UPDATE: This contest is now over! Thank you to everyone who participated in this fun blog hop in honor of Jane Kirkpatrick. The winner of a copy of Where Lilacs Bloom will be contacted shortly by Waterbrook Press.
Today, I’m going to share something a little special with you! I have the privilege of being a part of a blog hop celebrating the release of Jane Kirkpatrick’s newest novel, Where Lilacs Still Bloom. Each day this week, a different author has posted or will post a story, interview, or other tidbit about this exciting new release. If you would like to see the blog hop from the beginning, please visit the first post on Jane Kirkpatrick’s blog: Words of Encouragement.
A note from the author…
Where Lilacs Still Bloom began with a gracious and persistent descendant. This descendant was a granddaughter-in-law, Betty Mills. She’d read a number of my books and liked how historical women, ordinary women who lived extraordinary lives, were portrayed.
“Come to the gardens,” Betty wrote to me. “They’re so lovely in the spring.” She included copies of an article about Hulda Klager’s Lilac Gardens located in Woodland, Washington, a small town a few miles north of Portland, Oregon. The article praised this simple housewife’s passion for teaching herself how to hybridize lilacs and for developing individual varieties that she had often just given away to visitors. The piece included lovely photographs in full color that had been published in a 1928 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Although not a gardener myself, I still love to walk in other people’s gardens and marvel at the green thumbs so rampant when mine are just plain purple. I thanked her but declined the four hour trip to the gardens.
Years passed. Betty continued to write me, sending snippets about the garden, saying she liked whatever my latest book was, and then always including that gentle invitation at the end. “Come on Mother’s Day,” she encouraged one time. “The lilacs will be in full bloom.”
One year, on my way to lead a women’s retreat, I realized the route took me right past Hulda’s garden. My prayer partner was game when I said, “Let’s stop and see this garden I’ve heard so much about.” The day proved balmy and when we stepped through the white picket fence gate, we entered an enchanted place. I stood and twirled around like Alice in Wonderland. I’d told Betty, the descendant, that we might stop by and that I’d be pleased to meet her if she was there. She was, waiting to give us the official tour of the garden and Hulda’s 1890s house and to tell us the amazing story of this remarkable woman.
By the end of the afternoon, I knew I wanted more people to know about Hulda. Immigrated from Germany in the 1860s and married at 16, she and Frank had four children together in the next eight years. She was a busy housewife, but she was also a woman who could see the possibilities. She noticed how a certain dahlia was more yellow than another and that if she pollinated it with another deeper golden plant, she’d eventually have just the color she wanted. She bred plants for color, fragrance, and hardiness. Eventually, following a debilitating illness, she became passionate about lilacs. And that is the rest of the story–How flowers helped heal the losses her family had to deal with. How flowers deepened her faith. How flowers given away as gifts returned many years later to heal her garden and her heart.
Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of encouragement for whatever trials we might face. It’s made me pause much more often and smell the lilacs…appreciating creation in singular and beautiful ways. I hope the story pleases you that way too.
If you would like to enter for a chance to win a copy of Where Lilacs Still Bloom autographed by Jane Kirkpatrick, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website.
If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website and leave a comment at the bottom of my post to enter the giveaway. Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway. (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)
The deadline for this contest is Monday, April 30, 2012, at noon. I will choose a winner using Random.org, and then will pass the winner’s name and email along to my publishing house. If you are chosen, you will be contacted by someone from WaterBrook Press with a request for your address. Once you respond, they will send you an autographed copy of Where Lilacs Still Bloom.
I am hosting a giveaway of The Scent of Cherry Blossoms on Goodreads! Don’t forget to enter and to tell all your friends to enter, as well!