We are thrilled that Erin Moulton, our good friend and classmate, has come on over to share her beautiful debut novel Flutter's rich landscape.
Synopsis of Flutter: Big things are about the happen at Maple's house. Mama's going to have a baby, which means now there will be four Rittle sisters instead of just three. But when baby Lily is born too early and can't come home from the hospital, Maple knows it's up to her to save her sister. So she and Dawn, armed with a map and some leftover dinner, head off down a river and up a mountain to find the Wise Woman who can grant miracles. Now it's not only Lily's survival that they have to worry about, but also their own. The dangers that Maple and Dawn encounter on their journey make them realize a thing or two about miracles-and about each other.
KTE: Welcome Erin! What landscape inspired, or is featured in, your book? Can you describe it?
EM: There are a few aspects of my home landscape that I wove into the pages of Flutter:
The Mountain: The story begins with the line, It all starts at home. On the mountain. And indeed it does. My parents' house is tucked three miles up a rutted dirt road, just like Maple’s house. And it sits against lots of woods. There is no river in the front yard which my siblings and I could have escaped down, but there was a pond. I spent hours at that pond, walking around, catching frogs and salamanders and watching the bugs skitter across the surface. The house, on the mountain was tucked up against lots of trees, so I spent a lot of my childhood exploring the woods out back. I remember there were areas of density, so much so that you could barely see 10 feet in front of you, and then you’d round the next tree trunk and there’d be a stand of pines with yards in between each of them. Also, I remember there being a particular stand of pines behind our house. I could always find my way because I would go up the hill until I hit the logging road, walk up the logging road until I reached the downed tree, take a left over the river and then up the bank and I was pretty much there. Logging roads, pine needles, rustling leaves, these are all things that I remember as a child growing up in the woods and they are also things that come into play as Maple and Dawn adventure into fictional Peninsula State Park.
The Devil’s Washbowl: There’s also a deadly rapid called The Devil’s Washbowl. Maple and Dawn have two separate run-ins with this diabolical rapid. Where I grew up, there was a road called The Devil’s Washbowl, and I remember always thinking about that name and putting my own images to it. It sounded larger than life and menacing, and that’s just how it turns out in the book.
The Town: In Flutter, Maple talks a little bit about the town and how there is a big Halloween pumpkin carving contest at the Bee’s Nest, which is the general store in Mooreland, VT. There is no real Mooreland, VT, but there is a Moretown, VT, and when I was a kid, the Moretown general store was called the Bee’s Nest. I remember going to the Bee’s Nest to pick out penny candy after church every Sunday. The knowledge of forthcoming sweets kept us quiet and pious during the sermon. I don’t remember the general store ever holding pumpkin carving contests, but I do remember always walking through Moretown village on Halloween night and seeing loads and loads of pumpkins. I even have a vague recollection of many pumpkins on the lawn of the Moretown Elementary School. Essentially, I guess I combined those two memories. There is also a gazebo and an old mill in that same town center. They show up in life and in the book in a very similar way.
KTE: Why is the landscape important to you?
EM: When I first began the process of writing the novel, I was away from home, and was trying to grapple with the feelings of being away from home and yearning for it, and missing family. I think part of that longing spilled over into the pages of Flutter. For me, writing and longing for home was a way to bring me back for a while. A way to bring me back to the trees, the crunch of leaves under foot, the rustle in the branches above. Back to the mountain.
Erin E. Moulton graduated with an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and One Incredible Journey, published May 12th! Erin is co-founder of the Kinship Writers Association and when she is not writing she works at Springboard After School with lots of silly kids and a bearded dragon named Puff. Erin lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband and puppy where she writes, reads, drinks tea and dreams. You can visit her online at http://www.erinemoulton.com/ or on facebook as Erin E. Moulton(Author)