Seré Prince Halverson is the international bestselling author of The Underside of Joy, which was published in eighteen languages. She and her husband have four grown children and live in Northern California in a house in the woods.
I've been immersing myself in San Francisco history for my next novel. And I just started All the Light We Cannot See, which I'm already in love with.
What are your favorite books?
I have an ever-growing list, much too long to include here. But off the top of my head, at this given moment, here are a few:
The History of Love, Let the Great World Spin, The Poisonwood Bible, The Signature of All Things, Bel Canto, Beautiful Ruins, Cold Mountain.
What books would you recommend to your readers?
All of the above.
Any message to your readers?
Thank you so much for your interest in my work. Without your time, focus, and imagination, my stories would just be lonely lines of tiny black graphic elements on a stack of white pages.
What is your book about? Please provide a description.
Plagued by guilt, Kache Winkel finally returns to his family home in Alaska two decades after his mom, dad, and brother died in a plane crash. He’s certain the cabin has decayed into a pile of logs, but he finds smoke rising from the chimney, and a mysterious Russian woman hiding inside. Nadia has kept the home exactly as it was before the crash. And she’s stayed there—afraid and utterly isolated—for ten years.
Set in the dangerous beauty of Alaska, All the Winters After is the story of two bound souls trying to free themselves, searching for family and forgiveness.
How long have you been at work on this book?
I started it about twenty years ago! But I only wrote fifty pages and then put it aside. It wasn’t the right time. When I picked it back up the characters were still waiting for me and ready to go. I wrote the first draft quickly—in four months. And then I revised, and revised. I’ve lost count of how many drafts. I revise until the manuscript is pulled from my hands. So about two and a half years of writing, plus twenty years of simmering.
How did the idea originate?
When I made my first trip to Homer, Alaska, I immediately fell under its spell. The mountains. The bay. The wildlife. The people. Circumstances prevented me from hopping on a boat and moving there like Lettie did. But because I’m a writer, my mind, at least, can move anywhere it pleases. And my mind was already packing. At The Homer Bookstore, I came upon a book of autobiographical accounts from the area’s homesteaders. I saw Old Believer women shopping at the Safeway, wearing long colorful skirts and headscarves. Intrigued by the place, the homesteaders, and the Old Believers, I had an idea for a novel.
Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
I was able to stay and write at a lovely cabin on a homestead outside of Homer, Alaska, close to where I imagined the Winkel homestead to be. I toured the owners' original homestead cabin, which they've kept as a living museum. A writer's version of striking gold--in Alaska, no less!
In the middle of writing this novel, we moved--into a house that had once been a cabin and had been remodeled and added onto. It wasn't intentional that our real home now somewhat reflected the home I was writing about, but it probably didn't hurt! My writing space now consists of a wood-lined, slanted-ceiling room perched under the eaves, looking out over trees. Once, when I was writing on a warm summer's day, I noticed I had goosebumps. So even though I was in Northern California, my mind and even my body, for the moment, was convinced I was in a cabin in Alaska. Ah, the power of suggestion!