Monday, September 7, 2009

Interview with Joyce's client Jane Kirkpatrick

Today I am so happy to interview long time client, award winning author, and my very good friend Jane Kirkpatrick.

Jane, tell us about your latest book and the next one in the series to be released next spring.

My latest book, A Flickering Light, is based on my grandmother, a turn of the century photographer when photography was mostly a male profession. She traveled around and ran the studios of men who were ill from mercury poisoning or helped their widows run studios until they decided what to do with them. She was a talented woman but talent as a currency can be invested, saved and sometimes, wasted. The book explores aspects of her talent-related decisions that put her at odds with her employer whom she develops an infatuation for.

An Absence so Great is the sequel. It’s really about the way this young woman comes to terms with choices she’s made and the consequences of those choices. Jessie, the protagonist (my grandmother) wants so much to own her own studio which was unusual for a woman of that period. It’s also about the absence of spiritual connection and how that affects dealing with the absences of people in our lives. It’ll be out in March.

Oh, and my latest nonfiction book is Aurora An American Experience in Quilt, community and Craft. It’s the story of a Christian communal society of the 1850s, the only one to survive west of the Mississippi. The women were skilled textile artists and the men fine craftsman. We get the word Craft from the Greek Poema meaning poem. They crafted poems and are remembered because of the work and stories they left behind. My Change and Cherish novel series is based on one of the primary women in that community.

How do you do research for your books?

Oh goodness, everywhere, all the time! I draw on historical books, old magazines and newspapers, the internet, e-Bay (I can at least see items from a certain period even if I can’t afford to buy them!). I read books that my characters might have read. I interview descendants of the people I write about, visit museums, libraries, take notes, travel to sites related to the stories. I use old photographs and penny postcards and read first person accounts of people who lived during the time period. Lots of theology books grace my shelves as I try to weave people’s faith journey into the story in congruent ways. And I read historical novels of the period because you never know when some little piece of tidbit will open up a new idea for my own plot. Oh, and I watch Antiques Road show with a note pad in hand!

What has been the hardest hurdle in your writing career and how did you overcome it?

I haven’t over come it yet but I’m working on it. It’s the negative voices that tell me I ought to take up some other occupation besides writing. Silencing them could be full time work!

What do you hope people will take away from your books?

I hope my books serve as doors to open their hearts to healing, to seeking redemption, to finding ways to forgive themselves and others for past wrongs and mistakes. I hope they finish the books (literally!) and that when they do they feel their time spent was worthy. I want to tell a story that speaks to individuals in encouraging ways and for them to see the love of God within the words, the story and even the white space on the page.

What are your speaking and promotional plans for the Fall?

Always lots happening. I’ll be at the Women Writing the West conference speaking and receiving a nice award for my latest nonfiction book Aurora: An American Experience in Quilt, Community and Craft. I’ll be at the Houston Quilt show in October; I’m presenting classes at The Nature of Words a well-regarded writing program in Bend, Oregon; several bookstore events, historical society presentations and next week I’m helping with inaugural activities for Dr. Andrea Cook at Warner Pacific College in Forest Grove, Oregon. You can check out my schedule at

What is the best writing advice you ever got?

It’s about the story, not about you. Tell the story the best way you know how and trust that you’re not alone in the telling.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Publishing can be a crazy world but there are good people in it willing to encourage and guide. Hartline Literary Services is one of those guides.

Thank you, and thanks to our readers from dropping by– what we are doing is each of our agents are taking a day to write a blog and then we’ll put interviews on other days. We’re not going to try to copy any other agent’s blog, just be ourselves and promote our clients and our agents, but at the same time help authors learn more about the craft.

Again, Jane, thank you for being my guest.


Oh – the address –


Rita Gerlach said...

Thanks so much for this informative look into Jane's books and her family history. Her grandmother must have been a wonderful lady. I look forward to reading these novels.

Crystal Laine Miller said...

I love Jane's writing and here is one positive voice telling those "negative" voices to be quiet and let Jane write!

This was a wonderful interview and I'm so glad we get to hear the "rest of the story." It's always wonderful to hear how stories come about.

Thanks, Joyce and Jane. (And thanks Terry for pointing it out on Twitter!)

T. Anne said...

I love what Jane says about what she is hoping the readers will take away from her books. Our novels can be a wonderful gateway to peoples hearts. Great interview, I loved it.

Sherrie Ashcraft said...

It always cracks me up when I hear Jane talk about the negative voices and thinking maybe she should quit writing. I mean, if someone like Jane doubts herself at times, there's just no hope for someone like me!! LOL.

I read A Flickering Light and loved the richness of the writing and the character development. Am really looking forward to the sequel.

A J Hawke said...

Thanks for the interview with Jane. She is a role model for any historical fiction writer.