Sheep to Shawl

wool processing

In a processing center on a farm near Groton, SD,. Kelly Knispel owns and operates a wool processing business that provides “sheep to shawl” services for shepherds and fiber artists.

Researching the art of cheesemaking

When I give an Author Talk, I’ve found that audiences are very interested in the research involved in writing a historical novel. In Proving Her Claim, Anna Olson travels from Wisconsin, the #1 cheesemaking state in the country. Her plan is to start a dairy farm and make cheese. That meant I needed to learn how […]

The value of historical research in writing fiction

I’ve described Proving Her Claim as “historically accurate.” The novel itself is a work of fiction, but I relied heavily on non-fiction research in the process. A statistic sparked the story: 42% of women homesteaders proved their claims, while only 37% of men successfully proved their claims. The premise for the novel was “Why did a higher […]

Pasque flowers: the first blooms of spring

The pasque flower plays a prominent role in “Proving Her Claim.” I chose it for its color and because it is one of the first signs of spring — something that we’re desperately waiting for this year on the prairie. The flowers bloom in a range of colors, from deep purple to pale lavender, and […]