Friday, October 6, 2017

First Call Friday - Louise M. Gouge

Louise M. Gouge here. We Ladies of Love Inspired have been telling our stories of the first time we received a call from an editor who wanted to purchase our novel.

My first “call” wasn’t a phone call, it was a letter, but no less thrilling than speaking on the phone to an editor who wanted to publish my manuscript. But my hopes soon came crashing to the ground. Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me give you a brief history of my writing career.

I began writing in 1984, when my children were all in school. With my family’s encouragement, I completed one novel and continuing to write its sequel. To make sure I had done everything right, I took a creative writing class at local Valencia Community College (now Valencia College). Being back in school was so enjoyable that I continued to take classes, graduating with an Associate’s degree, then moving on to the University of Central Florida, where I earned an English/Creative Writing degree.

With all of those writing lessons in mind, I rewrote my book and took it to a writers’ conference, along with articles, short stories, and plays I had written while in college. My first sale was a short story, bought by a Christian magazine editor. Then my plays were bought. Finally, after two years, the editor of a small publishing company took my manuscript home and soon wrote me a letter saying she wanted to publish it. I was over the moon happy!

However, a few months later, I received word that her company was going out of business. Ouch! My dreams of becoming a published author came crashing down!

Those dreams might have stayed down, except for this same editor, who wasn’t content just to cancel all her contracts. She made it her business to find a home for as many of those manuscripts as she could. She found a home for my novel at Crossway Books. Once again, I could dream! And I got a lesson in integrity from this lady. She was going bankrupt, but she was determined not to disappoint the hopeful writers she had given contracts. Once There Was a Way Back Home was published in 1994, ten years after I began writing.

After writing two books for Crossway, I decided I wanted to go deeper with my writing. I earned my Master of Liberal Studies from Rollins College, writing a novel for my master’s thesis. Its title is Ahab's Bride. Because I once again wanted to be published, I found an agent. It took him a while, but eventually, he sent me an email—no less thrilling than a letter—with the subject line “Good News.” He had found an editor at Cook Communications (now David C. Cook) who loved my story. Ahab's Bride was published in 2004. Twenty years after I began writing, my career was moving forward. (This cover isn't the original. It's the cover for my e-book version of Ahab's Bride.)

Since that time, I’ve received phone calls from my agent with each book sale (I have twenty-five books published). Each one is just as thrilling as that first letter. It never grows old.

My latest and final LIH, is Cowboy Lawman's Christmas Reunion:
Sheriff Justice Gareau can make outlaws quake in their boots…yet coming face-to-face with Evangeline Benoit once again takes away all his composure. She broke their engagement, and his heart, to marry a wealthy older man. Despite his reluctance, Justice can't avoid the widowed single mother of two when they're collaborating on a Christmas village for the town's children.  

The loving boy Evangeline once knew has become an unyielding lawman. Forced to flee New Orleans over false allegations, Evie doubts Justice will take her side when the past follows her to Colorado. Especially when he and her troublesome son butt heads. But perhaps the spirit of Christmas will soften his heart and give them a second chance at love.
Copyright © 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited, Cover art and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises.
® and Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.


  1. What a great story, Louise. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. What a lovely story of perseverance and integrity and how God made a way no matter what happened!

  3. I admire your dedication, Louise. All I ever studied in my college years was what I wanted to know. I learned a great deal but never finished a degree because I wasn't disciplined enough to finish course work in which I was simply not interested. I was steadily publishing during that time, and didn't want to do anything else, but my children (one of whom earned a dual bachelors at Rollins) have always chided me for not applying myself well enough to finish a degree program. My hat's off to you!

  4. Arlene, you were already doing what you wanted to do, and doing it very well. I had been a stay-at-home mom who'd kept her head in the sand. I needed to get out and learn a broader world view. Thanks for the hat's off. Permit me to return the gesture.

  5. I’m in awe Louise. How very cool you finished your degree and masters even. What a great testament to dedication and perseverance.

  6. Thank you, Terri. But it was more of a case of not knowing what I didn't know and wanting to know it. LOL! Taking classes in how to do research, having a prof introduce the class to wonderful new ideas (to me), meeting other older adults who shared my hunger for knowledge. It was great. A bonus was that the degree qualified me for teaching college level classes. After graduation, I was an English and humanities prof for 17 years. Now happily retired.

  7. Rollins College. You were living in Virginia at the time?

    Thanks for sharing your early writing years, Louise! So uplifting! Congrats on all your success!

  8. I love learning how an author got their start! Thanks for sharing your story Louise, and congrats on the book baby! Such a lovely cover :-)


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