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Friday, November 24, 2006

SOLD! An interview with Beth Goddard


I can’t tell you how excited it is for me to chat a bit with my long time friend, Beth Goddard. Beth and I began critiquing each others manuscripts. . .wow. . .I’m not even sure how many years ago. At least five or six. Today, I get to announce Beth’s first sale to Heartsong Presents! Beth happens to be a huge history buff, and spins a fantastic medieval tale as well, but her first sale happens to be a contemporary and will be released December of next year. What is really cool about this is the fact that her story, A Season for Love, is a part of a three book contemporary series set in Massachusetts. Lena Dooley and I will be writing the first two books in the series that combines romance and mystery.

Okay, enough from me. Let’s chat with Beth.

LISA: What was your initial reaction in finding out you sold your first book? In other words, tell me about. . .THE CALL

BETH: Well, as you know, with Heartsong, “the call” is actually an email. I’ve received so many rejections that when I first saw the email, I figured it was yet another rejection. I opened it and scanned the first line, quickly realizing that it wasn’t a rejection but congratulations!

I gasped in utter surprise, then ran up the stairs to tell my daughter. Before I reached the top of the staircase, I remembered that I hadn’t read the entire email. So, I ran back down the stairs to read the rest!

My daughter was on the phone with my mom so I told her too. She was thrilled to share the excitement with me since she, as well as the rest of my family, have supported my dream through the years.

LISA: Tell us some of the background behind the idea for your stories and about the story itself.

BETH: When I first began writing novels I trained my mind to stay tuned to those little nuggets of inspiration that could generate an idea for a novel. I saw a short news clip on cranberry farming. The bright red berries floating on top a bog as they were harvested completely intrigued me. I decided I’d love to set a story on a cranberry farm.

Several years passed before that opportunity came. I needed a story set in Massachusetts, the perfect opportunity to write my cranberry story. The other aspect comes from my background and education in computer software and technology.

In Seasons of Love, Riley O’Hare trades in her stressful corporate job for a season of peace. She leaves California and heads to a place closer to home and closer to her heart—her grandfather’s farm nestled in the cranberry bogs of Massachusetts. She’ll also be closer to her brother, but before she leaves for the New England state, he dies. Once Riley moves to the farm, her brother’s business partner at a forensics technology company offers to help Riley through the harvest season. She has no clue what Zane Baldwyn is really after and guards her heart.

Zane wants answers. The police believe the car accident that killed John, Riley’s brother, was nothing more. Zane has doubts. Before his death, John—a brilliant programmer—left a cryptic clue with Riley without her knowledge. Zane must discover what John believed was so important and if he was killed for it. On the verge of losing his heart to Riley, Zane learns that John’s alleged killer is searching for the same thing, and no one is safe.

LISA: Readers are going to LOVE this story! (I can say that, because I’ve read it!) On to the next question. I find in my own writing that I often grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Is there a character who you relate to and who made an input on your life?

BETH: There’s no doubt that writing causes you to slow down and look deeper into your own motivations as you explore those of your characters. In Seasons of Love, both the hero and heroine’s discoveries about their lives are based on my own experiences. Riley realizes that she doesn’t make enough time to spend with God because her life is consumed with work. Zane learns that maintaining control over his life and achieving worldly success is not going to make him happy. These are things I learned during my own stint at climbing the corporate ladder. I started out knowing these things about my characters, but what I learned from both of them was that I could have a deeper sense of trust in God’s plan for my life.

We spend our lives going to school, getting educated to have a career. I think it can be difficult, especially for women who choose to stay home with their family, to let go of your career. I thought I’d left behind that desire and drive to succeed in corporate America. The characters in Seasons of Love allowed me to release that remaining portion, though small.

LISA: What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

BETH: Well, I have to say that content, craft and connections must take a backseat to the spiritual side of things. Writing forces you to dig down deep and discover things inside you’ve ignored for years. It forces you to cry out to God and ask him why he called you to write. And because of that, the writing journey is more a spiritual journey. The desire to become published can be overwhelming. I’ve learned that the writing really has to be about God, for Him and to Him, and content in writing for Him alone.

LISA: Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

BETH: I do think it’s funny that after working on historicals for so many years, the one and only contemporary that I wrote is what is getting published first. I have to say that I loved writing this story and it’s sparked a desire to write others along the same vein—suspense stories that include technology. But the main thing I’d love to accomplish is to write something that affects someone in a powerful spiritual way. Of course, author Francine Rivers comes to mind. I think the spiritual depth she achieves in her novels is something we all aspire to achieve as writers.

LISA: Because I know there are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published, especially from someone who has just broken in?

BETH: I’m sure there is no new advice that I can offer. We all know that persistence pays off. To work hard. Read, read, read, and write, write, write. I think something that has really kept me going is the fact that I haven’t been bowled over by rejection. I’ve received plenty of rejections, yes. Coming from a sales background, I know that it’s all about the numbers. The more you write, the better you’ll become. The more manuscripts you complete and have circulating with agents and editors, the better your chances. I think it’s important to keep yourself thinking positive and when you receive a rejection, go back to the numbers. Look up one of those sites that lists all of the rejections received by famous writers. Because even the big guys have gotten them, and still do! That always encourages me to keep moving forward.

One more thing is to cultivate those relationships that God places you in because God will use those. We really do need connections to help us along the way. God has blessed me with some wonderful writing friends, people that I can say are really my best friends because who else can understand me better than another writer. The writing journey is truly about your relationship with God and with others.

LISA: Wonderful words of encouragement, Beth. Thanks! Can’t wait to see your story in print next year! Beth also spent time chatting with me on my books recently and that interview will be posted at two of her blogs, so please take a moment to check out www.bethgoddard.blogspot.com and www.favoritepastimes.blogspot.com.

For those of you dropping by to check out my interview with Beth, I’m running a contest this month for TWO free books. (TWO people will win TWO free books!) Leave a comment, and I’ll enter you for a chance to win book three in my historical Massachusetts series, Adam’s Bride AND a copy of the light hearted comical novella collection, Sweet Home Alabama that I’m a part of.

Have a great Holiday Weekend!

Lisa

12 comments:

  1. Good interview, Lisa and Beth. I love both of you and am honored to be part of the series.

    By the way, I'd love to win a copy of Sweet Home Alabama. I actually will receive a copy of Adam's Bride in the Heartsong book club.

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  2. Anonymous8:33 PM

    Beth, congratulations (again). I absolutely cannot wait to read your book! And a cranberry bog - those places are so so so fascinating. Celebrating with you over here.

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  3. Anonymous9:42 PM

    Beth, I'm so thrilled for you!!! And what an honor to be a part of your life, and see this happen for you ... Lisa, thank you for doing the interview, and it was a blessing to meet you at ACFW this year!

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  4. Dear Ol' Dad12:56 AM

    As Beth's father, I would like to congratulate her on her well earned success, and tell you all that her parents are very proud of her.

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  5. tricia drevets5:25 PM

    I am in Beth's homeschooling group in Grants Pass, OR, and I wanted to say that I enjoyed the interview very much. Congratulations, Beth! I can't wait to read your book. Tricia

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  6. Susy Kahn3:30 AM

    Beth,
    Congratulations on your book! We are very proud of you and I look forward to reading your story. Wishing you much continued sucess.
    Susy Kahn

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  7. Cheril7:51 AM

    Great interview! Beth, I can't wait to read your book next December. Thanks for the preview. From one of your old writing buddies in Texas, it's so nice to hear that you got the CALL!

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  8. Way to go, Beth!! I'm so excited for you. I'll never forget your IM telling me you'd received that contract. Woo-hoo!!!! ;-D And what a great thrill to write with Lena and Lisa--WOWZERSS!!!!

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  9. Anonymous8:52 PM

    Hi Lisa,
    I love hearing about your author friends! Also, congratulations on your latest book!
    ~Shelley

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  10. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Congratulations Beth. I am so excited for you.I can't wait to read your book and of course I want a signed copy!I am praying for continued sucess in all that you do. We are so very proud of you. Mimi

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  11. Anonymous12:05 AM

    Congratulations, Beth! Nice job interviewing, Lisa. The Lord bless you two ladies.

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  12. Thanks everyone for all of the words of encoruagement and support. It's wonderful. And thank you, Lisa. . .for this interview.

    Blessings!
    Beht.

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