Taught by her grandmother (some would say “indoctrinated”) that her ancestors founded an exemplary community in Ohio, Eleanor Sullivan grew up with an unabashed appreciation that she hadn’t lived then. Strictly religious, their lives were filled with work (unending, back-breaking work), demands for cleanliness (they scrubbed everything in sight!), and piety (lots of piety). “No, thanks,” Eleanor often said to herself.
Her Nursing Career
Fast forward many decades. Eleanor, widowed with five children, became first an RN, then earned her doctorate, and finally became a professor and dean of nursing at the University of Kansas. She authored award-winning books in nursing, numerous journal articles and edited a professional journal. She has testified before the U. S. Senate, served on a National Institutes of Health council, presented papers to international audiences, been quoted in Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Rolling Stone, and named “Who’s Who in Health Care” by Kansas City Business Journal. Additionally, she served as president of the world’s largest nursing organization. Read her resume here
Her Writing Career
Now Eleanor has turned her family heritage into fact-based fiction with a series of mystery novels set in the 1830s Separatist village of Zoar, Ohio. The stories feature a midwife and her cabinet-maker husband. Tree of Heaven (to be released in 2017) is the third book in the Singular Village Mystery series. Cover Her Body and Graven Images are previous books. She is also a playwright. Her play, “Forever We Stand,” celebrates Zoar’s Bicentennial coming in October, 2017.
The stories celebrate the lives of the mostly women and some men who carved a life out of the wilderness to build a town, clear and plant fields, construct industries and, in one very fortuitous stroke of luck, build the Ohio Canal through their land.
How lucky? Prior to building the canal, the inhabitants adopted celibacy so the women would be free of childbearing. After money from the canal paid their mortgage, the villagers again allowed marriage. Without that provision, no Eleanor, no stories!