Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of twenty-three romance novels and counting. A seventh-generation Texan, Elizabeth currently makes her home in Minnesota.
Her latest novel, BACKFIRE, is released this month. Tracy Murray had thought she’d be safe disappearing in the wilds of Alaska after her testimony put away a gang leader. But the gang symbol tattooed on an attacker’s arm means the clock has run out. She’s been found—and she knows the killers won’t let her escape alive again. She can’t fight an entire gang alone—she needs help. But when she finds herself relying on widowed firefighter David Warren, a new struggle emerges. Fleeing Alaska and cutting all ties could be the only way to survive…but it would mean leaving her heart behind.
Elizabeth kindly took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions:
Your Christianity is a major part of your life. How does it assist you with your writing?
My stories are written from a Christian worldview and so my characters respond accordingly. Add to that I write because I believe God has called me to write. He created the desire and the gift within me and, ultimately, at the end of the day, He is the whole reason I write. I can’t separate myself from my Christianity. It’s part of my being.
You graduated with a B.S. degree in computer science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to write. How did your earlier career help?
My earlier career helped me become more entrepreneurial, understand how to build my career, and I developed a strong work ethic. In addition, my corporate America experiences and my extensive travels have given me a much broader view of life, helped me to create characters and develop settings.
You retired from corporate life to write and also to home school your four children. As someone who can only write when my three children are at their schools, how did you manage that combination?
It’s interesting to note that I know a lot of novelists who, in fact, home school their children and I’ve often considered that home schooling parents love books and reading, in general, so we end up writing our own! We do our work together, usually, and I hope I’m instilling good work habits in them. But often my writing happens whenever I can carve out time in the morning or afternoon.
Tell us a bit about yourself, some biographical details, but also what turned you into a writer and when. It seems that many writers are living out their childhood dreams and ambitions. What about you?
Yep. Childhood dream. I’ve always been a writer for as long as I can remember. Except when it was time to choose a college degree and a career I went for computer science because computers were booming business and I knew I could get a job. Fast forward about ten years, after college, career, and marriage, and I was home with children and I finally had time to think and dream about writing again. So I made it happen.
Your books have a healthy dose of adventure. Do you get out into the mountains, or up in hot air balloons to research?
I’ve traveled to most of the places I love and write about, or I’ve lived in some of the most amazing places where I’ve set my stories. I love to hike, explore, climb and ski, and anything I haven’t experienced personally, I research extensively and talk to those who have.
Where do your ideas come from? I know this can be an almost impossible question to answer.
They just come, as if from nowhere! First of all there’s the big idea for the book itself and secondly there are the smaller ideas, the character reflections, the plot twists and turns. I go for walks in the forest with my dogs and I dictate into my phone. I find walking somehow puts me into a meditative state where I am susceptible to inspiration.
Do you do anything specific or does it all just come as you are sitting at your desk?
Of course for story fodder we writers must leave our desk. We must get out and live life! I think too that mature writers have more experience to write deeper stories, but that’s in general. I’m often out experiencing life when an idea will hit me and I store it away in my idea files for another day. Or sometimes I’m simply watching the news when something grabs me. That’s what happened with my first story, Season of Love. I saw a short news snippet about cranberry farming and found that fascinating. I knew I would write a story about that eventually. When I first started writing, I wondered where writers found their stories, but over the years I’ve trained myself so that I see a story in everything. Sometimes, though, I might take a day or a week to read adventure magazines or research to come up with some new ideas. I like to keep my idea file brimming with possibilities. So I always have a book or a proposal in different phases of development. (I call that the novel funnel!)
Who are your own favorite writers and inspirations?
Oh I love so many books, how can I choose? I read in a variety of genres as well. I love Stephen Lawhead, Francine Rivers, Kathy Tyers, Tosca Lee, and right now I’m reading Nevada Barr stories.
Many writers have a guiding philosophy that inspires their novels. In my own case I have a belief that we are unwittingly, unknowingly, very often walking a tightrope in our lives, with safety and normality on one side and howling chaos on the other. Do you have a guiding philosophy that motivates or lurks behind your writing.
My novels always have a spiritual theme that grows organically as I write and that comes from my own philosophy, or faith, if you will. Usually my characters are struggling to find their place in the world. Struggling to trust God with their lives, or to let go of wrongs done to them, and often my stories reflect where I am in my own spiritual journey at that time.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love coming up with the initial idea, creating the proposal, because at that moment, anything is possible. The sky is the limit.
I’m excited to share that I just signed a six book contract with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, so I’ll be writing two more Mountain Cove books and starting a brand new series set on the Rogue River in Oregon—another place where I have lived and loved!
Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of twenty-three romance novels and counting. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated with a B.S. degree in computer science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dream of becoming an author. She currently makes her home in Minnesota.
To learn more about Elizabeth, please visit her website.