Born and reared in the heart of California's Central Valley, I.L. Goodwin began a love affair with books at the age of five while living in Madera with her 81-year-old grandmother, a wise Southerner and survivor of domestic violence. During those lazy summer afternoons spent listening to her grandmother's timeless wisdom, the desire to chronicle the experiences of strong women burned deep within her heart. The death of her own mother years later at the hands of a violent partner allowed what was once held captive to finally be released on paper. At age 13 she wrote her first full-length manuscript, and several years later completed A Perfect Place to Pray, her debut novel. She currently lives in Stockton, Ca., where she is hard at work on her next novel.