FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–March 20, Waterloo, ON–If there’s one thing KW author Lori Wolf-Heffner has learned over the years, it’s that there are many paths to becoming a woman. It’s become a central theme in her series, Between Worlds, the third installment of which comes out April 6th.
“I’ve seen all kinds of women in my family: career-focused, homemaker, refugee, immigrant, and all of them mothers,” Wolf-Heffner says. “And that’s going back over two hundred years now, on both sides of the family.”
Between Worldsfollows the life of 14-year-old Juliana Roth, a competitive dancer who moves with her parents from Calgary to Kitchener at Christmastime to live with her grandfather, who’s in the early stages of dementia. In the first novel, overwhelmed by celebrating Christmas with family she hardly knows, Juliana escapes to the fruit cellar.
While among the bug carcasses and dust monsters in the basement, Juliana discovers an old book of drawings. She later discovers that her great-grandmother, Elisabeth Schuhmacher, was the artist. Unfortunately for Juliana, though, her grandfather’s fading memory means she has little time to learn the stories behind the drawings, especially with dance, schooling, friends—all the usual things that make up a teenager’s life today—taking up her time.
The chapters in each book alternate between today in Kitchener and 1920 in Romania, when Elisabeth herself was 14 years old and WWI was fresh in everyone’s minds. Elisabeth can’t wait to marry and have her own family, and she participates fully in her faith. Her family is one of hundreds that belong to the village’s Lutheran church. However, she frequently questions her society based on what she believes Jesus had intended with his teachings.
“I know there are girls out there today who have the same goals as Elisabeth,” Wolf-Heffner says. “And there are others who, like Juliana, don’t know yet what they want out of life, don’t know what they believe, and are searching for those answers. All they know is that boys are definitely not on the radar right now. And there’s nothing wrong with either dream.”
Wolf-Heffner’s family research over the years has uncovered traditions that today seem backwards. “And I’m not talking about women being in charge of the cleaning,” she says.
For example, standard practice was to name children after a parent, grandparent, godparent, or some other family member. However, if a child died, which happened often, then the next baby of the same sex was often given that name. And so it happened that an ancestor of Wolf-Heffner’s had given birth to four baby girls (out of 14 births), all named after herself, Elisabeth.
“None of them survived,” Wolf-Heffner said, “so that’s why I named my historical protagonist after her. You have to be a strong woman to survive that much death in your own family.”
Wolf-Heffner was born in Kitchener, when Grand River Hospital was K-W Hospital and there was no flyover over King Street. She studied dance in town, predominantly under Deardra King-Leslie, attended school here, graduating from St. Mary’s when it was still downtown Kitchener and girls usually wore kilts, and also studied at both universities.
“My heart is in K-W,” Wolf-Heffner says. “And readers will certainly see that in these stories, too.”
Between Worlds 3: The First Stepwill go on sale April 6th. Readers can purchase copies at major online retailers or ask at their favourite small book store. If they would like to buy signed copies, then they’ll find Wolf-Heffner at the Heffner Spring Show on April 6th, or at the Stanley Park Community Centre on April 17thwhere she and fellow local writer Dani Baker will give a public reading. More information is available at www.loriwolfheffner.comor by calling (519) 503-7098.
Contact: Lori (Wolf-Heffner) Straus
Phone (7:30AM-10PM): (519) 503-7098