Carving a niche

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Portland State graduate student Leslie Gould’s fourth book, Circle of Grace, is easily putting her one step closer to an inevitable bestseller. Her career to this point has been varied, but the author is currently working on carving a niche for herself in the literary world. In the meantime, Gould was able to take a few minutes to share insights via email on her current projects, her previous novels and her goals at PSU.

Sarah Hutchins: What is your latest book?Leslie Gould: My latest is Circle of Grace. It’s part of a write-for-hire project where I and four other authors are writing a series together. We have a fantastic editor, and we spend lots of time emailing each other questions like: “What color is Pete’s pickup?”

SH: What is it about?LG: It’s about a grandma and grandpa in Nebraska who are raising their three grandchildren. The kids move from San Diego after their mother dies and are in for quite a shock, trading the beach and sunshine for farm chores and snow. But it’s mostly about generational relationships and how lives are woven together through grace and mercy.

SH: How many books have you published?LG: I’ve published four novels, and my fifth is with my editor, so I’ll soon be doing rewrites. My books, besides Circle of Grace, are Garden of Dreams (2003), Beyond the Blue (2005) and Scrap Everything (2006).

SH: What is your favorite book that you’ve written to date and what is it about?LG: It’s Beyond the Blue, which I wrote after my husband and I adopted our daughter Thao, who was three at the time, from Vietnam. It’s written from both the adoptive mom’s and the birth mom’s points of view. It’s not my story or Thao’s story or her-bio mom’s story, but it is my emotions and some of Thao’s and what I imagined an international birth-mom’s feelings would be. I did a ton of research before I wrote the story, and my Vietnamese sister-in-law helped me with the specifics of culture and daily life.

SH: How else do you draw your own life experiences into your books?LG: My husband is in an army reserve medical unit that was called-up in 2003. Two years after that, I wrote Scrap Everything which is about the family of an army medical officer. I wanted to explore the impact of deployment on kids, especially teenagers–something that isn’t talked about a lot.

SH: What books do we have to look forward to from you?LG: Hopefully I’ll do more novels through Guideposts–which is a really comfortable gig while I’m going back to school. I’m also working on a story that deals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that I’ll send on to my agent, Chip MacGregor, who happens to be a PSU grad, sometime this year. I have a couple of different stories about Vietnam in my head that I want to write, too. I always have more stories bouncing around than I have time for-but I know that’s how it is with most writers.

SH: What are your plans once you graduate from PSU with a master’s in creative writing?LG: To keep writing–and to hopefully be a better writer from what I’ve learned here. I’d also like to teach fiction at a small liberal arts college, and I’m toying with the idea of starting an editing business. I do some editing on the side for novice writers and really enjoy it. I’ve taken several classes in the graduate publishing program here too, which is one of the reasons I chose to get my masters at PSU, and I think that knowledge will serve me well in the future whether I teach or edit.

Circle of GraceLeslie Gouldwww.lesliegould.com

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