Q: Tell us about your book:
This novel is historical fiction set in the John Day Valley of eastern Oregon.
Q: What inspired you to write the story?
The inspiration came from the story of my ancestors who came to the area in the 1800s. Two of my great grandmothers were on the same wagon train, sisters-in-law. Sarah, who was 16 in 1869, told and retold the story of the crossing which included the story of her brother disappearing at the time when Indians were in the area. Her sister-in-law, Sarah Ann, was widowed by his disappearance and came on west with her three children. I often heard Sarah's story, but little about Sarah Ann's. The novel is what I imagined her life might have been. The story is my imagination, although I incorporated much of what I knew of the area where I grew up
Q: Is this your first work of fiction? If not, please tell us a little about your first book/series.
This is my first book of fiction. I have a number of unpublished short stories in the same genre. They may become book 3 in a series that follows By the River.
Q: When I read the books I see subjects, themes and story lines that could appeal to many different kinds of readers. Who is your primary audience for series?
My audience would surely be those readers who love historical fiction, as do I. People who live in the central and eastern areas of Oregon would pick up the book because they would have an interest in this part of the state.
Sarah Ann is a character who stoically faces adversity, but becomes her own woman in midlife. The reader will grow to care for her as she shares her pioneer spirit and determination in rearing nine children and facing the last quarter of the 19th century.
Q: Please tell us about yourself.
I grew up in the John Day Valley on a ranch near Prairie City. My parents and my grandparents were all born and buried there. All eight great grandparents came there in covered wagons in the late 1800s. As an only child I overheard the stories and gossip of our families. They were just bits and pieces that I did not forget so they are triggers for my storytelling.
I always wanted a large family. It sounded like lots of fun to me. To make that happen, my husband and I adopted four beautiful children. Yes, then the fun began!
Q: Have you been writing for a long time?
I have always liked to write. I can open drawers and find stories from one phase of my life or another, from third grade through college. I have always loved playing the piano, but long ago realized it would be "for my own enjoyment" as people say. I took up painting. Again, it was so enriching and I learned about lights and shadows, etc. The pictures looked nice, but they did not look like I intended. Bright airy flowers in my mind became layered pallet knife paint on the canvas. About that time I said to myself, "Paint and music control me, but I know I can take control of the written word." It's harder to do than I thought, but I am doing it now.
Q: How much time per week do you spend writing/editing your work?
I do not set an exact amount of time to write daily. Sometimes it is a few minutes and other times I sit at the computer until I feel paralyzed. Lots of time is spent thinking and recalling things. I could really consider this part of my writing.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am working on a second book in the By the River series. It is inspired by a wonderful pack of letters discovered in the attic of the original ranch house.
After it are plans for the short stories set in the 1940s, same area of the John Day Valley.
Last on my list is a story inspired by my husband's great, great, great, grandfather who lived to be 116 and fought in the French Indian War and was later scalped in the American Revolution. I had better get busy because I can hardly wait to get to it.
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Author Bio: Jae Carvel’s work is inspired by the many stories of her ancestors who all came to Eastern Oregon as pioneers. She is retired from teaching junior high. She and her husband have four children, six grandchildren and one great granddaughter, making them a typically busy family, laughingly known as ‘retired.’ Jae travels, gardens, golfs and writes novels.