MTPR

Disappearance And Reinvention With Jamie Harrison

Oct 26, 2017

"The Widow Nash" is a riveting narrative, filled with a colorful cast of characters, timeless themes, and great set pieces. Europe in summer. New York in fall. Africa in winter. And the lively, unforgettable town of Livingston, Montana. This is a book that surprises with its twists and turns, a ribald sensibility, and rich historical details. And in Dulcy, Jamie Harrison has created an indelible heroine sure to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

The Widow Nash

The following are highlights from the conversation with Jamie Harrison. The full conversation can be heard by clicking the link above or by subscribing to our podcast.

Sarah Aronson: If you were to reinvent yourself and disappear, how would you be reborn?

Jamie Harrison: You mean besides smarter and younger? Let’s think.  .  . laughing. I don’t know. I think everybody plays with the idea of running away. When I was about 25 I was living in New York and I hated my job and I had this brief moment of thinking “I’m going to move to Australia and raise tomatoes” . . .  I really don’t know, I guess I haven’t thought of it in a long time because I’m happy. I’ve lived here for 30 years and I love living here so I think I’m kind of past the bolting period.

SA: Were there any lessons your dad [Jim Harrison] gave to you about the writing life?

JH: It’s not a good way to make a living . . . laughing. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. He wrote for years, I think I was 20 before he made more than $10,000 a year so it was not something I aspired to. I thought I’d be a cook. I thought I’d be a historian. I also felt he really had a calling, he was a poet, he always wanted to do it and I had no idea that I wanted to do this. I didn’t really start writing . . . I tried to write a romance novel when I lived in New York and was unemployed because a friend and I thought we’d make some quick money. The editor just kept laughing at the sex scenes, so then it really didn’t pan out well. And I ended up writing the mysteries because I lost my job as an editor out here. I’d worked  with a place called Clark City Press and it closed and I was in Livingston with a young child and I wanted to stay instead of moving back to New York and so I thought I’d try writing a mystery.

SA: There are epigraphs in the book, some which are fictitious, and at least one that I know comes from a real human, Mark Twain ...

JH: When I was nearly done with the book I came up with my favorite epigraph which was one of about a thousand attributed to Mark Twain, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as much as you please.”

About the Book:

It is New York, 1904, and Dulcy Remfrey, despite an idiosyncratic, traveling childhood, faces the predictable life of a woman of the time. All that changes when her eccentric father returns from his expedition to Africa without any of the proceeds from the sale of a gold mine. It seems he’s lost his mind along with the money, and Dulcy’s obsessive ex-fiancé (and her father’s business partner) insists she come to Seattle to decipher her father’s cryptic notebooks, which may hold clues to the missing funds. When her father dies unexpectedly, taking the truth with him, Dulcy looks at her future, finds it unbearable, and somewhere in the northern Rockies disappears from the train bringing her father’s body home.

Is it possible to disappear from your old life and create another? Dulcy travels the West reading stories about her own death and finds a small Montana town where she’s reborn as Mrs. Nash, a wealthy young widow, free from the burden of family. But her old life won’t let go so easily, and soon her ex-fiancé is on her trail, threatening the new life she is so eager to create.

The Widow Nash is a riveting narrative, filled with a colorful cast of characters, timeless themes, and great set pieces. Europe in summer. New York in fall. Africa in winter. And the lively, unforgettable town of Livingston, Montana. This is a book that surprises with its twists and turns, a ribald sensibility, and rich historical details. And in Dulcy, Jamie Harrison has created an indelible heroine sure to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

Jamie Harrison
Credit Melanie Nashan

About the Author:

Jamie Harrison has lived in Montana with her family for almost thirty years. She has worked as a caterer, writer, and as a technical editor for archaeological, botanical, and biological reports. She is the daughter of Jim Harrison.