Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline's novels include Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should Be, and 2013's Orphan Train.

From her 2013 Q & A with Eva Schegulla at Publishers Weekly:

How long did [Orphan Train] take to research and write?

I stumbled on to the story of the orphan trains a decade ago. I was stunned to learn that more than 200,000 abandoned, neglected, or orphaned children had been sent from the East Coast to the Midwest on trains between 1854 and 1929. The idea of writing about this little-known part of American history percolated for years. About three years ago, I found the key: an appealingly irascible 17-year-old with nothing to lose who pries the story out of a 91-year-old with a hidden past as a train rider. I read more than 300 first-person accounts and dozens of books, attended train-rider reunions, and talked with half a dozen train riders (all between the ages of 90 and 100), and conducted research in Ireland, Minnesota, Maine, and [New York City’s] Lower East Side.

Why did you choose to write in the present tense?

The train rider’s story needed to be fresh and immediate and direct—almost cinematic. I was determined that it not seem romanticized or sepia-toned. The conceit is that the train rider is telling her story to the central character of the third-person narrative; in telling her story, she relives it. Eventually it becomes clear that the train rider’s story is...[read on]
Learn more about Christina Baker Kline's work at her website and her blog, A Writing Life: Conversations about the Creative Process.

The Page 69 Test: Bird in Hand.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Christina Baker Kline & Lucy.

--Marshal Zeringue