Author Patricia Harman Talks Midwifery, Loss and Hope in Her New Novel


Patricia Harman is the author of the bestselling novel The Midwife of Hope River. We last heard from her during our April, 2016 Inside Appalachia episode on home birth. Harman’s latest book – the Runaway Midwife – was released today. Kara Lofton talked with Harman about how more than three decades of work as a midwife informs her writing today.  

On Being a Midwife

“One of the things about midwives is similar to a solider or someone in combat we’re right on the border between life and death and I think that makes for a great hero.”

On Writing About What You Know

“When you’re a writer they often say write what you know and the midwife in this new book, The Runaway Midwife, she could be any woman. She could be a broadcaster, she could be a teacher, she could be a counselor, any woman who has had it, who just can’t go on any longer and decides to run. But the fact that I am a midwife makes it easy to write stories about midwives and their experiences.”

On the Theme of Running Away

“I think women in particular, but probably all people in these modern times live with great stress. And often it’s things that we could maybe get out of, but sometimes its not. It’s family problems, its marriage, its work stress. And I think from time to time there will be for everyone you wish you could reinvent yourself you don’t want to kill yourself, you just don’t want to be here anymore and I think that’s why some people fantasize about running away.”

 On Ending Her Books with Hope

“I remember one woman said ‘why does every strong female heroine in a book have to end up with a man?’ And I thought to myself ‘yeah! Why do I have these nice little endings to my books?’ And I think it’s because I really believe in hope. And after I thought about it I think that’s what unites all my books from my memoirs to my children’s book is the feeling that there is hope.”

Appalachia Helth News

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.