Leslie Gould is the author of Garden of Dreams, Beyond the Blue (winner of the 2006 Romantic Times Inspirational Reviewers’ ChoiceAward), Scrap Everything, six Guideposts novels, and The Amish Midwife, co-authored with Mindy Starns Clark and #1 on the EPCA Fiction Bestseller List for March 2011. She received her MFA in creative writing from Portland State University. Leslie lives in Portland with her four children. Her husband, Peter, is currently deploying to Afghanistan. Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being? I loved stories when I was little and by the time I was in preschool, I was making up vignettes about the letters of the alphabet, each with their own distinct personality. There were definitely stages when I wanted to become a writer, but also times when I wanted to be a fashion designer, teacher, astronaut, doctor, TV reporter, horticulturist, lawyer, etc. How long did you write before you sold your first book? I began writing fiction in 1991 and sold my first novel in 2001, so a whole decade! In the meantime, I published hundreds of articles and a couple of short stories. Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them? Think of your first draft as the scaffolding, which must be erected to construct a building but afterward is torn down. You might not end up keeping much of that first draft, but you need it to write your novel. So write that initial draft with abandon! Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better. My day-to-day life right now revolves around my husband being deployed. He’s a colonel in the Army Reserve and is being sent to Afghanistan to command a field hospital. You can follow my blog “400 days, stateside” as I count down the days of his deployment at http://www.lesliegould.com. In the midst of all there is to do to get him and our family ready, I’m working on a Guideposts novel that’s due in April and the second in the Women of Lancaster County series that I’m co-authoring with Mindy Starns Clark, that’s due in the summer. (Editor's Note: Please join us in praying for the safety of Leslie's husband, and for all our troops serving overseas.) Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published? Ah, rejection! Yes, I still experience it, but now it’s buffered by a very sweet email from my agent. Tell us a little about your latest release: The Amish Midwife, co-authored with Mindy Starns Clark, is about a nurse midwife from Oregon who travels to Pennsylvania to search for her birth family and ends up working with the Amish. It’s flying off the shelves right now and is getting great reviews. I’m absolutely thrilled with the story, and working with Mindy has been an amazing experience. If you could only share one line from The Amish Midwife, which one would you choose and why? “…God ordained the days of your life, just like it says in Psalm 139. The story you so desperately wanted to hear was written by Him.” It’s a comfort to know that even through the biggest heartaches of our lives, God is at work, redeeming every situation. Writers often put things in their books that are very personal—like a funny story that happened to them, a spiritual truth they learned through difficulty, or even just a character trait that is uniquely theirs. Is there something in The Amish Midwife that only people close to you know is about you or someone you know? I had two of my babies at home, and our fourth child is adopted. It wasn’t until Mindy and I started working on the story together that I learned her youngest brother is adopted—which was one of those moments of serendipity. What kind of research did you have to do for this book? I read a long list of books on the Amish, Anabaptist history, and personal accounts written by Plain people. My husband, my two daughters, and I traveled to Lancaster County to do more research—which was a wonderful experience and included dinner with an Amish family. Tell us what new projects you’re working on. Mindy and I are currently finishing up The Amish Nanny, the next novel in the series, and starting the third story, The Amish Bride. The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business? Join a critique group, go to writers’ conferences, and read books on writing fiction, beginning with Randy Ingermanson’s and Peter Economy’s book Writing Fiction for Dummies. . Leslie is giving away a copy of her book, The Amish Midwife. Stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!