The main character in The Home Place, Alma Terrebonne, was named in honor of your great-grandmother Alma Fly Kifer. What would your great-grandmother think of her namesake?--Marshal Zeringue
My great-grandma Alma was the daughter of Jennie Curtis Fly Kamp, who arrived in 1864, at age 2, in what is today called the Gallatin Valley. Both these women buried at least one husband, because Montana used to be a dangerous place for men, and my grandmothers were not the sort of women to catch a train east when the going got tough. The Curtis family homesteaded near the headwaters of the Missouri River, northwest of present day Bozeman, Montana. The Flys later settled near Sarpy Creek in Big Horn County, one of the settings I used for The Home Place. Alma’s husband, John Kifer, was the Big Horn County sheriff back in the 1910s and later a US Marshall. An old woman when I knew her, Alma was known to insist that only whores wear pants, so she would probably find this book too racy. But she was also a proud daughter of pioneers, so I hope she’d be proud to see her land, her heritage, and her home place portrayed as things to be cherished and preserved.
Like you, Alma Terrebonne went to Bryn Mawr and Yale Law School. Do you worry that readers will think she’s an autobiographical character?
Willa Cather said that a novel is cremated youth, and...[read on]