Goudge, Eileen 1950- (Elizabeth Merrit, Marian Woodruff)

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Goudge, Eileen 1950- (Elizabeth Merrit, Marian Woodruff)

PERSONAL:

Born July 4, 1950, in San Mateo, CA; daughter of Robert James (an insurance executive) and Mary Louise (a homemaker) Goudge; married second husband, Roy Bailey, July 4, 1974 (divorced); married Albert J. Zuckerman (a literary agent), April 28, 1985 (divorced); married Sandy Kenyon (a radio reporter), September, 1996. children: (first marriage) Michael James; (second marriage) Mary Rose. Education: Attended San Diego State College (now University); California State Vocational, teaching degree, 1976. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Converted to Judaism.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Worked as secretary; Spin Physics, San Diego, CA, micro-electronics assembler, 1971-76; writer, 1976—.

WRITINGS:

YOUNG-ADULT ROMANCE NOVELS

(Under pseudonym Marian Woodruff) It Must Be Magic, Bantam (New York, NY), 1982.

(Under pseudonym Marian Woodruff) Kiss Me Creep, Bantam (New York, NY), 1984.

(Under pseudonym Elizabeth Merrit) 'Till We Meet Again, Silhouette (New York, NY), 1984.

"SENIORS" SERIES

Winner All the Way, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.

Smart Enough to Know, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.

Too Much Too Soon, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.

Afraid to Love, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.

Bad Girl, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

Don't Say Goodbye, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

Forbidden Kisses, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

Before It's Too Late, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

A Touch of Ginger, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

Hands Off, He's Mine, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

Presenting Superhunk, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

Against the Rules, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Kiss and Make Up, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Heart for Sale, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Life of the Party, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Looking for Love, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Night after Night, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Sweet Talk, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Treat Me Right, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

"SUPER SENIORS" SERIES

Old Enough, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Hawaiian Christmas, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Too Hot to Handle, Dell (New York, NY), 1987.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Dell (New York, NY), 1988.

Deep-Sea Summer, Dell (New York, NY), 1988.

"SWEPT AWAY" SERIES

Gone with the Wish, Avon (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Fran Lantz) Woodstock Magic, Avon (New York, NY), 1986.

Once upon a Kiss, Avon (New York, NY), 1987.

"WHO KILLED PEGGY SUE?" SERIES

Dying to Win, Puffin (New York, NY), 1991.

Cross Your Heart, Hope to Die, Puffin (New York, NY), 1991.

If Looks Could Kill, Puffin (New York, NY), 1991.

Jailbird, Puffin (New York, NY), 1991.

Who Killed Peggy Sue?, Puffin (New York, NY), 1995.

ADULT NOVELS

Garden of Lies, Viking (New York, NY), 1989.

Such Devoted Sisters, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

Blessing in Disguise, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.

Trail of Secrets, Viking (New York, NY), 1996.

Thorns of Truth, Penguin (New York, NY), 1998.

One Last Dance, Viking Penguin (New York, NY), 1999.

The Second Silence, Viking (New York, NY), 2000.

Otherwise Engaged, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Immediate Family, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2006.

"CARSON SPRINGS" TRILOGY

Stranger in Paradise, Viking (New York, NY), 2001.

Taste of Honey, Viking (New York, NY), 2002.

Wish Come True, Viking (New York, NY), 2003.

OTHER

(Editor) Golden Lilies (nonfiction), Viking (New York, NY), 1990.

(With others) Fathers and Daughters: A Celebration in Memoirs, Stories, and Photographs, NAL/Dutton (New York, NY), 1999.

Something Warm from the Oven: Baking Memories, Making Memories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

Also author, under pseudonym Marian Woodruff, of Forbidden Love, Bantam (New York, NY), Dial L for Love, Bantam (New York, NY), and The Perfect Match. Contributor to magazines, including Highlights for Children, McCall's, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, and San Francisco Chronicle.

ADAPTATIONS:

Garden of Lies was optioned for television by ABC. Audio recordings include Such Devoted Sisters (abridged), read by Stephanie Zimbalist, Random House Audio (New York, NY), 1991; Golden Lilies (abridged), Books on Tape (Newport Beach, CA), 1994; Golden Lilies (unabridged), Brilliance Corporation (Grand Haven, MI), 1994; Blessings in Disguise (unabridged), Brilliance Corporation (Grand Haven, MI), 1994; Trail of Secrets (abridged and unabridged), Brilliance Corporation (Grand Haven, MI), 1996; Thorns of Truth (abridged and unabridged), Brilliance Corporation (Grand Haven, MI), 1998; One Last Dance (abridged and unabridged), Brilliance Corporation (Grand Haven, MI), 1999; The Second Silence (abridged and unabridged), Brilliance Corporation (Grand Haven, MI), 2000. Goudge's work has been translated into numerous languages, including Spanish.

SIDELIGHTS:

Little in Eileen Goudge's childhood would seem to have prepared her for the dramatic course of events her life later took. "I was born in San Mateo, California, the second of six children, and was raised in Woodside, which, after the freeway, became a suburb of San Francisco," Goudge said in an interview with Marc Caplan for Authors and Artists for Young Adults. "I went to a neighborhood elementary school, and from there a little high school, and I don't think the first seventeen years of my life were in any way remarkable. But after that, I felt like Dorothy caught up in the cyclone.

"When I was active in writing young adult novels, I kept my high school yearbook at my desk so I could summon memories from that period. I had the great advantage of being unpopular back then, and I think every unpopular kid has a secret yearning to reinvent his high school years, not for revenge, but just to be more accepted by others. In the young adult books, I could be part of the cool crowd, a cheerleader or class president; in truth, I was just a shy bookworm, and though I had my little circle of friends, none of us even approached the popular kids in school.

"A lot of the kids who read my books are also in the same predicament. Most of them aren't in the cool crowd, and the novels give them a chance to live that life vicariously. The crucial difference is my characters' sense of compassion; the cool crowd at my school weren't particularly sympathetic people. They weren't very open to society at large, nor did they care about the rest of us in school. My characters have a more understanding view of mankind, and in this respect I've succeeded as a writer because many of the kids who've written me say that these characters are their best friends. And that feels nice."

For as long as she could remember, Goudge was interested in writing. A distant cousin of Elizabeth Goudge, the author of Green Dolphin Street and Dean's Watch, she grew up on stories of her literary heritage, she told Caplan. "I never actually met Elizabeth, though I once came pretty close. On my first trip to England, I called her, but she was too ill to see me. She passed away shortly after that, but other members of my family had visited her, and one of my aunts had sent her an article I had published, so she was aware that I would be ‘carrying the torch’ for her after she died.

"Beyond family lore, my most important influences growing up were The Wizard of Oz and good ol' Nancy Drew, my first feminist heroine. Though I nearly went blind from reading her books under the covers with a flashlight, you'll never hear me knock any of them. I was also a very precocious reader; in seventh grade I read The House of the Seven Gables. I was enchanted by books that were slightly beyond my grasp, and I was less inclined to throw a book down if I had to look words up than if the vocabulary was too simple. I'm still a voluminous reader, and my tastes continue to run toward the gothic side of literature.

"The most beneficial aspect of high school for me was one of my English teachers who really believed in my writing. She sent one of my poems to a national contest for high school students sponsored by Atlantic Monthly in which I won Honorable Mention. That really spurred me on because until then I didn't believe my name could appear in print, and once that was proven to me, it really lit my fire."

The author's quiet, suburban lifestyle was radically upset in 1968 when she left San Diego College with her graduate-student fiancé after her first year. "I met my first husband at an Eldridge Cleaver lecture," she continued in her interview. "Actually, I was more a rebel without a cause than a student activist, but we ended up spending a couple of years in Vancouver when he opted to leave the country rather than serve in Vietnam.

"In British Columbia, there's very little to do, it mostly rains, and that's when I started to think seriously about becoming a writer. But it was just a pipe dream then; I had an image of myself as Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie, staying in this little country cottage, making jam and babies, and surviving. All that was just inside my head. We did live in a fairly isolated area just outside of the city, but we were also part of an expatriate community that had come to Canada for the same reason we did. It was an odd feeling being cut off from my own country, especially when I could go back, but my husband and friends couldn't.

"Today, people look back nostalgically at the sixties the way my generation looked back on the fifties, as a magical, idyllic time. You glorify the preceding generation when your own times become difficult, but whatever era you grow up in will be a struggle because growing up itself is a painful experience. My generation was shaped to a great degree by Vietnam. People I went to school with were killed in the war, my first husband and I lived with the fear of waiting for his draft notice to arrive…. It was a scary time, and that's hard to appreciate these days when the worst thing to arrive in the mail is a jury notice or an American Express bill."

Nonetheless, the emotional burdens which the couple assumed proved very taxing for two people barely out of adolescence; she was just eighteen and her husband was twenty-one. The marriage began to fall apart after the birth of their child. After her divorce, Goudge went back to California with her one-year-old son. With regret, she decided to go on welfare, rather than work two jobs and place Michael in daycare. Goudge began receiving help from Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which provided her with nearly two hundred dollars every month. She spent the money on rent, household expenses, transportation, and food; many times she went hungry so that her son Michael had enough to eat.

The experience of being on welfare and facing disapproval everywhere she went, even from dates, left Goudge with little self-esteem. Because of her status as a welfare recipient, Goudge was required to report to the welfare department so that a social worker could evaluate her case. The experience left Goudge determined to become independent. Goudge learned quickly that one of the hindrances to establishing a better life was a paradox within the welfare system. "I discovered I was actually making less money working at the dress shop, between my car and paying for babysitting, than I would have made staying at home collecting checks," she told Caplan in her interview.

"This was one of the failings of the Welfare System which is now changing; people in the system I've talked to since say that despite its problems there is finally more awareness of the ‘Catch-22,’ and more emphasis on job training and self-sufficiency. But at the time, I didn't feel like I had a lot of choices, or any means of improving myself."

With her second marriage in 1974, the family now had a second income, a change that proved especially advantageous when a daughter, Mary Rose, was born in 1976; yet Goudge still had to stretch to make ends meet over the next nine years. "My second husband was a gardener who had spent about a year in the Navy," she continued. "He was on his way to be shipped out to fighting when something went wrong and he ended up staying in the states. By the time we were married he was suffering from a lot of health problems, which kept him chronically unemployed. I basically supported the family, a fact I'm sure he wasn't crazy about, and that's when I began finding work as a magazine writer.

"I wanted a job in which I could stay home with my children, but beyond that, this was something I'd always wanted to try. It was very difficult in the beginning because I didn't even have a typewriter that worked and I had to set up a makeshift desk in my kitchen. I wasn't very good at first, but I eventually sold articles at the rate of one acceptance for every fifteen submissions. The secret is if you pump out enough volume, if you throw enough stuff at the wall, one or two will stick."

After enrolling in a free adult education class, Goudge was encouraged by her teacher, a published novelist, to try writing a gothic romance. It was her encouragement that gave Goudge the will to continue pursuing a writing career. For nine years the couple scraped by, living well below the poverty line. The stress of those years, however, eventually took its toll. Her husband became abusive, and Goudge again began to feel trapped and determined to change her life. By 1982, when the couple separated, Goudge was working on the young adult novels which eventually brought her sustained popularity as a writer. The first books she wrote, in California, were for the ‘Sweet Dreams’ series. With the money she made from those books, she financed her move to New York.

After answering an ad for an apartment, the author found herself living in a Brooklyn neighborhood of Hasidic Jews, the most devoutly observant and traditional sect of the religion. Despite her own unfamiliarity with the culture, and her neighbors' suspicion of outsiders, the move was a harmonious one. Raised Catholic, she and her children soon became friends with several neighbors. Thus established in New York, the author quickly renewed her contracts in the young adult book market, and with a salary of five thousand dollars per book was finally supporting her family as a writer.

"I wrote five of the first twelve ‘Sweet Valley High’ novels," she told Caplan in her interview. "Francine Pascal had created the series, and her name appeared on each volume, but other writers were hired to complete the individual titles. It was like Carolyn Keene for the Nancy Drew series, her name was used as a collective pseudonym for the entire staff. Next, I began working with a book packager who came up with an idea for a series about four girls who were seniors in high school. That's how the ‘Seniors’ series came to be; I took his suggestion and created the characters, outlined a few plots and completed the first eight books. In all, there were twenty-four volumes, and although I turned the rest of the novels over to other writers, I still devised plots and supervised the project, I directed the series from start to finish. It was hard to let go of the books after I began because I had gotten very close to my characters, and they seemed like real people to me.

"I also made a lot of terrific fans because of those books. In general, most of these series are good because they get kids to read. I used to get letters from kids in Mississippi, for example, in which every other word was misspelled, but they would tell me that this was the first book they'd ever read, and ask if I could recommend any others to them. That's very heartwarming. There are also kids who read for entertainment. You learn to spread the net as wide as possible and catch as many different types as you can, for whatever reason they are reading."

Gouge credits these books with teaching her many valuable lessons about appealing to an audience. "Writing for children has been the greatest ‘university’ for me in terms of seasoning my craft," she once commented. "I never write down to my teen audience, because they are the most discriminating of all readers. If a book doesn't grab their interest by page three, they'll put it down (unless it is assigned reading in school, in which case they'll either suffer through till the end or try to sneak by on Cliff Notes). But if the magic clicks, they'll devour the book, and everything else the author has written, inside a matter of weeks, sometimes days. Teens are passionate in their appetites. An author must be unstinting when it comes to filling their hunger for pathos, romance, fun."

She added in her interview: "I like hearing from kids about the books and have always made my address accessible so they can write. I don't always have time, but I try to write back at least once. The ones that keep at it, I generally turn over to my daughter, who's real big with pen pals. Once a little girl from Tasmania wrote me about one of the ‘Seniors’ novels in which the main character has a brother who dies of cystic fibrosis. This girl has the disease, and she was very impressed that I knew exactly how it felt, so we ended up corresponding. Being that isolated, she hasn't always been able to find books, and I have sent her a few. We developed a nice friendship over the years, and now my daughter has been writing her, as well.

With the economic security these books brought her, the author made improvements in her personal life. The most important of these changes was her third marriage, to Albert "Aa" Zuckerman, president of Writer's House and one of New York's top literary agents. The couple had met at a convention in California a few years earlier, but because they were both married at the time, no romance developed until after the author moved to New York and became one of Zuckerman's clients. By then, they were both divorced, and quickly fell in love. Once engaged, Goudge decided to convert to Judaism.

Following these sweeping changes, Goudge felt ready to take stock of her experiences and use them as the basis for a full-length adult novel. The author turned to the lessons of her young adult books to create a work her readers would be unable to resist. This achievement was in fact a nearly 600-page novel titled Garden of Lies. The story begins in 1943, when during a hospital fire a wealthy socialite exchanges the baby she has had by her lover for a lighter-skinned baby who better resembles her husband. From there, the book traces the growth of the two children, Rachel, the fair one in upper-class Manhattan, and Rose, the darker one in lower-class Brooklyn, through medical school and law school, respectively. After the two women became involved with the same Vietnam veteran, Rose becomes attorney for Rachel in a malpractice case, and then the secrets of their lives become untangled.

The book's publication history is nearly as dramatic as the plot itself. In October 1986 Goudge completed the original outline of the story and gave it to her husband, who was on his way to Frankfurt, Germany. There, Zuckerman sold the British rights to Bantam Corgi; upon his return to the States he also secured an agreement with Susan Ginsburg, then editor at Atheneum. However, by the time the novel was completed, Ginsburg had left Atheneum, giving Goudge the option to buy back her rights to the manuscript. Shortly thereafter, in January 1988, Zuckerman arranged an auction of the rights in New York City. With five bidders at the outset, the competition quickly came down to Bantam Books and Viking Penguin/New American Library, which ultimately won with a bid of nine hundred thousand dollars for Garden of Lies and Goudge's next novel.

In Zuckerman's submission letter, the novel was described as "conceived to be a best seller," and soon after publication it proved to be just that. "I was somewhat mystified when I read that, but I supposed every writer hopes her book will do well, and in that sense Garden of Lies was conceived on a broad enough scope to appeal to the popular imagination, as opposed to a specific audience or a scholarly element," Goudge said in her interview.

Goudge attributes the success of her writing to meticulous research and hard work. "I try as hard as I can to make the details of my story precise, to be as authentic as possible when describing my characters. Fortunately I'm within walking distance of the world's biggest book store and one of the best research libraries, so I've managed to collect a fair amount of information that way.

"I found the most helpful research about the Vietnam War came from a conversation I had with the veteran who installed my computer. One of my husband's clients, Paul Wilson, is a medical doctor who writes horror novels in his spare time, a hobby I'm sure his patients find reassuring, and he was kind enough to check my manuscript for medical inaccuracies. The story's courtroom scenes were the most difficult facet to research; I had to wade through a lot of Latin books, and I enlisted a brother-in-law, who is a lawyer, to read over those chapters.

"My conversion to Judaism also enabled me to write convincingly about both religions. People would ask me how a Jewish woman could know what it's like inside a confessional, and I would say, ‘I know all too well what it's like, and I hope I never have to see another confessional for the rest of my life!’ In fact, however, I begin the book with quotes from the Catholic Act of Contrition and the Jewish Yom Kippur service; pairing them together demonstrates how much the two faiths have in common.

"The only way to gather all this information, though, and turn it into an entertaining story, is through hard work, revisions and outlines. Craft is just as important as talent in writing successfully; I'm a firm believer in outlines and rewrites. I also depend on constructive criticism from an editor or an agent, but even if a writer doesn't have that team behind him, it's still important to solicit someone else's opinion on the work.

"Too many writers have an image of themselves holed up in a garret working on a sacred mission. In truth, writing isn't much different from building a house; just as you need blueprints and a strong foundation for a house, you also need a good outline and an interesting story to write a novel. In the process, of course, you usually discover a spiritual aspect to what you're doing, but without a clear idea of what you set out to achieve, you can find yourself on some mystical tangent, completely divorced from the story itself.

"The other important key to success is discipline. I'm usually at the IBM by nine every morning, sometimes even earlier. I am fortunate to have an assistant now who takes calls and handles annoying paperwork, so I can concentrate fully on my work. Some days I find myself at the computer until midnight, but I usually stop around five or six in the evening. After sitting at a keyboard all day, I like to spend some time keeping my body in shape. Following my workout and dinner, I usually keep my evenings free for reading.

Looking back on the completion of her first full-length novel, the author sees a continuous line of development from her teen books to Garden of Lies. "My writing hasn't really changed, it's just expanded. In the YA novels, I had to keep my stories smaller and more compressed, whereas with Garden of Lies, I could let it all hang out. As much as I enjoyed writing for kids, it felt like graduating from high school again. I think I will return at some point to the books for teens because I love that audience. I might try my hand at another series; maybe this time I would focus on the ‘uncool crowd.’"

Goudge's second novel for adult readers, Such Devoted Sisters, "has some of the same themes recur, family angst, thwarted love, the love/hate relationship between sisters, only this time without the mixed babies. In general, a lot of writers find themselves dealing with the same issues in more than one book; it's like a refrain that keeps going even though the melody changes. This novel is also about the same length as the previous one, I seem unable to work in miniature anymore."

In One Last Dance, Goudge drew on personal experience to create a story about the reinterpretation of the past that inevitably follows when a woman murders her husband of forty years. While she had not directly experienced the more dramatic aspects of the story, as she explained in an article for the Writer magazine, the death of her father (which occurred while she was writing One Last Dance), coupled with her experience as a member of a large family, greatly informed her work. In the book, sisters Daphne, Alex, and Kitty, planning their parents' wedding anniversary, suddenly find their world uprooted when they learn that their mother has killed their father. As events unfold, their reactions range from unquestioning defense of the mother to a deep skepticism about all that went on in the home where they were raised. Reviewing the book, a critic in Publishers Weekly concluded: "Fans of Goudge … will not be disappointed."

The Second Silence also involves a reevaluation of a relationship, only in this case, Noelle Van Doren has long realized that her estranged husband, Robert, is both greedy and unscrupulous. But when Robert tries to seize custody of their five-year-old daughter, Noelle has to once again confront the man, as wealthy as he is shameless in his tactics, whom she once married. "Through her well-drawn characters and engaging dialogue," wrote Nicole Graev in Book, "Goudge expertly captures the tension underlying family relationships." According to Rebecca Sturm Kelm in the Library Journal, "Goudge delivers romance, a variety of relationships, and suspense in one appealing package."

With Stranger in Paradise, Goudge presented the first in a trilogy set in the scenic town of Carson Springs, California. In the words of Booklist reviewer Elsa Gaztambide, Stranger "is tinged with just the right blend of humanity, romance, and suspense to produce an intelligent page-turning read with a storyline that is enticingly unpredictable."

The next two books in the series are Taste of Honey and Wish Come True. The protagonist of Taste of Honey is Gerry Fitzgerald, who twenty-eight years earlier was seduced by a priest while in the final weeks of her novitiate, and who gave the baby up for adoption. Now a divorced mother of two other children, she seeks and finds Claire, who escapes her own problems by moving to Carson Springs. "Goudge sensitively touches on themes of letting go and holding back, ones that many mothers will recognize," wrote Carol Haggas in Booklist.

The final book in the trilogy is Wish Come True, a mystery in which plain Anna Vincenzi is accused of killing her beautiful movie star sister, Monica, after an accident left Monica in a wheelchair. The case seems strong, since Anna had taken over many tasks, like answering fan e-mails to her surly, alcoholic sister and caring for their mother, who is afflicted with Alzheimer's. With the help of therapist Marc Raboy, however, Anna recovers the past and a history of Monica's sexual abuse by their father, which may have been the reason for her drinking and negative attitude toward people, and Anna's own codependence. Marc and Anna grow close, and he is soon trying to help find the real killer. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "The novel's charm lies in its unabashed quotation of the Cinderella story."

Two friends trade places in Otherwise Engaged after Erin's husband leaves her and Jessie's romance fades. Erin, an innkeeper in Arizona, goes back to New York to pursue her original plan to be a chef, and struggling writer Jessie leaves New York to return to Arizona, where fifteen years earlier the two friends graduated from high school together. Immediate Family is the story of four college friends who reunite fifteen years after their graduation from Princeton. Now-divorced single mother Emerson is hoping to meet her perfect mate and falls for a man who would never fit into the plans of her pretentious mother. Stevie is a Los Angeles television reporter who is being pursued by a documentary filmmaker and becomes involved in a Hollywood scandal while trying to find her biological father, who turns out to be a 1970s rock star. Franny and Jay never took their relationship past friendship, but with Franny's biological clock ticking, Jay, already a father, may be her perfect sperm donor, an idea that it is proposed by his wife, Vivienne, who is also Franny's former roommate. Franny becomes pregnant and meets Keith, who falls in love with her, but other repressed feelings also come to the fore.

Something Warm from the Oven: Baking Memories, Making Memories resulted from Goudge's love of baking, which has found its way into her many novels. When her readers began asking her for the recipes, she posted them on her Web site, and a booklet soon developed that caught the attention of the book's publisher. Many recipes from her books are included, as well as new ones from the collections of Goudge, her mother, and her readers, and each is accompanied by an anecdote.

Though the range of Goudge's experiences has been wide, she sees her life as only beginning, she told Caplan. "I have some interesting stories to tell about myself now, but hopefully I'll have more by the time I'm sixty. Maybe at that point if people are still interested I'd consider writing them all down, but right now it's a little premature to think about an autobiography because I've only lived up to about chapter three.

"Of all the rewards I've reaped in the past few years, none of the material luxuries compares with the opportunity to write full time without having to worry about my family's well-being. Losing that would be the worst hardship of my life; I feel as though I would give up eating before I would give up writing. If someone were to say to me, ‘OK, you've made enough money; you don't need to write anymore. Put away your computer,’ I would wither up and die. I enjoy my current lifestyle, but it was my writing that got me this far, and it continues to be my first priority. There's security in knowing that, because I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I've been through hard times and I've learned how to get by without help from anyone. I could do it again if I had to.

"Realistically, my financial position will probably stay secure as long as there's an audience for my work. But sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat, and I have a hard time believing all this is real. In a way, that's good because it gives me compassion for people who aren't as fortunate. I can't walk by a hungry person on the street and say, ‘Get out of my way.’ I feel more in touch with that side of life, and I believe firmly in sharing my wealth. My principal charity is run by a cousin, an ex-priest, who works as a missionary in the Philippines. He's out in one of the rural areas trying to educate, feed and give medical care for people who have absolutely nothing. Of course, there are people in the same predicament living right on my doorstep; I can't ignore them either.

"Life hasn't necessarily gotten easier because of my accomplishments. Each event presents as many challenges as the previous one, each book requires just as much work as the last one. It's nice to have a little extra help nowadays, and of course I'm not struggling with basic concerns like feeding my babies or paying rent, but it's hard to devote myself one-hundred percent to my writing, my husband and my children. Finding a balance between the three is a struggle I undertake on a daily basis.

"When people ask me if I ever imagined I would achieve this kind of life, I always reply, ‘Yes.’ I believe very firmly in not only working hard toward a goal, but setting that goal concretely in your mind. I've always had a talent for fantasy and visualization, so I could picture what I wanted, then go out and capture it. And the image I had in mind was a beautiful old house on a city street, with a curving staircase and enough money, as Scarlett O'Hara said, to never go hungry again." With three failed marriages behind her, in 1996 Goudge married talk radio show host Sandy Kenyon, who she notes on her Web site she first met through a telephone interview. They met in person and married soon after.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Volume 6, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.

Contemporary Popular Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1997.

PERIODICALS

Book, July-August, 2000, Nicole Graev, review of The Second Silence, p. 80.

Booklist, April 1, 1999, Grace Fill, review of One Last Dance, p. 1366; June 1, 2001, Elsa Gaztambide, review of Stranger in Paradise, p. 1840; May 1, 2002, Carol Haggas, review of Taste of Honey, p. 1444; May 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Wish Come True, p. 1544; March 15, 2005, Carol Haggas, review of Otherwise Engaged, p. 1264; April 1, 2006, Carol Haggas, review of Immediate Family, p. 18.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1999, review of One Last Dance, p. 471; May 1, 2003, review of Wish Come True, p. 628; March 15, 2006, review of Immediate Family, p. 251.

Library Journal, May 1, 1999, Rebecca Sturm Kelm, review of One Last Dance, p. 110; May 15, 2000, Rebecca Sturm Kelm, review of The Second Silence, p. 124; May 15, 2006, Samantha J. Gust, review of Immediate Family, p. 88.

Publishers Weekly, April 12, 1999, review of One Last Dance, p. 50; May 27, 2002, review of Taste of Honey, p. 37; June 16, 2003, review of Wish Come True, p. 50.

Sarasota Herald Tribune, October 12, 2005, Sharyn Lonsdale, "Juicy Stories to Tasty Recipes" (interview).

Writer, May, 2000, Eileen Goudge, "Mining Family Gold for Fiction," p. 7.

ONLINE

Eileen Goudge Home Page,http://www.eileengoudge.com (January 27, 2006).

Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (January 27, 2006), Jill M. Smith, review of Trail of Secrets, Anne Sullivan, review of Thorns of Truth, Kathryn Falk, review of One Last Dance, Sheri Melnick, review of Otherwise Engaged, and Kristen Foley, review of Immediate Family.

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Goudge, Eileen 1950- (Elizabeth Merrit, Marian Woodruff)

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