Farmer, itinerant minister pens novel

Of love, faith, ‘Hens and Chickens’

Sep 05, 2012
Jennifer Wixson

Unity — Jennifer Wixson of Troy will do a presentation on her new novel, “Hens and Chickens,” and the Sovereign Series to the Unity Area Rotary Club Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. at Crosstrax, 215 Depot St. The program is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

When the First Universalist Church of Norway (Unitarian-Universalist) asked Jennifer Wixson to lead their services once a month during the past year while they were without a settled minister, little did they know the result would be a lot more than preaching and hymn selections. The engagement has resulted in “Hens and Chickens,” which was released by White Wave Publishing last month.

Wixson, an itinerant Quaker minister, motored once a month over the back roads of central Maine this past fall, winter and spring to fill in for the church. The two-hour drive gave her plenty of time to work out the finer details of her little tale, which follows the adventures of two Boston women downsized by corporate America who move to Maine to raise chickens and sell organic eggs — and discover more than they bargained for, including romance.

“Hens and Chickens” is set in the mythical town of Sovereign, Maine (pop. 1,048), which is notable for good-hearted and lovable characters. The novel is narrated by the town’s itinerant Quaker minister, who, like Wixson, also happens to fill in for the First Universalist Church of Norway and the West Paris Universalist Church, with which Wixson also has a long-standing pastoral relationship.

“I knew I had a story to tell, but I just couldn’t figure out what the tale was until I started thinking about writing regular pastoral messages for the Norway and West Paris churches. Then, I began to wonder what it would be like to live in a town where evil didn’t exist,” she said.

So she created the town of Sovereign in a sermon (now Chapter 4 in the novel) and the rest of the 82,000 words just followed. Once she started writing the novel, Wixson found not she could not stop. She created The Sovereign Series, a three-book series that continues the novel’s story. In between haying, she has been hard at work on the second novel in the series, “Peas, Beans and Corn,” in which an Afghanistan war veteran returns home from the front to restart the old pea canning factory in Sovereign, planning to can local organic produce. The third book, “The Minister’s Daughter,” is scheduled for release by White Wave in 2014.

“Hens and Chickens” is available for pre-publication ordering on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, where both the print and eBook are available. The book also is available locally at most independent Maine books stores.

Wixson lives and writes from her home in Troy, where she and her husband raise Scottish Highland cattle. She received a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Bangor Theological Seminary in 2001.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

 

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