A writer like you: H. M. Gooden
Meet H. M. Gooden, a writer, hiker, runner, and eater (which readers may note in her books).
She has four children, four cats, two geckos, and a husband, so most of her off time belongs to them, which she’s grateful for.
She’s currently ears deep in a massive co-writing shared world project with seven other amazing authors, all spearheaded by YA author JA Culican. Her book is number seven in the world, and she’s been frantically editing for her launch date of May 28, although book one in the series, Dreamwalker, releases on March 19.
You’ll love reading about her use of dictation in the writing process, her view of the writer’s role in society, and her definition of writer success.
Let’s dive into the interview, shall we?
What is your favorite book?
My newest favourite book is the screaming staircase by Jonathon stroud, and I have the second audiobook ready to go as we speak. I was completely captivated by the world he’s created and plan to read them as quickly as I can. Other favorites include Mercedes lackey, Andre Norton, Nancy Kress, Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead and of course, J.K Rowling.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer! My first story I remember was published in my local newspaper at age six—Santa’s nightmare. At the time I thought I was brilliant, and looking back it is exactly what you’d expect from a six year old—cute, but nothing special. I hope over the years my writing has improved somewhat haha!
What has shaped you into the writer you are today?
My life has been rich with experiences. I’m a middle child, which I’m sure affects how I see the world, and I’ve spent 12 years in university followed by over ten in the health care field. I initially got back into writing as a way to destress from all the emotions I have to deal with everyday and fell immediately in love with it again. As much as I love my day job, I need a creative outlet that doesn’t exist there.
What motivated you to choose your profession?
I love spending time with others, helping, learning about what makes them tick and sharing connections with them. My profession is draining and inspiring in so many ways, and it was just what I always saw myself doing for a career. Writing was never something I’d thought about seriously, as I knew from childhood how hard it was to make a living off of writing alone, and it got put on the back burner until recently.
Why are reading and writing so important to you?
Both reading and writing have allowed me to experience more than one life could. I can go to countries I’ve never been to, be an alien, a man, a queen and a rebel against the system. It allows me to explore all the aspects of our world and those that have been created in a safe and fun way.
What is the role of the writer in society?
I believe the writers role in society is to help us dream, to make us examine our thoughts about the world and others, to give us hope. Writers may entertain, but the best books I’ve ever read have stayed with me long after I finished reading them because of the way they spoke to me about something in society. Nancy Kress wrote a book over twenty years ago now and I still remember the plot and how it made me feel. If you want to check it out, it’s called Beggars in Spain and it was a very intriguing and realistic look at genetic modification and the societal implications as told through the lens of one of the children. Fascinating and frightening. What really makes me think is at the time she wrote it, that tech didn’t exist, but now it does. Can a sci-fi writer predict the future?
Do you think writers can change the world?
Absolutely! How many examples have we seen of that? Whether through autobiographies or even using Harry Potter as an example. An entire generation of children grew up with him as the role model for strength in the face of adversity, imperfect hero’s overcoming evil, both magical and the daily evil we all face.
How do you define writer success?
It’s different for everyone. Success is a process and some people define that by money, by craft, or by fame.
For me, continuing to improve, write the stories I need to tell and have even one person say that they enjoyed my words. Right now, I feel I’m successful simply because I’m still moving on. I thought I’d write one, and to see what it has become still astounds me. But if someday my books become bestsellers, well, I’m okay with that too ;)
Describe your typical writing process or routine.
I generally write my first draft by dictation now while commuting. The edits are more of a struggle, and often involve several cups of coffee around 4 am when my house is quiet! Even now, I’m sitting on the couch with a sleeping four year old at my side, computer in my lap and cats milling at my feet. But this is my happy place and I wouldn’t have it any other way
What writing advice would you give other writers like yourself?
Keep writing. Keep learning, keep enjoying the process even if you never make it big you are making a difference. Above all else, as long as you keep writing and learning you will get better and someday you will get to a place where you can be proud. If you look up at the mountain it is daunting—but if you look at where you put your next step it’s much easier.
What are your current writing goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?
At the moment, to finish the trilogy for my shared world—I’m almost done edits for book 1, then I’ll review the first draft of my second and get it to the editor. I’m hoping to finish my third in the next two weeks. Once that’s all sorted, it’s back to my other ideas!
I have a trilogy I’m planning to launch this fall if I am fast enough, then the second half of my co-writing series is expected in December 2019 and January 2020. Right now I’m working as furiously as I can and hoping time is in my favour!
What is your ultimate writer dream?
To win the lottery and be able to write as much as I want! If I could dedicate another twenty hours a week to the process of writing I would be very happy. I don’t want to quit my day job because I love it too, but I would like a little more balance between them.
What authors or books are inspiring you lately?
I’m enjoying reading about minimalism, Brene brown, self improvement and books on the writing craft.
For fun, I’ve been reading Jonathan Stroud. I finished the screaming staircase and launched right into the whispering skull. It’s a delicious series following a bunch of kids who basically act as ghostbusters in an alternative Britain where ghosts haunt the living and the living fear going out after dark. I’m listening to the audiobook and it’s like hearing a spooky tale around a campfire. Can’t recommend it highly enough!
What are you favorite writer resources?
Facebook and podcasts! So much information there if you know where to look. I’m in the middle of Stephen Kings book on writing, and have several books on copywriting, blurbs, ads, etc. lined up. As an indie, writing and editing are only part of the process—you also have to learn how to market and get your stuff sold, which is a lot harder sometimes!
Where can we connect with you?
Thanks, H. M. Gooden.
To free the writer today, try dictating your ideas while commuting (especially if you are struggling to find time to write). Share your experience in the comments below.
And keep freeing that writer,