Tricia Goyer is the author of five novels, two non-fiction books, and one children’s book. Tricia was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference “Writer of the Year” in 2003. In 2005, her book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion. Also in 2005, her novel Night Song won ACFW’s Book of the Year for Long Historical Romance. In 2006, her novel Dawn of a Thousand Nights also won Book of the Year for Long Historical. She’s written over 250 articles for national publications and hundreds of Bible Study notes for the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia lives in Montana with her husband and three kids where she homeschools, leads children’s church, and mentors teenage mothers.
Q: Tricia, you have such an interesting story to tell. How did you decide that it was a story to be shared with others? When did your story evolve into a book?
A: My first non-fiction book, Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom came out of my own experiences as a teen mother. My son Cory was born when I was seventeen-years-old, and it was a very traumatic time in my life. (Although I wouldn’t trade Cory for anything!)
I dropped out of school, got dumped from my boyfriend, and disconnected from most of my friends. It was also an amazing time because during my pregnancy I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus. I told Him, “God, I’ve screwed up big time. If you can do something with my life, please do.” Personally, I think He’s done a great job! He gets all the credit for anything worthwhile I’ve done.
I started writing around 1994 when I was 22-years-old and pregnant with my third baby. (One way God transformed my life is by giving me a great husband and two more kids!) In the midst of my “up-and-coming” writing career, I also was called to launch a crisis pregnancy center, and I began mentoring teen moms. I became so frustrated that I couldn’t find a parenting book unique for the girls I worked with that I decided I wanted to write one myself. Since I was a mentor for MOPS International, I approached MOPS with the book idea. They loved it and it’s published under their imprint.
Q: And how did you then segue into fiction from non-fiction? Do the two categories seem similar to you? Or vastly different? Which do you prefer writing?
A: I wanted to write fiction first. In fact, I have a half-dozen half completed contemporary novels on my hard drive! Basically, I started writing non-fiction articles to get some writing credits under my belt, and I discovered I loved writing non-fiction too.
My dream of writing fiction came true after hearing the amazing, true story of the liberation of a concentration camp in Austria. I fictionalized the true events and it became my novel, From Dust and Ashes. Through that book I discovered I love writing historical fiction, and my fifth historical novel will be published February 2007.
These two categories are similar in that I approach them the same: research and brainstorming before I “jump in.” They are different because I can work in chunks with my non-fiction, yet my fiction needs to flow. I love writing both. I feel God’s pleasure as I write both. I couldn’t imagine choosing one over the other. I think that’s because I’m a teacher at heart. Anything I learn I want to share with others. I do that with sharing ideas and sharing stories.
Q: What have you most enjoyed about being an author?
A: Writing. I love putting my thoughts down on paper. I love praying, and seeking God, and playing with words, and reforming my research into something that can bless others and open their understanding of a new topic or time in history. I love pointing people to God with words.
Q: Do you find writing easy or not? What’s the easiest part for you? What’s the hardest?
A: I find writing very easy. I’m one of those people who just sits down and starts typing. (Which a few of my friends despise me for!) When I know what I want to say, the words come fast. That said, I spend a lot of time on research, and that’s hardest part for me– mainly because I want to know everything, and I don’t have enough time to dig in to the research as I’d like. That’s the very hardest part—telling myself, “You know enough, just start typing.” I never feel as if I know enough.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with this comment: “If you can change people’s metaphors, you can change their lives.” Why or why not? How can writers change people’s metaphors?
A: Interesting comment. A metaphor is a comparison. In my opinion, it helps create a concrete image for a non-concrete idea, creating a picture in the mind of the reader.
Yes, I believe writers can change people’s metaphors. For example, my hope is that when people read my novels they can tie spiritual liberation with the physical liberations that take place in my books. Hopefully, it will bring a moving word-picture to mind, touching their hearts with God’s truth. Then, if they accept that truth, then I’m sure change can happen.
Q: What’s your motto?
A: The short answer: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The long answer: God created me for a purpose. When I was the least likely to succeed at anything, He found me and transformed me. He has a plan for my days and will strengthen me to succeed as I step out in obedience.
I truly carry this realization with me and return to it numerous times daily.
Q: What would your “I’d rather be…” bumper sticker say?
A: I’d rather be . . . on the New York Times Bestseller List. Ha!
My next posting will wrap up the interview with Tricia as she shares advice for new writers.