Interview with Celeste Goschen

Welcome to another author interview. October’s most read author was Celeste Goschen for her story, “Life Without Jerry“. Celeste’s story, about a couple dealing with the loss of a child, touched our readers, who rated it very highly.

EDF: What should people expect when they see a story with your byline under it?

CG: I write about people who don’t fit in, or make the world fit around them. My protagonists are usually caught with their feet dangling over the edge of life and they have to find the strength to either jump off or move away. I admire the unconventional few who have chosen the path less travelled and I hope that’s reflected in my stories!

EDF: “Life Without Jerry” paints a vivid picture of parents dealing with loss. Can you talk a little bit about your inspiration for the piece.

CG: It was originally based on a story I’d written years ago about a couple I’d met who showed me a photograph of their child who had died. There was a poignancy about them. This story really honours them – their loss and how they recovered themselves and survived.

EDF: Your bio lists an eclectic mix of professions, from model to business owner. How have your varied careers influenced your fiction?

CG: Ideas come from echoes of your own life’s journey, people you meet and the stories they tell you. Working in different industries has been invaluable in giving me an insight into how people tick. I’ve met some fabulous characters along the way who have unknowingly fed me a feast of story-lines!

EDF: You have won both the Writers Billboard Flash Fiction and Prime Prose contests. Would you recommend that new writers enter contests? How have they affected your career as a writer?

CG: Contests not only give you that boost you need, they can also be incredibly useful for new writers. Writing is not only a creative process, it is also a business and you’ve got to be prepared to send your work out, toughen up and brave the rejection. Contests tend to focus you, since you have to prepare your work for the experienced eye of a judge. Winning contests or being placed has really helped to keep me on track and believe in myself, which is sometimes hard in this lonely profession.

EDF: What has been your best moment as a writer so far?

CG: Finding the inspiration for the novel I’m currently working on. it’s been simmering away for years now and the final piece of the puzzle came together in Austria this Summer. I went for a long walk and passed an old man sitting on the steps of a small wooden house. He was surrounded by a halo of beautiful fantail doves and he has since become the hero in my novel. It was the most liberating experience to finally discover him – it always feels like some sort of miracle has happened when a character is born.

Oh, and of course having one of my stories published in EDF’s Anthology for which I’m deeply honoured. You are such a terrific platform for us writers.

EDF: Your worst?

CG: A long dry period of no writing at all. Give me flu, give me toothache – give me anything but writer’s block! I was in a block for a long time. I would sit in front of the computer day after day and nothing would come out. I would have ideas for stories, but I just couldn’t finish them or I’d find excuses not to. In fact, I could have written a book full of excuses. I’m sure, looking back, that it was all meant to be and I had to learn how to battle against those black moods in order to move forward. As soon as I stopped being scared and learnt to trust and believe in the signs we are all given, the words started to flow again.

EDF: Where and when do you write?

CG: I’ve written in a boat in Thailand travelling from one island to another. I’ve written in a horrible London bedsit, in a casting queue, at a reception desk, in museums and parks, on buses and trains. I am now incredibly lucky to have my own office – generously donated by my husband – overlooking a glorious garden. If it sounds idealistic, well it is. I write most days, generally in the morning.

EDF: What music or other background noise do you prefer, or silence?

CG: Silence please, every time. Even my snuffly Pug dog is banned from sitting at my feet.

EDF: And does the physical / background environment influence or affect your writing?

CG: Yes, most definitely. I truly admire artists who can work in restricted conditions. Personally, I found it incredibly hard and frustrating when I was in that position. It may sound rather trite, but I need the peace in order to hear my character’s voices speak.

EDF: What is next for you as a writer?

CG: To carry on learning, reading and improving as a writer. And, to finish my novel. That’s my main priority. It’s my biggest project so far and I’m on a mission to tell this story as honestly as I can. Writing has to be the most fantastic, exhilarating, exasperating, gut-wrenchingly wonderful experience and I want to do it ‘til I drop!

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