.
Want more? Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from Exposing Amber by Elizabeth Goddard!