Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction, calling her stories “threads of grace woven through time.” In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Married to David Gouge for forty-six years, Louise is a mother of four and grandmother of six children. In addition to writing, she teaches English and humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee , Florida.
1. Tell us about your current release. A summary or back cover blurb will do nicely.
In At the Captain’s Command, a heroic British naval captain, son of an influential earl, dares to fall in love with a provincial American girl. Then he discovers her family's devastating secret.
Loyal to the British Crown, orphaned Dinah Templeton has vowed never to marry a seafaring man, for her father died at sea and her merchant captain brother is always away. But when Captain Thomas Moberly sails into St. Augustine to defend the East Florida shores from American pirates, Dinah finds that her heart may overrule her head regarding this seafarer. Captain Thomas Moberly, captain of HMS Dauntless, has been assigned to capture the notorious American pirate Nighthawk, who plagues the Atlantic coast of East Florida. War-weary and hoping for a refreshing visit with his brother and sister, who live near St. Augustine, Thomas never expects to find love. But how can he resist the lovely Miss Templeton, even though she is what his father, Lord Bennington, would call a common American?
2. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always had an active imagination, so it was a natural step to start writing down my stories. I didn’t have time to do it until my children were pretty much grown (they were in middle school and high school). But once I got started writing back in 1984 at the encouragement of a friend, I didn’t stop. I even went back to college and grad school so I could learn to write better.
3. How/where do you come up with ideas for your stories?
Stories are all around us. Sometimes a story can come from reading some historical detail or watching a documentary on television. My very first story was inspired by watching a father and son toss a football in a field outside my window. That story grew into my first two publishing credits. I look for the human element in any situation and try to choose a compelling story that will show my readers how God moves in our lives.
4. Writing historicals means tons of research. How do you do your research? Do you have all your facts ready before you sit down to write the story? Or do you research as you go along?
I love the research process, but story or research first? It’s different for each book. Sometimes I find that wonderful historical detail that sparks my imagination, and I rough out a story. I check online about the era and begin to flesh out the plot and setting details. Other times, I have a character in mind and try to discover what time period in which to set her or him. Yes, I definitely continue to research details as I go along. When I make an actual research trip to someplace like Boston, Nantucket, Annapolis, or St. Augustine, I prepare my questions carefully and contact the local historical societies beforehand. Historians are wonderful in sharing information to help authors make our stories historically accurate.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Laurie Alice Eakes (Lady in the Mist), MaryLu Tyndall (Surrender the Night), and Ramona Cecil (Freedom’s Crossroad) not only are my favorite living authors but my former critique partners. Each of these ladies has a gift for bringing her characters to life and describing settings so subtly that readers feel as if they are there. My favorite authors of previous eras are Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens. Funny thing is that we consider them historical writers, but they were writing contemporary novels of their own times.
6. Did you have someone who really made a difference in your writing? A mentor that helped you get to where you are now?
How about a whole organization? American Christian Fiction Writers has made all the difference in my writing career. This is the place where I met and networked with agents, editors, and other writers. Before that, I had published two novels with a major publisher, but had only modest success. After joining ACFW, I saw a whole different world.
7. Where do you get your ideas for your characters? Are they based on people you know?
Just like my stories, my characters are all around me. Sometimes people inspire characters. Sometimes my character is a composite of more than one person. I always add my own touches. And like most authors, I’m always on the lookout for that one special character whose journey will have a huge impact on my readers. Someone like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird or Jane Eyre in her self-named novel, characters whose person strength and core values are something we all can admire and hope to emulate.
8. What are your goals as a writer? Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I want to keep writing stories that inspire people to walk closer to Jesus Christ. I hope to still be doing that in five years.
9. What are you working on now or going to write next?
I’ve begun to write in the Regency period in England. It’s a delightful era that provides opportunity for both comedy and serious drama. But I also love to write Americana, especially post-Civil War stories. I’m waiting on the Lord for His direction.
10. How can your readers get in touch with you?
I love to hear from readers and always answer them. My website/blog is http://blog.Louisemgouge.com. Please write!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Louise! Love your answers and your books! I was in my local Christian bookstore just last night and saw it sitting proudly on the shelf. So, glad to have you.
All right, lovely readers, if you want a copy of this book, leave a comment and maybe tell us why you love to read historical books.