“Promise me you’ll marry again after I’m gone.” It was the last thing he wished to think about now or ever. He’d never looked at another woman, not even during the months Camille had been so ill, with their sex life on hold. He couldn’t imagine lying next to another woman like this. Holding her in his arms. Making love to her.
“We are not having this conversation.” He spoke in a tone that invited no dissent. “You’re my wife. The only one I want. And you’re not going anywhere. That’s all there is to say on the subject.”
He pressed a finger to her lips. “Don’t. This is hard enough as it is.” From The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge, ©2012. Published by Open Road Media.
I’m very lucky to have met some fascinating people on my journey with writing, publishing, and blogging. Sometimes, it just starts with just a mention, or, in this case, a tweet. After a few Twitter conversations, I decided to ask my next guest if she could be interviewed on my website. After reading her story, she has also proven to be an inspiration. One of her short bios reads, “Natural-born talent is basically useless without the persistence to go with it. I was lucky enough to have been blessed with a deep and abiding love of books and writing coupled with an insane stick-to-it-iveness, which can be a double-edged sword.” Persistence is a characteristic that I really admire. Please join me as I welcome author Eileen Goudge.
Be true to your muse!
RSG: You started writing seriously at an early age. How did you get started and at what point did you feel you could make a career as a writer?
EG: In fourth grade, I wrote a short story titled “Secret of the Mossy Cave.” My teacher was very excited and showed it to the principal. That was the first time I remember thinking, “This is what I want to do when I grow up!” I wish I still had the story. It was pretty good for a nine-year-old.
RSG: Which authors inspired you early on and who inspires you now?
EG: The first grownup novel I read, in fifth grade, was Jane Eyre. I absolutely adored it and I think everything I’ve written since is in some way inspired by it. The whole notion of family secrets, for instance. Which is what my first novel Garden Of Lies, is all about. Babies switched at birth by the mom of one of the girls. What bigger secret is there? In life, I’m inspired most by my husband, Sandy Kenyon. He’s overcome so many obstacles to make it where he is today, and rather than dim his spirit, his struggles have made it shine all the brighter. He’s a daily reminder that when life kicks you in the butt, you have to get up and keep going.
Eileen and husband, Sandy Kenyon.
RSG: Let’s talk about you as a writer. How have you evolved since your early writing days?
EG: In the early days when I was an aspiring writer, I used to worry about what would sell or what was trendy, and it hampered my creativity. Now I write the kind of books I like to read, and fortunately many others like to as well. I create the kind of fictional worlds I’d like to live in. When my Carson Springs trilogy (Stranger In Paradise, Taste Of Honey, Wish Come True) first came out, I had one woman write to say, in all seriousness, that she desperately wanted to move to Carson Springs and would I please, please tell her where she could find it. Luckily for her, it’s based on the real life town of Ojai, CA.
RSG: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
EG: I used to think agents and editors had all the answers. Then I married my agent (my ex-husband) and learned they’re human like the rest of us, they make mistakes. My favorite “sweet taste” was when an editor who had rejected Garden Of Lies came up to me at a party when it was on the New York Times bestseller list and said, “What was I thinking?”
Photo by Eileen Goudge
RSG: Can you flip the switch and be “on” or creative? If not, how do you find your muse? What inspires you?
EG: I am lucky in that I don’t suffer from writer’s block. Writing is a job like any other. You get up in the morning, get dressed, and sit down at the computer. Then you write, even if it’s crap. You don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Like with any job, inspiration isn’t something you can order up with your morning Starbucks coffee! You just have to be there to catch it when it comes to you.
RSG: Where is your favorite place to write? Where are you most creative?
EG: Now that my kids are grown, I’m free to go away for a month each year to a secluded location and hole up with my laptop to write. Right now I’m at the beach in Northern California, near where I grew up. I get to look out at the ocean and fall asleep to the sound of the surf. After a day of writing, I take an afternoon walk on the beach. Nothing is more inspiring!
Photo by Eileen Goudge
RSG: After years of struggling, your first adult book, Garden Of Lies was published in 1986. It was a tremendous success, spending 16 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. How did you adjust to your new-found success?
EG: It hasn’t changed me in that I didn’t let it go to my head. I’ve had enough ups and downs in life to know artistic success ebbs and flows. The main thing is to seek fulfillment in what you do. Writing fulfills me, and if can be successful at it, all the better. My goal is not to be rich, though I must say I like not being poor.
RSG: How did you feel when you received your first check? What was more important, the money or finally being recognized for your work?
EG: The very first check I received, as a freelance writer, was for $20. I framed a Xerox of it so I would always have it to remind me that we all have to start somewhere. These days I love seeing my books for sale and knowing they’re being read by people all over the world.
RSG: You have published 46 books, an amazing accomplishment. Which are your favorite books and why?
EG: The novel that is closest to my heart is One Last Dance. I love to bake, so I lived vicariously through the character of Kitty, who owns a tea room. I had readers write to ask for her recipes! It’s also about a wildly dysfunctional family, which I know something about. Three sisters, all very different from another, must solve the mystery of why their mom murdered their dad.
I also loved doing the Carson Springs trilogy. #1 Stranger In Paradise starts with a teen runaway crossing the country and ending up in a “Shangri-La” that is not all that it appears. Having uprooted myself amid dramatic circumstances several times in my life (during one of which I moved to Vancouver, Canada), I can relate!
RSG: Your latest book, The Replacement Wife, was published in 2012. Tell us about it.
EG: A professional matchmaker learns she has terminal cancer and sets out to find her husband’s next wife. It was a brain-twister of a plot and took some serious what-would-I-do soul-searching on my part, but in the end it was incredibly satisfying, And, I think, a terrific story.
RSG: The publishing environment has changed drastically over recent years. I notice the changes in the year and a bit since my book was published. How do you adjust to publishing in the age where it seems almost everyone is writing a book, and many authors are giving them away?
EG: My current contract is with a digital publisher, Open Road Media. Print editions of my novels are available on demand, but the main push is digital. I love that I’m gaining new readers every day through online marketing and social media. I also love the fluidity of the medium, and that there’s no time limit for publicizing and marketing, nor the specter of the big shredder that grinds your returns to pulp. It’s a brave new world and one I embrace!
RSG: What frustrates you most about the current publishing environment?
EG: Traditional publishers are scrambling to adapt in the new world of online indie publishing. Sometimes this can result in what I call “panic mode.” Not good when you’re at my end feeling the squeeze.
RSG: Eileen, how do you handle criticism? Are you able to brush it off now or does it eat at your inner being?
EG: Constructive criticism is always good. I would still be unpublished, no doubt, without the keen eye of the editors and agents who have guided me through the years. Bad reviews are another matter. I try not to read them because they’re seldom constructive. It’s just a matter of taste, I guess, or somebody is cranky because they had a bad day.
RSG: What advice can you give to writers who are struggling right now?
EG: Shut out the voices yelling “No, you can’t!” Just put your head down and write, write, write. Be true to your muse.
RSG: Let’s talk about your journey to where you are today. Where do you hope it will take you?
EG: My goal, always, is make my novels available to a wide variety of readers of all ages. I’ve been blessed in that I’m told my books have universal appeal, but social media makes it possible to connect with so many more people than I ordinarily would. I found you through Twitter, Randall. A perfect example of what I’m talking about!
I can’t agree more about the outreach of social media. Eileen, it was great meeting you too. Thanks for joining me on my blog, Camino My Way. I really enjoyed it.
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