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Jennifer Chiaverini quotes

Mary Lincoln provided Elizabeth Keckley with opportunities for social and economic advancement she probably had never imagined during her years as a slave, while Elizabeth offered Mary the loyal, steadfast friendship she craved but had always found so elusive.

When I was working on my first novel, 'The Quilter's Apprentice,' I knew I wanted to write about friendship, especially women's friendship and how women use friendship to sustain themselves and nurture each other.

Anyone who works on a quilt, who devotes her time, energy, creativity, and passion to that art, learns to value the work of her hands. And as any quilter will tell you, a quilter's quilting friends are some of the dearest, most generous, and most supportive people she knows.

For as long as I can remember, I've always been interested in issues of social justice, political freedom, and civil rights.

Over the years, I've traveled to many places for inspiration and research, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Carolina, California, and Hawaii.

Beginning writers are often advised to 'write what you know,' and since I knew about quilters - their quirks, their inside jokes, their disputes and their generosity, their quarrels and their kindnesses - the lives of quilters became a natural subject for me. Quilting wove together my two themes as completely and effortlessly as I could have hoped.

Elizabeth Keckley was a woman of remarkable strength, courage, perseverance, and dignity. She was exceptionally talented, but also very diligent and ambitious, and together those qualities enabled her to deliver herself from slavery and become a successful businesswoman.

I wanted to write about women and their work, and about valuing the work we, as women, choose to do. Too many women I knew disparaged their work. Many working mothers thought they ought to be home with their children instead, so they carried around too much guilt to enjoy much job satisfaction.

I was very fortunate that my first novel captivated the imaginations of so many readers who asked for a sequel. After that, one book led to another as I discovered other facets to my characters I wanted to investigate further.

I've always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I learned to read, I've wanted to share stories with others the way my favorite writers shared their stories with me.

In my contemporary stories, I write about today's quilters, inventive techniques they use, and how technology has influenced their art. Novels set in the past let me have fun researching patterns that were popular and fabrics and tools available to quilters through history.

People who assume my books are only about quilts obviously haven't read them! I've always known that my books are about quilters - in other words, people - rather than quilts or quilting.

Two quilters who have just met will be strangers only until their mutual passion for quilting is revealed. Then they can talk for hours like the best of friends.

'What I would give,' I thought, 'to have been present as Elizabeth Keckley measured Mary Lincoln for a new gown, to overhear their conversations on topics significant and ordinary, to observe the Lincoln White House from such an intimate perspective.'