SHEPHERDSVILLE - Linda Lear Shofner hopes that years shared with Bullitt County families will help draw interest to her new book.
"Shared Years" is the title of Shofner's newly-published book by AuthorHouse in Northern Kentucky. It is her first published book, and it only took her 40 years to complete it.
The reason for the length of process was primarily due to Shofner's educational career, 30 years primarily at Cedar Grove Elementary, minus two weeks at Overdale Elementary.
At Cedar Grove, Shofner served as teacher for nine years, counselor for 11, assistant principal for seven and retired as principal after three years.
Shofner's local ties led to her scheduling a book signing at Ridgway Memorial Library in Shepherdsville to promote her new work.
"Shared Years" features Kaye Mason, the main character who is graduating from college with a teaching certification.
While Kaye carefully plans her future, including job and romance issues, her parents and aging grandfather in Paducah could use her assistance with the family business.
"She comes back to the farm, in Hope Springs, after the romance goes sour," Shofner said. "She makes new roots."
Hope Springs is a fictional location, but the settings created in the book were based primarily on Kentucky places and lifestyles.
"It has the flavor of Kentucky in it," Shofner said. "Kaye faces teacher situations, all the things that teachers face, plus the family business, she faces all of that and deals with it on a daily basis."
Though the book features some romance, Shofner said nothing was over the top, giving it a personal PG-13 rating. She said the story was great for a parent and teen to read together.
"There are discussion questions in the back of the book," she said. "That's the education and counseling side of me."
Shofner's goal was to write a story about life, without making it too complicated.
"It's an enjoyable, easy sit-down read," she added. "My goal was a simple, easy novel. It turned into more life than romance. I read so much about dysfunctional families, I wanted something but more positive."
The process began 40 years ago, though the storyline continued to reshape and develop over time.
"It just kept developing until finally I devised an ending," she said. "I would wake up during the night to write new things."
At one point 80 pages were saved on a computer, when Shofner's cat ran across the keyboard and corrupted the files.
"It got placed on the backburner until my retirement," she said. "I took the manuscript to Florida in the past few years while I was taking care of my Mom."
Shofner niece, Nona Boughman, and friend Darlene Haley helped with the proofreading process. She said many others handled the story until the finished product was completed.
"There were many voices involved," said Shofner. "When I had the option of seeing it in book format, there were 35 mistakes still. It's been a fun process but it's been a lot of labor."
Shofner's nephew, Paul Boughman, a retired attorney with the Marine Corps, helped with legal contracts prior to the author's book publishing commitments.
Shofner's husband, J.E., showed continued support for his wife's endeavors over the course of the entire book process.
The work helped Shofner fulfill her creative side of life, which includes a love of art. She has also been painting and taking banjo lessons since retiring.
"I think it's just that side of me," she said. "I can't just sit and do nothing."
Keeping the art in the family, Shofner's son, Weslie, created the artwork for the book's cover with water colors.
"Shared Years" is available in both paperback and hard cover. It is available online through AuthorHouse, as well as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.
The book is also available on Shofner's website, along with more book information, at lindalearshofnerbooks.com.