Category: General Kansas Author Talk: Carolyn Zeisset on "Then The Rules Changed"

Kansas Author Talk: Carolyn Zeisset on "Then The Rules Changed"

October 6, 2022

Author Carolyn Zeisset will give a talk and answer questions about her new novel, "Then The Rules Changed." Attend in person, join online via Zoom, or head to the Newton Public Library Facebook page at the time of the event for a livestream.

About the Book:

Isaac knows who he is and what he wants. Then the Czar changes the rules, and he must leave everything to emigrate to a country that is nothing like he imagined, face fears of being snatched away, and learn a new way of living and of being himself.

All people have times of loss, fear, and learning about themselves. These experiences are often intense for emigrants who are in a situation that compels them to leave what they know and confront a difficult unknown world. Then the Rules Changed lets readers see the arduous journey through the eyes of a child.

The story takes place during a large emigration 150 years ago when thousands of German-speaking people left South Russia (Ukraine) and came to the frontier plains of the United States and Canada. Today these people and their descendants are known as Germans from Russia.

My great-grandparents were among the 1870s immigrants. Impetus for the novel came from a family story about a young boy named Isaac who was lost for three days in a train station during the journey. I used chronicles, diaries, and related history to develop the story. Drawings throughout the book and brief essays and maps at the end explain historical and cultural terms that may not be familiar to readers.

History can seem like something from long ago, but sometimes history and current events collide. After many years of research and writing, the book’s February 2022 release happened to coincide with current events that had similarities with the story.

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