“Between the lines of every first novel lurks an autobiography of one sort or another,” Kristine L. Franklin says. Eclipse, her own debut novel, is no exception: the story of a family’s experience with mental illness, it draws from an event that happened in her own family several years before she was born and continued to resonate into her growing-up years. “The message of Eclipse is a message of hope for all of us,” she says. “It’s a reassurance that mental illness is indeed illness, treatable in many cases, and that the strength of committed family love is the first and perhaps best medicine of all.”
Following the success of Eclipse, which was a Booklist Editors’ Choice and a winner of the Parents’ Choice Award, Kristine L. Franklin wrote two more novels that explore the universal need for human connection. Lone Wolf tells the story of a lonely boy who opens up to friendship and ultimately reveals his family’s tragic past. In Dove Song, a girl learns to ask for help when her mother has a breakdown after finding out that her husband is missing in action in Vietnam. “As human beings, we aren’t designed to live alone,” the author says. “Each one of us needs to be loved and to love.” Both books were critically acclaimed: Lone Wolf was a School Library Journal Book of the Year, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and the recipient of several state awards, while Dove Song won the Minnesota Book Award and was a New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing selection.
Kristine L. Franklin has turned her focus to the significance of family connections. Grape Thief, a historical novel set in 1925, follows a twelve-year-old boy who feels the weight of family responsibility after his older brothers are forced to leave town. The theme of family ties played a significant role behind the scenes as well: “Cuss is a fictional boy who originated in stories my father told me,” the author explains. “In doing research for this book, I discovered my own roots. I learned how much it cost my grandparents to settle here so their children and grandchildren could have what they themselves had never know—full bellies, education, and above all, the freedom to dream.”
Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Kristine L. Franklin began writing books for children when her own children were small. She has lived in Indonesia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala and currently lives in Minnesota with her family.