Omega Writers

Introducing Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and writer. She holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and works as a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review.

Tamika: Hi Iola, I am thrilled to chat to you today on behalf of Omega Writers! Let’s start with telling us a bit about yourself.

Iola: I’m married with two adult children and one son-in-law. I live in Tauranga, which is a coastal city in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. I work three to four days a week as part of the HR team of a local company and write and edit Christian fiction on my days off.

In my free time, I like to read (big surprise) and write. I mostly write book reviews and other blog posts, and I’m currently working on my first novel.

Tamika: Your name ‘Iola’ has a beautiful meaning; can you tell us how to correctly pronounce your name and share it’s meaning.

Iola: “Iola” is a Welsh name that means “valued by the Lord”. I think that’s cool, both because it’s a unique name and because of the meaning. The Welsh pronounce the “i” the same way as the “i” in Ian, so they would say “eola”. It sounds more like “yola” in the Kiwi accent, so that’s how I pronounce it. It’s not eye-ola (although I have heard there is a town with that name in the USA), and it’s not Lola. Yes, that first letter is a capital “i”, not a lowercase “L”.

Tamika: I have heard you have over 700 novels in your personal library at home! Have you read all those books, and have you always loved to read?

Iola: I probably have around 300 novels in my home library now—I ran out of room, so donated a lot to my church library. I don’t know now how many novels I have in my Amazon account. There are around 1,000 on this Kindle (which I’ve had for five years), and I probably have a similar number on my previous Kindle. I’ve read most of the Kindle books, although I do have a ‘To Read’ folder with over 100 titles.

Tamika: You mentioned you have a Bachelor of Commerce degree in marketing. Has this helped you in your writing ventures?

Iola: Yes. It taught me the basics of marketing, so I’m able to adapt that information and share it with other writers through my blog and the ‘Kick-Start Your Author Platform’ marketing challenge. It also taught me many of the basics of business … and writing is a business.

Tamika: Through your business ‘Christian Editing Services’, you have written a very helpful and thorough novel revision short course. Can you tell us more about that, and how we can access it.

Iola: It’s a free two-week email course that covers many of the basics of fiction, such as genre, plot, structure, character, point of view, showing vs. telling, and other common issues I see in manuscripts.

The course is designed for fiction writers (whether that’s a novella or full-length novel), but memoir writers should also find it useful. You can sign up on my website:

Tamika: What have been a few career highlights? Has your work taken you to any places you didn’t expect to go?

Iola: The first unexpected thing was a series of “coincidences” that lead me being invited to speak at a writing conference on the Sunshine Coast in (I think) 2011. That conference evolved into the Omega Writers Conference and connected me with a great bunch of Christian writers.

Other unexpected highlights have been winning the 2016 ACFW Genesis Award for my first novella, being recognised as editor for the RWA RITA award-winning novel, Then There Was You by Kara Isaac, and being a finalist in the 2022 ACFW First Impressions contest.

Tamika: I know that you have supported Omega Writers for a very long time! We have been so thankful for your support every year in organising and sponsoring the CALEB awards, running workshops, presentations, offering editing and review services to our writing community, and always being willing to help where you can. What keeps you coming back to working with Omega Writers?

Iola: It’s my tribe 😊

I’m also a member of Romance Writers of New Zealand, New Zealand Christian Writers, and American Christian Fiction Writers (where I’m the Zone Director for the Beyond the Borders zone, i.e. the non-USA members). But Omega is my writing home, because of all the wonderful people in our writer community.

Tamika: What are you excited about working on currently?

Iola: As I said, I’m currently (February 2023) working on my first novel, and I’ll be sharing more about that over the next month or two with my newsletter subscribers. People can sign up at my website,

I’m currently working with the Trinity Lakes authors (Narelle Atkins, Lisa Renee, Meredith Resce, Carolyn Miller, Jenny Glazebrook, Rose Dee, and Sara Beth Williams). I’m the series editor, and that will take most of my editing time for the next few months. I’ve read four of the stories so far, and it’s shaping up to be a great contemporary Christian romance series.

Tamika: If our Omega Writers community would like to work with you personally, how can you help them move forward in their writing journey?

Iola: I’m a firm believer in setting a good foundation in our writing careers, so I work with a lot of first-time authors to help them identify and correct common issues. The earlier a fiction writer understands the basics of plot, structure, characterisation, point of view, and show vs. tell, the less revision and rewriting they will have to do to correct those issues. These issues are all explained in my free revision course.

I offer a manuscript assessment service. A manuscript assessment is an appraisal and critique of a full fiction manuscript, providing feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the plot, structure, characterisation, point of view, dialogue, interior monologue, and other common recurring issues. I provide feedback in the form of a detailed editorial letter (usually 12+ pages). My letter provides personalised feedback to assist authors revise their manuscript and suggests relevant books or blog posts to read for more detail on specific topics.

I also offer a partial developmental editing service. This is a good low-cost option for authors who have never had any unbiased feedback on their writing and aren’t sure what level of editing they need, or if they haven’t yet completed a full manuscript and are seeking feedback on the concept, plot, and character arcs.

I’m not currently taking on new copyediting clients because of my commitment to the Trinity Lakes series.

Tamika: If we would like to contact you, work with you, find out more about you or keep up to date with your writing, where can we go?


Editing website:

Author website:

Facebook: and




Yes, one of the advantages of having a unique name is that it’s easy to get my own name on all the major social media sites.