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Interview with Elizabeth Goddard

As a seventh generation Texan, growing up surrounded by oil fields, music, and a close-knit family, Elizabeth Goddard had some lofty dreams.

At one point she wanted to be an astronaut.  At another, a marine biologist. In a strategic move, she came to rest on Computer Science, believing that if she had a good job, she could eventually support all her other interests.

Throughout her dreaming years, however, ran a constant thread of writing. An apocalyptic story flowed from her imagination, as did a romance novel. Her teachers entered her writing in contests, and there seemed to be the pull of story drawing her back to the page time after time. It wasn’t until her daughter was born that Goddard considered writing seriously, and even then, she remained torn over the call of the page.

To Waste or Not to Waste

Long before the mainstream use of computers and the creation of the World Wide Web, there was a peculiar creature called the correspondence course. A form of distance learning, correspondence courses offered written lessons that a student could learn from, and then respond to in writing. The responses were mailed back to the institution. At the end of the course, the student would receive some sort of certificate, or even a degree.

When Goddard was 29 years old, she began to take consider a more serious look at writing. She ordered a Writer’s Digest Correspondence Course, looked through it, but didn’t send any of her responses to the lessons back to Writer’s Digest.

“I was really trying to figure out my place in the writing world and how much effort I wanted to put into it. When it came to writing a novel I thought, ‘What if I waste five years of my life and my child’s life into this course and I don’t get published?’” she said.  “So, I didn’t do any writing because I didn’t want to waste my time. As it turns out, it was a waste of time that I was not writing.”

The Lord, Goddard said, was relentless. He continued to pursue her about the writing, giving her little nudges along the way. One of those nudges was from Psalm 45:1 which says, in part, “ … my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (KJV)

“I thought, ‘You know what, Lord, you aren’t going to let this go.’.”

In the midst of God’s pursuit, Goddard invested in a Bible study for writers called Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull. She also reserved a seat at the American Christian Writers Conference, to meet with DiAnn Mills. Mills later went on to help found the American Christian Romance Writers, which eventually became American Christian Fiction Writers.

“Before my first appointment with DiAnn, I knew in my heart God had called me to write,” Goddard said.

She responded to that call with a flourish and through the ensuing years, God has honored her obedience by supplying every need.

A Fount of Writing Blessings

At Goddard’s first conference, one of the main questions she had was where writers got their ideas. She listened and learned and applied what she gathered. The result is a well-trained, idea-seeking brain.

“Everything is an idea. I am deliberate about constantly looking and I keep an idea file. The very best ones are the ones that immediately grab my attention and just don’t let go,” she said.

Case in point: her latest release Never Let Go. Goddard was reading a newspaper and saw an article about a forensic genealogist. Immediately, she said, “Okay, that’s going in a book.”

Once she has an idea that hangs on, she uses a mixture of plotting and pantsing to grow the story.

“It’s different for every book. Sometimes I will see the ending. Sometimes I will see the scene, but basically I see myself with a lump of clay. I know that’s a cliché, but that’s the way it is,” she said. “I just have to get the feel and keep molding and molding. A feel for the characters. A feel for the story. It’s not really until I start writing that things start to reveal themselves.”

So far, that formula has worked. Goddard has published forty titles, most of them are standalone novels, while a few have been novellas in collections with other writers. She has achieved the rank of best seller, has garnered Carol Awards, and her work has been named a finalist in several writing venues, such as the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

While Goddard has learned to pace herself, it is not uncommon to find her writing on one book for one publisher in the morning and another book for another publisher in the afternoon. In addition to the writing, she carves out time for editing, marketing, and coming up with new ideas for future proposals.

“I can write 1,500 words, or a scene, and then go walk for fifteen minutes. In my mind, new ideas or issues will come and then I’ll go back to writing and write another 1,500 words. Chipping away. A good day, a happy writing day, is 3,000 words a day,” she said.

More than the word count, more than the list of awards, more than the ideas that she tucks away for future books, is her relationship with the Lord.

Food for Heart

“I am writing for God. He did call me to write so I have to trust that He uses my stories. I hope that my heart is prepared every single day and I am constantly in communion with the Lord and praying to him,” she said. “I don’t start writing my manuscript thinking I have to make it into something spiritual. When I have this ongoing communication with God, the spiritual comes out organically.”

Goddard said that she often finds herself reading her manuscripts and thinking, “Wow, I didn’t see that. God is showing me something through my own writing.”

Just as she has a deliberate file for ideas, she also has a deliberate time set aside for the Lord. She feeds the relationship with prayer, scripture, and a close interior walk with God.

Most recently, Goddard said the Lord impressed on her heart the truth found in Matthew 6:21. This verse says that our hearts will be found where our treasures are. The verse came at a time when she felt buried under busyness.

“That just brought me to tears. Whatever is important to us, that is what we are going to find the time to do,” she said. “God gave me the dream and the call to write so I can’t neglect that. I just have to do what I can do at this time.”

With multi-book contracts lined up, Goddard will be found faithful doing just that.  It’s also the advice that she would give to other writers.

“My advice used to be read, read, read, write, write, write. But now, it is don’t let life get in your way. Set aside the time and be deliberate,” she said. “I run into people all the time who want to write a novel but all this stuff is happening. You know, it’s happening in my life, too. I still have to carve that time out. Carve the time out and get it done.”


Kristy Horine is a Kentucky writer: freelance journalist by trade, creative by God’s grace. Kristy writes a little bit of everything including poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Her professional and creative work has been published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies in Kentucky and beyond. She founded 3rd Letter Christian Writers in Lexington, Kentucky in 2015, serves as Publicity Chair for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference since 2016, is the Communications Coordinator for the Women’s Ministry at her church, and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Read more of her work at

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