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Nan Clarke is currently hard at work on her book Saintly Heroes, Whining Martyrs: An Eyewitness Account of America’s First Foreign Mission 1813-1843. The men and women who founded the mission began their work in Bombay, believing that God had chosen them to save the souls of India’s lost millions. But the mission quickly degenerated into a fractious mess, filled with conflicted people who couldn’t seem to convert a single “heathen Hindoo.”
The core of the book is a collection of 200-year-old letters from Nan’s mother’s attic, written by Philomela Thurston, wife of one of the first foreign missionaries.
Nan’s fascination with Philomela’s story and her appreciation for the power of words led to this project. She researched her subject for fifteen years, and now faces the daunting task of condensing thirty linear feet of information into a single volume.
Nan lives in the mountains of Virginia with her patient husband, Ray, and their demanding cats, Pixel and Pokey.