Portrait of Ray and Jean Auel in their nest by Portland, Oregon artist Henk Pander.

Jean Auel: Novelist

I like rewriting! Rewriting to me is when I get control of the story.
When it first comes out, it is like an orgasm of the mind.  
Interview Movie
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Location:

Portland, OR

Run Time:

38:31

Genre:

Historical Fiction

Website:

Raised:

Chicago, IL

Youthful Influence:

Fairy tales, especially East of the Sun and West of the Moon. She has always been a voracious reader with broad intersts.

Favorite Authors:

She reads everything from highly technical books to historical novels, science fiction, fantasy, and more.

Creative Habit:

Research! Read, research and write. She used to work up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. She began with a pad and pencil, then went to a typewriter. She has since eased up on such a heavy a schedule.


Folk art figure, part of Jean's interest in primitive cultures.

A cave horse style painting that hangs above the mantle.

Bear mask

Jean poses beside a mask

Haida storyteller

Jean with a replica of the "Old Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints."

Haida mask with two puffins

A large friendly mammoth who perches on the hearth. It is an accurate bronze casting made by paleontologist, Dale Guthrie. Note the 'fingers' at the end of the trunk.

Caribou Hunting

Books

Earth's Children Series
The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)
The Valley of Horses (1982)
The Mammoth Hunters (1985)
The Plains of Passage (1990)
The Shelters of Stone (2002)
The Land of Painted Caves (2010)

Awards
National Book Award Finalist, 1981
American Book Award nomination, 1981
Friends of Literature Award for The Clan of the Cave Bear, 1981
Scandinavian Kaleidoscope of Art & Life Award, 1982
Golden Plate Award, 1986
American Academy of Achievement, 1986
Silver Trowel Award, 1990
National Zoo Award, 1990
Waldo Award (Walden Books) , 1990
Willamette Writers' Distinguished Northwest Writer, 1995
Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Portland, 2006
Officer, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 2008
Leaky Foundation Award, date unknown

Honorary doctorates from: University of Portland, Pacific University, Portland State University, University of Maine, and Mt. Vernon College.


A friendly wolf pack greets you as you enter.

We are pleased to present our interview with another time traveler, Jean Auel. She is a writer who, like Wells, researched history and wrote a series of books that have become our time machine into the distant past. Here, where we get to meet the roots of our human species and culture.


She is a tireless reader, a problem solver, a lover of physics and math and dozens of other subjects that catch her fancy. She was also a young mother who had to help meet the financial needs of a growing family. So she went off to work as an upstart woman in the rapidly growing world of technology. It was there she wrote her first book, a training manual for circuit board engineers.

More than a century ago, H.G. Wells wrote a classic tale about a time machine and a time traveler who rides it into the distant future to meet the fate of humans, and farther still to witness the end of earth and all living things.
 

Years later, Jean became obsessed with the idea of trying to write a short story based on a young woman living among others who were different. Very different. But her efforts to spin a story were thwarted with questions. And so she plunged into the labyrinth of research, emerging much later without a short story, but rather with a lengthy book about a female character who has now lived with Jean for more than thirty years, and appeared in six volumes read by an estimated 60 million people worldwide.


The Clan of the Cave Bear is the first of her Earth’s Children series, and in 1986 was made into a movie with Daryl Hannah in the lead. Jean’s historical fiction has not only developed a loyal following of readers, but some of her ideas and plot elements have preceded scientific discoveries in strange and wonderful ways.
 
We’re certain you’ll enjoy this fascinating interview as much as we enjoyed meeting and talking with this prescient and engaging writer, Jean M. Auel.

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