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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Author Stopping at St. James Library

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  • “Stillwater” author Nicole Helget will be at the St. James Library Monday to discuss her latest book, which is set during the Civil War era in Stillwater, Minn.
    Anne Lundquist, the library’s assistant director, said Helget’s book is historical fiction, and it concerns two brothers separated at birth.
    “Clement and Angel, a pair of newborn twins, are abandoned and then separated in the logging town of Stillwater; as they grow, various mothers of good and evil ilk raise them at a time when the young United States, too, grows in ways good and evil, pitting industrial ingenuity and personal ambition against mother nature and inherent human freedom,” Helget said. “Though war, its battles, statistics, maps, and colorful characters, often take up the pages of our history books, we should remember the world doesn’t stand still while we war.”
    Helget was born in 1976, she grew up on a dairy farm, and she has six children, Lundquist explained. She’s already completed a memoir, “Summer of Ordinary Ways.”
    “ I come from industrious people, (and) I associate with industrious people,” Helget said. “I have a great affection for work, and, as any of my children or students will tell you, I go on exhaustively about the value of it.”
    She writes mostly about Minnesota, because she’s lived in the state her whole life, and she has a genuine affection for those who populate the region--preferring “cold-weather people.”
    “I'm comfortable with their disarming concentration, their bull-headed perseverance, stone-faced irony, and white-knuckled work ethic,” she said. “Our growing season is very short, (so) our ancestors moved with the seasons, hurried to plant, tend, harvest, and preserve between the thaw and frost, (and) that pressure and urgency creates tension.”
    Helget argues that tension is a pioneer to ingenuity and art.
    “Our citizens have traditionally been very supportive of funding projects that provide stewardship to the environment and to the arts,” she said. “The support keeps some of our best talent from leaving and also attracts some of the country's best talents to our state.”
    Helget’s time at the library begins at 7 p.m. Monday.
    For more information on Helget and on her book, please see the full story in today's print edition of the St. James Plaindealer. 

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