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Interview With Elizabeth Goddard

A Texan at heart, Beth Goddard loves stories that whisk her to other places, times and even worlds. When she's not homeschooling her children or assisting with her husband's ministry, she dives into writing with a passion. Today, Beth joins us to share her latest release, The Camera Never Lies, a tale about a photographer who has the ability to read emotions through a camera lens.

Beth, you seem comfortable writing in a variety of genres. Which is your favorite? And what made you choose contemporary for your new book, The Camera Never Lies?

My favorite genre always coincides with the one I’m reading in or writing at the time. But if I had to choose, I’d have to say I love writing suspense—and suspense can be historical or contemporary. I chose contemporary for Camera because that’s what the publisher was asking for—ha!—and because when I visited Crater Lake (the story is fictionally based at Caldera National Park) I knew I had to write a story set there. It’s one of my favorite places.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
There’s no doubt that joining ACFW (then ACRW) in 2001 changed everything for me. Before joining, I was still toying with the idea of writing, and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to write—articles or novels. After joining, I started sending a chapter a week to my critique group, and I never looked back.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
If there were more than one of me, time wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve learned that I can home school and write, home school and clean the house, or write and clean the house, but I can’t do all three on any given day. So, I have to let something go, which drives me nuts. Of course, writing and my kiddoes have to come first, so I never catch up on the laundry. Never. ☺

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
Faith is the biggest part of who I am so I can’t possibly separate faith from the writing—I allow the spiritual message to unfold from the characters as I write, and I’m often surprised with the theme, or the deeper nuggets that come out in the story. For instance, for Camera, I had to come up with discussion question for, and I found a lot in the story that I hadn’t planned. There are a lot of deep spiritual messages for the reader to chew on. Since writing is also a ministry, I couldn’t ask for better than to leave the reader changed in some way—spiritually speaking, of course.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
Most authors will answer when they got “the call” from the editor who wanted to buy their first book. That’s a big one for me too, of course, but an equally important moment to me is when I signed with agent Steve Laube because he’s greatly respected in the industry. His “stamp of approval” so to speak was a huge encouragement in this business, which often leaves us feeling down and rejected.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
When I first began exploring the idea of writing a novel, I couldn’t imagine where people get their ideas. But several shared that they start asking the question, what if. Now after years of training myself to do this, I can’t turn the idea machine off. Everything I see and hear is a potential story idea, and often I must ignore this because I could step on the toes of loved-ones. I enjoy reading magazines like Wired and National Geographic Adventure, and even the local electric co-op magazine. There will always be something that jumps out at me. For instance, my current project, Freezing Point, is about an ice sculptor and the idea first jumped out at me years ago when I saw an ice sculptor in Wired Magazine. I always write things down in an idea file and I can refer back to it later.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I’ve been told that my characters are quirky and unassuming and make for a fun story, and the setting and premise are often unique, i.e. a cranberry farm, a converted missile silo, and a fossil dig, etc.

Finish this question. My favorite part of a story is...
The black moment—what else? The story has been building toward this for two hundred plus pages, and if done right, the moment is intense—nobody interrupt me while I’m reading! One of my favorite dark moments was in Arena by Karen Hancock (spoiler alert) where the hero had to do something wrong, had to commit SIN, in order to save the heroine. That was so intense that at four in the morning, I reread the last quarter of the book!

Any parting words?
Thanks for having me, and thank you for a unique interview!

Thanks for sharing with us, Beth!

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