Interview with Jane Kirkpatrick,
author of Something Worth Doing
How does your book relate to your training and spiritual practice?
My training or profession is in mental health. My clinical internships were at a Lutheran Family Services center and at a regional burn center. Both were places where I learned about healing and story and found myself schooled by the people who came to us for help. They helped me as well.
When I began writing about the lives of historical women, I discovered I hadn’t left my healing profession behind. Stories heal and inspire. Not surprisingly, the characters heal the writer, too. In Something Worth Doing, the character struggles with the balance of service and family and how to be present in both. That’s the journey of an author, I think, and my spiritual journey as well.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Rewriting it! I was working on a nonfiction chapter about the same historical woman at the center of the novel Something Worth Doing and, somehow, in the novel I lost the story thread and peppered it with facts! Facts are good, of course. I want the stories to be authentic and historically accurate, but the story needs to come first. So, I needed to rewrite it. My editor’s suggestions have made it a better book—at least I think so!
Who are some of the authors you feel were influential in your work?
After my first book, A Sweetness to the Soul, came out, a reader sent me a note saying my writing reminded them of their favorite author, Francine Rivers. I quickly picked up her books and fell in love. Her attention to detail, her depth of character development, and her weaving of faith and spirit have all influenced my own writing. Wallace Stegner’s book Angle of Repose and his other works inspire my love of the West.
Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?
Funny you should ask! I get up really early to write, between 4 and 5:00 a.m., and as I get closer to finishing the book, I get up earlier and earlier, sometimes at 1:30 in the morning. I usually finish my writing day by stopping in the middle of a sentence so I always have a place to begin the next day. Doing that keeps me from having writer’s block.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
I once joined my husband and his hunting partner on a trip into the mountains. The hunting partner didn’t want “a girl” in camp, but he let me come along. I was a good go-fer, never complaining, and at the end of the day he said to my husband, “Well, she weren’t no trouble and she even helped some.” I’d like that on my tombstone.