Kristine Goodfellow’s overactive imagination has worked out quite well for the prolific writer of seven novels. She has written about a haunted house (“Mansion on Butcher Lake”), the lives and relationships of the homeless (“The Other Twin” and “The Tributary”), and complicated marriages (“Command Performance” and “The Gift of Winter”).
She has recast familiar tales from the point of view of the frightening character. In “Frankenstein: The Missing Chapter – A Story of Love,” Frankenstein finally gets his say, and the Phantom of the Opera is retold from the phantom’s point of view in “Phantom: Edge of the Flame.” All her books have elements of psychological drama and the power of faith.
“Storytelling has been a part of my life,” said Goodfellow. “I fell in love with writing in the third grade. We were given a journal and assigned to write one page every day on whatever we wanted. I carried that notebook around and every time I thought of something interesting, or something I thought could be turned into a story, I wrote it down. I’d find a quiet place to write short stories, poems, or just ramblings, musings and imaginings. After all these years, I still keep a journal.”
Her journals recorded her life as the wife of Brigadier General Gerald Goodfellow, who is now Executive Director for Louisiana Tech Research Institute in Bossier. During his 30-year career, the family moved 22 times around the U.S. but found their perfect home in Bossier. When her husband was deployed or temporarily assigned to another post, she wrote and took care of their two sons.
“Writing is a career that is easily portable. The only things required are a laptop, the internet for research, and my imagination. Writing … is what kept me from feeling sad, lonely or frustrated after the kids went to bed and I found myself alone,” she said. Through journaling, she chronicled her family life and volunteer work with the homeless.
“I have tried to find volunteer jobs in almost every place we have been stationed over the years. Now that my husband is retired (from the service), I jumped in with both feet here in the Shreveport-Bossier area. I teach classes through The Hub Ministries. I am currently teaching a Creative Writing class at The Lovewell Center. I also teach a couple of non-writing classes at Purchased: Not for Sale, a residential program that helps women who have been rescued from sex trafficking and the sex industry.”
Her degree in psychology from California State University, her enthusiasm for reading and writing, and her empathy for the struggles of the homeless make it easier for her to relate to people struggling to find their way.
During a recent Creative Writing class at The Hub homeless center, Goodfellow assigned the class of 14 to write about the word “legend,” which was picked by a volunteer from her stack of handmade flash cards. A lively discussion about the various meanings of the word was followed by her assignment, “Write about a legend in your own life that has some meaning to you.” It was an exercise in positive thinking, applied with a very light touch.
She is even turning one of her books about the homeless (“The Tributary”) into a screenplay. It was inspired by her volunteer work at the homeless shelter in Rapid City, South Dakota, where she was “surprised at how many people eating at the soup kitchen were young adults and teenagers … who had aged out of the foster system at eighteen and were now homeless.”
Because of the demands inherent in being the wife of a high ranking military officer, she was not able to promote her books or sell them to people under his command. She is now free of those restrictions and duties and all of her books are available on Amazon.
“Now that my husband is retired, I no longer have to worry about ‘undue influence.’ But somehow, over the years, it just became my policy to give away my books to military spouses,” she said. “I guess it’s my small way of saying thank you to them.”