From the Mine - An interview by Janet Morris Grimes with Shirley Gould
Janet Morris Grimes here. One thing I love to do at the Diamond Mine is introduce you to new authors. Today, I'd love for you to meet my friend Shirley Gould. Shirley is lovely in every way and her smile and attitude are contagious. I'm sure those traits come through with her novels as well.
We caught up with Shirley on the release date of her second novel being released into the world. So of course, what better topic to discuss?
I spewed a few questions her way, and can't wait for you to all get to know her better.
Q: What were your writing and reading habits as a child and when did you first know you wanted to become a writer?
I quit Kindergarten on the first day! I told my parents I stayed there all day and didn’t learn a thing! She was teaching the alphabet…and I could already read books for beginning readers. Needless to say, they made me go back to school.
My love for being a wordsmith was greatly encouraged by my 12th grade English teacher. She pushed me to create prose on college level and spoke into my life. Her belief in my abilities has stayed with me.
In 2011, my husband got very ill. He had encephalitis of the brain. For eleven months I had to be quiet 24/7. Noises sent him into anxiety attacks, ambulance rides, and hospital stays. It was a treacherous time on our lives.
During this time a story kept playing in my mind like a movie. So, I began to write the story down, then the next one, then the next one. After the Lord healed my husband, he wanted to do something special for me as his faithful caregiver through our rough year. He sent me to my first writer’s conference…and the rest is history.
Q: As an adult, at what point did you realize you had actually become a writer?
When I received my first novel in the mail, the moment I opened that first box of books, I felt like I was a writer. It wasn’t real to me until that moment.
Q: You’ve just released your second novel. Is it a sequel to your first?
My novel, Escape From Timbuktu, is the second novel in my African Skies Series. I love this story about... A double agent on assignment poses as an interpreter for a photojournalist seeking a story but terrorists have them running for their lives…entangling their hearts as they escape from Timbuktu.
Q: Tell us about the series.
The first novel is The Sahar of Zanzibar is an exciting read. In a scary case of mistaken identity, Olivia Stone is threatened by Aga Kahn, a powerful Indian ruler, because she could pass for the twin of the missionary’s deceased wife. Kahn calls her the Sahar of Zanzibar who has returned from the grave to torment him and demands that she leave the island or face his wrath. She’d come to exotic Zanzibar in search of adventure, but she experiences much more.
A handsome widower, Missionary Eli Deckland, steps between Olivia and the angry Indian, rescuing her. There an instant connection between Olivia and Eli that escalates when he comes to her rescue again and again. Amid several attempts on Olivia’s life, she’s kidnapped. Eli joins the police to find her before it’s too late.
As every moment passes, Olivia’s life is in more danger…Will she be saved in time? If she is rescued, would it work between her and Eli? With an ocean keeping them apart, will their feelings fade? The answer is in the African skies.
Q: Are your characters or stories based on real people?
My husband and I served as missionaries in Africa for 14 years. Some of our experiences and people we met are in the stories. When I have book signings or speak for lady’s groups and churches, I share the real parts of these novels with my audience…adding to their reading experience.
Q: When you're not writing, what do you do for fun?
When I’m not writing, I love to read, travel, and do oil paintings. My seven grandchildren keep this widow busy making memories.
Q: What is the most satisfying part of writing?
To me the most satisfying part of writing is when I’ve brought my readers a glimpse of how the Lord works and orchestrates our lives. Encouraging people to make Jesus a catalyst of their existence makes it worth it all.
Q: Do you know how your stories will end when you start them? Or are you as surprised as your readers?
When I start writing I have a pretty good idea of how the story will end. I use the Novel Academy Story Equation method of writing that has me plotting and thinking through every part of the novel before I pen the first word.
Q: What do you wish you'd known - something that there was truly no way to have known - before you published.
I wish I had known about the business/marketing side of writing before I was published. It is like having two full-time jobs to juggle all parts of the writing life.
Q: For you, what happens next?
The third and final novel in this series is written and has been sent in to the publisher to start the editing process. It is scheduled to release on March 4 th , 2024. The working title is…Sunset in Swaziland. I will also be releasing a Christmas novella next fall, entitled, The Kissing Ball. It is the Prequel of my next series, Paradise Inn Series, that takes my readers to Kenya, East Africa for more contemporary romantic suspense.
Shirley Gould is an inspirational speaker, an African missionary, and an author. She’s the founder of Kenya’s Kids Home for Street Children, an orphanage in Kenya. Her passion for missions drives her to share her stories and adventures in hopes to inspire others toward fulfilling the Great Commission.
Shirley has written non-fiction for thirty years and is presently writing Christian Fiction novels. Her debut novel was released in May 2021, The Sahar of Zanzibar. On July 25th , Escape From Timbuktu, was released. The sequel will be released in March 2024. She lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area.