Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A guest blog with Janet Spaeth

The view of the hoarfrost from my (Erica's) back door this winter
Welcome to Heartsong Connection, Janet!

THE ICE CARNIVAL is my sixth novel for Heartsong. It's the third book in my Minnesota historical trilogy, set against the backdrop of the planning and creation of the first Winter Carnival in St. Paul. This was a real event, and it continues today. Only the main characters are from my imagination.

Or are they?

A Heartsong author once called me, having read a novella I'd written, and said, with great laughter in her voice: "Every character you write is you!"

She's right. The traits that get my characters in trouble come right from my own personality. I admit it: I am a flawed person. I'm lucky God loves me, and my friends and family love me, because I am far from perfect!

In The Ice Carnival, Christal's flaw is that she doesn't try. She gives up too easily. Coddled because of a childhood illness, she's never been pushed to try anything. Now, that's not me. I wasn't coddled, and my life is one challenge after another that I have no choice but to face. What do Christal and I share? Given the chance, we both would rather have a book in our hands than nearly anything else!

Mainly, though, Christal and I don't want to spend the time to learn something; we want to be able to do it. I once said to my husband that I wanted to be able to play the drums, and he offered to teach me. No, I said, I didn't want to learn—I wanted to be able to do it. Preferably immediately. That conversation made it into The Ice Carnival, although the musical instrument is the piano. (A side note: I did have to take piano lessons when I was in college, during the year I was a music major. You might note that I do not have a music degree. Piano was one of the reasons.)

Isaac also shares a character trait with me—we both falter, we doubt ourselves, we worry. He's not quite comfortable yet with the idea of holding life and death in his hands, and I loved taking myself through each of the challenges he faces by asking myself, What would I do? And the answer always is: Pray, and do it.

When I was writing Rose Kelly, I thought of that phone call from my fellow author. Rose and I are pretty much the same—although there's enough Christal in me that I might not have actually gone to the Dakota Territory on my own like Rose does; I would have read about it instead. Like Rose, though, I have blurted out too much, shared too much, talked too much. And yes, it's gotten me in trouble—just like it does for Rose.

Eric wants his privacy, and despite my compunction to blab everything, so do I. Honestly, there are some things I will never tell. They will go to my grave with me. Despite what we might think in this age of the internet, everybody doesn’t need to know everything.

All of my characters share my flaws, and I really doubt that I'll ever run out of them! But I've also tried to imbue each book with my own best trait: humor. Laughter is like a life raft in a world of trouble, isn't it?

Thank you for letting me into your life through my books and this blog. I hope you've enjoyed my novels for Heartsong—there are more on the way!

Erica here: Rose Kelly is the From The Vault book for this week. Come back tomorrow to read more about this great Heartsong title.
Question of the Day: What character from books, television, or movies have you found to be most like you?


  1. I LOVE hoarfrost photos. It's the delight of winter!!! That is gorgeous!

  2. Love the picture. I was thinking it looked that that in my yard this winter. I took pictures too.

    Sad to say, the character I can most relate to is Dori in Finding Nemo.

  3. Dori from Nemo??? ROFL! You stole mine!

    I'm a little like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, and a lot like Hammie from Baby Blues.

  4. I often get told I am a lot like Frasier from his show. I have to say I agree, the good and the bad. I think I am also a little of a mixture of Charlie Brown and Linus. A weird mix maybe, but I tend to pull it off. :)

  5. I *love* these comments!

    Comic character I'm most like? The mom in Zits. She's always walking around with a load of laundry that towers over her head. That's me. Laundry Woman!

    Which reminds me, guess what I have to do now!

  6. That's hilarious, Aaron!

    I relate to different characters at different times, depending on where I am when you ask. I'm feeling very homemaker-ish and grandmotherly at the moment, so let's see...Edith Bunker, maybe? Anyone remember her? My husband has his "Archie" chair, and I'm always scurrying around, bringing him stuff.

  7. Can't wait to read your book, Janet!

  8. Thanks, Debby! We haven't talked in ages! Email this weekend....

  9. Aaron, your post cracked me up. Charlie Brown AND Linus? LOL

  10. Janet, I think I'm probably a weird blend of Monica from Friends and Scully from the X-Files. I'm always a little skeptical, eager to find "the truth" (which IS out there, you know), and have a tendency to be a little, er...eccentric. ;)