Are you a reader as well as a quilter? Or are you a writer who is also a quilter? It seems there are several authors who are also quilters and who have quietly incorporated their hobby into their day jobs by writing quilting fiction.
I first became aware of quilting themed fiction when I saw a Jennifer Chiaverini novel on a library stand. I was drawn to the picture of a quilt on the cover (I couldn’t help myself!) but I was pleased to find that there was a sweet, engaging story contained within the pages .
Jennifer Chiaverini’s quilting novels are known as the Elm Creek Quilt series and they could easily be picked up by a non-quilter and enjoyed too. The stories are set around a group of women who open a quilting retreat. Their lives, loves, losses and adventures (and those of a few ancestors of the characters) have provided enough material for Jennifer to write 21 books so far.
Marie Bostwick is another well-known quilting novelist. Her series are set around Evelyn, a woman who opens a quilting store in a small town called New Bern. The life she lives and those of the friends she makes are contained in six books of the Cobbled Court Quilts series.
They are easy reads, but provide enough fodder to keep me interested. And I enjoy the characters enough to keep wondering what happens next.
Earlene Fowler writes the Benni Harper Mystery Series. Benni Harper is a folk art museum curator and amateur sleuth and all the books are titled after quilt patterns. To be honest, I haven’t read any of these (yet!), so I can’t give any insights into the content, but I loved this answer Earlene gives on her FAQ page, especially about how the names of quilt pattern suggest stories to her and about how she always turns to quilting and stitching when facing discouragement. I’ve put the series on my ‘to-read’ list.
“Q: Why did you use quilts as a theme for your series?
A: Quilts are a theme of my series mostly in terms of being the titles of the books and the fact that quilts play such a large part in the personal and professional life of my main character, Benni Harper… I initially used quilt patterns as titles because they have always been so evocative and they suggested stories to me much like an overheard stranger’s conversation or part of a family’s story does. I have thought and spoke about how much making a quilt and writing a novel are very much the same physical and creative process. A quilter takes scraps of fabric and rearranges them into a new pattern, then stitches them back together into a whole piece. Writers perform a similar task taking pieces of family history, people we’ve met, things we’ve read and heard, half-truths and out-and-out lies and turn them into stories. I also acted on the old saying–write what you know. Whenever I stopped writing because of discouragement, I always turned to crafts, specifically the folk arts such as quilting, stitching…It makes sense that it would eventually find its way into my fiction.”
When I went searching for other authors of quilting themed novels, here’s another few that I came up with:
Terri Thayer – A Quilting Mystery Series
Barbara Cameron – Quilts of Lancaster County and Stitches in Time Series
Wanda E. Brunstetter – Daughters of Lancaster County
Arlene Sachitano – Harriet Truman Mysteries
So if you are looking for a good book to curl up with in your deckchair this summer, why not try a quilting themed novel? They might be just the thing when you’re wanting a quilting hit, but finding it too hot to sit at the sewing machine!
Have you got any authors or quilting fiction titles to add to the list? Or even a review of a particular book or series? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.