Chiaverini signs new book deal, looks ahead to Elm Creek future

Last week Jennifer Chiaverini signed a new book contract with Dutton to produce three more Elm Creek Quilts novels. She also just completed the manuscript for “The Giving Quilt,” the 20th novel in the series due out in October, 2012.

“The Giving Quilt” will focus on the charitable aspect of quilting, by setting the novel during a one week session of winter camp at Elm Creek Manor where the campers will spend a week making quilts to donate to Project Linus.

“Quilters just love to give of their time and their talents to make their communities a better place and to offer love and comfort to people in need,” Chiaverini said. “It’s something I love about the quilting community that they want to share that love and warmth through the gift of beautiful quilts.”

Chiaverini has worked with Project Linus before. She let readers chose the gender of Sarah’s twins by voting via pink, blue and purple quilt blocks that were donated to Project Linus.

“I think Project Linus especially appeals to me because it is for children. As a mother myself, I am very moved by the thought of children in need and wanting to offer comfort and warmth,” Chiaverini said. “It’s really a remarkable organization and I’m proud just to be able to talk about them in my novels, because they’re the ones doing the real work.”

Once Chiaverini returns from her “Sonoma Rose” book tour, she will begin her 21st Elm Creek Quilts novel, which she is planning on writing as a historical fiction work. But until Chiaverini starts the research, she’s not quite sure where her idea will take her.

“There are always unexpected twists and turns where the story takes me, depending upon something that turns up in historical research that I’ll decide is something that certainly would have affected my characters and so I have to include it,” Chiaverini said. “Or something that is just so fascinating that I want to explore it further. Or sometimes when I’m in the process of writing and I’m discovering the characters more and coming to the realization that what I originally planned probably wouldn’t really be behavior that is true to these characters.”

Chiaverini’s research always begins at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library on the University of Wisconsin campus near her Madison home.

“It is very important to me to get the facts right and to have that framework of historical events to build my story upon with my fictional characters,” Chiaverini said. “Until I really start getting more into the project and doing research and taking notes and thinking about the story, I don’t know if anything will come of it.”

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