Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling award-winning author of more than twenty romance and romantic suspense novels and novellas, including the romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies—a 2011 Carol Award winner. Elizabeth is also a 7th generation Texan.
In BURIED, Goddard’s latest novel, legal investigator Leah Marks is forced to flee to Alaska after witnessing a murder. Afraid for her life, she hopes to find safe shelter in a remote cabin—but the killer has tracked her to Mountain Cove. As he chases her into the snow-packed Dead Falls Canyon, an avalanche buries them both. Saved by daring search and rescue specialist Cade Warren, Leah longs to tell him the truth. But how can she, without bringing even more danger into Cade’s life? Especially when they discover the killer is very much alive and waiting to take them both down.
Alaska is about as far away from Texas as you can get. What inspired you to set BURIED in that location?
I lived in Oregon for a while and absolutely love the Pacific Northwest. Give me cold, wet and rainy over the blazing Texas sun any day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home state of Texas, but like most Texans, I also love snow-covered mountains. The panhandle of Alaska is a gorgeous part of the world where I wanted to spend time one summer when my air conditioning was struggling, so I wrote the proposal for my search and rescue series and set it there.
Your novels combine suspense and romance—what makes you write in this genre?
I grew up reading Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt, and so developed an appetite for mystery and suspense early on. Of course, romance is a key ingredient. I can’t imagine reading a suspense novel without at least some romance, nor can I imagine reading a romance without a thread of suspense or mystery.
A key to your writing is making your protagonists both relatable and likable—what areas of your own life do you tap into to make this possible?
Every area of my life. All writers must make their protagonists relatable and likable so the reader will identify with the main character and be willing to follow their story through hundreds of pages. For me, I have to consider my audience—women of any age who love romantic suspense—and I can easily draw from my life experience to create something within the character that women can quickly identify with. Past hurts such as a broken heart, or the loss of a loved-one, and those past experiences affects every area of life. No matter where we are in this world or life, in the deepest part of us, we all want and need the same things.
A lot of your novels maintain a core of spirituality—what does that mean to you as a writer?
My faith as a follower of Christ means everything to me as a person and as a writer. It’s really about a worldview and I can’t do anything without my belief coming through. That said, I don’t necessarily start a story thinking about the spiritual theme. I don’t have to. I know the spiritual will come out as the characters grow on the pages, because that’s who I am. Every person, whether they believe in God or not, comes to a place of reckoning—a struggle so difficult that they question life and what it all means. The characters I write about are often angry with God, and some don’t believe He exists, but eventually they find Him through their life struggles. Others believe He exists, but discover that isn’t enough to know God is there, but that they have to trust Him and follow Him. That said, some of my stories have more of a spiritual element and thread than others. I never force it but let it come naturally.
Are there any limits you put on yourself when writing a suspense novel—profanity, sex, violence, etc.?
Yes. As writers we always have to consider our audience. Since my audience is largely made up of Christian women who expect a clean read, I don’t include profanity or sex, and the violence is limited—nothing gory or too detailed. I wouldn’t want to read any of that, so I certainly wouldn’t write it. A good suspense doesn’t have to include those elements to be a riveting page-turner.
What is the most meaningful part of writing a novel?
When you have this burning drive inside you to write a novel and you accomplish that task, repeatedly, there is a sense of achievement and joy that you’ve full-filled your life’s calling. Anyone who has a particular hobby or a gift who is given the opportunity to make a living with that gift, doing something they love is a blessed and fortunate person.
You are the mother of four children. How do they inspire your writing?
My children inspire my writing the same way they inspire my life. Raising children has given me a healthy dose of love and selflessness I could never have imagined, a deep joy, and a grounded sense of purpose that I wouldn’t otherwise have. My kids are all talented comedians so I spend a lot of time laughing. I would do anything at all for my children, and the best part is that we all love story—we enjoy watching movies together and talking through the story elements. They have each developed a love of reading, too. Must be in our genes.
Do your children think you’re cool?
If they do they have never told me or expressed that sentiment in any way. Whenever we go to Wal-Mart and I want to see if they have my book on the shelves, the kids usually roll their eyes. I don’t think they get that not everyone’s mom is a published author. But maybe one day that will sink in.
With 23 novels under your belt, what’s next for Elizabeth Goddard?
I’m currently writing more books in my Alaskan search and rescue series (Mountain Cove) and should have a total of six books set there. Then it’s on to the next series in Love Inspired Suspense, and I’m still simmering ideas on what that will be.
Elizabeth Goddard is the award-winning author of more than twenty romance and romantic suspense novels and novellas, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES–a 2011 Carol Award winner. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of becoming an author. She lives in East Texas with her husband and children.
To learn more about Elizabeth, please visit her website.