Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’re just joining us, the hunt begins at www.LisaBergren.com, with Stop #1. If you complete the loop of 26 stops, writing down the clue on each author’s site, you can enter to win all 25 books as well as Amazon gift cards, an iPad and more!
Without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my guest for the Scavenger Hunt, Jane Kirkpatrick.
Here’s her professional bio:
Jane is an award-winning best-selling author of 32 stories mostly based on the lives of historical women.
Here’s the summary of her latest book:
In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn’t Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.
Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn’t insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.
With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living—the laughter and pain, the love and loss–to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.
And here’s her EXCLUSIVE content that you’ll only find in this hunt!
How a Memoir Within a Memoir Made a Novel
by bestselling, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick
“A memoir,” wrote memoirists Brenda Peterson and Sarah Jane Freymann, “is a love story we tell ourselves about ourselves.” My first published book was a memoir, Homestead, penned long before I read those words. Still, I had expectations of what a memoir might be.
When I chose to write Everything She Didn’t Say, a novel based on a memoir by pioneer Carrie Adell Strahorn and published in 1911 to rave reviews, I discovered something else: that a memoir also offers epiphanies, bits of wisdom gleaned from the author’s life that allow a reader to find their own way, perhaps not make the same mistakes as the author did. But Carrie and her husband led an unusual life. Would there be insights to step into this generation?
The Strahorns traveled by stage, ferry, railroad and horseback all over the west for the Union Pacific railroad. Robert wrote about the prospects for homesteaders encouraging pioneers to leave their farms in the east and head west. He wrote promotional materials and eventually formed his own land development company where he started towns to bring the railroad tracks to emerging bergs. I wondered how readers today might find those insights – if Carrie shared them.
When I read Carrie’s 1911 memoir, 15,000 Miles by Stage 1877-1880 and 1880-1898, I didn’t see that special knowledge; all was sweetness and light. She even referred to wanting to be in her “happy lane” throughout. So when Robert decided to call her Dell, an adaptation of her middle name rather than her given name, Carrie doesn’t tell us how that made her feel nor how she might have managed the disappointment. Nor does she tell us why she chose A. Stray as her pen name. Intriguing isn’t it? It was to me.
When she told the men in her life she’d like a bull dog but her father sent her instead an Irish Wolfhound because he wanted a big dog to protect her from railroad tramps who might knock on their Caldwell, ID door, she wrote not a word of how that might have made her feel not having the breed she loved. Still, she did say that the gift-dog loved tramps.
Even more powerful was her silence about being childless except for a brief mention that a woman with too many children urged the Strahorns – daily for an entire week – to adopt the woman’s five-month-old twins. As I read between the lines I kept wondering what Carrie wasn’t telling us? It wasn’t until I finished my novel that I realized she had written a love story – less about her traveling life with her husband – and more about her love of the west and how the landscapes, work, the people and their faith became threads woven into a rich fabric of her fascinating life.
There were epiphanies inside her adventurous life – I just had to find them and share them with readers. I hope you find I did in my novel Everything She Didn’t Say (Revell).
Thanks for stopping by on the hunt! Before you go, make sure you WRITE DOWN THIS CLUE:
Secret Word: authors
Got it down?? Great! Your next stop is #9, Jane Kirkpatrick’s site.