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Interview With Tricia Goyer

She’s a woman with a heart for God that shows in her fiction and in her rapidly growing nonfiction ministry. With numerous published works to her name, Tricia Goyer’s newest release, A Shadow of Treason, weaves an enchanting romance set during the Spanish Civil War.

Tricia, tell us a little about A Shadow of Treason, book two in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War?

A Shadow of Treason is a story that touched me to my core as I wrote it. It’s a story about loving, about being betrayed, and about returning to the person who hurt your heart … for a greater good.

Like everyone else, there are people who’ve hurt me deeply. I’m not talking about the people that for some reason have chosen not to like me (although that I can’t understand ☺) … but those who I’ve given my heart only to find it tattered and broken. I dug deep and relived those emotions for this story.

Of course … as often the case … hope shines through even in the darkest times, because sometimes when it seems as if the world has failed us there is a God who offers hope. Who gives us a second chance. Who helps us understand that ordinary people can be used in extraordinary ways for Him!

If I can say so … it’s a page turner, picking up the same day that A Valley of Betrayal left off. I’ve had readers say that the characters really wrapped around their hearts … which is a good thing, since they did the same with mine!

I’m also excited because it brings to life a little known time in history—The Spanish Civil War, which took place right before World War II in Spain. Fascinating!

Can you give us a peak into the research required for this series?

Yes, would you believe that I actually was able to interview men from The Spanish Civil War? They were volunteers … traveling to Spain because of their own convictions and because they foresaw what the fascists had planned for Europe. They are in their 90s now, but they were great to connect with!

Also, while I was writing this series I came upon a snag. One of my characters was a Nazi pilot from Germany. (Yes, Nazi pilots flew in Spain even before WWII started!) The trouble was that I could find VERY LITTLE information about these men, their planes, and their experiences. Then God stepped in.

One day, I got an email from a man named Norm Goyer. Norm was a WWII veteran who was working on his family tree and he wondered if we were related. I checked with my father-in-law, I went back and forth with Norm via email, but we couldn’t find a connection. But … in the source of our correspondence I found out a little about Norm.

Norm was a WWII pilot. More than that, Norm is a history buff and has been the editor of an aircraft magazine for 30 years. More than that, Norm has worked as a consultant in Hollywood for a number of years, being hired to make sure movies concerning planes and flying were accurate. More than that (are you seeing God at work yet?) Norm had flown the VERY planes I was writing about. He knows all about them … and he was willing to help me! Is that cool or what?!

Of course, that is just one part of research, one minor thing. I’ve discovered over time that whenever I strive to do my best—to bring history to life and share a dynamic story—God shows up in ways I NEVER expected!

Reflecting back, what do you see as being most significant to your publication journey?

Surrender. Publishing is HARD. I have my ideas, my plans, my dreams. Time and time again I’ve had to lay them down and tell God, “Here you go.”

Before I even considered writing historical fiction I worked on numerous contemporary projects. ALL of them were rejected. At a time when I wasn’t looking, God brought me the story for From Dust and Ashes, he connected me with the amazing men who experienced that part of history. He also connected me with Moody Publishing who was willing to take a chance on this unknown writer. It wasn’t my plan … but God did exceedingly more than I asked for or imagined!

Of course, just because I’m a multi-published author, doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It’s not. In fact, I’m seeing doors closed that personally I would want to remain open. (And no … pounding on them and pouting doesn’t work! :-).

Just like I have done in the past, I again find myself surrendering to God’s plan. I trust Him COMPLETELY. I have faith, and I continually have to bow my knee to His way. Even yesterday I was on my knees before God as the music for “I Surrender All” poured from my cd player. It’s a hard place to be but a good place, too!

You have a second book out, My Life, Unscripted. Give a glimpse of this book and your growing ministry.

Well, as my husband tells me, I have no skeletons in my closet because I display them on our front lawn! … Or in this case in the pages of a book.

My Life, Unscripted is a book that I hope will touch the heart of MANY teen girls. It is my story … the ugly, unedited, boy-I-wish-I-didn’t-have-to-share-that version.

The concept behind the book is actual “scripts” from my teen years matched with my encouragement to young women on how to write GOOD scripts for themselves, instead of being caught up with the DRAMA of life.

I’m getting AWESOME feedback from teens. They tell me that the book has made them think … and plan … and seek Jesus. YEAH GOD!

How do you balance writing fiction and nonfiction, along with all your day-to-day responsibilities?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Seriously, that is my #1 answer. I have daily quiet time where I get filled up so I can be poured out.

I also LOVE writing. I love researching, and sitting at my desk, and praying, and waiting, and coming up with ideas, and seeing the words come together on the page.

I am passionate about the messages God places on my heart, and so it really is a joy. Okay, it’s hard, hard work, too, but it’s joyful hard, hard work!

I also homeschool my three kids, and we all work in the same office. They work on their stuff and I work on mine.

I’ve also learned to be efficient. I ONLY go to town—for the post office, the grocery store, and the library once a week. I hire someone to do the deep cleaning once a week, and then I daily spend an hour or so daily “picking up.”

I also schedule in time for family, friends, and church service. I volunteer in children’s church every week, I teach Bible Study, and we have small group at our home. I take time for lunch with friends. Over the years, I’ve learned that life DOES NOT begin “after the next deadline.” Life is being lived now. I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to look back on this time with regrets, so I focus on what’s most important. I do “the next thing” God calls me to do. I PRAY and SEEK GOD a lot!

What has been your biggest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

Ummm … book sales. ☺

Seriously, I can do my very, very best. I can feel God’s pleasure as I write. I can market. I can write stellar prose. I can give away tons of books to “seed” future sales, but I can’t control the market. I can’t make people want to read historical fiction. Or, specifically, my historical fiction.

To answer your question, I can’t overcome it, and that’s okay. I can do my best, give my best, and turn it over to God. The rest is up to Him!

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

Winning ACFW’s Book of the Year twice was very cool. And I LOVE getting emails from readers who are swept away from my stories … but these amazing things pale in comparison with three other things. (Yes, I know you asked for ONE thing but I have three … more.)

1.Interviewing veterans, being able to share their stories, and seeing that I “got it right.”

2.Holding foreign editions of my books in my hands … and realizing my words are being read in languages I can’t even speak … or count to 10 in! Also, I hear my novels are bestsellers in The Netherlands. (I think I’m moving there! ☺)

3.Finally, a few months ago I got an email from an 18-year-old young woman named Celine from Switzerland. She wrote and told me that when my character, Helene, from the book From Dust and Ashes, got down on her knees and accepted Christ, she did too! Just to know that some day I’ll be able to embrace my new sister-in-Christ in heaven … well, that moves me beyond words.

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

The men and women who lived during that time in history … or the men and women who are LIVING through this time in history.

I was talking to a friend the other day, talking about how my writing is “all over the board.” She disagreed. Kathleen told me I’m “all about relationships”—with veterans, with young women, with Gen Xers. I’m passionate about people.

You know … she’s right! That’s where my story and character ideas come from—real people who are asked by God to do extraordinary things. And if I can inspire readers to honor the past and embrace the future … then I’ve succeeded.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

I work really, really hard to make my books as historically accurate as possible. I write with multiple POVs … so that readers experience the same story from many points-of-view. I write about ordinary people, during dramatic times in history, and show that even in the darkest places there is HOPE in GOD.

Finish this question. When I think of how God has used my words to minister to others, I …

I am humbled. Eighteen years ago I was a pregnant, unwed, angry teenager. I had NO HOPE. I had dropped out of school. I didn’t know what was to be of my future.

They God showed up. He showed up through Christians who reached out to me during that time. He asked to trade my ashes for beauty. It was a sweet deal. One I’m thankful for.

I don’t deserve any of this … it’s HIS mercy and grace. And if I can share this hope with others, then I consider it an honor and a privilege! To God be the glory!

Any parting words for up-and-coming writers?


Publishing is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. You’ll pour yourself out, and sometimes you won’t get the results you desired—okay, many times this will be the case.

But I’ve learned that it’s not always about the goal … but about the shaping. I am a different person than I was ten years ago because I experience God as I write. He is my Provider, my Guide, my Hope, my Strength. I need Him more than ever.

So, sometimes it’s about the books. Sometimes it’s about the people who will be reached with our words. But sometimes it’s about our hearts. It’s about being molded and shaped. It’s about drawing closer to the heart of God.

Thanks for sharing with us, Tricia!

Thank you for having me!

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