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  • G. L. Gooding

Valentine’s Day: a case for reading my novels, Where Courage Began and Road to Resilience.



Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This is the day we strive to acknowledge those that we love over the years and wish to love us, those first experiences of romance. As a writer, these are the things that give rise to many a memorable novel. In fact, love was the driving force for beginning my quartet of novels based on the amazing 102 years of my mother’s life.


Each installment (book 3 is in the works) is filled with adventures of different times filled with tragedies, triumphs, and shared challenges. And, throughout each is great doses of love often masked by the daily effort to survive in times far removed from today’s convenience and prosperity.


Where Courage Began follow’s my mother’s first memories as a child when her widowed mother struggles to raise four children after the sudden and tragic death of her husband in 1921. Along the way, the family faces uprooting, financial hardship, and interference from meddling relations as they struggle to adapt in a new environment. Thanks to help from members of a caring community, they family begins to slowly create a new life.


In continuing to chronical small town Iowa life in the first third of the 20th century, Road to Resilience addresses love in a far more personal level, the romance of my mother and father. I had the unique opportunity to put flesh and bones on my mother’s framework of their meeting and subsequent whirlwind romance marked by near tragedy. Their more than five decades covers all the aspects of a true and lasting love, not just the exciting romance but the mental and emotional highs and lows.


I spent many a day with my mother reminiscing about her century of life, which spanned horse and buggies to space travel and the internet. What started as a way to pass time with her on my regular visits, became and truly memorable journey through another time and way of life. As I launched into writing her story, it struck me how little I’d known in the beginning and how much wonderful history I would ultimately gather. It was a true gift, one that goes undocumented in so many families. I’ll blog more on that later.


For now, I’d like to offer this Valentine advice to you and yours – sit down and start writing your story now, worts and all. Someday, your children will be asking questions that, if you don’t write it down, may never be answered. While you’re at it, sit down with your parents and grandparents with a list of questions about their lives - how they met, where they lived, how major events changed their future, etc. Then, help record them. In doing so, you will be creating the best gift ever for the whole family. And who knows, the stories might just become a novel.