Welcome to Louise M. Gouge as my guest to my website. After reading her latest novel, Then Came Love, and thoroughly enjoying it, I looked forward to this interview. Louise M. Gouge has written twenty novels, including Hannah Rose, first place winner of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Louise has e-published five of her out of print novels, two original novels, and one original novella. When she isn’t writing, she and her husband of fifty years love to visit historical sites and museums.
A J: If time and money did not enter in the equation, what would be your dream?
Louise: I would love to travel at a leisurely pace, visiting historical sites around the U. S. to get inspiration for my stories. Having the Internet for research, I haven’t traveled as much as I used to so I could get all of my questions answered about my story settings. Now I do most of my research on the Internet simply to save time and money.
A J: What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
Louise: Hmm. I love my writing. It’s both my hobby and my work. So I would still write.
A J: What movie most impacted you as a kid? Why?
Louise: It wasn’t a movie but a television special. When I watched Mary Martin’s portrayal of Peter Pan in 1956 (It was in black and white), my imagination was sparked. From that time on, I lived in my own “Neverland,” always coming up with stories. I wrote many for my high school classes, but finally wrote for publication after I turned forty.
A J: What was the last movie you saw in a theater? Did you like it? Who was with you? What snacks did you eat?
Louise: The Hobbit. Loved it! I thought it was a great finale for the Hobbit series. My husband, daughter, and two grandchildren went with me. I ate popcorn – for me, it’s always popcorn! – and a Coke Zero.
A J: Someone has given you access to a time machine and you can go back and visit two events in the history of the world, what two events would you experience? Why?
Louise: Without doubt, I would view the life of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Having acted in lavish Easter productions at a megachurch, I don’t think I could bear to watch His crucifixion for real. But I would love to see Him confound the Pharisees and heal the sick.
For my second event, it would be hard to choose. Many come to mind. If I could have saved Abraham Lincoln’s life so he could take charge of Reconstruction, that would have made a huge difference in our country.
A J: Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
Louise: That’s easy. I’m in my home office, and today, I didn’t change clothes after I went to church. LOL! I’m wearing nice jeans and a red sweater, with heart-shaped earrings for Valentine’s Day.
A J: What is your favorite season of the year? Why?
Louise: Another easy one. I live in Central Florida, so I like winter best. Summer’s sooo hot, but winter is nice and balmy.
A J: What is your favorite period (genre) to write in?
Louise: I love all eras. I started in contemporary America, then wrote about the American whaling industry of the mid-nineteenth century. Next, the American Revolutionary War and Britain’s Regency period. Now I’m writing historical westerns, and I love the era. I think I’ve found my home!
A J: Did anyone inspire you to write?
Louise: My good friend and fellow stay-at-home mom, Pat Bickers, and I were facing the empty nest years. As we talked about what we might like to do to fill our time, she urged me to write those fantasies that had always been a part of my life. “Go home and write that book!” she told me. Dear Pat is with the Lord now, but she’s the one who got me started, and I’ll always be grateful to her.
A J: What kinds of things can readers expect from your books?
Louise: First of all, my characters will always have spiritual, emotional, and romantic journeys. My hero and heroine always come to the realization that without Jesus, their lives will never be complete. By the end of the story, they grow emotionally and understand themselves better. Finally, they have a happily-ever-after romance in which mutual respect and self-sacrificing love play an essential part.
A J: When did you begin to write your first novel? When did you finish? How long have you pursued a writing career?
Louise: I began my first novel in 1984. I went back to school to improve my style, and then improved that story. It became my first published book, and number twenty comes out this coming summer. So I’ve been pursuing my career for over thirty years.
A J: How do you organize your writing day? So many hours per day writing? Use a word count to determine when to stop? Just write until you drop?
Louise: Mainly I write till I drop. But I do try to reach a certain word count each day.
A J: What do you love about writing?
Louise: I love being able to use my imagination to create fun stories. I love writing “The End” when I finish yet another novel. It’s such a great feeling of accomplishment.
A J: What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you?
Louise: Grammar is easy for me. I’m an English professor, and I’ve always been pretty good at putting sentences together.
A J: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
If you want to be a writer, don’t just dream about it. Sit in the chair and write the book.
A J: When you are writing do you have an audience in mind? Is it a person, real or imagined, or a group?
Louise: I write for women and girls who love a nice clean romance.
A J: How does writing a novel differ from other work you have done? Do you think your career experience made the process easier or harder?
Louise: Writing is the work of my heart. Everything else has just been for keeping body and soul together. But I’ve learned many things from my other jobs, especially working at a television station and teaching my college classes.
A J: Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?
Louise: I have a rough synopsis that serves as an overview of the story, but I still let the characters have some leeway to do as they’re inclined.
A J: What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
Louise: God’s love, romantic love, forgiveness, God’s grace, reconciliation.
A J: What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Louise: I’ve written over twenty books. Only one novel is likely never to be published, but I don’t delete it. It was a learning experience.
A J: Your twentieth book is out. How does it feel?
Louise: I never tire of seeing my latest book in print. My books are like my children, and I love each one. It’s quite exhilarating!
A J: What three things do you know now about the publishing world that you wish you knew when you first started?
Louise: Never make an enemy. Be humble. Be generous. Be kind. Show respect for unpublished writers. They may turn out to be the Next Big Thing. That’s more than three, but all are important.
A J: What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
Louise: Definitely deciding on my next project. I have so many stories to tell, and they all clamor for my attention. See above about my stories being like my children.
A J: Where do you see publishing going in the digital age?
Louise: Some people will always prefer a print book, but digital books provide a way for more people to enjoy the stories they love most.
A J: What gave you the inspiration for this story?
Louise: This book is the third spinoff from the third book in a previous series. Let me explain. I wrote a three book series entitled Ahab’s Legacy about Captain Ahab of Moby Dick fame. The third book, Son of Perdition, told the story of Captain Ahab’s son, Timothy. Timothy had three friends, each of whom deserved his own story. So I wrote the new series, Then Came Faith, Then Came Hope, and Then Came Love, all set in the post-Civil War era.
A J: How did you choose your characters’ names?
Louise: I always try to find names appropriate for the era and the place. For Then Came Love, I chose the names of my great-grandparents. My g-grandfather fought in Company B of the 81st Indiana Infantry, so he was a perfect choice for my post-Civil War hero.
A J: What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about him/her?
Louise: Both my hero and heroine have flaws as well as admirable qualities. I try to make them likeable and human so people can relate to them.
A J: If your hero/heroine were a pie, what kind would he/she be and why?
Louis: My current hero and heroine are as American as apple pie. They’re real, honest, and reputable people readers can relate to.
A J: Tell me about the story of Then Came Love.
Louisa Maria Downs has waited three long years for her soldier-sweetheart’s homecoming. But when he returns, John Jacobs stands aloof, his deep blue eyes revealing his longing for her, but his lips strangely silent. Convinced it is God’s will for them to marry, Louisa defies decorum and pursues the man who has owned her heart since she was twelve years old.
John Jacobs has spent three years fighting to keep the Union intact. Now back home, he longs to marry the young woman he has admired since boyhood. But shattering memories of what he did during the war magnify the bloodstains on his hands. He awakens each day more certain than ever that he is not worthy of the love of a decent woman, much less the love of God.
Torn apart by the Civil War, two young couples find restoration through love, grace, and forgiveness.
A J: Give us the backcover of the book.
Love does not seek what it can get but what it can give.
“And now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:13 (KJV)
In Then Came Love, Louise M. Gouge has masterfully woven unforgettable characters into a tale of forgiveness and grace that will touch your heart and keep you thinking long after you have turned the final page. Set during the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War, the message of this story remains significant today. Judith Miller, best-selling author of the Home to Amana series and The Brickmaker’s Bride.
Louise M. Gouge made me care deeply about all her characters from the first page. I began reading Then Came Love and was pulled in and couldn’t look away as the story unfolded with Gouge’s trademark captivating, heart-wrenching human drama. So wonderful, gripping, and engrossing! Mary Connealy, author of Tried and True.
A J: Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
Louise: The Civil War was a huge turning point in American history. I hope my readers will enjoy the historical setting while realizing that the struggles of the past are very similar to the struggles we face today.
A J: What’s next after Then Came Love?
Louise: I’m currently preparing the promo work for my July 2015 release, Cowgirl for Keeps, from Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historicals. This is the third book in my Four Stones Ranch series, set in the fictional town of Esperanza, Colorado, in the 1880s.
Louise: Thanks so much for hosting me, A J. It’s been my pleasure!
A J: Thanks, Louise, for sharing this book with us.
If you want to have a possibility to receive a copy of Louise M. Gouge’2 novel, Then Came Love, leave a comment (U.S. Only). Giveaway closes Sunday, March 1, 2015 at midnight (CST).
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