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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Author Event with Kathy Leonard Czepiel & Giveaway!!!

Back in July I had the opportunity to interview author Kathy Leonard Czepiel on the blog for her debut release of A Violet Season. The cover immediately drew me in and when I found out that she teaches at the university I graduated from (and did when I went there too) I was very excited to get my hands on said book (which I still haven’t read yet!). So you can imagine my delight when my favorite indie bookseller, RJ Julia, was hosting an event with none other than, Czepiel herself. I wanted to share some of the insights I learned at her book talk (and stay tuned at the end for an awesome giveaway).

First, did anyone know that there was a booming violet industry in the Hudson valley in New York just prior to the turn of the 20th century and the early decades of it? I didn’t, and neither did the author who grew up in one of the towns known for its violets! For an area know as the worlds grower of violets it’s amazing that so many of the residents don’t even know about the history literally in their backyards.

I learned some interesting things about how violets were harvested – see a picture below – these pickers would lay on very narrow boards all day and hand pick these violets which would be sent as far west as the Mississippi River. It doesn’t look to comfortable, that’s for sure.
Violet harvesting in the traditional method

The violet industry began to taper off in the late 1930’s as tastes changed to lighter clothing that wouldn’t support a heavy corsage of violets, but the industry still managed to limp along until the last of the greenhouses closed in the 1970’s. Today, some of the greenhouses are still used for growing new types of flowers.
A typical violet greenhouse view

The author had the opportunity to speak with descendants of some of these violet growers from this booming era and learn about how they were traditionally grown and see some of the greenhouses. Nothing like being immersed in the experience!

It was wonderful getting to meet the author – she actually remembered me from her stop here back in July and we talked about the University and blogging – she was very nice.

If you want to check out my interview with the author, visit this page.  If you want to know more about the violet industry - there was a film made about it, called Sweet Violets - which you can watch a clip of below. I love learning about our local hidden history!

If you are interested in a chance to win this book, which I had signed by the author, enter the Rafflecopter below. Open to US and Canada residents only – last day to enter is October 5th. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. violet growings history very interesting.

  2. What an interesting occupation. I'm interested to see what violet growing is like and the flower industry in the story.

  3. So excited about this giveaway! Haven't seen many for this book thanks!

  4. Thanks, Heather, for the recap. And it was so nice of you to come all the way down to Madison for my event last week. Keep up the good blogging!

    1. It was quite enjoyable - thank for sharing your book with us!

  5. This sounds like a good book, I like violets and did not know there was a big violet industry.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  6. I didn't know anything about the flower industry-would like to read more! Interesting author interview.


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