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Interview With Tricia Goyer

1) Introduce yourself to us. Name, info on your family, number of books authored, etc...

I live in Montana with my husband and three kids. We are also blessed to have my grandmother living with us too. She’s a special joy!

I’m the author of five books. Three novels, a children’s book “Ten Minutes to Showtime,” and a non-fiction book for teenage moms, “Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom” (Zondervan). My family is very active in our local church, and we lead children’s church every week. I also enjoy mentoring teenage mothers through a local support group.

2) Tell us a little bit about your road to publication.

My writing journey began in 1994 when I attended my first writer’s conference with my friend, Cindy Martinusen. Cindy and I went to the same church and we both had dreams of become writers. Everything at Mt. Hermon was new to me, but I just followed the instructor’s directions. It took two years of hard work, but I was soon writing magazine articles for publication. Over the next five years, I also worked on missions’ curriculum, a devotional book, and study notes for the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan). (My friend, Cindy, is now a published author too of four novels!)

During those years, in addition to writing, I was also raising three small children. In 1999, I felt God asking me to start a crisis pregnancy center in our town. I didn’t want to do it. I was busy enough writing and taking care of kids. I also was working on novel projects—with no success.

Finally, I relinquished my dreams to God. I knew I needed to be obedient, even if I never got a novel published. Instead of closing the writing doors for good, the opposite happened. God brought people into my life who shared these amazing stories from World War II. I knew those were the books I was meant to write. Two years after the pregnancy center was up and running, I had the contract for my first novel, “From Dust and Ashes” (Moody, 2003). Two more have followed: “Night Song” (Moody, 2004) and “Dawn of a Thousand Night” (Moody, 2005). I’m currently working on my fourth novel.

My kids are older now—ages 16, 13, and 11. I’m also still involved in the pregnancy center . . . yet it’s grown and changed in amazing ways. We now have two full time directors and over fifty volunteers. Since that time I’ve discovered that God just needed me to get the ball rolling!

3) Do you write full time? If yes, can you give us a glimpse into your daily writing life? If not, what is your day job?

I don’t have a paid outside job, but I don’t write full-time either. I spend the mornings homeschooling my three kids. I work with them until 1:00 p.m., and then I write in the afternoons. Of course, there’s also music lessons, sports practice, grocery shopping, etc. so I when I write, I have to produce words.

When I’m nearing a novel deadline I write 2,000 words a day. When I’m not on deadline, I’m usually writing articles, future book proposals, and researching for the next novel-to-be.

I also volunteer once a week at our Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I’ve found, as a writer, getting out and connecting with people in the community is one of the best things I can do. It pumps me up to see God at work on a daily basis. Being a servant to others feeds my soul in a way that only makes sense in God’s eternal way.

4) What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle was my own determination! I focused so much on working toward publication that I didn’t take time to focus on what God wanted. I came up with an idea, I worked on it diligently, and then I was discouraged when the doors slammed shut. Since then, I’ve discovered that God has bigger different dreams for my life. Some of them include writing, but some don’t. Instead of seeking publication, I try to focus on what God desires for my life and my days. Sometimes that means writing. Sometimes it means just loving those He’s put into my life.

5) What has been the highest moment of your writing/publishing career?

The highest moments (more than one) happen when I can feel God’s presence as I write. There are moments when I have no idea what should come next. I slip away to a quiet corner (usually under my comforter!) and diligent seek God’s help. He gives me peace that passes all understanding. Not only that, He puts the right research or right idea into my mind. I love it! I always pray, “Lord, you can see this book complete and on the shelf. Please show me the story you’ve designed.” He is always faithful to do so.

There are other cool things, such as Life Interrupted being a finalist for the Gold Medallion and winning “Writer of the Year” from Mt. Hermon, but those pale in comparison to these intimate moments with God.

6) Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write? Where do your story ideas come from?

All the ideas for my novels came from World War II veterans and historians. In fact, I got my first novel idea when I was in Austria. I met a historian who told me about 23 American soldiers liberating a concentration camp and the first person into the camp offering help—a Nazi wife. I knew then it was a story I had to write.

Since then I’ve been to Europe again for research. I’ve also attending two WWII reunions, and I’ve interviewed hundreds of veterans. In the future I plan on straying away from World War II, but I will always continue to write stories inspired by real people and true experiences.

7) Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

I do a lot of research and plotting before I write. Since I interview with people “who were there” and real events, I want to make sure I get it right!

Yet there are always those places in my book where I’m unsure what’s going to happen next. And then, even when I THINK I know what’s going to happen, sometimes the characters or the plot surprises me. It’s times like that when I have seat-of-the-pants moments!

8) I’m notorious for *snacking* while I write! Do you have any favorite munchies you wouldn’t mind us knowing about?

I try not to snack as I write! I’ve gained weight since I’ve signed book contracts. Yet I love coffee with cream and sugar-free flavorings such as Caramel or French Vanilla. I also have a new favorite—Zipfizz energy drinks. They really do give me energy to write, which is something every busy author needs!

9) How do you strike an agreeable “balance” between your writing time and other responsibilities?

I remind myself that (Lord willing) I could be writing for another 40 years, yet my kids won’t be around forever. That’s one reason I’ve chosen to homeschool. I want to have as much time with them, and as much influence on them, as I can during this time God’s given me.

I also know that it’s not healthy for me just to stay chained to my computer all day. I write best when I interact with life—with other believers AND with people who need to hear the good news about Jesus. God gives us gifts and talents for the benefit of the body of Christ—sometimes it’s good to interact with that body in real and tangible ways.

10) Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

Oh, that’s a tough question! But I guess that overall I was touched most by 13-year-old Jakub in Night Song. My son, Cory, was the same age as my character during the time I wrote at book. And every time I thought of Cory facing those same experiences I broke into tears. I guess that’s how I know I’m on the right track—if I cry then hopefully it will touch the reader’s heart too.

11) How do you deal with publisher rejections? Crawl in bed under the covers for an entire day? Indulge in double-fudge chocolate? Or just brush it off?

Oh, I’ve had my share of crawling into bed, wanting just a few moments to myself to cry over rejection! It was hard at first, especially when I had all my hopes and dreams resting on one manuscript. I’ve had books I thought were excellent be rejected. I’ve also had books I thought would never find a publisher, find acceptance. When I get rejected, I pray and give God my disappointment. He’s done such amazing things in my life that I trust His will completely—rejected or not, God is in control.

12) Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

I see myself pretty much doing the same—writing, spending time with family, working with teen moms. I’ll keep on this track as long as God allows. Then again, He might have something completely different in store! That’s up to Him. I’ll go along for the ride wherever He leads.

13) These have been fairly standard questions. What is one thing you’d like to share with up-and-coming writers that they may not even know to ask yet?

If I could provide my best writing advice, it would be to S.O.S:

Seek God.
Open your heart to His message.
Sit and write.

So many times I only have a nugget of an idea, but when I prayerfully seek God’s message and start typing I’m amazed what comes out! Don’t be afraid to type and see what comes out.

14) You have a new title coming out, right? Tell us about it.

My next novel, Dawn of a Thousand Nights, was released September 2005. I love the summary from Library Journal: "The promising relationship between pilots Daniel Lukens and Libby Conners is tested when he is transferred to the Philippines and later captured by the Japanese. Through the horrors of World War II, they must rely on faith and discover their worth in Christ."

This novel, in a way, is a word picture of my personal experience in finding my worth in Christ. So many times we THINK we know God’s will for us, but we usually discover God has different plans . . . and He has much more in store for us than we ever imagine!

This is the case with Dan and Libby. Dawn of a Thousand Nights takes places in the South Pacific during World War II, but readers will be able to relate to the question of how pain and hard circumstances in our life work into God’s eternal plan for His kingdom.

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