Author pens first novelBeth Calhoun understands tragedy. Her young mother drowned; she never knew her father.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Beth Calhoun understands tragedy. Her young mother drowned; she never knew her father. And that tragic past haunts her as she escapes an abusive marriage and retreats to her family’s wilderness home on Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario border.
Calhoun is among the characters who woke first time author Janet Kay, also know as Janet Jenson of Wascott, when the story ran astray from who they were.
Jenson said her first novel “Waters of the Dancing Sky” was 10 years in the making.
“It just kind of hibernated in my mind,” Jenson said. “Then, I was busy with my job.”
Working for Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Shell Lake, Jenson said it was until about four years ago, when she semi retired, that she really began work on her first novel.
“Sometimes a novel comes along that weaves fiction, reality, desire and inspiration together into a beautifully bound escape into another world; ‘Waters of The Dancing Sky’ is one of those novels,” Beverly Pechin wrote in an Amazon.com review of the novel published through Llumina Press.
In the story, Calhoun embarks on a journey of self-discovery through a series of wilderness adventures in the Rainy Lake area of northern Minnesota and the Ontario border.
“It kind of a destination novel,” Jenson said. She said knowing she wanted to include islands, nature and wilderness in her story, she launched her search and Rainy Lake proved to fit the bill. She made several trips to there to talk to the people, learn about the history and become familiar with the lay of the land.
Then it was time to develop characters. Jenson said she outlined each one, drawing on her experiences and traits of people she’s known along the way. She said the characters are a composite rather than drawn from real life.
“The characters take over the story; they wake you up and tell you they wouldn’t do something ... the characters evolve as you go along” Jenson said.
“Beth Calhoun starts out as a character that you will find yourself thinking, ‘come on, can you really be this weak?’ only to find that within a short time you see the true strength and magnitude of her character come out as she becomes a whole new and complete woman,” Pechin wrote in her review of the novel.
Jenson, a former freelance writer for the Telegram in Superior, said she had written short stories and poetry, but this is her first novel.
“I like to help people,” Jenson said. Through the novel, she said, she was able to share a message of hope, second chances and being able to rebuild one’s life even when they’ve had bad experiences.
It’s “a complicated tale of brokenness and renewal,” wrote book reviewer Melissa Levine. “Kay (Jenson) weaves together a story with themes of shame and violence, redemption and forgiveness set in a beautiful, rural lake community.”