San Mateo, California
July 4, 1950
Swept Away Series
Eileen Goudge said she uses her memories of high school for ideas for her various young adult series.
She was not part of the in-crowd at school. “A lot of the kids who read my books are also in the same predicament,” she told Marc Caplan. “Most of them aren't in the cool crowd, and the novels give them a chance to live that life vicariously. The crucial difference is my characters' sense of compassion—the cool crowd at my school weren't particularly sympathetic people. They weren't very open to society at large, nor did they care about the rest of us in school. My characters have a more understanding view of mankind, and in this respect I've succeeded as a writer because many of the kids who've written me say that these characters are their best friends. And that feels nice.”
The daughter of an insurance executive and a homemaker, Goudge was the second of six children. She grew up in suburban San Francisco, in what she has described as an unremarkable childhood. She was a “shy bookworm.”
In 1968, during the Vietnam War, Goudge left San Diego College to marry. She and her husband moved to Canada so he could avoid the draft. They had one child and eventually divorced. She then returned to California, for a time living on welfare—an experience she said she found demeaning. She was trapped, however; to work for low wages was to earn less than the monthly welfare check.