Let’s welcome Eileen Goudge, the author of The Replacement Wife, a book that played havoc with my emotions last year and found a spot on my top 10 books of the year. You can read my review here.
Did you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes! From the time I learned to read & write, I knew I was born to be a storyteller. I wrote my first “bound” book (a notebook, actually) when I was eight years old. A ghost story. I still have it. Not bad for an eight-year-old!
What is that one book or series of your writing which gave you the most satisfaction?
Each one of my novels is close to my heart. My Carson Springs trilogy was the most fun to write because I created a fictional world that I got to live in for 3 books (“Stranger in Paradise, “Taste of Honey” and “Wish Come True.” Many readers wrote to say how they wanted to move to Carson Springs, which is based on the real-life town of Ojai, California. I got the most reader mail for the trilogy than for any of my other novels, I think.
What are your few favorite books?
I first read “Jane Eyre” when I was eleven, and have read it twice since. I never tire of it. The story is timeless and the writing grabs you by the throat. I also love Stephen King’s “The Stand,” which is the best post-apocalyptic novel ever written, in my opinion. The James Herriot books are favorites of mine as well.
Are you working on an
y new book right now? If yes, can you give us a little teaser what it’s about?
I’m currently writing a mystery. A return to my “roots” (the ghost story I wrote when I was eight). It’s so much fun! I love mysteries. Starting with Raymond Chandler and James Cain, whose novels I read as a teenager.
What do you think are the prerequisites of becoming a writer?
I think you have to be a voraci
ous reader. I have been devouring books since the “Dick and Jane” readers that taught me to read in first grade. Also, at the risk of stating the obvious, the first rule in becoming a writer is that you have to, well, write. Every day, even if it’s a diary or journal. I don’t know of any published writers who don’t have stashes of scribblings and/or unpublished manuscripts to show for it.
If not a writer, what would you have been?
I love to bake! That’s what led to the publication of my cookbook “Something Warm From the Oven.” When I’m not at the keyboard, I’m in the kitchen baking a cake, pie, bread or cookies. I have 2 sweet potato pies cooling on my kitchen counter as I write this. It makes for a nice yin
g yang with the writing. They complement each other.
Your best read(s) of 2012?
I adored John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars.” It made me cry but was ultimately life-affirming. And beautifully written. Never mind it’s a YA novel – it should be read by all ages.
I’m currently reading “Defending Jacob” by William Landay. A real page-turner! Makes you wonder, “What if it were my child?”
Wow! Writer as an eight year old and a voracious reader at 11, Ms. Eileen you’re an inspiration. I get intimidated by Jane Eyre’s sheer volume even now and you read it as an 11 year old! Thank you for being on Reviewing Shelf. It was a pleasure having you here.
Ms. Eileen Goudge is very graciously giving away a paperback copy of The Replacement Wife.
About the Author
Some say writers are born, not made. Personally, I think it’s both: 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, let me tell you, is a double-edged sword (great when carrying on in the face of rejection and hardship; not so great when it comes to relationships that should’ve died an early death).
As I child, I read voraciously–as many books per week as I could carry home in my bike basket. My early writings were inspired by fantasy and mystery (I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew). I won praise from my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Cherry, for my short story “The Secret of the Mossy Cave,” which is probably what inspired me to become a writer. An aspiration cemented, in high school, when I won third prize in a state-wide poetry competition and took Honorable Mention for another poem, in a nationwide contest.
When I took up writing as a profession, as a young single mom, mostly what I did those first few years was collect rejection slips. However, I persisted and went on to publish 32 novels for young adults (starting with the successful “Sweet Valley High” series), and, to date, 15 novels of women’s fiction, as well as numerous short stories and magazine articles. Also a cookbook, inspired by my passion for baking, titled SOMETHING WARM FROM THE OVEN.
My first adult novel, GARDEN OF LIES, enjoyed many weeks on the “New York Times” bestseller list, both in hardcover and paperback. I can still recall the thrill I felt when I saw it displayed in the window of the Barnes & Noble store on Fifth Avenue, in New York, where I live. As I stood there on the sidewalk looking in, it was a dream come true, the culmination of what I used to envision, in those early, hardscrabble years, as I was sat at my typewriter, on my desk in the kitchen, where it was often a struggle to put food on the table.
My definition of success? Getting up one more time than you fall down.
As for love…I finally found it in the most unlikeliest of all places: when I was home alone. I was being interviewed over the phone by a radio talk show host named Sandy Kenyon, formerly of CNN and now a correspondent for WABC-TV, here in New York City. He sounded so nice that when he asked if he could call back later on, I said, “Sure!” We talked for three hours that night…and every night after that. Six weeks later, when we finally met, sparks flew. We were married in September of 1996, and all these years later we still feel like we’re on our honeymoon.
Happy endings do exist, in life as well as in fiction. You just have to write your own happy ending.