Dear Readers, I first heard of Jane Kirkpatrick when a book club at our church read one of her books at least ten years ago. Her historical novels are amazing. Actually, at that time we shared the same agent, but I didn't find out until much later. I've gotten to know her ponline through that agency connection.
Bio: Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A Light in the Wilderness and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the
Her works have been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book
Award, and Reader’s Choice awards, and have won the WILLA Literary Award and
Carol Award for Historical Fiction. Many of her titles have been Book of the
Month and Literary Guild selections. You can also read her work in more than
fifty publications, including Decision, Private Pilot, and Daily
Guideposts. Jane lives in Western
Heritage Center Central Oregon
with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.
Welcome back, Jane. How did you decide to write this particular story?
The unanswered question always brings me in! Eliza Warren’s memoir noting her mother’s death, a space in the text, and then the very next sentence being “In 1854 I married Andrew Warren” intrigued me. What might have gone inside that space that she didn’t want to talk about? Added to that question was hearing of and later reading about her father’s crying through town, “My daughter is dead!” following the marriage. What was that about? There had also never been an exploration of Eliza the child as an interpreter during the Whitman tragedy. I wanted to study that as well.
How did you decide to tell one woman’s story through diaries and letters and the other as a first person?
I wanted the two stories to be distinct in the readers’ minds, and I didn’t really want to rewrite all of the stories about the Spaldings as missionaries. After all, there are many volumes of works written about them. I wanted to consider what the mother might have experienced following the tragedy and her own survival, and especially about her husband’s insistence that their daughter attend the murder trial. Speculation also exists about Henry’s state of mind after the tragedy, and I wanted to show his wife’s faithfulness but also some of what may have been worries about his volatile behavior. I thought the diary format could serve as a border to that story. I really wanted this to be more of the daughter’s story, so I felt having her tell it and not be aware of her mother’s perspective until later added interest. Plus, I think the daughter did have a hard life, carried great wounds, and was both stoic and stumbling. I hoped that the first-person format with a wider narrative could soften her and help the reader see the scared ten-year-old child within some of the more controlling actions of her later life.
As you noted, many people have chosen to write about this family. How did you know where your story was going to go, and how is it different?
I don’t always know. I start writing before I think I should or I’d just keep researching! There are no novels to my knowledge based on the daughter’s life, and the mother is only a minor character in some fiction written about that time period. So the daughter was the focal point for me. A novel allows us to speculate about the why and about how one felt regarding an incident. Biography or nonfiction allows us to explore what and when but must hesitate about exploring people’s feelings. Novels are meant to move us, to bring emotion to the surface, and to help us see our lives in new ways. To paraphrase French writer Marcel Proust, “The real journey of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.” I wanted to show Eliza’s journey toward seeing with new eyes.
You wrote about the bond between people who have survived a tragedy as Eliza and Nancy Osborne did in this story. Have you experienced anything like that?Several years ago my husband and I flew in our small plane with two friends, Ken and Nancy Tedder. She was seven and a half months pregnant with their first child at the time. We hit a clear-air wind shear and crashed, missing three houses, power lines, and trees, and hitting the ground 450 feet from the end of the runway. My husband and I had many broken bones while the Tedders fortunately did not.
Thank you, Jane, for sharing this new book with us. I'm eager to read it, and I know my readers are, too.
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The Memory Weaver - Christianbook.com
The Memory Weaver: A Novel - Amazon
The Memory Weaver: A Novel - Kindle
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