Thursday, November 27, 2014
Today we have the privilege of spending a little time with Leslie Gould, author of Amish and contemporary fiction.
Thank you for coming, Leslie. Have you always wanted to be an author? What made you decide to write, and how long have you been at it?
As a preschooler I used to make up stories about the letters of the alphabet, so yes, I guess I have always wanted to be an author. J I dabbled in writing fiction for years, but it wasn’t until my husband was deployed during Desert Storm that I finally started writing short stories—and finishing them. After a few years of that, I started writing novels.
What do you love about being a writer, and what do you like the least?
I love creating worlds and characters who become as real to me as imaginary friends to a child. The thing I dislike the most is when I have to “crack the whip” at myself, usually when I’m reading instead of writing.
Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a combination?
I have been accused of being a pantster, but it’s not true! I outline all of my novels—otherwise I get stuck in the middle and waste a lot of time. I don’t always stick exactly to my outline because sometimes the characters do unexpected things, but I always know—essentially—where the story is going.
Do you write full time, or do you work it in alongside a full-time job?
I mostly write full-time, although I occasionally teach on the college level.
What do your kids think about your being a writer?
Only one of my four offspring has ever read any of my novels. But they all think it’s pretty cool when I’ve dedicated a book to them.
How do you get your best ideas?
Usually from issues I’m processing in my own life, but occasionally from a reader. Love those! J
What do you do to get past writer’s block?
If I’m really stuck, I’ll pull out my own journal and write first person, from my main character’s POV. That seems to get me going. Or I’ll use Freedom to block me from the Internet and then I’ll toss my phone across the room. That definitely keeps me from procrastinating—which usually takes care of writer’s block too.
What’s your favorite method for keeping a story’s middle from sagging?
Outline and figuring out what my main character’s motivation is in each scene definitely helps. I’ve also been known to re-do character arcs in the middle of the story. By then I know what my character wants better, vs. what she needs, and that usually bolsters those middle chapters.
Do you write every day? What does your typical writing day look like?
Yes, I definitely work every day. A few years ago Starbucks used to put sayings on their coffee cups. I’m paraphrasing, but one read: “There are morning people and evening people, but no such thing as afternoon people.” I totally disagree with that. I do my best writing starting in the afternoon and then going into the evening. Ideally, I’ll do emails and marketing in the morning and then do my story writing in the afternoon. I sometimes write into the evening but with soccer games and other activities, like cooking dinner, that doesn’t always work for me.
Do you like to listen to music when you write?
Yes! I listen to classic piano music. I’ve tried other genres but that’s what works best for me.
Do you have any rituals you like to go through before you start writing, such as make yourself a cup of coffee or tea? Do calisthenics to get the blood flowing? Lock yourself in a room and warn your family not to disturb you upon pain of death? Read something inspiring? Pray?
My husband makes a pot of tea every morning so I start with that. Ideally, after I get ready for the day, I do my stretches after that and then spend some time reading either a Bible study or scripture and then go through my prayer list.
Writing is a sedentary occupation. What do you do for exercise?
I walk several times a week and since I share my car with my seventeen-year-old, I also walk in our neighborhood to run errands. I have a cupboard that’s just the right height to put my computer on so I stand to write part of the day if I’m working at home.
I used to walk at a really slow pace on my treadmill and write, but my balance has been a little off since I was rear-ended over a year ago. Moving enough while writing really can be a challenge. When I’m deep in my story, I’ll be shocked to realize I’ve been sitting in my recliner writing for two hours. That’s not good! Must get up and move!
Do you have any pets? Do you own them, or they you?
We have three cats. One totally owns us! She’s three years old, gray with green eyes, and full of spunk. The other two are sisters and twelve now. They’re slowing down and pretty much sleep and eat, but they entertain us too.
Thanks again, Leslie, for taking the time to visit with us today!
Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award winning author of 19 novels. She and her husband, Peter, live in Portland, Oregon and are the revolving-door parents of four children and the owners of three cats. Leslie loves researching church history, seeing Shakespeare plays, and traveling with her hubby, mainly on research trips. Find out more at www.lesliegould.com.
Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can win a free copy of Leslie's latest release, Becoming Bea (Book #4 in The Courtships of Lancaster County series).