Jane is inter-nationally recognized for her lively presentations and well-researched stories that encourage and inspire. Her works have appeared in more than 50 publications including Decision, Private Pilot and Daily Guideposts. Jane is the author of over 25 books including historical novels. Many of her titles are based on the lives of real people or incidents set authentically in the American West. Her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy, Spur, Oregon Book Award, WILLA Literary Award and Reader’s Choice awards. Several of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. Follow this link to see other awards that Jane has won.
Welcome to the blog, Jane. I’m so honored to have you here today. Congratulations on your newest release, This Road We Traveled. Everything about this story draws me in – the title, the cover, the plot. I’m so excited to read it!
What part of this story did you enjoy researching the most?
I’d initially been intrigued by the story of a 66 year old woman traveling the Oregon trail and going on to do some amazing things in Oregon and being named “The Mother of Oregon” by the legislature in the 1980s. But when I found out that she had taken a fateful cutoff where many people died, then I found researching what happened to her during that great trial was the most intriguing research.
If readers could only take away one lesson from this story, what do you hope it would be?
That we can trust that God has purpose for our lives and will provide all we need in wilderness places — the manna of friends, family and faith — enough for us to fulfill that purpose.
With over 20 books to your name, what is one of your favorite covers?
One of my favorites is the first edition of A Sweetness to the Soul. It was a simple picture of a red barn in the middle of a white cover with a black frame around the outside of the white. The story of it I loved as well. A designer had taken a Polaroid (remember those!) of an old barn and ended up throwing it away. My cover designer was looking for a unique picture, saw it in the garbage, got permission to use it and voila! I’ve had people tell me they bought the book just for the cover. And like you, I REALLY also like the cover of This Road We Traveled because it captures the essence of the linkage of women supporting each other within the wilderness places of our lives.
What is one of your most unforgettable moments from your writing career to date?
A few years ago I was invited to be on the stage as “Best of the Northwest” with Ivan Doig and Barry Lopez. Both of these writers are National Book Award winners and we were interviewed together in front of hundreds of booksellers from the Northwest. Listening to them share how they wrote, what writing meant to them, where their stories came from and then realizing they were listening to my answers too was very humbling. I was blessed! Mr. Doig passed away last year so I’ll savor the experience even more.
You’ve spoken at events all across the world. Can you tell us a little bit about one of those presentations? (Where it was and why it meant so much to you?)
I’d been invited to speak to the European Council of International Schools (once in Nice, France and once in Sorrento, Italy) about the power of stories to make a difference in our lives. I really admire teachers and especially wanted to inspire and encourage teachers working abroad, far from home, in different cultures. I worked for many years in early childhood education and mental health on an Indian reservation in the US and I think the experience had parallel paths. Being present, living one’s life and faith in a foreign land/culture is challenging and helping teachers see the importance of honoring their stories and the stories of their students was a great gift to me to be able to share.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Jane! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
I write a monthly newsletter called Story Sparks that I’d love people to consider signing up for on my website www.jkbooks.com. I’m also currently writing about a woman who was one of the first women to graduate from a medical school in Oregon. One thing really unique was that she was married with two children when she decided to do this and it was in the 1870s. In doing research I learned that it took more time to become a pastor than a doctor in those days! I always love finding new tidbits of history I get to weave into a story. Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your blog!
That sounds great! I’m so looking forward to reading your next book. Have a blessed fall!
Jane has graciously offered to give away a copy of This Road We Traveled to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU!
Thanks for entering! Contest is open to US residents only and ends September 13, 2016. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!