Brothers Jan (Yahn) and Karl Thoresen have left their native land of Norway and braved many perils and hardships to bring their families to America—the land of freedom and hope. Like thousands of others, Jan and his wife Elli long for the opportunity of a better life and a future for their children.
After enduring an ocean crossing and the arduous journey west, they encounter a land so vast and wide that it defies mastery. Jan finds that his struggles are not only with the land, but with a restless and unmanageable heart. Will Jan find a way to overcome this wild land or will the prairie master him?
The books of A Prairie Heritage:
Prequel: “Land of Dust & Tears”
Book 1: “A Rose Blooms Twice”
Book 2: “Joy on This Mountain”
Book 3: “The Captive Within”
Book 4: “Wild Heart on the Prairie”
Book 5: “Stolen”
Book 6: “Lost Are Found ” (November 2014)
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My admiration for those who pioneered this vast land.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I can’t really say; I imagine conversations and the characters just take part and become real to me.
“Children! Come!” Amalie called. She grabbed up the pot of stew while Elli banked the fire. The children were already huddled at the table when the women ducked underneath the tent. The men were right behind.
Thunder split the air. Kristen and Sigrün screamed, and each climbed into her mother’s lap. Søren gripped Elli’s arm until she winced.
As the wind howled and screeched, thunder crashed and echoed over them, so loud they could not hear each other. The tent canvas jumped and fell. For several minutes they sat, still and waiting, yet the storm did not abate. Rather, it increased.
The wind grabbed the canvas, whipping it up and down, up and down. Jan and Karl reached for the outside edges of the tent and held on, but they could feel the canvas being ripped from their hands.
Jan shouted to Karl. “Get our families under the wagons! Let us take the canvas down and wrap ourselves in it before it is torn away!”
Karl, his booming baritone barely heard over the storm, commanded, “Amalie! Take Sigrün! Under the wagon! Hurry!”
Elli, not waiting to be told, grabbed up Kristen and rolled under their wagon. Søren scooted in, and Elli opened her arms to him. She could see Amalie under the opposite wagon, her mouth open, her face white with terror.
Jan ran to the outside of one of the wagons and untied the ropes holding one of the tarpaulins forming their tent. Karl untied his side, wrestled with the flapping canvas, and pulled it in, shoving it at Elli. “Grab this! Hold it tight!”
As Jan loosed the second canvas, Karl dragged it to the ground. The table and benches were now uncovered, the pot of stew left sitting alone. Karl crawled under their wagon, clutching the canvas, trying to spread it over Amalie and Sigrün.
Just before Jan dove for cover, he stared into the heart of the storm . . . at something he had never seen before. A narrow funnel dropped from the clouds to the ground. It skipped and jumped, backed and skittered sideways. And then the clouds sucked the funnel up and it was gone.
Jan stared. What was that? Another crash of thunder jolted him, and the funnel—wider, fully formed, and whirling—dropped from the sky not far from them.
Jan’s mouth opened in astonishment and fear. Then he leapt for cover under their wagon.
Lightning burned their closed eyes and thunder cracked over their heads. And then it was raining. Water poured from an angry sky pounding the ground and the wagons, whipping sideways, streaming under them.
The rain pelting the wagons hardened and became even louder. Jan felt something heavy strike his head. He pulled back the canvas and found a rock made of ice—perhaps a quarter the size of his fist—lying near him!
Hail pounded the wagons, terrifying in its fury. Over the shrieks of the storm Elli and Jan heard something else—Amalie, screaming in terror: “Nei! Nei! Make it stop! Karl, make it stop!”
Jan held Elli as tightly as he could, Kristen and Søren sandwiched between them. He drew the canvas over all of them, pulled it in as tight as he could, and prayed for morning.
About the Author:
Vikki Kestell has more than 20 years of career experience as a writing, instructional design, and communications professional in government, academia, semiconductor manufacturing, health care, and nonprofit organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies.
Vikki is an accomplished speaker and teacher and belongs to Tramway Community Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she teaches an evening Bible study for working women. She and her husband Conrad Smith make their home in Albuquerque.
To keep abreast of new book releases, visit her website, http://www.vikkikestell.com/, or find her on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/TheWritingOfVikkiKestell.
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