S.M. Hulse draws on some of her own experiences when she writes. And, sometimes, she partakes in new hobbies to learn about her characters.
That comes through in a couple of ways with Jo Faber, the main character of “Eden Mine,” which was released last month. Here is more about that, and some other facts about Hulse, who will visit the Northwest Passages Book Club soon. (The event, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed because of the concerns about the coronavirus. Tickets will be honored on the new date.)
In an attempt to better describe Jo’s painting, Hulse took art classes here in Spokane. “I was not great at it,” Hulse said. But, “One of the joys of writing is getting to write from the perspective of a character that is good at it.” Hulse also learned how to play the fiddle while researching her first novel, “Black River.”
Hulse is an avid horsewoman. “I was on the equestrian team when I was at the University of Montana,” Hulse said. “I started riding around middle school, and it’s been a part of my life since. It’s turned up in a couple of my books now, and I think it always will.”
When she was 5, Hulse moved with her family from California to Spokane where she stayed through high school. (Fun fact: Hulse’s dad is retired Spokesman-Review assistant sports editor Gil Hulse. Fun fact II: Hulse and I had the same high school English teacher, although we were in different graduating classes.)
“Eden Mine” was originally written in third person, but Hulse decided that she wanted to bring the reader closer. Jo is “a character that’s feeling a lot of conflicting emotions in this book,” Hulse said. “It took a lot of calibration and revision to try and articulate all of that on the page in a way that I was happy with.”
Hulse is fascinated by the idea of “the West” in literature. “I’m always interested in why we label some books regional and why some books don’t have that label even if they’re tied to place,” Hulse said. “I’m interested in the ways that the people, the landscape, the history and the myths of the West all converge.”
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