Nope, it’s not Valentine’s Day any more…it’s the week of love in print, specifically in the pages of Rachael Herron’s newest novel, HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME, set in the fictional town of Cypress Hollow. Both Jillian and I got to read the book early, and we absolutely loved it. So we decided to make big hoopla when the book was finally available to y’all!
This week, we’re celebrating the convergence of knitting and romance with daily giveaways, and peeks into the love-filled mind of author, knitter, spinner, and general all-around nice person, Rachael Herron*. Today, we start with a little getting-to-know-you stuff.
Knitty: Part of each novel you’ve written is focused on an original knitting pattern that you design. Where in the writing process does the sweater design fit in? Do you create the character around the sweater or is the sweater based on the character, or do they grow together as you write the novel?
Rachael: Itâ€™s interestingâ€”the way the patterns have grown along with the books is completely organic. If Iâ€™m struggling with the book, Iâ€™m struggling with the pattern. The manâ€™s raglan gansey in HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG went smoothly, as did most of the book writing. The womenâ€™s cardigan in HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME was tricky for such a simple patternâ€”I had problems solving obvious issues, and had the same issues in the novel. (Plot? What? Collar? Really?) And when the book finally came together, so did that dang collar issue Iâ€™d been having [see the sweater below right]. Itâ€™s like the writing and knitting paralleled each other exactly.
Itâ€™s fun, though. In the first book, Abigail is a knitwear designer, and the manâ€™s sweater she designs ends up fitting our hero Cade to a T. In the second book, bookstore owner Lucy loves the last sweater her grandmother ever made, loves it so much sheâ€™s desperate to recreate the sweater. And when I wear the prototypes of these sweaters, itâ€™s as if they catch some of the spirit of these fictional characters. I find it extremely fun.
K: Can we look forward to a Cypress Hollow pattern book one day? Or a yarn line?
R: I dream sometimes of a collection of Eliza Carpenter patterns. In the new novel, the heroine Lucy finds a rare copy of a precious pattern book (fictional, of course), but it makes me long to have the book for real. Wouldnâ€™t that be lovely? A coffee-table book called Silk Road, with Elizaâ€™s best patterns mixed in with stories of her lifeâ€¦. And then I remember that sheâ€™s fictional too, and that Iâ€™d have to write it. But maybe someday!
K: Have you planned the whole series out? How many books can we look forward to?
R: Iâ€™ve got three more books (for a total of six) planned out at this point. Iâ€™m super excited to start working on them! The third is completely done and will be out in October: WISHES AND STITCHES. This one comes with a wedding shawl pattern (designed by Romi, since while I love knitting lace, Iâ€™m not up to designing it well yet).
So to start the week off right, how about we give away a copy of this book, eh? I say yes! Jillian says yes! Rachael says yes!
To win, leave a comment to this post by Monday, March 7th at midnight, eastern time. In your comment, tell us what you’d name the novel you’d write that would combine knitting and your favorite genre [romance, horror, mystery, whatever…it’s up to you!]. Just the title, please. Â Rachael will pick her favorite and that lucky person will win a copy of HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME.
Good luck, y’all, and stay tuned…we’ve got prizes every day this week, and lots more Rachael!
*Rachael Herron received her MFA in writing from Mills College, and has been knitting since she was five years old. It’s more than a hobby; it’s a way of life. Rachael lives with her better half in Oakland, California, where they have four cats, three dogs, three spinning wheels, and more instruments than they can count. She is a proud member of theÂ San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America and she is struggling to get better at playing the ukulele.