What Reading (and Writing) Books Means to Me with Elizabeth Goddard

Happy Thursday! Today’s installment of What Reading/Writing Books Means to Me is brought to us courtesy of Elizabeth Goddard, popular author of romantic suspense - including her new book NEVER LET GO which released February 5, 2019 from Revell Books.


What Reading (and Writing) Books Means to Me

by Elizabeth Goddard, Author of Never Let Go

As a novelist, I know that I wouldn’t be a writer if I weren’t also an avid reader. Add to that, the two activities could be considered interchangeable, at least for me. As I write a novel, I’m also discovering the story. Discovery is what books are all about.

The love of reading and the books we read shape us early on, that is, if we’re inspired to read at a young age. They allow us to escape to new worlds never explored or that will never exist. We learn new perspectives through the eyes of characters whose lives we’ll never live.

For instance, most of what I know about World War II, I learned by reading historical novels such as Bodie Thoene’s Zion Covenant series (Brock Thoene is a historian so I trusted the history). I learned to love horses by reading Black Beauty and books like it. I grew to love romance and romantic suspense when I got hooked on gothic novels written by Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and the Bronte sisters.

I love the smell of a new book, the feel of it as I hold it in my hands. Like scents ignite memories long buried or music reminds of special moments, books make me think of my childhood and all things good.

Most of all, books remind me of my mother. She loved to read and brought books from her childhood into her own home when she married. Titles such as My Friend Flick, Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and countless more filled the bookshelves. Those books remained on the shelves for decades until all four walls of a room became bookshelves filled with new books, and the pages in my mother’s hardbacks turned yellow with age.

My mother was an avid reader and I learned to love books from her, often spending my entire summers reading some of my favorite books more than once. This activity ignited the desire to write my own stories, and my mother encouraged me in that as well. I’m grateful that I became published while she was still alive, so she could see the fruit of what she inspired in me. She passed away a couple of years ago, and I dedicated Never Let Go to her. I hope to pass down to my own children and grandchildren the same gift she gave to me—the love of reading, the joy of books, and for some, even the passionate drive to write novels.

Books have inspired me, changed me, given me hope, taught me, and carved out the path I walk every day on my journey to create more books.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of forty novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES–a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

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The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up.

Forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than twenty years ago. When someone makes an attempt on Willow's life to keep her from discovering the truth, help will come from an unexpected source.

Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget--and put Willow's tender heart at risk.

What Reading Books Means to Me with Rachel Scott McDaniel

Happy Monday! At Hope By the Book we are trying out some new regular features here on the website, and today’s guest - author & avid reader Rachel Scott McDaniel - is someone you need to meet! Her debut novel, Above the Fold, releases December 2019 and she’s bringing us the first installment of “What Reading Books Means to Me” .


What Reading Books Means to Me

by Rachel Scott McDaniel, Author of Above The Fold

Have you ever considered the power of story? How is it possible that words on a page can refresh a wearied soul or bolster a feeble heart? It’s just a conglomeration of sentences and paragraphs. Just a book. Yet within the boundaries of Chapter One and The End lies the potential of something remarkable. What if I told you it holds the capability of bringing to life that which is deemed dead?

Ten years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom who wrote Christian romance during my kiddos’ naptimes. Then something occurred in my family that challenged my secure little world. My three-year-old daughter was diagnosed autistic. I wish I could say that I donned my super cape and stood as Faith Woman, but the truth was, I struggled. Everything came to a screeching halt. I closed my laptop, stopped reading Christian fiction, and only concentrated on surviving the day. The following decade was spent focusing on caring for my kids and reorienting myself to life. My daughter was significantly progressing, overcoming delays which were branded insurmountable. Slowly, my brittle faith strengthened, but I allowed my dream to collect dust in the corner of my heart.

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One day, my sister-in-law mentioned a contemporary romance she’d read by some novelist named Rachel Hauck. At that point, I had been so far removed from Christian fiction—hadn’t browsed the inspy aisle at Barnes and Noble, hadn’t fangirled any authors on Facebook, hadn’t even cracked open a book in years. Not to mention, I hadn’t written a single word in my own story. I completely detached myself from my dream—that aspiration which had once sparked my soul. So on a whim, I snagged To Catch A Prince from the local library, yet I was inwardly skeptical. After all I’d experienced, did I even believe in such a thing as happily-ever-after? But the unexpected occurred in the form of me binge-reading the book, taking in the layered characters and absorbing the vivid prose.

Then it happened.

Somewhere between the pages, the dormant ember ignited. The love of story returned. The only way I can explain it is that I had a “God-nudge.” A pivotal mark on my soul where I knew what had to be done. I dug out my laptop and opened my manuscript. It’d been so long that I nearly forgotten what I’d written. I started creating again and immersed myself into the world of storytelling. Before long, I had the entire novel completed and from then on, the dream unraveled before my eyes. That particular story had won a national contest. I signed with an agent and within a year, I’d landed a book contract.

What would’ve happened if I never had picked up that book? Would my lifeless dream have been revived? I’m not certain. But one thing I do know is the power of story. It can fortify what is frail. It can liven what is dull. So what does reading books mean to me? Simple. Reading is—and always will be—a game changer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning Christian romance writer. She hopes to inspire the mind and refresh the soul with words infused with faith and heart. Because she could never resist a good mystery, suspense and intrigue routinely sneak into her stories. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two children. You can find Rachel at her online home RachelMcDaniel.net or on all major social media platforms.

Look for her debut novel - ABOVE THE FOLD - coming December 2019 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas!