Here is the writeup from Bookmarks:
"Escape into a memorable work of historical fiction that will make you believe, no matter how many challenges fate sends your way, the human spirit can triumph.
Far Away Home is an American historical novel introducing frontier heroine, Aislynn Denehy. Unique in her ordinariness, she is a true representation of the countless, nameless women who went west after the Civil War. Not a formulaic romance novel; it explores the challenges women faced and the complex relationships real people experience.
For this book discussion program, we are planning a “read the book and meet the author” format with author Susan Denning.
" Far Away Home” will be available at the Library to check out and will also be available for purchase by the author on July 28 only."
In anticipation of her visit to the Kinnelon Library, I caught up with Susan and asked her a few questions:
C.B.: Susan, tell me about yourself.
S.D.: Following graduation from college, where I majored in American history, I was employed by the City of New York working on sexual harassment, equal employment and women’s issues. During my tenure, I completed two Master of Arts degrees, one in Political Science/American Government and another in Psychological Counseling.
I left the City of New York to consult and teach. I published several articles in professional journals and newsletters. One of my essays was selected for an anthology on sexual abuse, Bite of the Apple. I also received honorable mention in a NOW short story contest and had short stories published in Creative Woman.
While teaching at my local community college, I discovered how little my students knew about American history and approached my chairperson about this problem. Together we discussed creating a text which would be a compilation of vignettes based on historical events. I chose the Transcontinental Railroad for my chapter and to ensure historical accuracy, I began three years of primary research, studying original documents from New York to Utah. For authenticity, I even drove a covered wagon. Although the textbook was never completed, I continued to write until my chapter became a novel, Far Away Home.
C.B.: I bet you have a connection to Kinnelon...
S.D.: I grew up in Pompton Plains and had friends who lived in Kinnelon. We would visit, “hang out,” go to games, etc., although I won’t mention when that was.
C.B.: How did you become interested in writing fiction?
S.D.: As I mentioned, I always seemed to have jobs that required me to write reports, articles for journals and newsletters. However, I’ve always had a very lively imagination and was creating stories in my mind. I love reading fiction and took classes in literature and, on a whim, signed up for a writing class. One of the assignments was to write a short story. It was so well received, I wrote more.
When I was left with all my research for my history chapter, I decided to expand my horizons. Of course, I didn’t know how to write a novel, which is very different from writing short stories. So, I had more research to do. Once I felt I understood that process, I began Far Away Home.
C.B.: How did you decide on the genre and subject of Far Away Home?
S.D.: While researching how to write a novel, I discovered that the bestselling novels are crime stories and historical. My preparation was ideal for an historical and my subject matter expanded from just the Transcontinental Railroad with the development of my narrative.
C.B.: Who is your favorite author?
S.D.: I love F. Scott Fitzgerald. I tried to learn from his techniques and apply them to my writing. I think his words are so precise and alive. In the The Great Gatsby, you’ll find passages like “the lawn ran to the front door, jumping over sun-dials and brick walls and burning gardens- finally when it reached the house, drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run.” In his books, “light volleys through doorways,” and “sidewalks climb to the stars.” I just love the visual texture of his prose, and while I’ll never reach that pinnacle, I can dream.
C.B.: Susan, what advice would you share with would-be authors?
S.D.: I don’t know if I’m in the position to advise others; I’m such a newbie. However, I would encourage anyone with a story to tell to write it; write it for yourself. Even Fitzgerald, Hemingway, all the greats, wrote works that no one ever saw, that were never published or read. It is the act of creating that is the reward.
C.B.: Thank you, Susan! Everyone coming to your event at the Kinnelon Library is in for a real treat!
You can learn more about Susan Denning's book Far Away Home by visiting the website where you will be able to read the first three chapters. You'll find Frontier recipes, too.
You can purchase the book on Amazon by clicking on this link to Far Away Home, an American Historical Novel. The book is available in paperback and Kindle edition.
By the way, as of this writing as you can see from the image above, Susan's book has achieved #17 in Western, #56 in Historical and #79 in Historical. Congratulations, Susan!
Don't forget! Kinnelon Public Library. Thursday, July 28, 2011, 7pm. Book discussion with Far Away Home author Susan Denning.