Courage – Would you have enough?

Harriet Tubman – abolitionist who liberated more than 700 slaves.

Harriet Tubman. Oskar Shindler. Esther. People iconic for their courage and the bold actions they took to save the lives of others, actions that put their own lives at risk.

Every time I hear a story about someone who stands up to society, their peers, their family – someone who goes against the norm – to right an injustice, I wonder if I would be so brave. Fortunately, I have never had to put my own life on the line; fortunately, most of us never have to.

But most of us do encounter events in our daily lives when we see something happening that we know is wrong. Then we face the choice: engage or walk away, speak up or remain silent.

I confess, I have failed the test more often than I like to admit. One time in particular sticks in my mind.

For 30 years I worked in the public relations business, a job that sent me all over the United States interviewing farmers, veterinarians, and scientists who used my clients’ products. One trip to a North Carolina tobacco farm in 1977 opened my eyes to race relations as I’d never experienced it before, while leaving life-long scars on my heart.

As the interview wound down, the farmer and I were standing in the yard, exchanging pleasantries about the weather and local sports teams. Just then a young black boy, maybe eight or nine years old, came out of the barn.

“Hey, Joseph.” The farmer waved him over. “You need to dance for this lady.”

The boy stood, his arms limp at his sides, his bare feet covered in the soft dust of the lane.

I blanched. Dance for the lady? “Oh, no,” I excused myself. “I need to be going.”

“He likes to do it. He’s a real good dancer,” the farmer insisted.

The boy looked at me. I cannot recall if I smiled or even met his eyes.

Dance for the lady? All I could think about was slave owners forcing their slaves to entertain visitors. Sweat poured down my neck. Thunder roared in my ears. My eyes swam. I wanted no part of this. Yet I could see no way out.

The boy danced for me. And I said nothing.

Why? Out of some misguided sense that I would offend the farmer, my client’s customer? Because I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say? Because I was a coward? I really don’t know. What I do know is that I will always wear the shame of not stopping that demeaning act.

Confronted with a blatant injustice today, I hope I would do better, that I would have the courage to act. But who knows for sure? The circumstances are seldom simple, the decisions seldom clearcut.

The question of if, when, and how to engage in the face of injustice is at the heart of the novel I’m writing now. In the course of her work as a consultant, my main character must face her own biases and decide how long she can remain on the ‘it’s not my job’ fence.

The story is autobiographical only in that the issue is one I’ve always thought about. Like me, my main character doesn’t always get it right.

What has your experience been in speaking up – or not – when you saw something that seemed unfair?

It’s “I Grew Up Country Day” – How will you celebrate?

We expect you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Hopefully with enough restraint to leave room to celebrate a far newer day.

What country stories could you tell?

Have country roots? Let’s celebrate.

Since Iowa Governor Branstad signed a Proclamation declaring March 18, 2015, “I Grew Up Country Day,” 50+ folks have joined our Facebook page where we encourage, collect and celebrate stories of growing up country. If you have a story to tell or would like to hear from other country folks, please join us.

We don’t have enough folks all in one place this year to stage a parade – maybe next year. Which doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. My fellow country girl memoirist Shirley Showalter and I offer a few suggestions:

1. Do something you did growing up country:

  • Bake cookies or bread,
  • Invite a neighbor over for coffee,
  • Take a walk in the Back 40 or a nearby park,
  • Visit someone in the hospital.
  • Spring is almost here so get out in the yard or garden – reconnect with the land.

2. Pull out the old photo albums, trigger some memories, and share them with someone – a family member, friend, neighbor.

3. Jot down a memory or two about your country life.

4. Join us at I Grew Up Country, our new Facebook page, and share those memories with others who have country roots.

5. Take a walk down Main St. in a small town. Enjoy the fact that you can smile and say ‘Hi’ to everyone you meet and not feel in the least strange.

6. If you have older relatives – parents, aunts, uncles, cousins – who grew up country, ask them to tell you a story.

Shirley's sugar cookies - appropriate for St. Patrick's Day and I Grew Up Country Day.

Shirley’s sugar cookies – appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day and I Grew Up Country Day.

7. Spread the word about I Grew Up Country. Here are a few ways we’re doing that.

I will spend much of today caring for a friend who recently had surgery. Shirley is baking cookies to share with neighbors, using the sugar cookie (“cakes”) recipe in her book.

Please do celebrate I Grew Up Country Day and tell us what you did. We’re eager to hear.

I Grew Up Country – New initiative encourages storytelling

On Monday, March 9, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a Proclamation declaring March 18, 2015, “I Grew Up Country Day” – in Iowa and wherever food is produced.

Governor Branstad lent his support to "I Grew Up Country"

Governor Branstad lent his support to “I Grew Up Country”

Haven’t heard of “I Grew Up Country”? Let alone a day to celebrate it? Not surprising. The day and the concept are brand new, the brainchild of fellow author Shirley Hershey Showalter and myself.

Last fall, Shirley and I shared the podium for a reading from our memoirs at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City.  Afterwards, over a latte, we discussed the fact that every time we shared our own stories about growing up on farms in the 1950s, people were eager to step up and tell us their stories.

Prairie Lights Bookstore - where "I Grew Up Country" began.

Prairie Lights Bookstore – where “I Grew Up Country” began.

Readers of my memoir Growing Up Country told me the stories made them think of their own growing up years; they also told me reading these simple stories made their own lives and their memories more important somehow. Shirley heard from people who read her memoir Blush and remembered butchering day, baling hay, milking cows, swimming in farm ponds, and downing food from tables loaded with fresh produce, meats, and homemade desserts.

We agreed we needed a place for all these people to find each other, to share their stories, to take pride in their collective appreciation for the country way of life.

The seed of an idea began to germinate. Over the weeks it took root, and this month, Shirley and I are kicking off “I Grew Up Country,” an initiative to encourage, collect, and celebrate stories of growing up country.

Here’s how we’re spreading the news:

We’d like to hear from you.

Our collaborator Millie had a great idea. She encourages any one who grew up country, to tell us how you’d complete the sentence:

“I know I Grew Up Country because …”

She even suggested a few answers, which brought smiles of recognition from Shirley and me. Here’s Millie’s contribution to start us off.

“You know you grew up country: If you bring home more stuff from the dump than you went with … Or you know you grew up country if you can sew on a button or hem a skirt … Or, You know you grew up country if you have ever stood barefoot in a garden eating a sun-ripened tomato — the juice dripping down your arm and off your elbow.”

Leave a message here and click on over to Facebook to meet other country folks and share your stories there. And, please, spread this news to anyone you know who grew up country.

‘You got game, white girl’ – Home Sweet Hardwood

Mo’ne Davis pitches like a girl. A thirteen-year-old girl who throws a 70 mph fastball. The star of The Little League World Series may not even realize sports wasn’t always an option for girls like her.

Preston High School didn’t offer girls basketball in the 1960s. Or baseball. Or softball. The rumored reason was that a girl had died during a basketball game. That death proved to those who decided such things that girls weren’t constitutionally suited to strenuous physical activity. As a result, basketball for girls in anything more competitive than gym class was banned at my high school.

I wanted to play basketball. I practiced dribbling, doing layups, running no more than the two steps allowed in the six-on-six-girl, half-court version of the game played at Iowa schools. Actually playing a game competitively would remain a dream for me.

What I didn’t know in the 1960s, as I dutifully took my place on the sidelines as a cheerleader, was that the nation was on the verge of changing the game for all women with Title IX legislation, requiring that schools offer equal playing opportunities to women and men. Other women were not going quietly to the sidelines. Other women were fighting for the right to play. And winning.

Home Sweet HardwoodOne of those women, Pat McKinzie, had basketball in her blood. Her grandfather was nationally recognized college coach Ralph McKinzie “Coach Mac”; her father Jim Mckinzie was a championship team-leading high school coach. As soon as Pat could walk – probably even before – they were teaching her the game that became her passion.

McKinzie’s memoir Home Sweet Hardwood details her relentless pursuit to fulfill that passion. In high school when she had to give up hardwood time to boys who couldn’t beat her when she challenged them one-on-one. In college where she was the first woman to play in Illinois with a scholarship under Title IX. After college when she continued to push to play on professional teams in the U.S. and Europe.

“Before recruiters and TV highlights, women played ball, not to impress college scouts or become media darlings, but for our own entertainment. The only glory we needed was the game itself,” McKinzie says. When she played in the zone, men who played the game could not help but appreciate her skill and passion. She recalls a night when a player slapped her hand in front of his “brothers,” and said, “Give me five, white girl! Can’t jump, but you got game.”

Home Sweet Hardwood covers McKinzie’s entire sports career as she broke ground and broke barriers for herself and the girls who came after her. Girls like Mo’ne.

The story of how McKinzie continued to push to play, in the face of discrimination, broken bones, and a nearly life-ending auto accident is a story of heart and inspiration. Raised by people who believed and practiced gender and racial equity, McKinzie lived those qualities throughout her career and no matter where in the world she lived.

McKinzie’s writing style is as fast-paced, precise and fluid as she herself was when she took the ball down court and pulled up for a jump shot. The result is perfection: nothing but net.

If you played sports or wanted to, this book is worth reading. If you have a daughter or granddaughter who is playing sports, this book would make a great gift. It’s important for all of us to remember when we’re standing on the shoulders of women like McKinzie who had the passion to clear the path for the rest of us.

Her kind of historical fiction

girl-mountain.400x625.rev“I’m blown away.” That’s what I thought as I read The Girl on the Mountain, a novel set in the West Virginia mountains at the end of the 19th century.

The characters are vivid and likeable (except for the ones we shouldn’t like). The language precise and fresh. The plot engaging. Beyond that, author Carol Erwin knocked me out with the way she wove in historical details to make me feel as though I knew the people, place and time. There are no famous people in this story, no memorable historical events. Nonetheless, it’s terrific historical fiction.

I invited Carol to share how she came to write this story and how she looks at historical fiction. Her thoughts fit right into the “How much of historical fiction is history?” question I blogged about recently.

My kind of historical fiction – Carol Erwin

I like historical fiction that enlarges my sense of life in other eras. Though I’ve always liked history, in fiction I care less about the unfolding of actual events and more about what they meant to people of that time.

In other words, I’m interested in characters. They don’t have to be historical figures, but they do have to seem real. I’ve always been impressed by the capacities of ordinary people, especially women, and was privileged to know several who lived in my small corner of West Virginia in the late 1800s. These women aren’t the subjects of my historical series, but their qualities definitely inspired me.

Mt.Women450x601The Mountain Women series begins with The Girl on the Mountain, a novel about ordinary people in a time of no particular significance. I began imagining a story about two adventurous girls, one privileged and one homeless. Where and when did they live? I wanted a familiar setting, but one a bit wilder than the farm community where I live. I did not have to go far, for I live near a region of virgin forest that was cut down in the late 1800s. When I revisited a non-fiction account of logging and lumbering in West Virginia (with its hundreds of old photos) I found the setting for my story. Eventually my two girls became May Rose, the young wife of a logger, and Wanda, her stepdaughter.

Even in soft-core historical fiction (my term), some elements must be true. I believe the truest features in The Girl on the Mountain are the mountains and streams, the sawmill, logging operations, and the artifacts of daily life circa 1900.

Research helped me authenticate and populate the story with details, but I had personal experiences that made me comfortable with them. I know the look and sound of sawmills. I’ve ridden an old logging train, climbed steep hillsides to pick blackberries, dug potatoes, stepped through creeks, raised and chased pigs, participated in old-time hog butchering, and used pen and ink to keep account books.

I felt comfortable describing life in 1900 because it’s not too distant. As a child I sometimes visited outhouses where the pit was covered with lime and the seat worn smooth. I named many characters after grandparents, grand aunts and uncles, so I didn’t have to research to know if the names were valid for the period.

When forty years ago I moved to my present location, I felt like I’d stepped back in time. The whole valley was made up of farms that had descended through several generations, and many of my elderly neighbors still used implements and carried on practices from the 1800s. Because of them, I know about neighbors helping neighbors and details like the operation of wood cook stoves and the scrape of a shovel into a coal bucket.

I tried to substantiate every historical detail. In The Girl on the Mountain I included references to well-read books of the period, used calendars of 1899 and 1900, and researched to make sure certain items were in use then, like canned milk. I had such a good time researching that I found much more detail than I could use.

One funny story: a friend who read the first few pages told me I should have a hen instead of a rooster simmering in the pot, because people had many hens but one rooster. I didn’t refute her, but I’m the one who has raised chickens, and I know that from little chicks you get as many roosters as hens. Guess which ones go into the pot?

Finally, the historical detail I chose had to be important to May Rose, the main character. I tried to keep her in mind with every description – what she saw, understood or thought about and what those things meant to her.

How much history you put into your kind of historical fiction will depend on your purposes, plus how much history you know and care to research. If you want to dramatize well-known events and give historical persons a new breath of life, you will rely on your expertise as a historian or researcher. If you want to write realistic period fiction, you may need only to learn enough to feel like you’re living at your chosen time.

Thanks, Carol Bodensteiner, for asking the question: “How much of historical fiction is history?”

Thank you, Carol Erwin, for sharing your perspectives on historical fiction with my readers. I highly recommend Carol’s novels. Click to read my review of The Girl on the Mountain. Follow the links below to her books and to learn more about her.

Carol Erwin

Carol Ervin has been a teacher, business owner, and writer and designer of marketing materials. She lives with her husband on a hillside farm in West Virginia with a steep lane and a spectacular view of wooded mountains. She loves West Virginia’s rugged streams and foliage and the history and culture of the region’s hardy settlers. Her historical novels include The Girl on the Mountain, Cold Comfort, and Midwinter Sun. She recently published a science-fiction/dystopian, Dell Zero.

The Girl on the Mountain

Cold Comfort

Midwinter Sun

Dell Zero (science fiction)



What is Go Away Home about? Readers weigh in.

One of my college professors spent much of a semester dissecting T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” I must admit, I left the classroom on most days shaking my head in dismay. I saw NONE of what the professor talked about.

Writers, painters and sculptors go about creating art out of their own souls. When they share their art with the world, readers and viewers apply their attitudes, emotions, and worldview to the art and create something new. They may see some, all or none of what the creator had in mind.

Now that my novel Go Away Home is out in the world, I’m seeing this happen. Recent reviews by bloggers on the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour offered these observations:

Svetlana at Svetlana’s Reads and Views suggested this theme: “There is more to life than satisfying self.”

Svetlana draws comparisons between Go Away Home and stories by Willa Cather and Sarah Orne Jewett who wrote on similar themes of responding to societal expectations versus satisfying self. “… the book is a bit of evolution when it comes to the question of “having it all,” Svetlana says.

“Whether or not the reader has familiarity with the era and what was going on, I found the story to be very resonating as well as relevant and modern,” Svetlana continues. To read more of her comments, click here.

The theme of inequality between women and men and the desire for that to change resonated with Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages

“At a time in history when women were made to accept being only housewives or teachers, she dared to be different and want more for herself,” says Darlene of the novel’s main character Liddie. “Go Away Home will tug at your heart and leave you feeling enriched for having read it.” To read more from Darlene, click here.

Midwest Book Review called it, “… a tale of choices, dreams realized and rejected, and how values evolve.”

Readers’ Favorite said, “Go Away Home is the perfect story of coming home.”

With each reader, I learn more about what I wrote in Go Away Home. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “I had no idea!”

Have you found yourself wondering whether what you took out of a novel or other artwork was what the creator intended? If you’ve read Go Away Home, please share what you think it’s about. I’m curious.

My virtual book tour continues throughout July. For more reviews, giveaways and guest posts on writing historical fiction, check in regularly on my blog tour.Go Away Home_Tour Banner_FINAL

What were your growing up lessons?

“Tuck in your shirt or you look look like a bum.” That’s a lesson my husband learned from his mom. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That’s something my mother taught me.

We all carry life lessons we learned as we were growing up. Sometimes those lessons cross each other up because life is seldom black and white.

Lessons of life are one of the things I’m talking about with P.C. Zick on Author Wednesday at her blog Writing Whims. Here’s the start of the discussion. I hope you’ll join us for the rest.

Before you make the jump, what was a lesson you learned from your parents? Please share.

Author Wednesday – Carol Bodensteiner

???????????????????????????????Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Carol Bodensteiner. Carol released her first novel, Go Away Home, this past month, and she’s stopped by to talk a little bit about writing this World War I-era novel set in rural eastern Iowa. Her first book, Growing Up Country, is a memoir of growing up in Iowa in the 1950s. It’s so nice to have you visit today, Carol. Congratulations on publishing your first novel. Tell us about Go Away Home.Go Away Home Revised Ebook Final Cover Medium What’s the one sentence pitch for this work of historical fiction?

Thanks for inviting me to Author Wednesday, P.C. Go Away Home is the story of a young woman’s quest for independence and the right to decide her own future set against a twentieth century backdrop when options for women were limited yet social change was occurring and the Great War was on the horizon.

What is the main message you wanted to convey in this novel?

Go Away Home explores the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as we often hope they are …

To Read More, Click.

And don’t forget to leave a lesson!

Go Away Home – Blog Tour

Go Away Home_Tour Banner_FINAL

I’m thrilled to announce the participants in a blog tour for Go Away Home taking place from July 8 – July 25, 2014. Please join me from the comfort of your own chair as I travel through cyberspace.

  • Tuesday, July 8 – Amy Bruno at Passages to the Past (and organizer of this month’s virtual book tour) shares a Q&A with me about writing Go Away Home.
  • Wednesday, July 9 – P.C. Zick hosts me on Writing Whims for a wide-ranging Q&A on Author Wednesday
  • Thursday, July 10 – Ashley LaMar at Closed the Cover shares my guest post: “Six Networking Tips to Promote Your Book Online”
  • Monday, July 14 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views shares her review of Go Away Home.
    Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages reviews and hosts a giveaway
  • Tuesday, July 15 – Let Them Read Books hosts a giveaway and my guest post “Fact to Fiction – Researching Historical Fiction Just in Time”
  • Thursday, July 17 – Jorie at Jorie Loves a Story invited me to talk about “choices,” one of the novel themes. Read my guest post: “Is that a good choice? Only time will tell.”
    At the same time, a city girl turned goat farmer reviews & hosts a giveaway at Broken Teepee
  • Friday, July 18 – Kathryn Powell posts a review at A Bibliograph’s Reviews
    Back at Jorie Loves a Story, Jorie shares her review of Go Away Home.
  • Monday, July 21 – Kathleen Kelly posts a review at CelticLady’s Reviews
  • Tuesday, July 22 – Caroline Wilson will shine her spotlight on Go Away Home and offer a giveaway at Caroline Wilson Writes
  • Thursday, July 24 – Returning to Closed the Cover where Ashley LaMar will post a review and host a giveaway
  • Friday, July 25 – Lauralee Jacks does a book review and giveaway at History From a Woman’s Perspective
  • Friday, July 25 –Returning to Passages to the Past where Amy Bruno closes out this month-long blog tour by spotlighting Go Away Home and summarizing blogger reviews

It’s an honor to have so many authors and bloggers participate in sharing the news about the launch of Go Away Home. These sites are full of information about books and authors, writing and life. I encourage you to check them out.

Tips for being in two places at once

The magic of a modern-day book launch.

file0001820510540I’m not in the habit of defying the time/space continuum, but this month I’ll be giving it my best shot. July is the official launch of my World War One-era novel Go Away Home, and the month is packed.

My first event is a library book talk today. The week of July 8, I return to eastern Iowa where I grew up for three events. At the same time, I’ll be zipping through cyberspace making the first four stops on a virtual book tour. The rest of the month repeats the challenge with more blog stops and more in-person events each week. July’s last event (at least that I know about right now) is July 25.

Maybe the best I can hope for is not to meet myself coming and going. I’ve taken these steps to ensure a smooth launch:

  • Written four versions of a presentation that focuses on Writing History. It’s a challenge to anticipate what audiences will want to hear, but my journey from memoir to fiction with an emphasis on the historical commonality seems a good place to start. With four outlines in hand, I can adapt on the go as the presentation evolves based on audience questions.
  • Wrote a multitude of guest posts. Invitations by author/bloggers Shirley Showalter, Annamaria Bazzi, David Lawlor, P.C. Zick (July 9),and Christoph Fischer (Aug 4) to visit their blogs have helped me prepare for interviews, focus my thinking and get the word out. I’m grateful to them for hosting me.
  • Product in place. My eastern Iowa events are in towns without bookstores. Since I know from my memoir experience that people want a local place to buy the book, I’ve arranged with two pharmacies, the county historical society and a library to stock copies.
  • Media outreach. I’ve returned to my public relations roots to prepare media materials and made them available on my website. I’ve targeted pitches to key media for interviews. I’ve made sure local media in the geography surrounding my events have news releases and images well in advance.
  • E-mail marketing. On the theory that people who know me will be most interested in hearing about Go Away Home, I’ve sent a series of targeted e-mails to everyone on my list. The response has been encouraging and sends me forward on a wave of good feelings.

Modern technology is a wonderful thing. Without the Internet, wi-fi, and cell phones, this would not be possible. Time will tell how my body reacts to being in two places at the same time.

No doubt, I’ll arrive at the end of the July exhausted. During the month, I know I’ll have reconnected with old friends, met many new friends, and had a lot of fun.

I think I’m prepared. I hope so. But are there other things I should be doing? If you think of something, let me know. It’s not too late. After all, if I can be in two places, surely three can’t be that difficult 😉

What connects the short stories in a collection?

As I delve into the art of short story writing, I’m also looking at how authors make the stories in a collection cohesive.

SEWING_CAN_BE_DANGEROUS_largeS.R. Mallery wove together the stories in her book Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads using historical events and the fabric arts. Because she tied together history and short stories – two of my current interests, I’ve invited Sarah to tell us more about her approach.

What inspired you to write these stories?

My father had told me about the catastrophic Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire; not only how horrendous it was, but also in time, how important it became as the stimulus for changing factory labor practices. So years later when I started writing fiction that was the very first story to pop into my head. Besides loving history, I also began to think thematically. What about creating other stories that included sewing and crafts as well?

Do you sew? How much of your own sewing experience came into play in writing these stories?

After having been a quilt designer, quilt teacher, and quilt writer for over twenty years and surrounded by fabrics, sewing machines, and my crafts, it wasn’t a huge stretch to incorporate sewing and crafts into these stories. I had already experienced first hand how the aches and pains of intense sewing can wreak havoc on your neck and shoulders, the inherent danger of certain sewing accessories, and how viewing vibrant fabrics up close can be mind-blowing.

Your stories span centuries. How did you choose the points in time to write about?

As I recall, I simply started reading mostly coffee table books of various time periods. Then, if something caught my interest, I would try to envision how a craft or sewing project could fit into that period for a story. For example, I thought of the Salem witchcraft story because I had read in a quilt book how certain quilt patterns were seen as curses. My medieval story evolved from reading how great manors would have a separate sewing wing constructed just so local girls could stitch exquisite embroidery items 24-7.

How did you approach the research to allow you to accurately represent so many different places in time?

So much of how I do research just seems to fall into place from something I’ve read. For example, I might be thinking about an era or a story I want to follow up on and as I investigate further, I might come across one tiny fact about a person or event. That leads me to looking up more about that person or event, which often leads me to even more details attached to the subject, a plot devise, and/or a character development. These discoveries don’t necessarily happen in rapid-fire sequence, either—a shower, movie, book, gardening, teaching, or discussions with family and friends often comes in-between.

Which is your favorite story and why?

Actually, I have two favorites. The Triangle shirtwaist story and the slave quilt story. The former because I totally got swept up with those poor, poor girls dying on that fateful day, and the latter because I loved doing research and writing about how smart the U.S. slaves were, when they would do their ‘Puttin’ on the Massah’.

You also write novel-length works. How do you compare the task/challenge of writing short stories and novels?

I wrote these stories before I attempted to write my novel. So, when I began to seriously think about and dig into Unexpected Gifts I was terrified. How was I going to do a complete novel having only written short stories? Then I had an epiphany. I pretended that after I made my outline, each chapter was going to be like a short story. That calmed me down enough to continue!

I can relate to that, Sarah. I tackled my novel in much the same way. The final story in your collection is different than the others, because it includes a craft but not thread/fabric. How do you see that story fitting into the collection?

Well, actually, there are two other stories besides the one you mentioned, “Nightmare at Four Corners,” which are not really about sewing: “Lyla’s Summer of Love” involves a macramé artist, and “Border Windfalls incorporates the weaving process of making blanket like pieces. I had originally thought of doing more crafts, but decided to stick with what I had. I also liked the title Sewing Can Be Dangerous from the Triangle Shirtwaist story, so that governed my product.

What’s next for you?

I’m hoping to publish another shorter collection of stories, ranging from flash fiction to longer stories, and in the wings, lies a very general outline and characters for a Civil War book but that will undoubtedly take quite a while to write! The joy AND the pitfalls of historical fiction…

Yes – history gives us endless possibilities to explore. Anything else you’d like to share?
Just a hearty thanks for interviewing me with such interesting questions!

It’s been a pleasure to have you here today, Sarah.

Join the discussion: Which would you rather read? A short story or a novel? When you pick up a short story collection, how do you expect them to tie together?

S.R. Mallery, author

S.R. Mallery, author

Author Bio: S.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life. Starting as a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on into the professional world of production art and calligraphy. Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt. She also has had quilt articles published in Traditional Quiltworks and Quilt World.

Where to find S.R. Mallery:
Twitter: @SarahMallery1
Facebook: S.R. Mallery (Sarah Mallery)

Where to find her books: