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Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010

'Knit in Comfort' Weaves a Winning Tale

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It is just plain refreshing to sit back and relax with a good book. And when it comes to a good book, Knit in Comfort by Milwaukee author Isabel Sharpe has all of the right materials effortlessly woven into a novel filled with warmth, sass and intrigue. A knitting circle in small-town Comfort, N.C., is the catalyst for friendships, secrets and self-discovery.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and how many books do you have under your belt?

I always wanted to be an actress or a singer, but it just never panned out. I tried on the corporate world for size and that didn’t fit. While staying at home with my first-born son, I nearly went out of my mind with boredom, so I started writing. I’ve written three novels for HarperCollins and 27 for Harlequin.

Now I’m going to make you pick a favorite.

Tryst of Fate would have to be my favorite, because it was set in Maine, one of my favorite places in the world. But Knit in Comfort is a close second. I enjoyed exploring the world of knitting and researching the Shetland Islands for the flashback story.

Are you a knitter, or did you just pick a hobby out of a hat?

My mother taught me, so I am a knitter—but a binge-purge knitter. The book inspired me to attempt knitting lace. But lace is extremely complicated!

I have to admit I was pretty skeptical about reading a book with a knitting agenda, but I was instantly hooked. Are the experiences of the characters based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Well, most people’s lives aren’t quite theatrical enough. I grab a trait here or there, but I was able to relate to the feelings of not being connected with another person and feeling stuck. Actually, I think most people have felt that way at some point.

Yes, I think your book is easy to connect with on so many levels—the bad habits we all have when we assume, expect or hesitate. What do you have to say to your readers out there?

The book is about making choices. What do you do if they aren’t the right ones? Everybody is challenged by this idea, whether for a job, a marriage or just about anything. In the book, Megan is trapped in her life and Elizabeth comes along and helps her find a way out. Choices are fluid, and Elizabeth reflects this ability to those who do not have the courage to change.

You can meet Isabel Sharpe at her book-signing event on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. at Boswell Book Co., 2559 N. Downer Ave.