he first episode of Jean M. Auel's publishing phenomenon will excite and prepare reader's for the long-awaited sixth and final book, The Land of Painted Caves.
Leave 21st century London and go back to Ice Age Europe. Follow Ayla, a Cro-Magnon child who loses her parents in an earthquake and is adopted by a tribe of Neanderthal, the Clan.
See how the Clan's wary suspicion is gradually transformed into acceptance of this girl, so different from them, under the guidance of its medicine woman Iza and its wise holy man Creb. Immerse yourself in a world dictated by the demands of survival in a hostile environment, and be swept away in an epic tale of love, identity and struggle.
The Clan OF The Cave Bear
I was born on February 18, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, the second of five children. My grandparents were Finnish immigrants and my parents were born on dairy farms in Northern Michigan, about 150 miles apart, and met in Chicago when they moved to the big city to find work. I grew up in Chicago, although the family used to drive to Michigan in the summer and spend time on both of my grandparents’ farms, so I knew that milk didn’t just come from a grocery store. My parents were intelligent, but they were working people. Advanced education was never stressed. My mother’s goal for me was the same as that of most mothers of teen-age daughters in the 1950’s: get married and have children. In truth, it disturbed her when I turned out to be bookworm who was always reading, and then learned typing and shorthand so I could have a career as a secretary. That was a bit too independent for the 50’s.
But, in 1954, shortly after graduation from high school, I married Ray Auel; he was 19, and in the Air Force. It was the Korean War then and Ray was training to maintain airplanes, particularly the hydraulic mechanism of the in-flight refueling system. Fortunately, by the time they were ready to send him overseas, the war was over. He was discharged in 1956. His father lived in Oregon, and we wanted to start our new life in a new place, so with one child and expecting a second, we moved to Oregon. Ray went to college on the GI Bill—funds made available to veterans by the Government for education that was interrupted to serve in the military—and worked full-time to support a growing family. I worked at temporary and part-time clerical jobs to help out, and had more children: five before my 25th birthday. I now have 15 grand children and eight great grandchildren.
Neither my husband nor I had an undergraduate degree, though we had both taken college courses. We got the necessary letters and met with the dean, only after we took the test and passed it with the higher score. We were both accepted. Four years later, in May 1976, we both received MBA’s from U of Portland. I was 40 years old, and by then, after going through a management training program at the company, I was a credit manager.
So how did I go from a reasonably successful career in business to writing novels set in the Ice Age? It began with discontent. Circuit board design had been fun, it was puzzle-solving for pay, but though the company had paid for my business education, the MBA, I discovered there was no place for me to grow. I kept running into a brick wall when I wanted to move up— nowadays it’s called a “glass ceiling.” In November 1976, a few months after getting my MBA, after 12 years with the electronics company, I quit. I planned to look for some other wonderful, exciting job in business.
I spun wheels applying for jobs, trying to decide what I wanted to do. Then, one day in late January 1977 I got an idea for a story about a young woman, who was living with people who were different, not just superficially–color of hair, or eyes, or skin–but substantially different. Of course, they thought she was different and viewed her with suspicion, but they allowed her to stay because she was taking care of an old man with a crippled arm.
I don’t know where that thought came from, I can’t tell you any more than any other writer can where ideas come from. Most writers don’t know, though if pressed, they may think of something in hindsight to satisfy questions. I’d been writing poetry for about ten years, but not fiction. But I began to wonder, could I write a short story like that? That’s how it began. I wonder if I can write a short story?