"Bottomland"--A Literary Mystery from the Iowa Plains

Jan 11, 2018

This program originally aired on April 20, 2016.

In her new novel "Bottomland," (Grove Press), Ames native Michelle Hoover writes about a family's struggles after the disappearance of two of their daughters.  She tells host Charity Nebbe that the story was inspired by a long forgotten photograph of her own family.

Hoover says, "We were going through some old family photographs, and my Aunt Irene showed me a photo of my grandmother's family.  Most of these people I didn't know, but I'd heard stories about.  I'm sure I had met a few of them at one time or another.  I noticed there were two young girls sitting next to a stern-looking man."

Hoover went on, "What I've gotten of the story is just bits and pieces and confusing things--that both girls disappeared and then came home or that one of them came home, but I couldn't get their faces out of my mind--actually all the faces of the several people in the photograph.  I started to pursue that question--what happened to these girls?"

During this Talk of Iowa program, Charity speaks with Hoover about her family, teaching herself German syntax and her creative process in writing this second novel, which is set in rural Iowa shortly after World War I.