The truth is simple: you need to read this novel

One of Central Iowa PRSA’s very own members has released another new novel, the Simple Truth, which tackles contemporary issues within public relations.

The Simple Truth tells the story of a young woman who takes on a career-making assignment only to discover her client may be exploiting immigrant workers. With each new revelation, she finds herself questioning not only the client, but herself. Ultimately, she must answer: What is she willing to risk to help someone?

“I’ve always been fascinated by people from history who put their lives on the line to help others,” Carol Bodensteiner says. “People like Esther in the Bible, Harriet Tubman who rescued enslaved people via the Underground Railroad, Oskar Schindlar who saved Jews during WWII. I always wondered if I would be so brave if I were in their shoes.”

Bodensteiner spoke with Ashley Dalsing, co-chair of the Central Iowa PRSA newsletter to discuss her intent and inspiration for writing this novel.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

The reality is that most of us aren’t challenged to put our lives on the line to help someone else, but most of us do encounter situations in our everyday lives where we can either speak up or stay silent, where we can get involved or walk away. The Simple Truth is the story of a woman who faces injustice and has to decide what she’s willing to risk to help others.

Which audience were you intending to help or educate?

Writing to help or educate is the purview of non-fiction. As a fiction writer, my desire is to be true to my characters and to tell their story to the best of my ability.

How long did it take you to write this novel?

Between research and writing—three years.

Can you give some advice for future authors out there who are struggling with writers block?

Apply “butt glue.” I heard this phrase at a writing workshop and I’ve remembered it since partly because it is both funny and true.

An American editor and novelist, Peter DeVries, spoke to this concept when he said, “I only write when I’m inspired, and I make sure I’m inspired every morning at 9 a.m.”

In my experience, if I sit down to write, and commit to staying there until I do, I will write. Although it may not be pretty all the time, writing breeds writing.

What challenges did you face when it came to writing this book?

My main character is a public relations professional and it was a challenge not to tell everything I know about the public relations industry.

However, since the character is a public relations professional, there’s an added level of ethical complexity to her decisions and actions that might resonate with readers who have a similar background.

What has your experience been in the public relations/communication industry?

I have spent 30 years in public relations between agencies and as an independent counselor. I also share my knowledge as an APR coach.

Speaking of APR, do you have yours? Do you believe it’s a worthy investment?

I have my APR, and I am also a PRSA Fellow. Studying for and earning my APR gave me the confidence that what I had learned on the job and been practicing had a solid foundation in what this industry considers to be “best practices.”

The test also pointed out that I was weak in research, and knowing that, I dove right into research and found it to be the most critical part of making me a good counselor.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or want to share?

One bit of advice I received as I started my creative writing career came from author Barbara Robinette Moss who wrote the powerful memoir, “Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter.” She inscribed my copy of her memoir, “Be brave and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

To learn more about Carol Bodensteiner and the Simple Truth, visit

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