Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interview with Louise M. Gouge

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Louise M. Gouge and her March release "The Captain's Lady." Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her book.

Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction, calling her stories “threads of grace woven through time.” In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose.
With her great love of history and research, Louise loves to visit museums and travel to her stories’ settings to ensure accuracy. Her favorite Bible verse is “He shall choose our inheritance for us” (Psalm 47:4), a testimony to her belief that God has chosen a path for each believer. To seek that path and to trust His wisdom is to find the greatest happiness in life.

Louise has been married to David Gouge for 45 years. They have four grown children and six grandchildren. She earned her BA in English/Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and her Master of Liberal Studies degree at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Louise is also an adjunct professor of English and Humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee, Florida.

Welcome to Romance Magicians, Louise. You went back to school after you began writing and completed a creative writing degree. Was your interest in writing romance encouraged by your professors or did they push you to write “literary fiction”?

Unfortunately, most of my professors didn’t encourage or discourage my writing in any direction. The fact that I was an older student and a Christian meant that they didn’t try to bully me, as some profs do to younger students. And they didn’t want to talk about my faith. . .or their own. However, I will admit that they did let me write what I wanted and didn’t give me poor grades based on my Christian message. In fact, one dear prof, a true old-fashioned gentleman. . .and an agnostic, loved my short story “The Burden,” which you can read on my website. I wrote it for him and hope someday to see him in heaven.

You have written “sequels” to Melville’s “Moby Dick”. Are you contemplating sequels to any of the other classics? If yes, which one.

Hmm. I think so many people are doing this now. We all look for some unique story to write, but since, as Solomon says, there’s nothing new under the sun, sometimes we have to look to the great works of the past for ideas. I wouldn’t say I’ll never try it again. Maybe one of Shakespeare’s plays in a different setting or era. Yes, that’s been done countless times. Hmmm. You’ve made me think. Whatever shall I do next??

In addition to writing, you teach at Valencia Community College. How do you balance the “day job” and the writing job?

Oh, this crazy life of mine! I have to change gears constantly, and sometimes my clutch gets stuck. I write on Monday, teach on Tuesday, write on Wednesday, teach on Thursday, write on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Whew! It takes some time each new writing day to get back into the story. I will say that one spring semester, with eleven days straight to write, I composed 25,000 words! I don’t think I left the house that entire time. But during most semesters, I’m lucky to write 5,000 words a week. Takes quite a while to finish a book that way.

Do you have a favorite time period to write about? How do you research the time period of your books?

I like anything before World War I, but especially the 18th and 19th centuries. I have a small library of books about customs, clothing, etc., for those eras. These days it’s easy to find research sites online, and I use those quite a bit. I’m careful about which sources to use because many are not historically accurate. But my favorite thing is to visit the settings for my stories. I’ve gone to Boston, Nantucket, Annapolis, and other places to see what I’m writing about, combing through libraries and asking questions at the historical societies. People who live in those areas will probably laugh that I think their hometowns are so exotic. But those were the trips of a lifetime for me, and I know my stories were better because I went to each place. I plan a trip to St. Augustine in a couple of weeks for my current work in progress. But unfortunately, I had to rely on other research sources for The Captain’s Lady. Although I visited England in 1992, I couldn’t manage a return trip this time.

What is your writing process – plotter or pantser?

Both. I plan the main points of the story to balance the action and avoid a sagging middle. Then I keep having surprises pop up in each day’s writing.

What advice do you give new writers?

Park in front of the computer and pour out the story of your heart. Go to writers’ conferences and learn all you can. Network. Join a critique group with at least one member who knows what she’s doing. Bone up on your grammar. When you’re ready to submit your book to an editor or agent, be humble about your work. Remember, even though the Lord may have inspired you to write this story, it is not the Word of God. We all are still learning. If you attend a conference and have a chance to sit in a class next to someone like DiAnn Mills or MaryLu Tyndall, you’ll see them taking notes. If they’re still learning, you can, too.

Tell us about The Captain’s Lady.

The Captain’s Lady is the second book in my Revolutionary War series for Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historicals. In the first book, Love Thine Enemy, one of my important secondary characters was Jamie Templeton, one of those delightfully pesky hero-types who demand their own books. How could I resist? So his heroine needed to be someone special. Enter my first hero’s sister, Marianne, an English lady, daughter of Lord Bennington, advisor to King George III. Jamie and Marianne are deeply in love, but his station in life is too far below her aristocratic birth. Not only that, but Jamie has been sent to London to spy on Bennington for the Patriot cause. Now he is torn between love and duty.

What is next on your writing horizon?

I’m currently working on the third book in my Revolutionary War series. The working title is St. Augustine Bride, but I expect my editor will change it. From the title you can tell that it takes place in the one and only St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. East and West Florida were British colonies during the war, and St. Augustine was a refuge city for Loyalists fleeing persecution by Patriots determined to win their freedom from England. The history of this little city is very exciting and amazing. I have a feeling I’ll be writing more stories set there.

Thank you, Louise - I'm looking forward to reading "The Captain's Lady".

All comments through Thursday, March 11th at 7:00 PM will be entered to win a copy of "The Captain's Lady."


Mary Jo Bryant said...

Nannette your interview with Louise M. Gouge was very interesting. Louise encourages writers not to ever stop learning from any and all resources. "Be humble about your work", she states. She hints that editors will make many changes to your original work, even to your title. With all of her extensive research, her historical fiction books help us understand where we are today verses the issues faced by the military back then. She seems to be an insightful Christian writer.

Marie Campbell said...

Great interview, Nannette. And thank you so much for sharing your time with us today, Louise. You have a full, busy schedule and still find time to write and that is the wonderful encouraging news that I need to hear!

Callie James said...

Thanks for the interview, both Nannette and Louise!

Carla Swafford said...

I've read where the inspirational market is growing and I'm so glad.

Great interview questions, Nannette.

Thanks for coming, Louise.

Heather said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview!

Louise M. Gouge said...

Hi, everyone. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. Nanette wrote some great questions I'd never been asked before, or at least not exactly the same way. It sure made me think! I wish you all the best in this drawing. You can find other chances to win The Captain's Lady at my website, Louise

Debbie said...

This interview was very well thought out, I found it to be an awakening for myself. I have never been a fan of historical romance, due to the misconception that I would not find it interesting, however after reading this review not only of Mrs. Gouge style but also her passion of the historical romance I find my self wanting to explore the area of literature that I have not included in my passion of reading. THis was done is such a way as to peak my interest and make me feel the need to visit these places in the books whether physically or just in my mind...I feel a new adventure coming my way.
I am sure that others like myself have "cheated" themselves in the past and now we will have to venture off into a different time and place.

Louisa Cornell said...

What a lovely interview, Nannette and Louise !

The inspirational historical market is definitely growing and I am pleased to see that happen.

In your research, have you found that the religious beliefs of the time period about which you write differ from the religious beliefs of today? It is always interesting to me to see how religious beliefs and the place of faith in daily life has evolved and changed.

Mary said...

Very interesting interview Louise and Nannette. I've been reading contemporaries lately but this has inspired me to look at historicals again. I look forward to reading your book.

Maggie said...

This was a very interesting interview. I've never been a big fan of historical romances, but the way Louise describes her books makes me want to try reading one. Louise, your faith is truly inspiring!

Nannette Conway said...

Thanks everyone for the comments! Congratulations, Louisa - you're the winner of the book.