ISU alum releasing debut novel at Ames Public Library


Courtesy of Tara Goedjen

ISU Alumni, Tara Goedjen’s Debuting Event


Author Tara Goedjen will be having a reading and book signing for her new book “The Breathless” 7 p.m. today at the Ames Public Library. 

Goedjen summarized her debut novel as, “A gothic mystery set on the Gulf Coast, “The Breathless” follows 16-year-old Mae Cole’s quest to uncover who is responsible for her sister’s mysterious death and the terrifying turn it takes as she starts to dig up long-buried secrets about her family’s dark past.”

Goedjen knew from a young age that she wanted to become an author.

“In elementary school, around fourth grade, I remember just knowing that I would write a book one day. I loved reading so much that I wanted to be a part of the process in a more significant way,” Goedjen said. “I wanted to tell stories that made other people feel how I did every time I picked up a good novel.”

An alumna of Iowa State University, Goedjen originally came to Ames on a scholarship to play tennis, somewhat following her father who played football for the Cyclones.

“Even as a freshman, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t sure what to get my degree in, or what I’d do for work after graduating. I ended up majoring in marketing and minoring in English, so I was able to take some incredible creative writing classes that set me on my path to becoming a novelist,” Goedjen said.

Goedjen continued, “One of my favorite experiences at Iowa State was getting invited by my English professor to help teach creative writing at [a] prison. That course showed me the profound effect that writing and storytelling can have, and it also inspired me to get a master of fine arts in order to continue teaching.”

“The Breathless” isn’t the first novel that Goedjen has written, but it is the first that she’s published.

“Receiving an offer from Random House to publish it was a dream come true, especially after all of the years I spent writing in my spare time. I used to write in the mornings before teaching and between the postgraduate classes I was taking,” Goedjen said. “Sometimes the hardest part of pursuing a passion is finding time for it outside of your day job, and staying focused on what matters most to you.”

Like other authors, Goedjen wears her influences on her sleeve. Main influences of hers include Toni Morrison and Shirley Jackson.

“When I was in high school, I adored Stephen King, and that early love of his work inspired me to write,” Goedjen said. “The best part about releasing my debut has been getting the chance to meet readers at book events. I’m constantly inspired by other young-adult authors who are not only incredible storytellers, but who also take the time to engage with readers and aspiring writers in meaningful ways.”

As a writer who got her start while at Iowa State, Goedjen closed with some words of advice for other aspiring writers who are also taking classes.

“Just keep working at your craft, and take every opportunity you can to learn more about the writing process and how the publishing industry ticks,” Goedjen said. “Attending readings and book events is a great way to make connections and figure out what writing advice might work for you.”

Goedjen’s reading and book signing is free and open to the public.