We’re delighted to welcome Kristen Wolf to the blog today. Kristen is on a tour with CLP Blog Tours to promote her new book The Way and is kindly sharing a blog post.
A Ravenous Reader – Kristen Wolf
I’ve been a ravenous reader since a very young age. Both of my parents were readers and instilled in me an early love of books.
I definitely find a difference between books I read for pleasure and books I read to “learn” the art and craft of writing.
Being an English major, I would have to credit all the “greats,” though as I grew older I found myself reaching outside the established canon—diving into Native American literature, African literature, mythology, women’s literature, poetry, stage plays, screenplays and so on. I also read a great deal of science books and articles. For me, nothing is as thrilling, or reverent, as seeking to know the true nature of things… of discovering more and more about the world from which we come. And the possibilities we have yet to explore!
It may be because of this interest in future potentials that I became drawn to novels that explored “big ideas” rather than just describing human experience. I often seek out books that offer alternative paradigms, upend assumptions, portray imagined worlds, or imagine life in utterly new ways.
Writers who, for me, do this very well include: Jeanette Winterson, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Mann, Mary Oliver, Haruki Murakami, Stephen King, Hayao Miyazaki, Isabelle Allende, William Gibson and Ursula Le Guin, to name a few.
If I had to admit to a “secret weapon,” it would be poetry. I once heard a writer describe poetry as providing the colors a writer puts on her palette. And I absolutely agree with that description. Whenever I feel in need of inspiration, or need to clean my spectacles, as it were, I turn to poetry. Sometimes even just a verse or two are enough to get my blood pumping. It’s the precision of language, the beauty of thought, and the sheer attentiveness to life, that always capture me and make me eager to get back to the page.
About The Way (2011)
Anna is a fiery tomboy living in ancient Palestine whose androgynous appearance provokes ridicule from the people around her and doubt within her own heart. When tragedy strikes her family, and Anna’s father—disguising her as a boy—sells her to a band of shepherds, she is captured by a mystical and secret society of women hiding in the desert. At first Anna is tempted to escape, but she soon finds that the sisterhood’s teachings and healing abilities, wrapped in an ancient philosophy they call “The Way,” have unleashed an unexpected power within her.
When danger befalls the caves in which the sisters have made their home, Anna embarks on a hazardous mission to preserve the wisdom of her mentors by proclaiming it among ordinary people. Her daring quest and newfound destiny reveal, at last, the full truth of her identity—a shocking revelation that will spark as much controversy as it does celebration.
Anna’s story is one of transformation, betrayal, love, loss, deception, and above all, redemption. Readers will cheer for this unforgettable protagonist—and for debut novelist Kristen Wolf, whose beautifully written book both provokes and inspires. A compelling mix of history, myth, and fantasy, The Way is a fascinating exploration of the foundations and possibilities of human spirituality.
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About Kristen Wolf
Kristen Wolf, 43, is a mother and writer living in the Rocky Mountains. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and holds an M.A. in creative writing and film from Hollins College where she was awarded a full scholarship.
As a child, Wolf grew up in a heavily forested suburb outside New York City with her parents, a younger brother, and an ever-changing menagerie of pet animals.
Both Wolf’s parents and grandparents passed onto her an avid love and respect for nature which explains the photos of Wolf posing with an ever-widening array of pets, including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, mice, quail, two raccoons, chickens, even a squirrel that lived in her bedroom! Needless to say, hers wasn’t the average American family.
Later, Wolf’s family purchased land in upstate New York and on weekends and summers lived like a regular Swiss Family Robinson, clearing the land, building fences, barns and, eventually, raising and tending cattle, horses, pigs, goats, chickens etc. This led to a very unique life for Wolf and her brother as they lived like farmers on the weekends and students in a suburban public school during the week.
Wolf credits her unique childhood for providing her with keen powers of observation, a passion for living things, unlimited curiosity, and a strong independent streak.
As an adult, Wolf has worked primarily as filmmaker and writer.
Ever developing teacher and learner (online and offline!). Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.
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