Linda LouiseKalona woman pens life story

Deanna Truman
Iowa City Press-Citizen

A car accident gave Linda Newell the push she needed to get writing. As the Kalona woman's life flashed before her eyes, she had two thoughts, the first of her two sons, the second -- what was she leaving behind? With the second thought came the realization that if she didn't pen a book like she had always wanted, a part of her life wouldn't be complete. "I had always had a desire to write, to write creatively and to inspire," Newell said. The 1998 accident teamed with support of friends got Newell writing. Her first book, "Longing for Wholeness: Filling the Void in my Soul," officially hit stores Wednesday. It sells for $12.99.

This weekend, Newell, who writes under the penname Linda Louise, will read and sign copies of the book at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Fireside Grill in Kalona. Instead of a memoir, Newell, 60, refers to the book as containing "autobiographical sketches." In addition to the car accident, Newell writes of many defining points of her life. She writes of her close relationship with her brother who died at age 29 from an illness causing pre-mature aging, as well as what it was like to live in the attic of a nursing home for a time as a child. Throughout Newell shares her Christian faith as well as her journey to finding God. Newell wishes to spread a message of hope through the book. "I want to let people know that no matter what their life circumstances are they can change and that they can find a joy inside themselves," Newell said. "It is not our circumstances that need to change a lot of times, but it is what is inside us." After reading an advance copy of the book, Riella Rich, owner of the Fireside Grill, approached Newell about doing a reading at the restaurant. Rich said she was so moved by the book that she read it twice. "It is real comforting," Rich said. "I thought, if I am feeling this way reading the book other people would too." Newell's honesty makes "Longing for Wholeness" a powerful read, Rich said. "Linda has a wonderful spirit and a wonderful heart and that comes through," Rich said. "She is not a fake person. She is very genuine."

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