For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Louise M. Gouge. Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical romance and women’s fiction. With a BA in Creative Writing and a master’s degree in liberal studies, Louise taught composition and humanities at Valencia College in Kissimmee, Florida. Now happily retired from teaching, she writes full time.
Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!
Without further ado, please tell us something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.
Despite my active imagination since early, early childhood, I didn’t always want to be a writer. Instead, I wanted to be an actress and opera singer. I was able to achieve those two dreams through acting in church plays (casts of 350 or more and a full orchestra) and singing frequent solos in a 300-voice choir. Wanting to put feet…or fingers…to my overactive imagination, I began writing in my early forties and haven’t quit yet!
Can you tell us about your latest novel?
My latest novel is Finding Her Frontier Home:
A ranch out West could be the home she’s longed for. Lila Rose Duval has a safe, protected life in Charleston as a lady’s companion for Rebecca Mattson—until the woman’s handsome but disheveled son Drew arrives at her door. Now they’re all traveling to the breathtaking wildness of New Mexico Territory to reunite the entire Mattson clan. But the refined, genteel Lila Rose knows nothing of ranching life beyond etiquette and burning food. Worse still, Drew might just be falling for her. But can love convince this city girl that she belongs in the wild beauty of the West…with him?
Why did you choose to write a story set in New Mexico?
My sister lived in New Mexico on a little ranch beside the Rio Grande. Every time I visited her, my imagination spiked, and I just had to write a story set there.
Although I never lived there, only visited, I read several books about cattle ranching in New Mexico. I also watched the John Wayne movie, Chisum, about the Lincoln County War that laid the foundation for the New Mexico cattle industry.
What was ranching like in the 1880s? Was ranching different over a century ago than now?
Life was altogether more difficult in the 1880s than it is today. Without modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, electricity, or washing machines, people had to work more hours in the day to tend to the simplest everyday tasks. A rancher had to ride many miles on horseback to drive his cattle to market, whereas today, the cattle are loaded on semi-tractor trailers or train cars.
Were resources easy or difficult to find on these topics? Do you have a favorite resource?
I’ve been writing western-set novels for many years, so much of my research was close at hand. I can’t really say I have a favorite resource, and I’m always open to finding something new and different.
What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?
My sister’s land was settled in the early 1900s by a group of women artists who wanted a secluded place to create their art without distraction. Their story is told in the 2015 book Ladies of the Canyons by Lesley Poling-Kempes. While I couldn’t use the information in this book for Finding Her Frontier Home, because these women lived there much later than my story, I am using it for my next book, a contemporary yet to be titled.
Do you have another book in the works? What can you tell us about that book?
Although all my previous Love Inspired novels have been historical, I recently signed a contract for a contemporary Love Inspired book that takes place on a small ranch much like my sister’s land. Of course it’s a romance!
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I always encourage wannabe writers to follow their dream. Write the book or story or poem of your heart. Study the craft. Attend writers’ conferences. Enter writing contests. Join a critique group and network with other writers. Most of all, never give up your dream!
The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Louise, thank you for joining us today!
If readers would like to purchase a copy of Finding Her Frontier Home where might they be able to do so?
If you click on the link, it will take you to the Amazon page where you can pre-order now for this May 23, 2023 release.
If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?
Danielle, Thank you for hosting me on your Sunday Dinner blog. I’m so glad to be here and would love to give away one print copy of my upcoming novel Finding Her Frontier Home to someone who makes a comment.
*Giveaway runs until 11:59 pm central time on 5/30/2023. Open to 18+, void where prohibited, see Policy Page for other details. Winner will be contacted by replying to the winning comment, so check back here on 5/31/2023 to see if that person is you!
We’re off next Sunday for Memorial Day Weekend (US). In two weeks, author Dienece Darling will be joining us. See you then!