Sue Olds receives one of the first signed copies of Jennifer Goodin’s first novel “Truth and Grace” during a book signing and presentation at the Trimble County Public Library last week. Olds talked about how she helped raise Goodin and how proud she was of her accomplishment. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Sue Olds receives one of the first signed copies of Jennifer Goodin’s first novel “Truth and Grace” during a book signing and presentation at the Trimble County Public Library last week. Olds talked about how she helped raise Goodin and how proud she was of her accomplishment. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Jennifer Goodin has always been fond of the English language, whether it be reading others' work or writing something of her own.

Goodin, a Milton resident, taught English at Trimble County High School for years. She remembers encouraging some of her students to publish their works, and she had always considered publishing a book herself but just hadn't found the time.

But during this last year, Goodin made time to write a book. Her first book, titled "Truth and Grace," was self-published in March.

"It's been in my head for a long, long time," Goodin said.

She started putting her ideas onto paper in August, just weeks after her son Christopher died from complications with cystic fibrosis.

She made a promise to Christopher to publish the book. The mother and son would discuss the book while Christopher worked on school assignments.

"I kept my promise," she said.

"Truth and Grace" - a work of fiction - started out with one central idea: Loss.

The rest of the storyline evolved from there.

Readers follow Lavani Thompson Trimble's struggle to find herself, Goodin said. The main character looks for who she is and the truth in her life throughout the book.

Throughout her search, Trimble faces love, losses, and lies while trying to determine how that will affect her future. While she struggles to keep up with her changing world, she becomes the caretaker for her dying mother and learns another truth that changes her world.

Even though the book is fiction, portions of the book are close to some of Goodin's own experiences.

"I think your characters are always based on someone you know," she said.

But the very first line of the book - "I never knew for sure if my mother loved me" - is definitely a work of fiction and not true to life, Goodin assures readers.

The book was "very therapeutic" to work at different stages, she said. Other portions of the book weren't.

"There's still some things I can't talk about," Goodin said of the book.

The former English teacher at Trimble County High School set aside time to write each day. Sometimes the book would take a turn she didn't expect.

"I would dream about my characters a lot," Goodin said.

She would take time to write down character interactions the next morning, she said, then spend time editing the work.

Goodin didn't have a major issue with editing herself throughout the writing process after her years of teaching.

"As an English teacher, it's natural anyway," she said.

Goodin would often edit when she was finished writing for the day. She edited the work again after finishing the book and before asking others to help with the editing process.

The additional edits from other people helped to clarify some parts of the story before Goodin submitted her work to CreateSpace, a self-publishing company.

Copies of the book are available for purchase through Goodin, at some of the local book fairs or online at Amazon.com. Print copies or Kindle editions of the book may be purchased online.

So far, Goodin has received a lot of good feedback about her first work.

Because of the comments and praise for the book, Goodin doesn't expect "Truth and Grace" to be the last book she writes.

"I've already started another," she said.