That’s what happened to me with Kinship of Clover. I started with Jeremy, a college student who studies botany because he loves plants. In particular, he loves drawing plants. Jeremy grew up in an oddball cult; his family grew tea and most of their food in their backyard and greenhouse. So it didn’t surprise me when Jeremy became obsessed with disappearing plant species. What was surprising was that his imagination went into overdrive and he saw and felt endangered plants growing into his body.
Whoa. This was way beyond my knowledge base. I started wondering – and reading – about what a contemporary college student might believe about plants, especially growing food. That research led me to the concept of permaculture. I learned that permaculture is a system of creating sustainable, edible landscapes, a way of growing food that is beyond “natural” or “organic.” It’s based on observation of the patterns and relationships found in nature. It focuses on soil life, water conservation, and cycling of nutrients. To protect biodiversity and genetic integrity, permaculture gardens use only non-hybrid and heirloom seeds. The amazing thing is that over time, these gardens become more productive, because the soil and plant resources are not depleted. I was fascinated by these ideas, and so was Jeremy.
It was a hot day. I wandered in the garden, took photos, listened to my student guide and the buzz of insects. As I asked questions, I tried to crawl into Jeremy’s skin, to see through his eyes. I watched bees land on chamomile blossoms and smelled the rich earth in narrow trenches. As we walked and talked, as I learned about nitrogen fixers and dynamic accumulators, Jeremy’s connection to the garden on his college campus sprouted, developed and grew.
Kitchens came to play small but critical roles in the plot as I wrote and revised Kinship of Clover. Good things happen in kitchens in this book, and one very bad thing as well. Throughout the novel, preparing and sharing food connects the characters to each other and offers them comfort, much as it does for us as readers and writers. So it might make sense to say that the road to this novel leads to the kitchen by wandering through lush gardens of veggies and teas and herbs, and by asking how we can best nurture ourselves and save our planet.
Want to read more? Check out the entire tour schedule:April 3: CelticLady’s Reviews (Spotlight)
April 4: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
April 6: Lovely Bookshelf (Review)
April 7: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen (Guest Post) - YOU ARE HERE!
April 7: Samw00w (Review)
April 11: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)
April 13: Angel M. B. Chadwick (Interview)
April 17: The Book Connection (Interview)
April 18: Bookfan (Guest Post)
April 19: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)
April 20: A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
April 21: Bookilicious (Review)
April 26: Readaholic Zone (Review)
April 28: Sportochick’s Musings (Review)
May 5: True Book Addict (Review)
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