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Farming Secrets

historical novel set in Civil War era Wisconsin

Emily Albrent, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Framing a good story. Local author Jane Glenz’s new novel is called The Moore Farm Secret. The picture Glenz is holding depicts the real-world farm portrayed in the book.
Framing a good story. Local author Jane Glenz’s new novel is called The Moore Farm Secret. The picture Glenz is holding depicts the real-world farm portrayed in the book.

Every family has a secret, no matter how big or small. For author Jane Glenz, a family secret turned from a curiosity into a book.

The Moore Farm Secret, a historically true story, tracks the life of Andrew Moore. The book begins in 1860 at the start of the Civil War. Moore was looking for a place to settle and hoped that the land he had purchased in west central Wisconsin – now Dunn County – would be the place for him.

The book follows Moore and his journey from Galveston, Texas, to Beloit where he hoped his secrets would stay safe.

Glenz said the writing process required a lot of research and digging through multiple genealogical records.  She said she never exactly set out to write a book, but what she found was intriguing enough to take it to the next step. She had always had a dream of writing, and this was the perfect time to act.

“I didn’t think I was going to enjoy the writing as much as I did. I really liked the research, with my background in history, and I love digging for things,” Glenz said “I especially like the genealogy with the local history, and so I think that’s why I got interested in it.”

She said as she was looking up her family history, she found a very interesting detail. In the 1860 census of Dunn County, she discovered that Moore had been a slave-owner, and this stuck out to Glenz  as an interesting story to tell.

Writing and researching the book took about two years.

“Most of what I did was off the Internet,” Glenz said. “It’s amazing what is out there for genealogy.”

“I didn’t think I was going to enjoy the writing as much as I did, I really liked the research, with my background in history, and I love digging for things.” – novelist Jane Glenz

But Glenz says creating a book based on fact was harder than it looked. “Especially with him he wasn’t that famous, and then it was like a detective story,” Glenz said. “The events are pretty much accurate but of course I have no idea what they said or what they talked about.”

As far as her method of writing goes, she said she has no set process, but she does incorporate some different styles.

“I try to put a little humor into it,” Glenz said. “You start to believe in these people, so you start to develop a character.”

Another difficult aspect of writing the book was making sure the dialect in which the slaves spoke was as close to accurate as it could be.

“It was hard to come up with the way a conversation would go,” she said. “Except for what I have read, I have no idea how slaves acted or lived, and I didn’t know the people at all, so the hardest part was trying to determine the personality they had and sticking to it without putting myself into it.”

Glenz said she never thought she would be able to fill 200 plus pages of a book. “When you start writing you think how can you fill two or three pages, but once you start it just continues. … It gets easier and easier,” Glenz said.

A unique aspect of this story is that the farm on which this story takes place is still around and standing today. In fact, the photo on the cover of the book is of the farm and all the other photos inside the cover are also pictures that Glenz took of the farm’s surroundings.

This may be her first novel, but Glenz said she is already planning on writing more and has some ideas she is tossing around. She said she will most likely stick with the genre of local history in her second book and is now doing some research to better plan her next step.  

“I think people should write more local history,” Glenz said. “It’s really hard to find things around Eau Claire, I think local history is very important.” Glenz said when people are more knowledgeable about local history, they tend to look at things in a different light and have a better appreciation for the things around them.

The Moore Farm Secret can be found at The Local Store, 205 N. Dewey St., and at the Dunn County Historical Society.