MAQUOKETA — She was raised on a dairy farm near Preston, an upbringing familiar to many in the area. But Carol Bodensteiner has a special talent — writing inspired by the people, places, culture and history of the Midwest.
The author will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 10, at the Jackson County History Museum, 1212 E. Quarry St. in Maquoketa. A book signing and refreshments are scheduled for 7:45 p.m., followed by the business meeting and election of directors for the Jackson County Historical Society at 8 p.m.
Bodensteiner’s latest book, “Go Away Home,” is her first work of fiction. Set in Jackson County during the pre-World War I era, the novel tells of a young woman raised in rural society who is not satisfied with the traditional choices of marriage or teaching.
“'Go Away Home' offers a glimpse into another era when women were stretching to decide their own futures,” says Bodensteiner. “Though the young woman in this book gets to pursue her dream, she quickly confronts the conflict between dreams and reality. With every choice she makes, she comes to realize there are tradeoffs. To get one thing, she must give up something equally important.”
Four Jackson County landmarks are featured prominently in the book: Squiers Manor, the Decker House Hotel and the Maquoketa Library in Maquoketa, plus Maquoketa Caves State Park northwest of Maquoketa. The Jackson County Historical Society will honor those landmarks with complementary exhibits in the Jackson County History Museum.
Bodensteiner, a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, has been writing and working in the public relations field for many years. A resident of the Des Moines area, she worked with national, regional and local clients on product introductions, community relations, legislative issues and crisis management.
For the past 15 years she has worked as an independent consultant and freelance writer. She also served as Special Assistant to the President for marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Drake University, where she earned her MA in mass communication.