I thought I’d share some of the inspiration behind the story of In a Grove of Maples, my upcoming historical fiction novel. When I finished writing my By the Light of the Moon series, I knew I wanted to go a different direction for my next novel and make it a less intricately woven story and one inspired by family.
I never knew my dad’s parents. They died years before I entered this world. Being the youngest of six children, and my dad being the second youngest of thirteen siblings, time kept us apart. Also, factor in that my Dad hovered around the age of fifty at my birth.
So, though my grandparents lived to be in their 90’s I missed getting to know them.
All I have of them amounts to a few stories my dad told me and two photographs. One of them with a car they purchased in the 1930’s and one of them at my mom and dad’s wedding in the 1950’s.
Even my siblings don’t know that much about them. They were young when our grandparents passed. My brothers helped me fill in a few gaps of missing information, but when we pooled together all we knew, a lot of gaps and questions remained. And when you are young, you don’t think about asking your parents about the details of their parents’ lives. I wish I’d asked more questions and listened better.
I recall my dad telling me how grandma sold eggs to the store and saved her money to purchase special things for himself and his siblings. Out of the few times I saw my father cry, most of those were when he spoke of his mother. He had loved her greatly, and that told me all I needed to know about the kind of person she had been.
I knew that she stayed home and tended the farm and children in the early years of marriage, so Grandpa could go be a teamster at a logging camp up north in Wisconsin. (This made it into the book.) 🙂
Dad never talked much about his father, but I gathered from what he did tell me that Grandpa had been a hard-working man but prone to temper, once in a while. I like to think that Grandpa and Grandma had forged a good life together through the years, despite the challenges.
Armed with a handful of historical facts about and when they bought the farm in Wisconsin—the farm I grew up on—I began to wonder and ask myself questions about what the lives of my grandparents may have been like as a newly married couple, and the book began to formulate in my mind. Characters took shape and spoke, showing me a story of trials, tested love, heartache, and tragedy with an underlying current that in spite of or perhaps even because of the unforeseen events of life, dreams can come true.
THANKS FOR READING!
Thank you for reading a bit about the start of a story dear to my heart. Here’s what a few readers are saying so far:
“Five stars for this sweet and wonderful read! I believe this is Knipfer’s best yet! I think the best thing about this story is that it offers hope to readers that we can really get through the toughest times in our lives.”Goodreads, Lori Parish
“This is perhaps one of my favorite books that I’ve read, I didn’t want it to end. I loved how relatable the characters were and how the author captured true human feelings. Growing up in the rural farmland of Wisconsin I felt a true connection to the story, picturing what my ancestors must have felt settling in Wisconsin beginning to farm.”BookBub, Farmgirl
“Knipfer creates such a beautiful cast of characters and a story that leaves you wondering how strong, and brave these early settlers were and all that the endured.”BookBub, Whisperocky