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Daughters of Seferina is dedicated to Mary Ruth Fox, who has been my friend since we were six years old. In 1993, when I was working on my first draft of the book, I sent her a few chapters to preview. Years later, when I informed her that I had picked up the book again, she was delighted to resume the roles of critic and cheerleader.

I’d send her several chapters at a time via snail mail, and she’d write back with her inevitably helpful response. She wasn’t afraid to tell me if the work didn’t live up to my usual standards. I recall that in one chapter, I’d made a reference to baked beans. She pointed out that I had spelled it baked bans.

Mary Ruth frequently commented on how real the characters were to her, and she loved all of Seferina’s daughters. But one day, I received a letter from her that said, “I know I’m not supposed to hate anyone. But I HATE Olan Amstutz!”

I always try to make my characters multi-faceted, encompassing both light and darkness in their personalities. My unsavory guys usually possess a few redeeming qualities, as did Olan Amstutz. But the members of my writers’ group pointed out an exception to this rule in Daughters of Seferina. Terence Buckwalter seems to have completely given himself over to the dark side. He’s someone to steer clear of, that’s for sure.

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