The Threadbare Heart Interview

on May 13 | in Products | by | with 160 Comments

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

This might be a first here at Sew,Mama,Sew! Today we’re giving away two copies of The Threadbare Heart by Jennie Nash, a fiction novel full of drama, interesting relationships and, of course, fabric! You can learn more about the book (and read the whole first chapter) at Jennie is a writing instructor, and has two previous novels and three memoirs including The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming and Other Lessons I Learned From Breast Cancer. Comment on this post to win your own copy of The Threadbare Heart, and enjoy our interview with author Jennie Nash.

SMS: Congratulations on the publication of your latest book, The Threadbare Heart. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up and I had a hard time putting it down!
Jennie: Thank you!

SMS: I really appreciate how you explored the relationships between Lily, the main character, and her mother, husband and children throughout the book. In looking at your website and reading a bit about your previous works of fiction it sounds like you’re returning to a theme of intense mother/daughter relationships. Can you tell us a little about this theme in your writing?
Jennie: I am fascinated by family dynamics of all kinds, but my stories do seem to always gravitate back to the mother-daughter relationship. It doesn’t actually come from any dramatic mother-daughter dynamic in my own life. My mom was a traditional housewife, who became a travel agent, and has a very full life of her own. We get along very well. My relationship with my own two daughters –- who are 14 and 17 — is fantastic. My tendency to write about mothers and daughters stems, rather, from a belief in “mother power,” which I felt very keenly when my kids were small. I can remember being hyper consciousness about my role as a “gatekeeper” in their lives. I used to literally think, What if they were meant to be a great dancer and I never take them to dance class? What if their great calling is to be an animator and I restrict them from watching too many Disney movies? I was aware that my attitude and my actions in any given moment could directly impact who they became. I was also aware of the flip side of this equation – that if I messed something up, I’d be to blame forever.

This directly relates to the creation of fictional characters. I get into my characters through their work or their hobbies – through the things that they do every day. That’s the window through which I start to imagine their life. I usually start out my research for a book thinking about a particular activity – photography, or fabric collecting, for example. As soon as I begin to consider how my character got into the activity, or why she quit it, or why she loves it, or why she hates it, I can’t help but think about mothers. Mothers are so often there for those defining moments of our lives – the first time we pick up a camera, or wander into a fabric store, or take a ballet class. They witness the spark that can ignite a passion – and they have the power to either fuel it or squash it down. Right there, you have so much room for drama! Because what if the mother never got to do the thing SHE loved? Or what if she did, but didn’t have the talent to do it well? Or what if she did and she DID have the talent, and she thinks such talent is the key to a good life?

In The Threadbare Heart, I began by thinking that Lily, the main character, was going to be a textile historian. Don’t ask me why – it’s just what I had in my head. I know nothing about textiles, so I set out to learn about it. I read a number of fascinating books, and ended up having Lily be a mathematician who collects fabrics instead of a fabric expert. As soon as I started thinking about WHY Lily loved to collect fabric, and where she STARTED this hobby, and what it means to her, I started thinking about her mother’s relationship to fabric, and to Lily, and before I knew it, I had a mother who was in the business of cranking out high end pure white sheets for four star hotels, and a daughter who liked to poke around flea markets and collect dusty old “rags.” And ta-da! – not only did I have a surface reason for conflict, I now had two women with two very different ways of moving through the world. Which is to say that I had a story.

SMS: The story includes a lot of sadness, but there’s also a lot of hope, growth and love too. What do you hope readers take away from The Threadbare Heart?
Jennie: Well, what you said above – that you had a hard time putting the book down – would have to be at the top of my list. I always hope my readers have a good time with my stories. Life is busy, and fast-paced and not always fun, and sitting down with a book should be a pleasure. Another thing I hope readers take away is an appreciation for the role love has played in their lives. Love doesn’t always last, it’s not always constant, but I believe it changes us for the better.

SMS: It was really clear to me from early on in The Threadbare Heart that you must have an appreciation for fabric and sewing. The reader’s glimpses into Lily’s life are richer through your use of the language of fabric. You even threw a little Anna Maria Horner mention in there! Does fabric and sewing play a role in your life?
Jennie: I have to admit that this question is making me laugh with joy – and also blush with a little bit of embarrassment – because the answer is no. I am not a seamstress or a quilter or even a fabric collector. I mean, I can sew. I can hem pants and make a simple skirt and I once made a Darth Vadar cape for Halloween. The thing is that I have a great respect for creative work and the people who do it, and I love every kind of store that serves these people – yarn stores and craft stores and fabric stores. My characters almost always have an artistic bent. One was a photographer, another was a painter. The character I am playing with for my next book seems to want to do something with music – which will be a whole new area to study. I happen to think there are universal constants of creativity – that if you know what it means to create with words, you can also know what it means to create with fabric. I love imagining through fiction the things that I can’t do very well in real life. And I really am very pleased that you think I captured something true about working with fabric.

I am honored to be hosting a blog about fabric, stories and life at It’s a fascinating way to explore the similarities between storytelling and sewing. If any of your readers would like to share the stories of their stash, I’d be happy to welcome them on the blog.

SMS: Do you have tubs and tubs of fabric like Lily (and many of us here at Sew,Mama,Sew!)?
Jennie: Are you going to make me confess again!!? In my garage, I have tubs of earthquake food (I live in L.A.), and tubs of camping equipment, and tubs of American Girl dolls my kid’s have outgrown, and tubs of children’s books we will never toss. But no fabric! What’s interesting, though, is my older daughter has just decided to go to school 3,000 miles away, and I keep thinking about making her a quilt. I’ve never made a quilt in my entire life, so it must be my fiction rubbing off on my life!

SMS: You’ve moved from writing non-fiction to fiction in recent years. What prompted that change in your writing?
Jennie: There were several motivations. One was that I got tired of being constrained by what was “true.” It didn’t feel as creative as I wanted to be. The other was that I finally gave myself permission to write fiction. This was a long, hard fight. My father was a college professor, and a brilliant conceptual thinker and a writer of textbooks that are still being used in the classroom forty years after they were first published. I always had it in my mind that a “real” writer is an academic writer – meaning that, before they put a word on the page, they go out and learn more than anyone else knows about a subject or they approach the material in a way that no one has done before. I wasn’t technically doing that in my non-fiction work (I was writing memoir, and magazine articles), but it felt closer in spirit to the work that was my model than writing fiction. It’s taken me all these years to believe that writing a story – a plain, old fictional narrative – was an acceptable thing to do. And to believe that I could do it.

Thanks, Jennie!

Pin It

Related Posts

160 Responses to The Threadbare Heart Interview

  1. Fleurette says:

    Lovely interview, Ive never heard of this author and would love to read her book!

  2. Karen Green says:

    I love to read. I would love to win this book.

  3. I love to read, and I love to make quilts, so this book sounds like a winner!

  4. Darlene Strickland says:

    That is a great interview and sounds like a book I would live to read. I love this blog!!!

  5. georgia says:

    Sounds like a great book! Can’t wait to read it.

  6. Maeve says:

    Sounds like a good summer read . . . thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Heidi says:

    That sounds like a great book to read.

  8. Pam says:

    Sounds interesting …and an author that is new to me!

  9. Amy Harry says:

    I really, really, REALLY want to win this time. Please pick me.

  10. Samantharae says:

    What a generous thing for you to do. Thank you. I would love to win.

  11. Bev Baird says:

    Sounds like a great summer read! Great giveaway!

  12. Betsy M says:

    Oh, this book sounds good. I hope to win or I may have to go out and find it!

  13. Fresh says:

    Hey, I have a great idea!! Why don’t we, all of us, contribute blocks to a quilt for her daughter, and/or help her put it together, and /or donate fabric for the quilt–we can give back a little for the gift of her writing!P.S. I would love to win a copy of the book…

  14. Diane says:

    This sounds so great! What an excellent giveaway gift!

  15. tammie says:

    i would love to read this book!!

  16. Pia says:

    Books and fabric — what’s not to love?

  17. Claudia says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book!
    Kind regards from Germany

  18. Liz L says:

    Sounds very interesting!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Rachel Bates says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to hear the creative person show love for the creative in story form.

  20. Kimberly says:

    Wow. Sounds like a fantastic read!

  21. AllyB says:

    Nice interview. Thanks for posting this. I have to head to Amazon now to put this on my wish list.

  22. Debbie Bishop says:

    Sounds like another good read. And thanks for the interview.

  23. Looks like an interesting read – I’m in…

  24. Kelli says:

    Oooh, always looking for new reads–especially for summer days by the pool. I will check this one out for sure!

  25. Rochelle says:

    Sounds like a captivating book!

  26. Megan Presley says:

    What an interesting interview! The book sounds so neat (as does the author)!

  27. Steph W says:

    Yay for the book!

  28. Lynn D says:

    I’d love to win, but even if I don’t this will be a must read for me.

  29. Amy says:

    Love to hear about a novel involving fabric! Can’t wait to read this.

  30. Barb B says:

    I really need to read this book – combining my two passions: reading and fabric.

  31. Debbie says:

    Love to read this book!

  32. elsa says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book! love that Jennie is inspired to make a quilt for her daughter! thanks for being so generous with a book giveaway!

  33. Joy says:

    Looks interesting!

  34. Laurel says:

    Sounds fascinating

  35. Carol says:

    Thank you! Sounds wonderful, I love to read.

  36. This sounds great, it is going on my reading list for sure.

  37. Colleen Butler says:

    Thank you for the giveaway. I enjoyed reading the interview and would love to read the book.

  38. Camila F. says:

    Sounds amazing! The cover is super pretty. I hope I win! 🙂

  39. Vicki says:

    I’d love to win this book! Thanks for the chance:)

  40. Colette says:

    Sounds like a FANTASTIC read!

  41. Melissa says:

    I am always up for a good read. Thanks for the suggestion!

  42. Teresa says:

    This novel sounds fascinating. A great interview too!

  43. Very exiting.

  44. peggyann says:

    enjoyed the interview and would love to win the book

  45. Ethne says:

    I’ll love to be in the draw please – oh how I need to find new authors (currently re reading books from my ‘library’)

  46. carlyk says:

    If I don’t win, I think this will still be one to buy:)

  47. Tina L. says:

    Sound like a nice relaxing summer read.

  48. Erin says:

    Farbic hoarding? Must read this! lol

  49. Heck yeah. Sign me up for a free book any day!

  50. Jennifer says:

    This sounds like a great book. I’m adding it to my reading list! Thanks!

  51. Tina says:

    I cant wait to read it, I just got a Kindle.

  52. Dawn says:

    I think the book sounds delightful, the interview certainly was. The author looks like she could be my sister – seriously.

  53. Carrie Overman says:

    I’d like to read this!

  54. What a great interview! I’ve heard a lot about this book and would LOVE to read it!

    Thank you!

  55. Lori K says:

    I would love to read this book!

  56. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t wait to read the book! A textile historian sounds like an amazing job! Maybe in my next life…

  57. jm says:

    Sounds great!

  58. DebbieKL says:

    Sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks!

  59. Sara says:

    This was a really cool post and so thanks for that!

  60. Becky says:

    we’re headed to the beach in a few weeks…what a perfect read for those breezy days!

  61. Lisa H. says:

    Sounds like a good book!

  62. Christine M says:

    Sounds like a great read. I love reading anything that talks about sewing!

  63. It sure would be fun to have some new fiction to read this summer!

  64. Deb says:

    This books sounds so interesting! I have become more and more aware of “crafty” fiction books being published which is just excellent!

  65. Wendy D. P. says:

    Thanks for posting this interview – looks great!

  66. naomig says:

    I can’t wait to read this book! And I will be reading it, whether I win it, or buy it. 🙂

  67. Kristin says:

    Wow, it sounds like a really great book. I am definitely putting it on my to read list.

  68. Sounds like one to add to my summer reading list. Nice interview!

  69. Sandy says:

    I need a good book to take to the beach!

  70. Munaiba says:

    The book sounds fascinating. Congratulations on publishing it and thanks for the interview.

  71. Liz says:

    fun! i like books that reference fabrics/sewing/quilting.

  72. Jessie says:

    sounds like an interesting book. thanks for sharing.

  73. jenn says:

    how cool to win a book with someone who has the same name as me!

  74. Joan Brown says:

    Sounds like a really good book for our book club.

  75. angelina says:

    nice interview too::

  76. angelina says:

    looks like a great book.

  77. Jen says:

    I always love a good book! I would love to win!

  78. Lindsey says:

    Ahh…my other passion besides quilting and knitting…reading. Sounds like a good book!

  79. Patti Johnson says:

    Thanks for the heads up on a new book! I hope I win it & if not I will be on the look out for it to get at the local library!

  80. Maureen says:

    Great! Another writing about my crafts. There are other authers writing about knitting (D.Macomber) which I also do.

  81. anne says:

    Thank you for sharing, love to discover a new author and sounds like this could be a great read.

  82. Beth Ellen says:

    Hey, I have a great idea!! Why don’t we, all of us, contribute blocks to a quilt for her daughter, and/or help her put it together, and /or donate fabric for the quilt–we can give back a little for the gift of her writing!
    P.S. I would love to win a copy of the book…

  83. Laura L. says:

    A thought provoking interview. I’m ready for a good read and this one looks great!

  84. Sounds like a great read!

  85. Sara says:

    I love reading authors that are new to me and this sounds like a great book!

  86. Kylie says:

    A chance to combine two of my favourite pass times – sewing and reading! Count me in! (My other blog is a book blog!)

  87. Katie says:

    I totally believe in mother power! And I love mother-daughter stories.

  88. Sounds like a great read; can’t wait to check it out. Nice interview too.

  89. Rachael says:

    What a great interview. I’ll add the book to my list of books to read.

  90. upstatelisa says:

    intriguing…. hope I win!

  91. Mama Lusco says:

    I’d love to read this one. Thanks!

  92. Lindsey says:

    Sounds like a good book…I want to read it for sure. Great interview too.

  93. ~Helena~ says:

    Sounds like a fun read, can’t wait to check it out.

  94. Laura S says:

    So exciting to discover new books and authors! This looks a little treat!

  95. Ang says:

    I’d love to read this one!

  96. Lynnette says:

    I’ve been looking for some new authors and good reads, thanks for sharing.

  97. Nancey says:

    Would love to read this!

  98. mamamouseiam says:

    No fabric stash? Shocking! If I win this book, I’ll trade a tub of fabric for it! 😉

  99. Amy W says:

    What a lovely sounding book!

  100. Elly says:

    Thanks for posting this interview! I would love to read this.

  101. Sounds like a good read!! Putting it on my list of summer books to get lost in, whether I win a copy or not! Thanks!

  102. Michelle norris says:

    This book is right up my alley! It sounds great!

  103. Michelle norris says:

    I love to read and this book is right up my alley!

  104. Andi says:

    The first chapter has me intrigued – can’t wait to read the rest!

  105. becky says:

    looks like the perfect spring read. i need one!!

  106. Jen Griffin says:

    Sound like a great read!!! 🙂

  107. Francis C. Moore says:

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  108. DianeY says:

    Great interview! If I don’t win it, I’ll have to be on the lookout for it!

  109. Andrea says:

    It sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  110. Heather Griffis says:

    I can’t wait to read this book!!! I hope I win it otherwise it will be awhile before I could get it!!!

  111. Samina says:

    Thanks for introducing me to a new author. I’m going to have to check the book out!

  112. Madelia says:

    Sounds like a good book.

  113. Barbara H. says:

    I enjoyed this interview and love discovering new authors. I’d love to be entered for the giveaway — thanks!

  114. Ashley says:

    This sounds good! I hope I win!

  115. mandy says:

    Always looking for a new book and author! Would love to read this!

  116. Carmen says:

    I’m an avid reader as well as a seamstress and this sounds like such a wonderful story!

  117. Judy Dudley says:

    Sounds like a good one. I LOVE the cover of this book!


  118. Caro says:

    Thanks for sharing. It was interesting.

  119. Lynne says:

    Looks interesting! Thanks for the giveaway!

  120. Robyn Brown says:

    Sounds like a great book!

  121. Robin says:

    sounds like a great book. I would love to read it.

  122. Pattij says:

    Love reading almost as much as sewing! Sounds like a good read!

  123. glenna says:

    Oh, i would LOVE to win this! I’m such a sucker for a good fiction read.

  124. Taki J says:

    This books sounds great. I need something to get my reading back in motion. Crossing my fingers.

  125. Patty says:

    The book sounds great. Thanks for the nice post.

  126. Meg says:

    Interesting interview. I’ve added the title to my reading list. Sounds like a perfect gift for a quilter/reader.

  127. Anya says:

    Sounds like a good read…thanks for the chance!

  128. Mishkat says:

    Thanks for the great interview – the book sounds wonderful!

  129. Sarah Anderson says:

    I could use a new book to read!

  130. Sara says:

    Can’t wait to read this! Sounds great for the summer.

  131. Doris says:

    Sounds like a fun read!

  132. Doreen B says:

    I’m always up for a new read! Sounds like a great book.

  133. Judi B says:

    I love sewing and reading fiction in my spare time. Reading has won out more often lately as there is no clena up or prep required. Crossing my fingers that I might win!

  134. Audrey says:

    The book sounds lovely! I love to read and it is even better when two interests are mixed together.

  135. alison says:

    Wow that book sounds so good! I love discovering new authors.

  136. Judith says:

    Enjoyed the interview! I’m an avid reader and would love to read this book.

  137. Elissa says:

    This sounds like a lovely book! I would love to get the chance to read it!

  138. duff says:

    Ohh, I’m interested! As a quilter and English/Reading teacher, i love when my passions mix togther! I’m off to the blog to submit a (love) story about my stash….

  139. Kathy says:

    I’d love to read. Great interview.

  140. karen says:

    this sounds absolutely perfect!!

  141. Kayla says:

    Hope I win this one, but I’ll have to buy it if I don’t! Sounds so interesting 🙂

  142. Jeni says:

    Sounds like a great read!

  143. Nancy Lee says:

    I love book suggestions… I’m off to paperbackswap to add it to my wish list…

  144. Vanessa says:

    Ooooh! I’m loving the switchup to a novel. It looks lovely. . . I hope I win!

  145. Beth says:

    I love that we are learning about new books – my other love!

  146. SuBoo says:

    Thanks for the interview!

  147. Brooke says:

    Great interview. The Threadbare Heart sounds like an interesting read.

  148. Liz says:

    Sounds like a great read. I love books that include any textiles.

  149. brittany says:

    i could use some good beach reading!

  150. Courtney says:

    sounds like a fabulous book. i’m always looking for new authors to read!

  151. Molly says:

    Looks like a great book!

  152. Paula L. says:

    I would love to read this book! Thanks for a very interesting interview

  153. Dawn Avant says:

    I can’t wait to read it. Sounds awesome!

  154. Anita says:

    Sounds like a great book! I would to read it!

  155. Amanda says:

    Sounds like a great summer read. The quote from Kitty Felde on the author’s website really sealed the i-must-read-this-book-deal!

  156. Corky says:

    I can’t wait to read this book! Thanks for a very interesting interview.

  157. Molly says:

    this sounds like a wonderful story! I would love to read it 🙂

  158. lucy says:

    thanks for posting this! the book sounds great!

  159. Jordan says:

    I’ve been looking for a book to bring to the beach with me next month – this sounds perfect! I hope I win!!

  160. Pam says:

    I love discovering new authors! Thanks for posting the interview.

« »

Subscribe to the newsletter

Sewing inspiration, projects, events and offers delivered conveniently to your email.


Get the latest news via