Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have Janet Fox, author of Forgiven and its companion novel Faithful discussing with us the the character of Kula Baker!
Synopsis: Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.
“Kula Baker, Outlaw’s Daughter:
Understanding When to Let Go”
Growing up in a wilderness camp with an outlaw for a father and his all-male gang for a “family” cannot have been easy. I have to hand it to Kula’s father, Nat, for not being absentee, for not bringing women into the camp, and for trying to educate Kula as best he could. Nevertheless, Kula grew up with some major chips on her shoulders: no mother for sympathy or girl-talk; not much money; lots of hard work. Kula was understandably envious of her half-sister Maggie [main character from Faithful], who seemed to have everything Kula did not. So when it came to her future Kula manufactured big dreams – dreams of rich men, dreams of being cared for, dreams of a life of lazy luxury.
As I wrote Forgiven I tried to put myself in Kula’s place, and the fact of the matter is, her place is a tough one. She’s a feisty and determined character and she comes by those traits honestly. She worked hard from a young age to supplement her father’s income; she was expected to take care of herself. The only thing I expect Kula Baker had on those long, cold, winter nights in a tent in Yellowstone was her dreams.
What dreams do we hold onto, and what dreams must we let go? And how do we know when to let dreams die? Tough questions for any age, but especially tough for a teen.
I think, at heart, we all need personal dreams, dreams of self. Kula may think she dreams that she’ll find a rich man to support her, but really she dreams of a way out of drudgery. Her personal dream is to escape the drudgery of slaving for others without recognition or acknowledgement. Once she sees that what she “thinks” is slavery is nothing compared to “real” slavery, her dreams shift. Kula begins to see that the way out of drudgery is to give something back, to work for a higher cause (in her case, to help free the girls held as slaves.) At that moment, Kula has let go of her original dream and shifted to a dream both richer and nobler. Kula may, in fact, achieve the comfort level she desired but now it will be because she has learned how to earn it by giving back.
The trick is to discover our true personal dream and our nobler self and not be stuck with shallow early dreams. The real trick is knowing when to let go of those earlier dreams and lean out and take hold of a richer and more meaningful life.
Janet's website and blog Through the Wardrobe, as well as my review of Faithful and Janet's interview last year! Stay tuned later I'll be posting my review!
Also Janet is doing something really neat in conjunction with her book's release. Here are details:
Janet Fox will donate a portion of the proceeds from FORGIVEN to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. To learn more about what you can do to help agencies that actively fight the exploitation and trafficking of children, visit the following websites:
And I want to thank Janet (for getting this guest post done so quickly!) and Blue Slip Media for helping set this up!