When Linda A. Goodlin enrolled in a writing course in 2007, she could not have known that it would lead her into a year-long exploration of her family´s immigrant history, uncovering the truth about working in the coal mines, and bringing to light a story that, nearly ten years later, she would return to publish.
The class, led by prominent Christian author, Jerry B. Jenkins, gave Goodlin the impetus to launch her writing career; after completing an assignment to write a query letter to several magazines, she was hired as a writer for Guide Magazine.
However, Goodlin’s career has been anything but straightforward. After having her first child at the age of fifteen, Goodlin was forced to leave school because her high school would not allow pregnant women to attend classes. However, she returned to complete her GED, and she is now an inspirational speaker for women, in addition to being an author.
It was over a hundred years ago that Goodlin’s grandparents immigrated to the United States, but she knew their story was a compelling one. Intrigued by their journey and experiences, Goodlin began researching her hometown, Rocktown, Pennsylvania.
This research became the basis for her debut historical fiction, “From Across the Pond,” chronicling the difficulties and adventures of a young couple who have come to live in the United States from their homeland of Wales.
“My grandfather really did come from Wales,” Goodlin says, “He lived in the coal mining town where the story takes place, and he worked in the coal mines there. He died from black lung before they ever put him on any kind of government funding for coal miners with black lung.”
From her own upbringing and conversations with family members, Goodlin knew from a young age about the challenges new arrivals to this country faced. “There were a great, diverse group of immigrants. Unfortunately, the coal mines weren’t the greatest place to work. It was a hard job and many men died.”
She uses her story to convey a powerful message. Illustrating the barriers between immigrants who spoke different languages and came from different countries and cultures, Goodlin demonstrates how the challenges of the new continent would bring everyone together. She writes, “When a disaster signal goes out, everyone in the town comes running, each woman praying it isn’t her man down there. . . At times like this, they do not look at each other as Polish, Irish, English, or German. They are neighbors caring about each other. All prejudices are put aside for the time being.”
“My main goal was to talk about how rich our country became through these immigrants who came and worked,” Goodlin says, but the reality for many new arrivals was harsh. “They came to a land being promised so much more than they had in their home country, but they often didn’t receive what they were being promised.”
Oftentimes, a strong work ethic was the only thing that enabled immigrants to be successful. But they faced great challenges as well. “Goodlin recounts a detailed narrative of our country’s past, but the drama that the main characters are facing will resonate with today’s generation and generations to come,” says publisher Lisa Umina.
“From Across the Pond” is Goodlin’s first novel, and she is currently working on her second book.
The book launch event will be held at Scottdale Public Library in Scottdale, Pennsylvania on April 26th, from 6-8pm. “From Across the Pond” is now available at Halo Publishing International, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Books a Million in Paperback for $16.95 and as an e-Book for $7.98.
About Linda A. Goodlin
Linda A. Goodlin writes periodically for a children’s magazine called Guide. She plays keyboard with a praise and worship band and is an inspirational speaker for women. She has been married to her childhood sweetheart, Tom, for fifty years. They have three children and four grandchildren. Linda is a retired Health Insurance Producer in Western Pennsylvania. She enjoys biking, kayaking, and early morning walks on country roads.