Louise has been a good friend of mine for a long time. I just loved her series on Captain Ahab's family. Now she has a new series, and we're featuring one of the books.
Nothing on purpose! Instead, I try to create interesting, compelling characters who learn how to overcome adversity with the help of God. I feel that is my writing “assignment” from the Lord.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In 1964, I sneaked backstage at a Beatles’ concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater outside of Denver. I stood about an arm’s length from Ringo, my favorite. I got away with this bit of mischief because I knew a security guard, and he knew I was not a screamer.
What fun! When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a child with a very active imagination, I always lived in the world of Pretend. When I was in high school, I loved writing stories for my English classes. Not meaning to brag, but I always got an A. Because I also loved singing and acting, those were the careers I studied for and dreamed about. Then I married my sweetheart, we began our family, and all three artistic endeavors were used to enhance my mothering and church service. Finally, in 1984, when my children reached middle and high school, I began writing novels. I knew that was what the Lord wanted me to do for the rest of my life. That’s when I began to call myself a writer.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love historical romances like yours, Lena. I also love DiAnn Mills’ books. Francine Rivers really touches my soul in her books. And I always love to go back to the classics such at Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice. I’m crazy about the plays of Shakespeare, but he’s hard to read. I prefer watching a good performance of his works because of all the amazing insights into human nature. He wrote four hundred years ago, but at heart people are still the same as in his day.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
My published titles are:
Then Came Hope, Emerald Pointe Books, 2007 (Word Weavers Second Place for Fiction)
Then Came Faith, Emerald Pointe Books, 2006 (Road to Romance Reviewer’s Choice Award)
Son of Perdition, Cook Communications, 2006
Hannah Rose, Cook Communications, 2005 (multi-award winner)
Ahab’s Bride, Cook Communications, 2004 (ACRW second place historical romance)
The Homecoming, Crossway Books, 1998
Once There Was a Way Back Home, 1994
I have two completed, unpublished books. One probably won’t ever be published, but I still have high hopes for Escape from Kikwit, based on my daughter’s true-life adventures as a missionary in Africa.
Sounds like I'd love to read it. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Oh, I absolutely refuse to run! If I can’t keep a slow, steady pace, I won’t be able to do my best work either at my teaching or my writing. When my children were growing up, I did my share of running. As to the “sanity” part, I refuse to answer because I might incriminate myself! Is there a writer alive who’s actually sane? LOL!
Good point, and I won't answer either. You might ask my husband what he thinks about my sanity. One day at the dinner table, we were talking, and he said to me, "Writers just think wierd." How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes I thumb through my book of names to find one that captures the character just right. Many times, though, the name just comes to me, as if the character walked up to me and said, “Hello, my name is…” (See the question above about writers and sanity.)
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m proudest of raising my four children to be honest, Christ-loving, responsible citizens. They aren’t perfect, but they’ve never given my husband or me a cause for shame.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I guess you could characterize me as a beaver. Just as a beaver builds a sturdy house in the middle of a stream, I work diligently to construct a solid creation that will stand up in the floods of perusal and criticism.
Good analogy. What is your favorite food?
Steak when my husband cooks it on the grill with Montreal Seasoning. Movie popcorn with all that greasy chemical butter substitute and loads of salt. Baby carrots. But not all at the same time!
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
After writing my first two books, I realized my worldview was too limited. I’d been a stay-at-home mother who rarely even read a newspaper, so I knew very little about history and human nature. I began to read and decided the only way to become a good writer was to return to college and complete my education, even going on to earn a master’s degree. I’m not saying that every writer should or must do this, but for me this was the right path to broaden myself as a writer and as a person.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Make a decision to learn about the craft. Many new writers feel that God has given them a story or message and that they should just be able to write it and have it published. But without learning the craft of writing, no one can be truly successful.
In this post-Civil War trilogy, I wanted to tell the stories of three very different men who returned home after fighting in the Civil War. In Then Came Faith, the hero is a southern naval officer. In my most recenlty released book, Then Came Hope, the hero is Ezra Johns, a Harvard educated Negro man from Boston who volunteered to fight in the first black Union regiment, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Negro Regiment. The third story, Then Came Love, will be about a northern white man. Each had his own reasons for fighting in the war.
In Ezra’s case, he had a great deal to prove because the prevailing view of the day was that Negro men would not make good soldiers or good fighters. Ezra and his real-life counterparts put an end to such uninformed speculation. If not for their courageous service all over the South, the Union might not have been preserved. It is my goal to honor their remarkable legacy.
For my heroine in Then Came Hope, I created Delia, a young slave girl who has just found the courage to run away from her cruel mistress. In the forest, she meets up with a small band of former slaves and Ezra, the handsome soldier. Delia has been badly abused, and only through the kindness and support of her new friends does she come to realize her worth in the eyes of God and the man she loves.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web site is www.Louisemgouge.com . I love to hear from my readers, and my website has an email link. My books are available through Family Christian Bookstores, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, and most other online bookstores.
Louise, thank you for spending this time with us, and thank you for mentioning my books. I'm glad you like them.
Readers, if you'd like the change to win a copy of Then Came Hope, leave a comment on this interview.
One other thing, you need to come back and see if you win. We still have a winner from last weekend who hasn't gotten in touch with me. There's an email link under my picture. When you contact me, be sure to give me your mailing address.
You can still leave comments on the interviews by Jerome Teel, Sharon Hinck, and Kathy Kovach.