Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom is a remarkable debut novel, detailing faith, family and love in all its forms. She sat down with Helen Raptis to talk about where her amazingly detailed characters sprang from and why writing for her is a labor of love.
Synopsis of Steal the North:
Emmy Nolan is a sheltered and introverted sixteen-year-old living in Sacramento with her mom, Kate, when a phone call comes from an aunt she never knew existed. Fifteen years earlier, Kate had abandoned her only sibling, Beth, fleeing their tiny eastern Washington town and the fundamentalist Baptist church that had condemned her as a whore. Beth, who's pregnant for what she knows is the last time after countless miscarriages, believes her only hope to delivering the baby is Emmy's participation in a faith healing ceremony.
Emmy reluctantly goes. Despite uncovering her mom's desperate and painful past, she soon finds she has come home--immediately developing a strong bond with her aunt Beth and feeling destined to the rugged landscape. Then Emmy meets Reuben Tonasket, the Native American boy who lives next door. Though passion-filled and resilient, their love story is eerily mirrored by the generation before them, who fear that their own mistakes are doomed to repeat themselves in Emmy and Reuben.
This is a marvelously imaginative and deeply felt debut, one whose characters live at nearly intolerable levels of vulnerability. Yet, as fragile as they may seem, Bergstrom has imbued them with a tremendous inner strength, proving that the question of home is a spiritual one, that getting over the past is hope for the future, and that the bond between family is truly unbreakable.
For more information on Steal the North, visit Heather's website.