Thursday, 1 December 2011

Character Spotlight on Naomi Dathan's Jem & Seth Perkins

Naomi Dathan's debut novel, Whither Thou Goest I Will Go, has just released in e-book form from new publishing house, Kirkdale Press.

For everything there is a season. A season for joy. A season for sorrow. A season for testing.

Jem Perkins has it all – money, a fine house, a handsome husband, and a new baby boy. But when her family fortunes turn, Jem’s husband Seth leads her to a new home: a sod house on a Nebraska homestead.

It is a season of growth for Jem as she reluctantly confronts her new realities: back-breaking labor, dangerous illness, and mind-numbing isolation. She learns to embrace her new role as a capable woman and marriage partner and discovers an awareness of God’s hand in her life.

Then, on January 12, 1888, the history-making Children’s Blizzard sweeps across the land, ushering in a season of hardship she never expected. Can Jem’s confidence, marriage, and new-found faith weather the storm?

Enjoy meeting Jem and Seth Perkins ~ thanks Naomi

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Brief physical description

Jem Perkins is young, late twenties, a curvy (not heavy) brunette with curly hair that fights staying properly restrained. She’s pretty, but not a head-turning beauty. Her husband Seth is tall, holds himself with military bearing, with a handsome, serious face.

Actor/famous person

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder (how embarrassing. I didn’t even realize they were my mental image until I started searching photos).

Strengths and weaknesses

Jem and Seth are both very strong-willed and stubborn, which works both for and against them. Jem’s stubbornness nearly destroys her marriage, but it ultimately enables her to care for her family in the harsh prairie conditions. Seth’s stubbornness enables him to face a major downturn of fortune and get his family established on a good Nebraska farm, but it also blinds him to his wife’s loyalty and strength.
Almanzo Wilder

Quirk (if any)

Seth is infatuated with science, inventions, and research.

When others hesitate when they’re talking, Jem can’t resist supplying words, even when it doesn’t work in her favor. She’s pretty dramatic in facing hardship, demanding Seth’s attention and praise, but she never, never stops fighting.

Your inspiration for the character

I can’t track either main character back to a single source, although Jem’s behaviour when she’s first on the prairie is probably pretty similar to what mine would be – petulant and indignant. So maybe Jem is me, at least to some degree. Seth is certainly based at least partly on my husband – all of my male characters are.

Background to the story

I was one of millions of little girls who were in love with both the Little House books and the TV show, and I was no doubt one of many who imagined myself in that setting. But I wasn’t ready to commit to writing a historical novel until I read David Laskin’s nonfiction book, The Children’s Blizzard, which is riveting. After reading it multiple times, I had to visit that setting in my fiction.

Seth’s health problems sprang up partly based on Almanzo Wilder’s health problems, and partly because all of my books tend to have medical issues. My husband, before he passed away on October 4, 2011, was chronically ill. I did a lot of writing beside various hospital beds, and my surroundings tended to migrate into my stories. 

Thanks for sharing, Naomi :)

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Laura Frantz said...

Absolutely beautiful cover, Rel and Naomi! I'm immediately drawn in and think the premise sounds wonderful. Thanks for another great post!

Nicole said...

So sorry for your loss, Naomi. Painful. You're a brave woman. All the best to you.

Naomi Dathan said...

Friends, I'm so sorry that I just now saw these comments. As you can imagine, the holidays were tough in our house and I rather lost touch with the internet for a short time. Laura, I hope by now you've had a chance to read and will tell me what you think. And, Nicole, thanks. I'm not at all brave, but I was lifted my so many people praying for me that sometimes it gave off that illusion.


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