Reading Lauraine Snelling’s Red River of the North Series back in the 1990s gave me permission to celebrate my Scandinavian roots. I remember the euphoric feeling I experienced when I read about her characters’ immigration to America and their subsequent struggle to get established in Minnesota and North Dakota. Her stories reminded me of something I had been overlooking. Because of Lauraine’s books, I was able to step back and realize the importance of my family’s stories.
I grew up hearing about the difficulty of leaving Norway and Denmark and starting over in Minnesota. My immigrant grandfather and grandmother lived upstairs when I was little. I heard the adults speak in the language of their forefathers when they wanted to keep the conversation private. It always seemed most ordinary.
Now, I follow Lauraine’s example of writing about Scandinavian immigrants in Minnesota. My historical novels include many family stories tucked inside the pages. When I met Lauraine at the Minot Hostfest, I couldn’t resist getting a photo with her. After all, she was my early inspiration.
This year she and I will both have book tables at the Minot Hostfest. If you attend, please stop by. It promises to be a great time of celebration.