Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Club Report: Author Chat with Kathleen Kent

On Tuesday, my book club had the privilege of chatting with Author Kathleen Kent about her debut novel THE HERETIC’S DAUGHTER. Thanks to Val at Hachette Books for setting it up!

Being that Kathleen is in Texas and my book club is in Germany, we did the chat over speakerphone. Kathleen is an extremely engaging and enthusiastic speaker and she told us some interesting stories. Here are a few of the highlights:

- Kathleen grew up knowing that Martha Carrier (the “heretic” of the book’s title) was her grandmother to the 9th generation and heard stories all her life about the Carrier family and the Salem witch trials.

- Salem in the late 1600s was a village in crisis. Contrary to the pious, Victorian image we have of it, Salem was actually more Elizabethan in character and a “hotbed of misdeeds”.

- Those tried as witches were often “ferocious women” who fell outside the margins of what a woman “should be”, such as the insane, midwives who had lost too many children, and outspoken, strong-willed women like Martha.

- Town folk claimed that the Carriers must be witches because their cow gave golden milk. But if you feed a cow pumpkin, like the Carriers did, it will produce a sweeter milk that is golden in color. Try it out for yourself!

- The “red book” that Martha buried for her daughter Sarah in the novel is a literary device. Kathleen got the idea from a court transcript of Sarah’s trial in which Sarah claimed she became a witch because “My mother put my hands on the red book.” The red book is a symbol of the family’s history and its content will finally be revealed in Fall 2010 when the prequel is released.

- The prequel concerns the life of Martha’s husband Thomas Carrier before he came to America. He is rumored to have been one of the executioners of King Charles I of England, and according to Benjamin Franklin’s paper “Poor Richard” of 1735, he was 7 ft tall and lived to the ripe old age of 109.

If your book club might be interested in a chat with Kathleen, you can send your request to hereticsdaughter@yahoo.com

Find out more about THE HERETICS DAUGHTER at Kathleen’s website.



11 comments:

Julie P. said...

How exciting for your group! I really enjoyed THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER and I'm so happy that there is a prequel!

Ladytink_534 said...

I have this book but I haven't started it yet. Fun facts!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I won this book and am waiting (impatiently) for it to arrive! Thanks for the post and for the info on her next novel :)

Kailana said...

I have this book. I really need to get around to reading it!

avisannschild said...

I loved this book and I'm looking forward to the sequel. How fun that your book group got to chat with the author!

bermudaonion said...

I bet that was tons of fun! I'm looking forward to reading The Heretic's Daughter.

Zibilee said...

I just bought a copy of the book, and have been reading a lot of great things about it. I think it's awesome that your group got a chance to talk to the author, that must have been a great meeting!

Kathleen said...

This book is on my list to read. I am so intrigued by the subject matter!
Thanks for the information from the author!

Marie said...

Wow, so awesome that your book club got to chat with her. I LOVED the book so much. good for you!

stacybuckeye said...

Thanks so much for this, I never knew that about pumpkins and milk! I have this book on a shelf, waiting to be read.

trish said...

I love those facts! I can't wait for the prequel! I thought The Heretic's Daughter was great. :)