Posts with the category ‘Uncategorized’

Nora and the Shadow of Prostitution

Norwegian history, Christian Krohg, Searching for Nora

When Nora Helmer – the heroine of Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House – walks out on her difficult husband, most modern audiences respond with applause. The moment feels like a leap of liberation, the first step toward a better life. But it turns out that the audiences of Ibsen’s day would have responded quite differently. As I was working on Searching for Nora, my sequel to Doll’s House, I did months of research on Norway in the 1880s so that I could keep the book rooted in Ibsen’s world. And what a different world it was, particularly for women…. 

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… 

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 –…