About the Author
Jane Kirpatrick is the New York Times, CBA, and Pacific Northwest bestselling author of more than twenty-seven books, including A Light in the Wilderness, a 2015 Spur Award Finalist, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. 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 her Historical Fiction. Many of her titales habe been Book of the Month, Crossings, and Literary Guild selections. You can also read her work in more than fifty publications, including Decision, Private Piolat and Dailey Guideposts and in her Story Sparks newsletter. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I always loved words, their sounds and strangeness such as "butterfly." I lived on a dairy and butter did not fly so I remember laughing about that. In my professional life as a mental health clinic director I wrote letters to congressman and others and I'd get calls back so I knew that words had power to move people. When we moved to our remote ranch leaving professions behind, it was the story of our risk-taking that became my first book. After that, reading about historical women drew me to try fiction because so little could be found about them. I could locate information about their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons but not much about them. I wanted to know their stories.
2. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I'm just releasing a book entitled This Road We Traveled, which is about a woman of the 1840s who has touched three generations by choosing to go west to Oregon even though her adult children thought her too old and too lame to make the trek. She headed out anyway at the age of 66 and over a hundred years later was named "the Mother of Oregon" because of what she accomplished -- all after the age of 66.
3. What does your writing process look like?
It's very cyclical. During "writing months" I'm up at 5:00am and write most of the day with breaks for breakfast and lunch with my husband and ending around 4:00pm Then I research and I read other people's wonderful work. Once a book is submitted, I'm preparing to help promote the book coming out. It seems I have a book due each September and another being released that month. During the promotional months, I'm traveling, getting back to my editor about the manuscript I submitted, revising and researching the next book. I start the writing months about 6 months before the book is due.
4. What are some of your favorite books/authors?
Oh, so many! I love Louise Penny, Sandra Byrd, Molly Gloss, Jacqueline Winespear, Susan Meissner, Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Daniel Silva, Frederick Bueckner, Brian McClaren, Sadie Smith, Mary Oliver, William Stafford. How much time to you have?
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
The 1800s and yes. Having "homesteaded" 160 acres myself, that time period resonates with me. I knew one day we would have running water, electricity, a phone, a house (instead of living in a small trailer with three dogs and two cats) or I wouldn't stay there. But the women I write about didn't know it might get better so they found ways to either make it better found the strength to persevere. I find exploring how they did that inspiring and educational. I have come to believe that historical novels can help readers in a contemporary world, perhaps even more than say a contemporary self-help book because readers (me, too) can have a blinder on with a contemporary story but in a novel, enter and live the story and through it discover how others made their way in a difficult time.
6. When did you write your first novel? How old were you?
My first novel came out when I was 49. My current novel is about a woman who really began her amazing contribution to the world after she turned 66.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
I remember writing an essay when I was 13 about what I wanted to be. Three things: a secretary, a missionary and a journalist. I figure being the administrator of a clinic counts as the secretarial part; being a clinical social worker and speaking around the world about the importance of faith and story counts as the second one and writing non-fiction as well as fiction lets me count the journalist part at least a little bit. I'm very fortunate to have had several lives.
8. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Walking with our two dogs, a wire-haired pointing griffon and a cavalier King Charles Spaniel. And reading. I reward myself at the end of a day of writing with a good book and even bribe myself saying, "If you stay in this room and get that story problem worked out, you can read a chapter in that book you so love." I'm also passionate about indigenous people, especially the Batwa of Burundi. Raising funds for them and their future isn't exactly a "hobby" but a passion.
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