Yael Politis (Jan Lewis) grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, not far from Olivia’s farm. She spent years researching the backdrop for Olivia’s story, enjoying the challenge of recreating daily life in another time and place. She based many of the details (including the story of how baby Mourning got his name) on letters and journals passed down through her family, over seven generations of lives lived in the American Midwest. She received a great deal of insight from her sister Martha, who lived in a modern log home, hunted her own land, and was as independent and stubborn as Olivia.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Politis moved to Israel, where she has worked as an agricultural laborer, secretary, librarian, Administrative Systems Analyst, Hebrew-English translator, editor, English teacher, technical writer, and proposal writer.