Find a Christian store

Interview with Louise M Gouge

As a writer of historical fiction, Louise Gouge knows a thing or two about research and for her latest book, she turned up some information that surprised her. Read on to find out what she learned and how a reader reacted to that information.

* * * * *

Tell us how you got started with writing and what twists and turns led you to becoming a published author.
All my life, I’ve enjoyed creating stories. When I was facing my empty nest years, I was urged by a friend to start writing those imaginings. To be sure I was doing it right, I returned to college and earned a creative writing degree, then a master’s degree. I also attended writers’ conferences and met editors. This is also where I sold my first books and acquired my agent. I’ve been writing for the Love Inspired Historical imprint since 2008.

As a writer of inspirational historical romance, you have published books in a variety of time periods. What draws you to those particular eras of history?
I love the Regency period (and Jane Austen), so it was fun to write a few books set in that time. But I’ve found my true voice in writing westerns. I guess that comes from growing up watching western movies and television shows with my father. Can’t beat an honest, handsome, hard-working cowboy for a hero!

If you could visit the time period of any of your novels (or any era of history) for a day, which one would it be?
Because I’ve already lived in the real life American West (Colorado and Wyoming), I would visit the Regency era. Of course, I’d need to be a titled lady with plenty of money, a grand estate, and numerous servants to enjoy it to the full. Ha!

What is your research process like for your novels? And what is something surprising you've learned from your research?
I used to haunt the stacks of libraries, both public and academic, to get my facts right. Now we can type any question into our computers and get all sorts of answers to sort through for accuracy. This saves money on travel (I used to make big trips for each book!), but it also means I won’t get the feel of the place I’m writing about. For instance, my trips to Nantucket, Boston, and Annapolis, along with asking questions at historical societies in those places, gave me an up close and personal feel that the internet doesn’t provide.

What was something that surprised me in my research for my twenty-eight published novels? So many things! I would say the most recent was my research for smallpox for Finding Her Frontier Family. It turns out that vaccinations were first attempted in 1798 by a man named Edward Jenner. By the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865), inoculations were required for all soldiers on both sides in order to stop the epidemics. So with my story set in 1887, I was able to have my characters protect themselves by being vaccinated. Sadly, one reviewer on Amazon claims the vaccine was not available at that time, but she is wrong. Perhaps she meant a shot was not available, but that was not the method of vaccination. It was to scratch the patient’s arm and mildly infect it with scabs from someone who’d had the disease. I know. Ewww! But consider the alternative, a deadly, disfiguring disease. So I was disappointed to have this person refute my research. However, she did buy my book, so I’m grateful for that.

What do you do when you aren't actively writing?
Spending time with family and always looking for ideas for the next book.

Are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between?
Somewhere in between. I write a little, then work on the synopsis, then write some more, etc. I do like to know where I’m going with a story.

What books are in your "to-read" list right now?
I just finished Betty Woods’s A Mother for His Son and Elizabeth Camden’s Written on the Wind. I’m on the lookout for my next read. Don’t know what it will be, but definitely a historical romance.

Who or what inspires you in your daily life?
The Lord is my first and strongest inspiration, and my late husband always inspired me. Now my grown children and growing grandchildren encourage me to keep writing because they love my stories. I’m so grateful!

Any parting words?
Yes. If you want to be a writer, then write. Keep writing. Keep learning about writing. Spend time with other writers. And write some more. The gift of story isn’t given to everyone, so be sure you use that gift.

Lisa Bartelt is a child of the flatlands fulfilling her dream of living near mountains in Pennsylvania. She loves reading, writing, and listening to stories—true ones, made-up ones, and the ones in between—preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. Wife, mom of two, writer, ordinary girl, Lisa blogs about books, faith, family, and the unexpected turns of life at

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.