Welcome back! Today, I’m pleased to feature author Lindsey Beth Goddard. Lindsey’s work has appeared in Dark Moon Digest, The Wicked Library, and The Sirens Call, among other outlets.
Recently, Lindsey and I discussed her inspiration as a writer, her short fiction collections, and her new book, Ashes of Another Life, available now from Omnium Gatherum.
A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I don’t think I ever decided to become an author. Ever since I can remember, I wrote. In first grade, I won the Mother’s Day poetry contest for the entire school (grades K-5), and that’s when I realized I could touch people with my words. Through poems and essays and stories, I had a voice. I’ve always been introverted – private, shy. Writing things down was a good way to think, to vent and to communicate. Much easier than expressing myself verbally. Yeah, I’d say it was love at first write.
Some of my favorite authors are Robert McCammon, Ray Bradbury, Oscar Wilde, Emily Bronte, Gary Braunbeck, Lisa Morton, Stephen King, Graham Masterton, Poppy Z. Brite, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson, Philip K Dick, Richard Laymon, Poe, and many, many more.
Congratulations on the recent release of your book, Ashes of Another Life! What served as your primary inspiration for the book, and how long did it take you to complete the project?
Thank you. It all started when I began reading the biographies of former FLDS cult members. They are brave and enduring individuals. Literally trapped, kept under constant surveillance, and forced to marry men several decades their senior, escape was not easy for the females. And males are liable to be shunned by their families and cast out of the community for the smallest infraction. A teenage boy caught with a collection of “worldly” possessions such as CDs could be thrown, penniless, into the outside world with nowhere to go. Rebellion is met with harsh consequence, and physical and mental abuse is used to eradicate free thought. I became so obsessed with studying this cult, I had to write a story about it. The process took over a year, but I love the results.
You have several collections of your short fiction available, including The Tooth Collector and Other Tales of Terror and Quick Fix: A Taste of Terror. What was your process in selecting the stories for each collection, and do you have plans for another fiction collection in the future?
Selecting the stories was easy. I chose the best of my reprints. A lot of these stories appeared in anthologies by small-press publishers who have since disappeared, so I wanted to give them a permanent home. In my latest collection, The Tooth Collector, I included a story that had previously appeared on an episode of the Wicked Women Writers Challenge podcast. I chose that one for the same reason: to give it a permanent home in print. My stories are like my children. I must take care of them!
In about a year, I’ll have another collection available through Burning Willow Press called Secrets of the Slain. What makes this collection interesting is that it’s a mixture of poems and stories and will include two unpublished stories that have never appeared anywhere else, one of which is a novelette. So, yeah, keep your eyes peeled for Secrets of the Slain. It’s a good one.
You’ve written both short stories and now a longer fiction project with Ashes of Another Life. Does your process differ from short versus long fiction? Do you find yourself drawn more to the compact arcs of short fiction or the more complex arcs of long fiction?
Oh, yes, the writing process differs between short and long fiction. You have to make every word count in a short piece, a challenge I’ve always enjoyed.
For me, writing shorts has been more of a necessity than a preference. Raising three children has left me with very little free time. Short stories have allowed me the instant gratification of being published without the endless hours of work. The story arc of a novel is preferable, though. It allows more room to explore my fictional world and all its characters. That’s definitely the direction my work is heading now.
If forced to choose, which part of the writing process is your favorite: developing characters, crafting settings, or writing dialogue?
Characters. I love developing characters.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
I’m trying to focus on a novel at the moment. I’ve had fans request a poetry book, but I’m not a prolific poet. I’m a sporadic poet at best! Haha. So I’m sure we’ll see a novel before that poetry book ever happens.
Where would you like to see your writing career in five years?
In the hands of the masses!