Yes that's right. My name. I am named for my mother's Norwegian grandmother, Karen Walstad. I came to know her through writing Farm Girl. From Chapter One: The Walstads--
My grandfather Hans Walstad lived alone in a dugout near Farmer's Creek, back when cottonwood, elm and ash trees crowded the banks. Lots of fruit grew near that creek-- grapes, plums, chokecherries, berries. Indians would come by his dugout and want tobacco and sugar, and he'd trade with them for buffalo meat and furs. Somehow they communicated, by signs I suppose, because he spoke only Norwegian. He was one of the first settlers to stake a claim in this part of Nebraska.
Hans would have stayed forever as a single man in his dugout because the girl he had loved back in Norway had married another man. Her name was Sofie Maren Stav, and she chose to marry Andre Pederson rather than him. So Hans decided to come to America and homestead in western Nebraska and live by himself in this dugout. He was happy here and had everything he needed. Soon his parents, one brother and three sisters came to the area and settled nearby, so he wasn't at all lonely.
His parents, Jakob and Karen Walstad, left Norway when Karen was 72 and Jakob 67, to be with their children in America. The older couple wanted a log house like they had in Norway rather than a sod house, so they cut logs from the trees along Farmer's Creek and built a house across the draw from Hans.
Before Farm Girl, Karen Walstad was just a name on a genealogy sheet, a name I heard occasionally in passing from my mother. It wasn't until I got her story written, at least in part, that she became real to me.