Frequently Asked Questions
I loved Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker! What other historical novels have you written, and what eras do they feature?
Thank you! I loved writing Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, so I'm delighted that you loved reading it. My other historical novels include:
The Runaway Quilt (2002) — The story of two women, one a German immigrant and the other a fugitive slave, set in Pennsylvania during the antebellum era and the present.
The Sugar Camp Quilt (2005) — The Underground Railroad in antebellum Pennsylvania.
The Quilter's Homecoming (2007) — Southern California in the Roaring Twenties.
The Lost Quilter (2009) — Civil War era Charleston as witnessed from the perspective of a recaptured runaway slave.
The Union Quilters (2011) — The Pennsylvania home front and the battlefields of Pennsylvania and Virginia during the Civil War.
Sonoma Rose (2012) — California wine country during Prohibition.
What are the Elm Creek Quilts novels?
The Elm Creek Quilts novels are a series of books written by Jennifer Chiaverini. The series includes twenty titles:
- The Quilter's Apprentice (1999)
- Round Robin (2000)
- The Cross-Country Quilters (2001)
- The Runaway Quilt (2002)
- The Quilter's Legacy (2003)
- The Master Quilter (2004)
- The Sugar Camp Quilt (2005)
- The Christmas Quilt (2005)
- Circle of Quilters (2006)
- The Quilter's Homecoming (2007)
- The New Year's Quilt (2007)
- The Winding Ways Quilt (2008)
- The Quilter's Kitchen (2008)
- The Lost Quilter (2009)
- A Quilter's Holiday (2009)
- The Aloha Quilt (2010)
- The Union Quilters (Feb 2011)
- The Wedding Quilt (Nov 2011)
- Sonoma Rose (Feb 2012)
- The Giving Quilt (Oct 2012)
In most of the books, the main character is a master quilter named Sylvia Bergstrom Compson. She and her young friend Sarah McClure open a quilters' retreat at Sylvia's family estate, Elm Creek Manor. Sarah and Sylvia run the "quilt camp" with the help of their friends, the Elm Creek Quilters. Other books are historical, featuring Sylvia's ancestors and earlier residents of the Elm Creek Valley.
Are the Elm Creek Quilts novels mysteries? Are the Elm Creek Quilts novels romances?
The Elm Creek Quilts novels are neither mysteries nor romances. If a categorization is necessary, feel free to consider them either contemporary or historical fiction, depending upon the book.
Should I read the Elm Creek Quilts novels in the order you wrote them? If I read the Elm Creek Quilts novels out of order, will I still be able to understand them?
If you want to read the books in the order I wrote them, read them in the order listed above. However, since I wasn't planning to write a series, I have written each book so that it stands alone. On my book tour, I often hear longtime fans tell new readers that the books should be read in the order I wrote them, but other readers have told me that they have read the books out of order and were able to follow everything just fine. Ultimately it's up to the individual reader. Please note, however, that later books inevitably give away events that occurred in previous books. If you would like to read the books in something approximating chronological order, please note the following:
- The Christmas Quilt takes place in the interim between The Quilter's Apprentice and Round Robin.
- The Sugar Camp Quilt is set in 1849-1850, so it takes place before the events chronicled in Gerda's memoir in The Runaway Quilt.
- The Quilter's Homecoming is set mainly in 1925, but it branches off from a storyline introduced in The Christmas Quilt.
- The New Year's Quilt immediately follows The Quilter's Legacy.
- The Lost Quilter begins in 1859 immediately following the events chronicled in Gerda's memoir in The Runaway Quilt.
- A Quilter's Holiday takes place while Bonnie is in Hawaii in The Aloha Quilt.
- The Union Quilters begins in 1861 and runs mostly concurrently with The Lost Quilter.
- The Wedding Quilt takes place after A Quilter's Holiday and The Aloha Quilt, with flash forwards to the year 2028.
- Sonoma Rose is set in the Prohibition era immediately following the events of The Quilter's Homecoming.
- The Giving Quilt takes place when Sarah McClure's twins are four and a half years old.
What is the title of your next book and when will it be available?
Dutton will publish my twenty-second novel, The Spymistress, in October 2013. In August, C&T Publishing will release my sixth pattern book, Loyal Union Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts. In the fall, Plume will publish a reader's guide to the Elm Creek Quilts series titled An Elm Creek Quilts Companion, and plans are to have another new novel out at that time too.
Will there be any more books after these?
Absolutely! At the moment I'm planning to write another Civil War era novel. I'm not sure what will come after that, but I definitely intend to keep writing.
I am from France (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, etc.) and I have many friends who would love to read your books, but they cannot read English. I would be honored if you would chose me to be your translator so that my friends can read your novels in French (German, Dutch, Spanish, etc.). Would you please hire me for this task?
I appreciate your eagerness to translate my books, and I too wish my books were available in more languages. Unfortunately, it is not a simple matter of me choosing a translator. In order to have one of my novels translated into French (German, Dutch, Spanish, etc.), a French (German, Dutch, Spanish, etc.) publisher must purchase the foreign translation rights from my American publisher. The publisher that purchases those rights hires the translator to create the French (German, Dutch, Spanish, etc.) edition of the book. If a French (German, Dutch, Spanish, etc.) publisher thought my books would sell in your country, they would probably be willing to purchase the translation rights. If you and your friends would like to read my novels in your native language, I encourage you to contact publishers in your country and convince them that you would buy them. If they are overwhelmed with requests, they might be pursuaded to purchase the translation rights—so it's up to readers like you to make it happen.
How do you pronounce your name?
Shev er ee nee. (Yes, I know the correct Italian pronounciation is Kee ahv er EE nee, but that's how my in-laws say it and it was their name first.)
Do you quilt?
You mean it isn't obvious? Yes, I quilt.
Where can I find pictures of the quilts from the novels?
You can view pictures of these quilts and several more of my projects in the Quilts Gallery. More photos and patterns are included in my five pattern books (plus one, forthcoming in August 2013) from C&T Publishing:
- Elm Creek Quilts (2002)
- Return to Elm Creek (2004)
- More Elm Creek Quilts (2008)
- Sylvia's Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts (2009)
- Traditions from Elm Creek Quilts (2011)
- The Loyal Union Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts (August 2013)
Why don't you include photos of the quilts in the novels?
The decision to include illustrations or photographs in a novel is entirely up to the publisher. As the author I have no say in the matter. Beginning with The Runaway Quilt, my publishers have provided pictures of the quilts on illustrated endpapers of the hardcover editions. Photos of these and the other quilts are also featured on this web site in the Quilts Gallery. An eight page photo insert featuring important quilts from the series will be provided in An Elm Creek Quilts Companion as well.
Why don't you put your books on tape?
Oh, but I have! (Well, some are on tape and others are available in the format I personally prefer, CD.) Audiobook versions of my novels are currently available from bookstores, online booksellers, and Recorded Books.
Will the Elm Creek Quilts novels ever be made into movies?
The movie rights to all of my books are available, but since no production company has bought them, it is very unlikely there will ever be an Elm Creek Quilts movie.
Is Elm Creek Manor a real place?
Elm Creek Manor is fictional, but the red barn on the estate is based upon a real barn in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania that has been restored and turned into a theater-in-the-round for a local community theater group, the State College Community Theatre. The fictional town of Waterford, Pennsylvania is based upon State College, Pennsylvania -- but Waterford is much smaller, just as Waterford College is much smaller than Penn State.
I hate to break this to you, but there is a real town of Waterford, Pennsylvania.
Yes...so I've heard. Unfortunately, I didn't find out until it was too late to change The Quilter's Apprentice. (Keep in mind that this was before Google.) If it helps, the origin of the town's name is explained in The Runaway Quilt.
Where can I find patterns for the quilts the characters make in the Elm Creek Quilts novels?
Patterns for the quilts featured in the first four Elm Creek Quilts novels, as well as other quilts inspired by favorite characters from the series, are available in my book Elm Creek Quilts, published by C&T. Return to Elm Creek, my second pattern book, includes patterns for quilts from The Quilter's Legacy, The Master Quilter, and several of the earlier novels. My third pattern book, More Elm Creek Quilts, was published by C&T in Spring 2008 and includes quilts from The Sugar Camp Quilt, The Christmas Quilt, Circle of Quilters, The Quilter's Homecoming, and The New Year's Quilt. Patterns for the 140 blocks in Sylvia's Bridal Sampler are provided in my fourth pattern book, Sylvia's Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts. My most recent patter book, Traditions from Elm Creek Quilts, was published in October 2011 and includes quilts from The Winding Ways Quilt through The Wedding Quilt. Instructions for the Loyal Union Sampler from The Union Quilters will be published in a new pattern book from C&T in August 2013.
Didn't I hear that you're designing Elm Creek Quilts fabric for Red Rooster Fabrics?
Since I can't attend Elm Creek Quilt Camp, are there any real quilt camps out there?
Yes, there are! Please consult your local quilt shop or quilt guild for suggestions, or check out the advertisements in quilt magazines.
How can I obtain an autographed copy of one of your books?
The best way is to attend one of my author appearances. Please see the list of events on my online schedule.
I checked your schedule page, but I don't live near any of those cities. When will you be coming to my town?
My publisher selects the cities I will visit on my book tours, which coincide with the release of a new book. They choose the cities based upon invitations they receive from bookstores and libraries in the area. If your local bookstore would like to be added to the schedule, they should contact Dutton's publicity department.
Where can I find the Bergstrom family's apple strudel recipe described in The Christmas Quilt?
It's included in my recipe collection published in October 2008, The Quilter's Kitchen.
Am I wrong to hear echoes of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in the first chapter of The Sugar Camp Quilt?
You are absolutely correct, and it's a relief to know that someone other than my sister (a librarian and former English teacher) was able to recognize it. Jane Austen is my favorite author, and I was inspired to pay homage to her in The Sugar Camp Quilt after discovering that she, too, was a quilter. In a May 1811 letter to her sister, Cassandra, Jane Austen mentions collecting scraps of fabric for "the patchwork," and a quilt that Jane made with her sister and mother hangs in her former bedroom in the Jane Austen Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, England. This was the first time I included a literary homage in any of my books, and I realize that not everyone "gets it," but most readers, fortunately, recognize it as a time-honored literary technique. Please don't write to me in a tizzy if you disagree.
My copy of your book has pages missing and/or out of order! I'm so upset I think my head is going to explode! What should I do?
Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong with the publication machinery and misprints occur. I understand how frustrating this can be when you're in the middle of a story, because it's happened to me as a reader too. If your book has pages missing and/or out of order, return it to the place of purchase for an exchange or refund.
Do you want me to tell you where all the mistakes are in your books? I've been keeping a list.
If you've found a typo within the first few months after the hardcover publication, please let me know so it can be corrected in time for the paperback edition. If you've found a typo several years after the book was published, believe me, I've heard about it already.
Are you related to Darren Chiaverini, wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons?
Not as far as I know. If I am, it's only by marriage.
How about Ryan Chiaverini, former sports reporter for ABC7 in Chicago and current host of Windy City Live?
My husband might be, but only distantly. I might pretend to be his cousin if it would get me and my books on his show!