Friday, 20 November 2015
Release Date: 5th March 2015
Publisher: Pilrig Press
Publisher: Pilrig Press
Genres: Historical Fiction / YA
Brook Cottages is thrilled to welcome Kendra Olson to the blog. Thank you Kendra for your super interview answers.
Do you write under your real name or is this a pen name you use?
I write under my real name. When I began writing I considered using a pen name but decided that would be too complicated with social media, author platforms and such.
Where are you from?
I was born in Chicago, raised in southern California and now live in London, England.
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
1 I have an MA but not a BA.
2 My close family contains individuals from five different countries.
3 Despite the lovely bubbles, champagne will never be my celebratory drink of choice as I am allergic to an ingredient used in the wine making process.
What was the first thing you ever had published?
When I was seven a poem I’d written was published in my school yearbook.
Do you have a writing routine?
I write best very early in the morning as I find the haziness of half-consciousness is when my imagination is keenest. Editing is for anytime other than morning, if I can help it, as my critic doesn’t wake up until much later in the day!
Do you have any writing rituals?
If I set a writing date, I keep it. If the story isn’t working, I have to write something related to the story before I’m allowed leave. If the writing is going well, and I’m in ‘the zone,’ then everything else gets pushed aside. Also, if I’m meant to have a morning off from writing but suddenly have an idea, I must get up and write.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
After losing my grandfather, whom I was very close to, I began to think about the ways in which families change over time and distance. My grandfather came from a long line of Scandinavian Americans, many of whom settled in Minnesota and eventually ventured out to other states. My grandfather was one of our last surviving (American) relatives who grew up speaking some Swedish at home. His grandmother on his mother’s side emigrated from Sweden in 1891, alongside many other young women of her generation. Although she died long before I was born, I’ve heard stories about her and been to visit the house she was born in and lived in before her emigration.
She interested me as she’d left Europe never to return and here I was returning over 100 years later, as a young woman. It was a family connection I had forgotten about. I wanted to explore what went into such a decision. However, I never did find out and Ingrid’s story stems purely from my imagination.
I also did research on the history and customs of Sweden and Swedish Americans, which gave me direction when developing the story. This was a lot of fun and meant I got to learn a bit of Swedish too.
Who was the first person you shared your book with?
My tutors, Anne Hamilton and Elaine Murphy, at writingclasses.co.uk were probably the first. I came upon the idea for the novel while writing a short story for one of my courses. After I began writing the novel, they helped me a great deal with feedback on how to develop it, not to mention the encouragement necessary to press on with it! The first person to read the novel all the way through would be my friend, Katrina Hart, the author of the fantasy novel, Finding Destiny. Her belief in the story gave me the confidence I needed to finish it.
Do you have a current work in progress?
I’m currently working on another novel, also historical fiction, but set in the much less distant past. As with The Forest King’s Daughter, there will be a touch of magic to the story.
Do you have any advice for budding authors?
Persevere, and remember that writing is rewriting so just fit this into your plans and don’t let it discourage you. If you keep working at it, you will get better!
About the Author
Kendra has recently completed her MA in Creative Writing from The University of Glasgow. In addition to writing novels she enjoys writing short stories and creative non-fiction, including book reviews, some of which have featured in the regional Scottish magazine, Lothian Life.
When Kendra is not writing she enjoys spending time with her cats and reading as many books as possible.
Author links –
The year is 1886 and Swedish teenager, Ingrid Andersdotter, is about to face a series of life-changing events. When Ingrid forgets to close the barn door one freezing cold night, there will be dire consequences for her family. To make matters worse, her attraction to the new school teacher leads to ostracism and shame. Ingrid’s strong opinions and the pressure of the powerful village church to conform to ideas she doesn’t believe in put her at odds with her traditional community.
Her only option is to leave her home and family. But is she brave enough to make an ocean crossing to a strange new land on her own, leaving everything she knows far behind? And will she find the freedom she dreams of if she takes such a risk?
Told through the lens of a Swedish fairy tale, this epic coming-of-age story, is both a page-turning personal account of one feisty young woman’s determination to seek a better life, and the tale of many single women who emigrated from Sweden to America in the 19th century.
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