Interview With Author Gabriele Goldstone

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hi! I’m Gabriele Goldstone and live in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada. My new book is Tainted Amber and will be released this July by Ronsdale Press in Vancouver. The book is set in 1937 and is inspired by my mom’s life as a young woman in former East Prussia. I’ve written two previous YA novels about her childhood in the Soviet Union during collectivization.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

My mother experienced both communism and Nazism. She immigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties where she was too busy trying to adapt to her new world to have much time for writing memoirs. I knew that she’d been emotionally damaged through her experiences . . . I was affected by that and I wanted to understand her better and not have her grandchildren see her as just an awkward, non-English speaking old person.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Nancy Drew inspired me as a child and I continue to see my writing as a way to solve mysteries. I’m an explorer and love figuring out what makes people the way they are. For research, I’ve managed to travel to some of the settings for my books. Still hoping to go to Siberia and the Urals.

# How do you deal with creative block?

I like to walk or cycle. Sometimes I listen to music from the times I’m researching. If I’m stuck on a scene, I move on and go back to that part another time. Have to keep momentum going.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Good question. Not trusting the reader. Over-explaining. Stating the obvious.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

I struggled with a title for Tainted Amber. My publisher and I went back and forth for months. As for the cover, I’ve not had much input. Loved my first book’s cover, The Kulak’s Daughter because it included my mom as a twelve-year-old on the cover. That was priceless.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I’m terribly insecure and will spend months recovering from negative feedback. I’m getting better. Rationally, I know it’s just one person’s point of view, but emotionally, it crushes me. I’m working on it. Publishing requires a thick skin, definitely.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

While I no longer have a day job, I still need to write first thing in the morning. The rest of day can be for editing, marketing and learning. I write every day, even if it’s just a little.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

The worst thing first. Having a publisher promise something that they can’t fulfil. My first publisher went under soon after my first book came out. That was quite demoralizing.

The most important I’ve learned is to finish my book. Sometimes, I’m not sure where I’m going. I’m a pantser not a planner, but because I write historical fiction based on real-life events, I do sort of have an outline. I’m so surprised by my characters and love meeting new ones that I didn’t even know were waiting for their chance to be in my fictional world. It’s fun.

Point of view is always really important. Whose story is this? That can sure change the whole series of events.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers?

Writing is my way of understand the world. Of course, I want readers to see my vision. But if it’s not for me, then it can’t be real for anyone else.

# Do you balance the two and how?

I visualize my a few of my potential readers and like to make them feel curious and reflective. But I don’t want to make them feel offended, confused or bored. To be bored would be the worst.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

Emotions are the great connectors. They are the glue that keeps me writing and my readers engaged and gives my characters their motivation.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

I like to force all five senses onto some scenes to make them more 3-D. I like to read my drafts out loud and listen for speedbumps. I like to go for complete submersion and get in “the zone”. Doesn’t always happen, but it’s awesome when it does.

# What are your plans for future books?

I have another book coming out with the same publisher. It’s set during the last months of Second World War, up to 1947. Again, with my mom as protagonist. It follows her into a Soviet prisoner of war camp in the Urals. And I’m finishing up one inspired by my dad’s first marriage, his life as a Luftwaffe pilot and his eventual move to Canada in the 1950s.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.

When I was six years old I tried to sell myself for fifty cents. I wanted a new family that was more ‘normal.’

I got three university degrees and then worked as a mail carrier for almost twenty years. Great job for a writer.

I used to think thilthy was the right way to say filthy.