Irmgarde Brown

Sister Jane was awarded Best Books of 2021 INDIE by Kirkus Reviews
Harford County Living named Irmgarde Brown, Artist of the Week Jan 24, 2023

Is This Book About Me?

Downtown at dusk

When I give my little “elevator” speech about Sister Jane, I feel compelled to mention that she is, a) an older woman and b) grew up in a small town.

One friend immediately asked me, “what’s older?” I’m afraid to answer that. I know, whether I like it or not, that I am considered older. My worst birthday year was not when I turned fifty, but fify-five. At that point (although I think this category has since changed), I would be in the great miasma of fifty-five and up. I would be in that last check box. Now, if that doesn’t make a poor girl feel old, I don’t know what does. I’m curious what you all think? And although the last check box has changed, I’ve managed to grow into that one as well.

As for the second statement, I can attest I did not grow up in a small town. Well, that’s a bit of a fib. You see, I’m an Indiana girl (Go Hoosiers!), and I grew up in Indianapolis. When I was coming up, most people joked about Indy being a “cornfield with lights.” Not fair, I know. Certainly, today, it’s quite the cosmopolitan city. But here’s my truth about small towns: I live in one now and I have since 1986. Don’t get confused however, I am not “from” here. Most residents who grow up in a small town probably feel the same way: if you’re not born here, you’re not from here. End of story. 

I never thought I’d fall in love with small town living, but I have. I come by my small city via the big ones: Chicago, New York, and Atlanta. But there is a comfort here and I seriously doubt I will ever move away. The big question is whether my kids will rush away or stay? So far, it’s two to one.

But I have strayed from my initial question. Is this book about me? I suppose, because I know a little about growing older, I have endowed Jane with that knowledge. Where she grew up in the church, I came to my faith late in life. We both love cats, but she has canaries while I prefer dogs to accompany my cats. We are both widows. She lives alone, my house is still full. I think my adult children are nicer than hers. Jane’s faith morphs in about 6 weeks and mine took over thirty-five years to transcend the basics. I am no miracle worker.

Every writer gives a part of themselves to their characters. I believe I live a bit in all of them. I suppose I’ll lose some readers when they hit the swear words, but I was that too, back in the day. Very few men I know, even today, have cleaned up their language. Fair warning.

People who know me, my Beta readers, say they can hear my voice in the book. So, to that end, I guess I welcome you all into my head if you choose to read Sister Jane when it comes out in late June.