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Author Claire McMillan Inspired by Historic Clevelander Amasa Stone Mather

When Claire McMillan was looking for inspiration for her new novel The Necklace she found herself climbing her husband's family tree. 

McMillan married into Cleveland's Mather family and today lives on the family farm outside of Cleveland. 

Digging through the Mather family archives, McMillan discovered the travel journals of Amasa Stone Mather from 1907.

"He was very beloved in the family. He was treated like a family star.  Reading his journals I could see why.  There was a very evocative, romantic, poetic tone to his journals and his writings.  I kind of fell a little bit in love with him," McMillan admits.

She decided to base one of the main protaganists of her novel on him with the character of Ambrose Quincy, the son of a robber baron.

"He feels hemmed in by society and the expectations put on him.  His response is to try and break out of that by travelling and leaving and seeing the world.  But that decision he makes has ramifications through history," McMillan said.

Ambrose travels to India in the 1920's, where he discovers the necklace that's at the center of the novel.  One of the reasons she decided to send him to India was because McMillan lived in New Delhi in 2001 and she fell in love with the country.

"I especially fell in love with the jewelry there which is how the necklace of the novel was inspired," McMillan said.

Listen to the entire interview:


Claire McMillan will discuss and sign her book The Necklace in Ohio:

July 6 at 7pm - Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch)

July 7 at 6pm - Appletree Books in Cleveland Heights

July 26 at 6:30pm - Mentor Public Library




Dave DeOreo is coordinating producer for Ideastream Public Media’s arts and culture team.