Memoir can take on many different forms. If you have ever been curious about what life was like at a given time in history, how an individual might have reacted to trying circumstances, historical memoir may be for you. It is a challenging form, as it requires the author to research the historical period and events thoroughly and at the same time to creatively see the world from their characters’ eyes.
Fran Jenner has done both in her engaging story of Samantha and her trek from Missouri to California. Fran, a librarian, is a dedicated writer and researcher. During the five years that she worked on Prairie Journey she traveled the route that Samantha and her family would have traveled to get a sense for what life was like camping on the Great Plains. Fran also attended Green River Writers Workshop every summer in Las Vegas, New Mexico, reading her work and receiving feedback. She worked closely with her editors, Gerry and Lorry Hausman to bring just the right tone to the book. A writer needs to read. If you are interested in writing historical memoir, read Prairie Journey. It will teach you lessons of writing and of life.
Here's what Fran has to say about Prairie Journey
12-year-old Savannah Clarke lives with her sister Faye and parents on a farm in Missouri. But their land’s worn out and her father insists they find new land in California, 2000 miles away. It’s 1850 and the journey will take months in a covered wagon pulled by oxen. Savannah knows her heart and it says “stay.” Stay with her best friend Mark living just a hair’s breadth away, with newborn pigs suckling in the barnyard, and peach trees bursting into bloom come spring. Still, she has no choice; she must go. Even though there’s trouble ahead and tragedy and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.
Irie Books, 2012
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