Read Love is the Thread: A Knitting Friendship by Leslie Moïse, Ph.D.-fReado
The Story Behind This Book
Leslie Moise decided to become a writer at age nine when she bought the first “grown up book” she ever read, Little Women. Before she finished reading the book (for the first of several thousand times), Moise recognized that while Louisa May Alcott and her creation, Jo March, were not one and the same, the urge the author and her character felt to write and create united them. Moise decided she wanted to write as well. Though she had no old tin kitchen, sofa with a round cushion, or pet rat like Jo, the little girl made do with the corner of the family's sun room. There she sat down with a notebook and pencil to write a rhyming poem, fortunately lost to posterity.
As an adult, Moise continued to hone her craft at writers conferences and retreats as varied as the Sandhills Writers Conference in Augusta, GA and a delightful two weeks at the Irish Writers Center in Dublin, Ireland. Between conferences, she was sustained by the Louisville Writers' Club meetings every other week. Moise earned her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with a focus on writing and culture, and returned to the University of Louisville in her early thirties for her master's degree in Humanities. Her doctorate from the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette centered on folklore, Nineteenth Century British literature, and women's fairy tales, a background that served her well during the creation of her young adult novel Selkie Song, set
on Maryland's Eastern shore.
Though her fascination with folklore and fairy tales informs the novel, so did a friendship with former long distance ocean swimmer and Baltimore resident, Kristine Rasmussen. Once a dweller on the Chesapeake Bay, Rasmussen guided Moise in her choice of the novel's setting, and its development. Attending a SCBWI retreat with Louise Haws further sparked the novel's development.
Moise moved a great deal over the following years, with time spent in the Pennsylvania mountains, in the Blue Ridge of Virginia, and her five years in Cajun country. She and Rasmussen remained good friends
in spite of the years and distance between them. After Moise graduated with her Ph.D., she joined Rasmussen and a group of women friends every summer on the Delaware shore, where Rasmussen taught her to knit.
When Kristine died of breast cancer, Moise jotted down memories from the friendship, certain she would never forget Kristine, but that afraid she might forget some of the little moments that form the foundation of true friendships. She intended to email copies of certain anecdotes to some of Kristine's other friends, but several months into the exercise, Moise looked at the inch high stack of manuscript. She recognized her jotted memories as a work in
progress—a memoir. Though she had never intended to write a work of nonfiction, Moise contemplated how the vignettes fit together, and developed the narrative arc of what became her first published book,
Love is the Thread.