Monday, November 15, 2010

Knit the Season - Kate Jacobs - Review, Q&A and Giveaway!

It's the time of the year when I start snuggling in to read Christmas stories. First one up this year was Knit the Season - the 3rd book in the Friday Night Knitting Club series by Kate Jacobs - newly released in paperback. Knit the Season continues the story of the diverse and multi generational women who formed such close bonds at the Walker and Daughter knitting shop. But the focus is on Dakota - the daughter in the shop's name. She's in college now, pursuing her dreams. But the women who have watched her grow are pursuing their own dreams as well. Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year brings family gatherings, old and new memories and a wedding....or two.

I enjoyed the first two books in this series and was happy that Knit the Season picked up where the last one left off. The characters feel like old friends that I'm catching up with. Now, that's not to say you couldn't read this book as a stand alone. It's a feel good story that reminds us this is the time of the year to reaffirm and cherish our ties with family and friends. Memories of Dakota's mother Georgia play a part as well - it was neat to get some of the story not included in the first books. Knitting and food play a big part in these books as well, and Jacobs has included both patterns and recipes at the end. (and a gluten free one!!) This series appeals to readers of all ages as the characters span from teens to nineties! And this reader cannot wait to see what Jacobs has in store for the club in the next book. Knit the Season would make a great book club selection. (readers's guide here.) What a warm fuzzy read to start my holiday reading! Read the first chapter of Knit the Season.

I was thrilled to have Kate stop by to answer some of my questions. Make sure you read through to the end - I have two signed copies to giveaway!

1.   Your characters have become so 'real' for me and I feel like I know them. (I bet you hear that a lot!) Are any of them based on people in your own life/that you've met? Parts of your own life?

KJ: Well, the business of being a fiction writer is making up stuff! And that’s what I do, although I will sometimes use quirks of personality from individuals who’ve passed away. For example, the character of Gran (Dakota’s great-grandmother in Scotland) has much in common with my grandmother Nanny, who was a wonderful knitter and a wonderful lady. Having a character that is similar to her is a writer’s way to revisit good memories. But when it comes to real-life living people, I try to avoid putting them into my stories. It’s a sure-fire way to upset someone! Especially because I tend to write flawed characters – I think that’s more realistic. Also it’s easier to root for characters that make whopping mistakes and have some growing to do. And while parts of my own life and experience inform the emotional content of my work, I don’t write autobiographical fiction. Or, at least, I haven’t yet.

2. Certainly the characters are the big draw for me in the Friday Night Knitting Club series, but I also enjoy the descriptions of the yarn and projects in the books. I've actually given knitting a whirl again after many years away. (mittens are proving to be a challenge for me....) Why do you think there's such a resurgence of interest? And of course I have to ask - what do you enjoy knitting?

KJ: Personally, I enjoy knitting anything that is rectangular! I’m big into blankets, and I’ve just had the suggestion to try placemats, which sounds right up my alley. You know, my grandmother was a wonderful knitter and would make these gorgeous sweaters, but I put so much of my energy and creativity into my writing that I look to knitting as a way to let my mind fuzz out and just relax. So I never want to try anything too complicated! I do write the easy patterns in the back of the knitting books but those are for readers who are curious about taking up the craft. Likewise, the recipes are tasty and fun, but I’m just a home cook – I’m not a chef! As for knitting’s renewed popularity, I think it’s a combination of nostalgia, irony, and the fact that knitting can be a fantastic creative outlet as well as a means of connecting with a new community.

3. I'm sure that the Walker&Daughter website has people actually trying to find the shop. Have you ever thought of opening/owning a yarn shop? With maybe a resident writer in the back office?

KJ: I receive a lot of email, especially when FNKC was first published, asking for directions to the Walker & Daughter yarn store. And some folks were really upset to find out they couldn’t go there! But what I always explain is that the shop in the story is meant to be just like your very own local yarn shop, so you could find your own knitting group no matter where you are based. It’s not as though fabulous community-based yarn shops only exist in Manhattan! As for me, I would probably buy out my own entire inventory if I owned a yarn shop – and I don’t think that’s a good business model! I’ll stick to writing stories at my desk while Baxter, my sweet Springer Spaniel, snores at my feet.

4. Tell us that there are plans for more books in this series!? What are you working on now? Hopefully a new book in The Friday Night Knitting Club?

KJ: My current project is a new novel titled Relativity, which is about our complicated connections with our relatives and how family shapes our identity. It looks at mothers and daughters, but has a bit of a twist that I won’t give away! I should be finished the book in a few months, and then I’ll figure out what’s next. The nice thing about having a series, like the knitting books, is that I can always revisit these characters. So I just tackle my writing book by book and see what I feel like doing creatively when it’s time to start something fresh.

5. Do you ever come home to Canada to visit? Tour? Celebrate Thanksgiving at the right time of the year? Just joking!

KJ: I spend a lot of time in Canada. Actually, I finished both FNKC sequels, Knit Two and Knit the Season, while enjoying summers back in Hope, BC. Although my husband and I live in California, we try to visit family up in Canada as much as possible. Plus one of my best friends just moved back to Canada from the US – she’s in Ottawa, which is where we went to university – so I see many trips to the capital in my future. Having a proper turkey dinner on Canadian Thanksgiving has proved to be quite difficult, however, as I always seem to be in the US in October. I don’t quite want to go to the bother of a big dinner for just us, so I have resorted to turkey sandwiches and declared it festive.
Thank you so much for stopping by Kate. (You can keep up with Kate on Twitter) I look forward to reading Relativity.  I have two signed copies of Knit the Season up for grabs. Open to Canadian mailing addresses only. Simply comment to be entered. Make sure I have a way to contact you - either through your blog or by email. Ends Saturday, Dec 11th at 6 pm EST. Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.


PoCoKat said...

Thanks for the opportunity...would love to win a copy!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

This would be a super book to win and read.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Marilu said...

Great interview! I would love to win a copy of this book. Please enter me. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love to knit blankets too. Plan to knit a warm hat for my hubby. This is the perfect book to read when it snowing and very cold. Would love to read it.

Thank you for the opportunity.


Anonymous said...

I would love to read her books!

Kaye said...

Great interview, Luanne! Knitting is a wonderful de-stresser also. Right now I am reading and enjoying the second in the series. Love the chararacters!!


pippirose said...

Wonderful interview!
I'd love the chance to win this book.
pippirose59 at gmail dot com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'd sooner move to Canada to hang with you than to win a book, so no need to enter me for the time being. *grin*

I'm showing up in your comment trail to say thanks for the e-mail, babe. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Charleydog said...

Please enter my name in the giveaway for the book. Thanks!

I live in eastern Ontario - in dairy country.

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

Andrea said...

I loved the first two books and really want to read this one!


JHS said...

Would love to read this one.


jhsmail at comcast dot net

Bcteagirl said...

This sounds so cute! Thank you for the contest :)

teagirl1 at telus do net

Vinci said...

Thanks for hosting this contest
What a nice premise, re knitting.
As I love to read, would be a
good win.
ps Yes, BC is a beautiful prov.
Hopefully, you could visit Vanc. Island
where, I live.

Ruthie said...

This would be a great book to read during the holidays.


Zoƫ said...

as somebody who just took up knitting again, this would be the perfect holiday read.


dorkette said...

I've read the first book in the series and enjoyed it, and would love to read "Knit the Season" as well.

holdenj said...

Enjoyed the Q&A very much! Thanks for the chance to win.