The author of Children of the River, Linda Crew, expresses her emotions and brings her past experiences into her writings. A lot of authors base their books on personal experiences; Linda Crew is just an example of one.
Linda Crew went to the University of Oregon, since she lived in Oregon for a while before writing Children of the River, which could be a major factor in why it took place in Oregon. She then got married, had children and lived on a farm there. After all, in the book, Sundara did move to Oregon from Cambodia. So Linda Crew probably liked it in Oregon and wanted the main characters in the book settle there.
Speaking of Cambodia, when Linda Crew was in Oregon, her friends were Cambodian refugees who inspired her to write this novel. (Crew, Linda, Children of the River back cover) She probably asked them how it felt to be Cambodian refugees and what their past experiences were and how they dealt with all of their problems.
Also, I think this book was about love because at the time when she wrote this book, she was in love and had just gotten married. She knew how it felt to be in love and what happens when you?¦re in love. She just wrote about her feelings and how good it felt to be in love with the right person, just like how Sundara had to choose between being in love with Chamroeun or Jonathan. Linda Crew chose to write about her experiences, her feelings and her friends. Almost every author, if you look into their past deep enough does that with their novels. All in all, Linda Crew is an outstanding author with excellent novels of great quality.