When a vintner’s daughter travels to Bolivia to scatter her estranged sister’s ashes, she unravels secrets that test her devotion to home and make her question whether truth is worth the cost of forgiveness. Bittersweet and bold, Shadow Sister explores the mysteries of the human heart and the bond of unquenchable love.
Guest Post from Katherine Scott Jones
Shadow Sister: Outtake Reel
By Katherine Scott Jones
Much as I love a good movie, my favorite part often comes at the end when the director includes outtakes—those false starts and bits from the making of the movie that wind up on the cutting room floor.
In a similar vein, I’m going to let you in on some of what went into the creation of my novel, Shadow Sister, but did not make the final cut.
Shadow Sister is a work of inspirational women’s fiction with a global accent—written for women with a heart for complex relational issues as well as a passion for biblical justice. It is the story of a vintner’s daughter who travels to Bolivia to scatter her estranged sister’s ashes. There, she unravels secrets that test her devotion to home and make her question whether truth is worth the cost of forgiveness. Shadow Sister explores the mysteries of the human heart and the bond of unquenchable love.
Now that you know a bit about what it is, come along as I pull back the curtain and share an exclusive peek at what Shadow Sister is not.
It took me a while to finally land on the right title. Early contenders:
– The Sweetness of Light
– Variations on Shadows and Light.
It also took a bit of experimenting before I found the right combination of people and places:
– Sarah, the main character, was originally a marine biologist. I first imagined the story set in Seattle before moving it to the fertile plains of Eastern Washington wine country.
– Sarah was originally engaged; and Chase and Rachael were involved.
– The gender of Matilde’s baby changed from what I first plotted. That simple switch got me unstuck from a perplexing snag of writer’s block.
o Nicole, Stasi, Rees, and Stephen were all main-character names I considered and rejected.
o Little sister Sarah and big sister Jenna began as litter sister Jenna and big sister Kate. Then Jenna became Somer and finally Sarah, while Kate became Jenna.
o Sassy Britches is named after an actual racehorse by the same name.
Of course, story exploration turned up far more tidbits of interesting info than I could possibly fit into the pages of a novel! Some of what I wished I could have used…
– Bolivian fun facts
- Bolivians tend to eat outdoors when it is not raining. Many men do not feel comfortable eating in front of strangers, so they will often face a wall or sit hunched over their food when they are eating in public.
- Cha’lla is a ritual blessing drawn from Catholic tradition, indigenous religious ceremony, or—typically—a combination of both. Performed by a yatiri (spiritual leader) or Catholic priest, a cha’lla ceremony is performed whenever a new building is finished to ensure future peace in that building.
- Many Bolivians believe in karisirus, or night phantoms. These harmful spirits catch people out after dark or when they’re sleeping. Legend says that they split their victim’s stomach and extract some of the fat.
o Drinks. While the traditional Bolivian beverages api and mate de coca are featured in Shadow Sister, several others are not:
- refresco (fruit juice with a dried peach at the bottom of the glass)
- tostada (a mixture of barley, honey, cloves in water)
- chicha (homemade corn beer)
- singani (made from grapes, a cross between wine and whiskey)
o Language. Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua are Bolivia’s three national languages, and they differ from each other greatly. For example, the number one in Spanish = uno, Aymara = ma, Quechua = hoq.
o On wine: “Wine is sunlight held together by water.” ~ Galileo
o On art: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton
I hope this glimpse into what didn’t make it onto the pages of Shadow Sister piques your interest for discovering what finally did!
Katherine Scott Jones grew up in cities on every U.S. coast and overseas as her family moved with her father’s Navy career. Seattle became home when she married her husband twenty-eight years ago. After graduating from Whitworth University with a degree in communications, she established herself as a freelance writer before turning her hand to fiction. She blogs about books that celebrate beauty at her website. Katherine and her husband have two teenage children. She is the author of HER MEMORY OF MUSIC (2017) and SHADOW SISTER (2018).
You can find Katherine on:
Book Review by Bree Herron
A novel that is vivid in imagery, written with such moving words that a reader can’t help but be called into the story and the character’s lives. It was an unexpected novel on my shelf, and I really didn’t know what I was getting when I began reading the first page, but it is a book that I would read again and again.
Jenna and Sarah, were really sisters blood and all. But at the point we meet them, they had drifted apart, living two separate lives.Sarah has lived most of her adult life with surivior’s guilt from an accident that she was in. Facing the trauma has been difficult and it was easiest to hid the pain than face it. Jenna ran from home to Bolivia, a country that is as wild as her heart was big. We don’t get to meet much of Jenna, but she is impactful and a moving character.
I think the sister contrast was a great touch. It was a great focus and growth point in the story. I found their personalities to play off each other nicely.
Enjoyable place: Bolivia, it called to me each time I read a chapter. I could feel the heat, and smell the street markets. I could hear the river and feel the connection with the culture. It was an epic part of this book.
If there was ever a book that would call to your heart and mind, it would be this book. It is hard to put all the feelings that I went through while reading this book into words, but I am left breathless and eager to read this author’s work again and again. It is an encouraging and strong novel with a complex web of sisterhood and family. Don’t walk but run to get your hands on this novel.
**DISCLAIMER: I was provided an opportunity to read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy in return for a fair and honest review.
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To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a grand prize that includes a personalized signed print copy of the book, a Shadow Sister bookmark, a Frame-able print, Book-lover’s tea, 6 Handcrafted notecards, and a set of vineyard-themed playing cards!! Find out all the details and enter to WIN at Shadow Sister Celebration Tour Giveaway.
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