Renville’s Patricia Buschette recently published her first book, Locked Up In Frost. The title comes from a Samuel Johnson quote, “Wine gives a man nothing. It neither gives him knowledge nor wit; it only animates a man, and enables him to bring out what a dread of the company has repressed. It only puts in motion what had been locked up in frost.”

Her main inspiration was that she wanted to tell the story of small towns. In her words, the book itself is a study on how small towns function. “The institutional memory in small towns goes way back...People are often related, and have shared memories...The intergenerational movement, families carry belief systems and hurt through generations. Conflict can tear family and community apart.”

Her legal career and education in organizational management provided a background that taught her a lot about conflict management.

“I think oftentimes when people meet up with conflict, it’s a brick wall. They have a fight or flight response. It takes a lot for people to realize they need to talk to one another. Conflict management is a skill. Too often we have the Minnesota nice, so you smile at them and then later you say something bad about them.

We need more getting stuff out in the open, and understanding other perspectives. we apply motives to people. We don't know what goes on in other people's minds. conflict is an opportunity to better understand people and find solutions that work for both sides.”

According to Buschette, the book “is a study on human nature set in a small community. It’s about the personal interaction of people in smaller communities.” The story takes place over one year, from Harvest 2004 to Harvest 2005. It’s centered on Bob “Jens” Jensen going through difficult times in his life, including going through childhood tragedy and getting bullied in childhood, and struggling as a farmer. Jensen later enlisted in the Army and became a Captain. He returned to his hometown with a life perspective the community had a hard time grasping. He describes it as “he was cast in a movie where he didn’t know the plot.”

Buschette had a dream of “I want to write a novel.” Her writing was sporadic, writing here and there and leaving the work for long stretches of time. She mentioned needing to feel that inspiration, “flow,” and couldn’t really get it if she tried to just sit down and write. As the book got closer to finishing, there was a tipping point and it became something she couldn’t stay away from.

The book is published through Lakeside Publishing, a family owned business in Willmar. They helped edit and refine her book into a much better work, and were excited about the project. Buschette is working on getting the book in to libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops.

For future projects, one idea she had was taking the characters from this book and moving them 10 years into the future. For now she’s excited to have discussions at readings and on the book’s Facebook page. There’s a lot to unpack and discuss in the book and she loves getting feedback from reader’s perspectives.