Ask any writer and she (or he) will tell you that she started
out as an avid reader from a very early age. Maybe that’s the true moment when
a writer starts writing, or at least learning to write. All the novels we read
during our formative years serve as a foundation and teach us about story
structure, plot, and characters. So, it makes sense that reading novels planted
that seed of desire in me to become a writer. Once I became a published author,
people I met often told me they wanted to write a novel one day. I hope they
were able to make that dream come true.
For me that dream simmered for a
couple of decades until I had my first child. I ended up resigning form my
corporate America job to stay home and raise my daughter. It was during those
years I found the time to commit to writing that novel. But first, I had much
to learn about the craft and as much as I could about the publishing industry.
I attended my first writer’s conference in 2001 and never looked back.
Some of my favorite
authors early on were Bodie Thoene. I devoured her Zion Covenant novels. I also
loved Gilbert Morris and Jack Cavanaugh. I loved reading Christian historical
romances, and it was their influence that motivated me to try to write
historical romances. I put writing in that genre aside and now write romantic
suspense—and that’s another story completely! Now I read romantic suspense and
thriller authors. One of my favorite writers is James Rollins and I’m making my
way through his series of action-packed novels. I believe all these authors
I’ve listed have given me a good sense of how to keep the tension elevated and
leave readers highly entertained.
I’m sure you’ve
figured out by now that I believe the best writing advice I’ve ever received is
to read, read, read because it helps you to keep on top of your game and keep
pushing yourself to improve. To that you must add one more thing—you must write,
write, write—and that’s a winning combination for aspiring writers. I don’t think
I’ve ever heard any bad or wrong advice because anything that keeps you writing
and pursuing your goals is good.
With so much reading
and writing, eventually I figured out who I wanted to be when I grew up as a
writer or rather, what I wanted to write. That turned out to be an adventurous
romantic suspense filled with action and stunning settings. For me, setting
comes first. Setting is my inspiration. I love to travel and have visited and
lived in some amazing places. I look for a setting that touches me emotionally
and spiritually. A scenery that inspires me and usually that’s going to be a
mountainous landscape or a rocky coast or a designated wilderness area. A bonus
is that these types of settings lend themselves to action and adventure.
Next I begin the
research process which includes diving into the location where the story will
be set, learning more about my characters and their jobs, and also discovering
everything I can about the suspense premise—the crime. I read everything from
books to blogs and watch YouTube videos and, most importantly, I talk to
experts. Usually I will end up with more material than I could ever include in
a novel and keep things moving and entertaining.
In writing Covert Cover-Up, guess what? —I started
with setting. The story is part of a series set around the Mt Shasta region of
Northern California. I decided to use Castle Crags State Park as the backdrop
for my story and I already knew the perfect character—someone I had previously
created who was just waiting to climb out of my story files and into a novel
where he could step off the pages and take a breath. My hero, Beck Goodwin, is
a world class rock-climber. With those all-important elements of a stunning
setting and my rock-climbing hero settled, I then focused on the suspense plot.
I thought it would be fun to throw in the feel of a spy story, so in that way, Covert Cover-Up is unique because it’s
an action-adventure tale of romance and intrigue. I pulled out all the stops and
I hope that readers will enjoy a powerful emotional experience, be wholly
entertained, and be encouraged that God is always with us.
Elizabeth Goddard has sold over one million books and is the USA
Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty romance
novels and counting, including the romantic mystery The Camera Never Lies—a
2011 Carol Award winner. She is a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in
Mystery and Suspense finalist for her Mountain Cove series—Buried, Backfire,
and Deception—and a Carol Award finalist for Submerged. When
she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find
inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry.
For more information about her
books, visit her website at www.ElizabethGoddard.com.