About Theresa

Hi there! My name's Theresa, and I write books.

Author Theresa L. Goodrich, who also writes as Theresa L. Carter

A young girl. A flashlight under a blanket. Pages propped open by toothpaste, by hairbrush, by anything heavy enough to keep them from turning. Ignoring family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. “Get your nose out of that book,” my uncle would yell. “Leave her alone,” my grandma would defend.

I'm older now (much older), but I still get lost in stories, in other worlds. I’ll walk down the street, book in hand, people asking me how I don’t trip over the cracks or the curbs. I stay up too late. Make dinner too late. Wake up reading until I have to tear my eyes away so I can work.

For as long as I can remember, stories have captured me, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to tell them.

The first book that held me in its grip was Clan of the Cave Bear. My grandma, a voracious reader, gave it to me. I was hooked and I dreamed of someday writing my own stories, of keeping others awake like I’d been kept.

Like many authors, I put it off to do other things. I thought I’d be a clarinetist, a lawyer, a journalist.

That last came true, of sorts. I got my degree in journalism, but decided I didn’t want to go the traditional route. The daughter of an artist, I had this dream of writing for myself. 

So, I waited tables. I moved to Chicago in 2001 and got a job at a downtown steakhouse. A few months later, I took my love of my new home and turned it into The Local Tourist. It was a guide to River North, then to downtown, then to the entire city, and then beyond.

The dream of being an author remained, and finally, finally!, in 2017, I wrote my first book. It was a travel memoir about a 31-day road trip my husband and I had taken early that year. In 2018, I wrote my second, about a 35-day road trip.

Those first books, Two Lane Gems, Volumes 1 & 2, will be rereleased in 2024/25.

I skipped 2019 because two month-plus trips in two years had been a lot for two entrepreneurs. Three would be too much. In the fall, my husband, knowing I was jonesing to write another book, suggested I combine my articles about Chicago landmarks into a book.

“Easy!” I thought. Ha! It’s like I don’t even know myself.

It became so much more. It would become my third book. I was nearly done and we had a launch party scheduled at The Blackstone Hotel. In March, 2020.


We canceled the launch party. I decided the book should focus on the history of the landmarks rather than how they are today, and I researched and wrote, although it was slow going. Then in August, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the middle of a pandemic. The first few months were a fog of fear, confusion, and hope. But I kept researching. I kept writing. I went through chemo, and as I sat in that chair every Monday, my nurses would ask me how the book was coming along.

Nurses are heroes.

I published Living Landmarks of Chicago on April 21, 2021, five days before my last chemo treatment.

A cancer diagnosis is a gut punch. It forced me to look at how I was spending my time. Is this how I want to live? If I don’t know how much time I have left–and none of us do–shouldn’t I be doing something I love? Something I’ve dreamed of my entire life?

That fall, I signed up for NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I didn’t “win,” because I didn’t get the word count, but I won, because I began writing my first novel. 

Alex Paige jumped out of my head, all Athena-like, on October 28. Then William joined her. I’d been on a press trip to Door County that August and it captured me, so that became the setting.

In March, 2022, I wrote The End.

I didn’t publish Peril on the Peninsula until five months later because, frankly, I was too scared. Writing nonfiction is one thing; it’s hard and you can get stuff wrong and you still have to be vulnerable. But fiction came completely out of my head; it opened a door to my soul. It’s daring to think you are creative, that you can create worlds and characters who will keep readers glued to the page, that they’ll use a toothpaste tube or a hairbrush (metaphorically, for digital readers) to keep the book open so they can find out what happens next.

As I write this, I’m in the early chapters of my fifth Alex Paige novel. I’ve got plans for six and seven and more. I’ve got a fantasy world swirling around in the ether. I plan to write a book about my cancer. There will be more travel memoirs.

I still write The Local Tourist. It’s been a part of my life for over two decades and it will remain.

And I’m writing books. I’m telling stories. 

I’m fulfilling my childhood, lifelong dream.

I publish my nonfiction books under my married name, Theresa L. Goodrich. My fiction, to honor the little girl with big dreams, is published as Theresa L. Carter, the name she was given.

All my books seem to have a similar theme: escape. They’re the escape of a young girl surrounded by Christmas chaos yet lost in an imagined world, and of a woman enthralled with the beauty of the world around her.

I hope to help you find your own escapes, both real and imagined.

Happy reading!