Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Past; memories of my grandmother

Jessie Gaebele, right an left
  These are photos of my grandmother.  The one on the left isn't one we used in the sequel to A Flickering Light called An Absence so Great.  It's one I wanted to save for moments like this.  I suspect it might have been her "traveling dress"  after she married.  She looks pretty happy in this photo.  The photo of her in the lovely white dress was used in A Flickering Light (which was named to Library Journal's Best Books of 2009, a lovely honor for my grandmother.  She's a little older in the traveling dress photo, had owned her own studio at this point.  She'd walked through fire, too and been strengthened by the process.
  I'm just thinking of her as I prepare to write my annual Christmas letter, something I didn't do last year because I had atypical pneumonia.
  this year, I'm feeling fine and I'm ready to send Christmas greetings your way.  It seemed appropriate to do that with some pictures of my grandmother where I spent nearly every Christmas during my growing up years, at her big house in Minneapolis.  I miss her.  But that's what the holidays can do for us, remind us to remember.
  May all your memories of Christmas past nourish and transform.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sites and Stories; a nice recognition

Kathleen Ernst, a writer friend and quilter, too, has posted an interview with me on her blog www.sitesandstories.wordpress.com She lives in Wisconsin and writes fabulous young adult and children's books that have won awards but more, touched the lives of young readers in powerful ways. She brings history alive for kids which isn't easy to do. Check out the interview.
As for my own writing life: today I'm working on finding a map of a railroad route in 1896 and trying not to get distracted from all the interesting historical pieces there are on the web. And I finished my final edits for An Absence so Great. Here's another photo of my grandmother, one we are not using in the sequel to A Flickering Light. That book, btw, was named to Library Journal's Best Books of 2009. Hurrah!
As part of ranch life, we're applying for an easement to put our irrigation pump lines into the river next year. We've been doing it for 25 years (we have water rights) but because the river we live on has been designated a "navigable river" , with the state owning the beds and banks to the high water mark, all owners along the river are now "using" public property when we have irrigation lines going into the river. So an easement (and a fee) is necessary. It's an indication of how things change. I actually think it's good that Oregon has this policy that people can't own the access to such rivers or the ocean beaches so we are all able to walk along the shore lines and appreciate the glorious creation we are blessed to live close to.
What we do hope is that with the increased public land (and our property went from 160 acres to 134 acres with that pen stroke) that there'll also be increased policing as people have a habit sometimes of leaving trash, camping where they aren't supposed to, having camp fires they neglect or just not paying attention to the beauty they drive so far to see and then leave evidence of their disregard behind. So it's the little details of every day life that I'm dealing with today.
Tomorrow it's off to the "valley" what we refer to as the population corridor of Oregon. I'll be making a presentation in Forest Grove home of Pacific University for a PEO fundraiser (they provide scholarships to women returning to school). On Sunday afternoon it's the Audubon wild Arts Festival at Montgomery Park in Portland. Come see artists and craftsmen and me! Signing books along with lots of other authors. Happy traveling if you are! Warmly, Jane

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Emma's replica quilt

This past month we gave away the replica of Emma Giesy's quilt (from the Change and Cherish Series) to a woman from the Northwest. Ramona Hugulet of Portland, OR was the lucky recipient. Her name was drawn by the publisher from several thousand entires from around the world. The Aurora colony quilters stitched the work on it! Pendelton Woolen Mills (100 years old this year!) donated the wool. In the photo, I'm on the left, Ramona is in the middle and Kathy Monaghan is on the right. Kathy is the project manager for Pendleton Woollen Mills. Emma's original quilt is on the right too; and the replica of Emma's Running Squares quilt, hangs to the left. The Aurora colony celebrated their 36th annual quilt show and the presentation of Emma's quilt was a part of that event.
We aren't certain when Emma's quilt was made. The plaid is found in quilts at both Bethel, Missouri and at Aurora so it may have been begun before Emma came west in 1853 as the only female scout with nine men sent to find a new site for their colony. The Auorora Colony, 20 miles south of Portland, OR, survived in the west for 20 years, the only utopian society to be successful for that long west of the Mississippi River.
If you're intrigued about utopian societies...my Change and Cherish series might satisfy some of your interest. Even better is Dr. Jim Kopp's new book Eden within Eden which features the more than 300 utopian groups attracted to Oregon over the past 200 years. Great reading!Jane

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

cousins on the book tour

We've just been on a book tour in Minnesota. What a grand time! Not only did I have a stint on KARE 11 (where I met Bethany Frankl in the green room...a NY Times bestselling author of the Healthy Skinny diet and in the cast of The Real Housewives of New York and I didn't know who she was!) and was interviewed by Euan Kerr of Minnesota Public Broadcasting which aired during Morning Edition (regionally)hour. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/06/16/kirkpatrick/ We had terrific coverage by the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Mary Ann Grossmann wrote the article), but I also got to see relatives. On the left in this photo is my aunt Corinne Kronen, the only child left of my grandmother about whom I've written in A Flickering Light. She and her husband drove us around and even hit a deer in the process! They're all right, thank goodness.
That's me in pink and next to me are the daughter's of my aunt Fern, Corinne's oldest sister. Fern was the writer and an artist...though Corinne is an artist as well. Next to me is Katy Anderson from Stillwater, MN and her sister Lynne Thomas from Minneapolis. I hadn't seen either of them for over 30 years. They joined me at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Roseville, MN. That evening, we also connected with a relative of Winnie's (from the book) who saw the Press article, and realized the book was about her grandmother, too. Everyone had lost touch with Fran so we were pleased to meet her, her daughter and to make sure we didn't lose her again by getting her address!
From Minneapolis we headed to Winona, MN where we filled the Historical society and I told stories and showed pictures and talked about the passion of the book (passion for profession) and desire (the desire to do the right thing) and love (a word that the German poet rilke describes when two solitudes come together to border, protect and salute). We spent time with descendants of Mrs. Bauer (from the book) and with my brother and his wife and got to see my nephews, too and a few other cousins. Roots run deep in the Midwest and I am grateful for a supportive family as I tell this story.
Now I'm home, meeting some new deadlines, heading for book events and working on revisions for An Absence so Great, the sequel. Two books will mark this Portrait of a Heart series. I hope you'll look for it next April.
I also hope you'll visit Bo's blog www.bodaciousbothedog.blogspot.com where you can get a front row seat to what the dog thinks about this writing life.
Oh, and one more thing: consider calling in to OPB's think out loud program on July 2, 9-10 Pacific when I'm the guest author being interviewed. The number to call is 888-665-5865. You can also leave an email before during and after the show that encourages people to, well, think out loud. www.opb.org/thinkoutloud/northwestpassges. And in July, I'll be in Wisconsin. Please check my website schedule for details!
Happy writing or reading. Warmly, Jane

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bo's Blog, Texas Travel and Minnesota, here we come!

This is summer on the homestead. what you can't see are the roses blooming profusely along the deer fence. But you can see the garden troughs, recycled from the cows we no longer have. They're the metal tanks to the left of the house. I'm looking forward to spending more time on the deck this year, just listening to the river and the birds.
I'm back from a book tour in Texas. Great fun and met many new fans and some faithful ones as well. One even drove 150 miles to attend a signing and two others drove nearly the same distance to share a lunch. The new independent store in Plano, TX called Legacy Books hosted my first signing there with wonderful participants who heard me talk about A Flickering Light.
Texans have big hearts and staying with writer friend Irene Sandell (River of the Arms of God and In a Fevered Land) made the time go quickly. I spoke at the Writer's Garret in Dallas and at the Heritage Village in Old City Park where the Aurora presentation was well-received. Seems there was a utopian community called La Reunion in the Dallas area about the same time as Aurora's origin. Small and connecting world.
By the way, Cindy (her nickname) Sandell has a signing this Saturday at Barnes and Noble in Plano, TX from 2a;oo-5:00. Stop by and say hi.
I'm back now, working on what I call my Oprah book. The working title is "Oprah Doesn't Know My Name" and it's about a writer seeking fame in all the wrong places. It's a departure from my historical novels but never fear, the sequel to A Flickering LIght will be out next April and it's been named: An Absence so Great.
Finally, Bo has begun a blog! It's at www.bodaciousbothedog.blogspot.com. I hope you'll visit now and again to get his side of the homestead story.
Happy writing for you out there and for those in Minnesota, we're coming soon! Please check my schedule at the website www.jkbooks.com. Thanks! Jane

Friday, May 1, 2009

Writing about Writing

Christian book Distributors has an interview with me on their site as well as a feature about writing, my advice to aspiring fiction writers. I hope you'll stop by there and say hi.

Writers Corner:

Fiction Homepage:

My Interview:


I'm also having some website issues so please bear with me...those words of encouragement will be posted soon, I promise. Meanwhile, these words might bring you nurture as well. Warmly, Jane

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Release Day!

Today is the official release of A Flickering Light. There's joy and a certain sadness. Now whatever it is I wrote belongs to readers who will make of it what they will. A cousin who I sent an advanced copy wrote to tell me of memories it brought for her about our shared grandmother. A twist of them will make it into the next book due out next year in April.
For today, I just want to say thank you to the readers who find my books and who share them with those they love. Happy reading and may you all have a good book to turn to after you've paid your taxes tomorrow (or are awaiting your return!). It's still bounty counting in my estimation and I feel blessed to be counting readers as a part of my writing wealth. Warmly, Jane

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

photo therapy, a Flickering Light, family photos

I’ve heard that from several readers who have seen the advanced copies of A Flickering Light about the photographs I included in this biographical novel about my grandmother's life. I've shown a couple in previous posts. I'm glad I held out to include them in the ARC. Initially the publisher didn’t want to add them in the ARC and I thought it would really be missing something if we didn't include them. The main character, based on my grandmother's life, talks in first person about several different shots while the rest of the book is told in third person through the eyes of Jessie, her mentor, FJ Bauer and FJ Bauer's wife, Mrs. Bauer. I’ve added several more shots in the second book because of people’s responses.

The photographs are part of a family collection of glass plates from the 1900s. One blogger who did a review commented on how intriguing it was to read about a photograph from the character's point of view and also about a scene when my grandmother's mentor gives her a photograph he'd taken of her when she hadn't been aware, inserting it in a photographic case. She said she'd been moved by that scene then asked a question about fact and fiction of this book. Here's how I responded to her.

"As for the mix of fiction and fact: It isn’t a fact that he took a photograph of her that he gave to her for her birthday. But it seemed to me that this is how his relationship with her began, a collegial sort of contact, both of them liking photography, having some disagreement about the science of it vs the art, which was a part of the dialogue of the period and then moving toward where he enjoyed her company, could see the beauty in her, wanted to be a good mentor to her and then giving her gifts on the occasion of her birthday, perfectly innocent. Except that each had been denying a very strong attraction and sometimes the reality of those feelings aren’t even noticed but are difficult to hide inside a photograph.

I’m a mental health therapist by training and I took a continuing education class a few years back about photo-therapy, using photographs to help people get “unstuck” as they struggled with issues and patterns in their lives. Part of that project meant looking at photographs of myself and my family. I discovered during that time that in all the photographs of me and my mother, she never touched me, had never put her arms around my shoulder or stood close enough in a family shot to touch me. It had defined our relationship in many ways, this separation.

She was quite ill at the time and I made it a point to touch her, to get photographs of my touching her at least, even if she had difficulty touching me. The next months until her death were the very best between us. It seemed to me she rallied and we were able to do things together without her even carrying her oxygen with her. I have this terrific photograph of us both wearing cowboy hats as we attended an outdoor concert and my leaning into her, my hand on her shoulder, touching. I treasure it and feel strong about the importance of photographs as metaphors for our lives and that if we acknowledge the stories they tell in time, we can make changes.

My husband is a photographer and the best pictures of me have been taken by him; something about the eyes of the beholder bringing love into the picture. I was thinking of that when I wrote that scene you commented about.

The picture of her that is double exposed did get written up in the paper and was quite the invention for the time. I liked how there were two renditions, one with her nearly looking over her own shoulder which I think she did during that part of her life. (I tried to upload that picture today but given the size of it and the wind blowing my satellite dish around....you'll have to come read the book when it comes out next week to see it).'
It's getting exciting....the release is scheduled for April 14, the day before tax day! You can visit the blogger's review at www.thinkinggirlsguide.blogspot.com

Monday, March 23, 2009

Patty Hickman interview and A Flickering Light

Very soon, A Flickering Light will be released. I hope you find it and enjoy reading it. When you do -- if you do -- I'd love to have you visit Good Reads and leave a review http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4916580.A_Flickering_Light. Each kind word helps spread the word so thank you in advance.

I'm also a guest on Patty Hickman's blog this Friday. Patty is known for her fine writing and as a member of the Women of Faith tour over the years. Her blog likes to introduce readers to the authors behind the books so this interview is less about writing than about faith experiences. You might win a book! http://www.wordsunwired.blogspot.com.

I'm nearly finished with the revisions of the first cut of the sequel to A Flickering Light. I keep learning about myself as I write about my grandmother. I think there's something to this theory of emotional DNA being passed down. Jane

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Writing Cheerleaders

Twenty-five years ago at this time I was busy moving my husband's shop equipment, packing our household goods into boxes, moving to my parents' home temporarily, finding a place for three mules and a horse (we had no fences to speak of on our property yet) AND trying to hold down my job as the director of the mental health clinic in Bend, Oregon while Jerry and friends came north to build the barn/shop/hangar on our homestead, 160 acres of rattlesnake and rock. I thought I hopped through a lot of hoops that year.
Here we are and I'm still hopping but with a lot more fun.
This week I wrote "The End" to the sequel of A Flickering Light that will be out in April. It's now titled "An Absence so Great;" and my author copies of A Flickering Light arrived on the homestead! Of course, it's not really the end: I have author notes and book group questions to write; there'll be revisions after my editor sees it; I'll be following up on questions raised by copy editors. Still, there is cause to celebrate.
We celebrate these moments (what I call the midwife role in writing) because if we wait until we achieve success -- give final birth -- we miss out on the joy along the way. We writers give our hearts to these stories and we need to find midwives who will cheer with us. My cheerleaders this week were the library staff of our new Sherman County Public School Library that we'll dedicate on Saturday. They've watched each of my books come out and made sure I saw the shelf at the new library where my novels now stretch. Pretty terrific. Books. What would I do without them.
Don't forget to take a look at the trailer for the book based on my grandmother's life as a turn of the century photographer. http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=225666529779c412cad0 Enjoy! And keep writing...

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Flickering Light

My latest novel will be out a little earlier....April 14th is the newest date. Below is the latest review from Publisher's Weekly. It was starred and is always a waited for review. Fortunately, this one is a great review and I'm grateful. Makes working on the sequel that much easier. I hope your day is going well and thank you for being one of my readers/colleagues/friends/relatives :) Jane

A Flickering Light Pub Weekly review

A new PUB Weekly review and a link to the book trailer for A Flickering Light. Enjoy while I work on the sequel! Jane


A Flickering Light Jane Kirkpatrick. WaterBrook, $13.99 paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-57856-980-9
Historical novelist Kirkpatrick (A Tendering in the Storm) is exceptionally authentic in her use of early 20th-century history. Virtually all the characters are real figures; protagonist Jessie Ann Gaebele is inspired in this “biographical fiction” by the writer's own grandmother. Jessie Ann loves photography, and when she is hired as an assistant to photographer F.J. Bauer, she learns about the field of her dreams and also about herself, as she finds herself attracted to her married boss, who battles his own feelings in return. Kirkpatrick renders the war among desire, duty and restraint with exquisite nuance. There are no unsympathetic characters in this tangle of relationships. Bauer's wife—also named Jessie—may be difficult to live with, but she has her reasons. The period detail—dangerous chemicals used in photography, debilitating and frequent illnesses, the routine constraints on women's choices—offers a compelling portrait of the time. Kirkpatrick deserves a wide audience for this coming-of-age tale that is aching and hopeful. (Apr.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

video trailer

I told Jerry to come look at my new trailer. He looked chagrined and started to protest that I'd buy something like a hay or cattle trailer without confering with him! I reminded him I had. It was a video trailer I'd bought and we'd discussed the expense last year. Here are some links to be able to see it.http://www.shoutlife.com/profile_view.cfm?uid=136956&view_mode=video&folder_id=1551&vid_id=2480


If any of you purchased one of my books from Amazon through the years, you'll get a notice of the video also being posted on that site. Let me know what you think! I personally think it's great. Have a good day, Jane