I'm still gobsmacked--as the Brits say--that the book is out and in readers' hands. It's an odd, warm rush to hear what people think, whatever it might be. I'm delighted by readers who have been taken over by the characters and story, as I was when I started putting it together. I love the way a book can inspire love, rage, and sweat in a group of strangers.
A few people have been asking about Rebecca, Daniel's wife, wanting to know more of her story. I wish the first-person narrative and the time frame of the book had allowed me more room for her voice. I loved writing her. She came to me with relative ease, stepping straight into my mind. Not much remains of the actual Rebecca, beyond a sparse description of her as tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed. Like Daniel, she grew up a Quaker. After her marriage, a passing missionary remembered finding her in a very hard position, trying to keep home and farm running as well as looking after her many biological and adopted children, with Daniel away on a long hunt. It's not difficult to imagine how frightening life must have been for many women in these positions, and how brave they were.
Rebecca and Daniel had ten children. Four of them were girls. Jemima, the second, is another major character in my book. She seems to have been a spirited and energetic child, as accounts of her running off and riding horses into deep rivers suggest. I ended up basing her character on my daughter, who was born just as I began the first major rewrite of this book. My girl, too, will face down anyone, and anyone who's read Raising Your Spirited Child will know exactly what that euphemism entails. I remember long murky nights of feeding and rocking and thinking about the eighteenth century. So putting her into Jemima is a little thank-you to her for sharing her mother with the frontier.
Rebecca and Jemima will be back in the sequel, where history allows them more time onstage. I can't wait to have them back.
I'm the author of My Name is a Knife, All True Not a Lie In It, and The Old Familiar.