Posts with the category ‘Uncategorized’


Five Surprising Things I Learned about Norway

In the spring of 2008, my husband Charlie and I traveled to Norway so that I could better understand the country and interview historians and scholars as research for my book Searching for Nora: After the Doll’s House. My historical novel is a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s iconic play A Doll’s House, and I was interested in learning more about Ibsen’s day and the conditions that sent so many Norwegians of that period heading to America. I was also interested in seeing Norway and its people – what the countryside looked like, how the light fell, how the Norwegians carried… 


Solvi’s Story and the Spanish Flu

Spanish Flu Epidemic 1918

I hate to admit it now, but I’ve always had a morbid interest in the 1918-1919 Spanish flu epidemic. World War I and its aftermath has also been of deep interest to me for a long time, so there was something about the world-wide sweep of the Spanish flu, and the horrific conditions of trench warfare that amplified its spread, that made it particularly fascinating. So I put the Spanish flu into my novel Searching for Nora. It shows up at the beginning of the secondary story line, when Solvi Lange, a young woman with a camera, takes a shot… 


The Inspiration for Rikka

WWI nurses and doctors

In my book Searching for Nora, there’s a character named Rikka Toft who befriends the heroine of the secondary tale, Solvi Lange. Both Rikka and Solvi are students at the University of Oslo. Solvi’s reading history and works as a photographer, while also searching for her missing grandmother. Rikka studies medicine but spends her free time upsetting the social order as much as possible. These two friends represent a new generation of women who came of age during WWI and emerged in 1919 ready to change the world. After the armistice, young women across Europe were suddenly challenging conventions –… 


Solvi and her Camera

Vintage cameras, Searching for Nora, photography history, Norwegian Americans, Norway, Dolls House, Henrik Ibsen

When I was creating the character Solvi Lange, the heroine of the secondary tale in Searching for Nora, I wanted her to be someone trying to capture history. As a young woman raised in a family that kept secrets, Solvi feels like time and memory are eroding away beneath her. Instead of burying the past, she wants to dig it up, examine the remains, trap the images so that they cannot fade. And so I gave her a camera. I have always been interested in people who create visuals things. I don’t have that gift, so I admire those who… 


National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing, Bookclubs, Norwegian-Americans, Dolls House, Henrik Ibsen, Great Reads, Author's Desk

When I’m out talking about my book Searching for Nora, the question I get the most is: how long did it take you to write this? People asking me are usually holding the printed version, a hefty, 400-pager. When I tell them it was a twelve-year effort, they shake their heads sympathetically. Wow. Twelve years, locked in my office, toiling away. The truth is, I spent some of that time on book-related projects other than writing – like finding a new agent and sending the book out to small publishers. I also spent time skiing and kayaking, traveling to China… 


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