Eileen Goudge (b. 1950) is one of the nation’s most successful authors of women’s fiction, beginning with the acclaimed six-million-copy bestsellerGarden of Lies.
Goudge is one of six children, and the joys and strife that come with a large family have informed her fiction, much of which centers on issues of sisterhood and family. At eighteen she quit college to get married, a whirlwind experience that two years later left her divorced, broke, and responsible for her first child. It was then that she started writing in earnest.
On a typewriter borrowed from a neighbor, Goudge began turning out short stories and articles. For years she had limited success --- selling work toMcCall’s, Reader’s Digest, and the San Francisco Chronicle --- but in the early eighties she took a job writing for a new young adult series that would become the phenomenally successful Sweet Valley High.
Goudge moved her family from California to New York City, where she spent several years writing young-adult fiction, creating series such as Seniors,Swept Away, and Who Killed Peggy Sue? In 1986 she published her first novel of adult fiction, Garden of Lies, inspired by a childhood anxiety that, because she did not resemble her brothers and sisters, she had been secretly adopted --- a suspicion so strong that, at twelve, Goudge broke into her father’s lockbox expecting to find adoption papers. (She did not.) The tale of children swapped at birth was a national sensation, spent sixteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and eventually yielded a sequel, Thorns of Truth (1998), which Goudge wrote in response to a decade of fan mail demanding she resolve the story.
Since then, Goudge has continued writing women’s fiction, producing a total of thirteen novels to date. Her most popular works include the three-book saga of Carson Springs --- Stranger in Paradise (2001), Taste of Honey(2002), and Wish Come True (2003) --- a small, secret-ridden town that Goudge based on scenic Ojai, California. She has also published a cookbook,Something Warm from the Oven, which contains recipes that Goudge developed as a reprieve from the stresses of writing novels.
Goudge met her current husband while conducting an interview over the telephone. Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon was so taken with the author that he asked if he could call her back when the interview was done, and after weeks of late-night conversations they met in person and were married in 1996.
Goudge lives with Kenyon in New York City.