Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Deanna Klingel

Today, my guest is Deanna Klingel. I met her by way of the Highland Book Festival in 2010, which I found about on someone else's events page. I took some time to ask Deanna some questions. Let's see what she has to say:

Deanna, tell us a little bit about yourself. Your likes, dislikes,

I'm pretty ordinary. I love kids, hate peas and capers, love my husband, hate the current unshaved look for men, love America, hate what we're doing to her. I guess you might say I'm someone with strong opinions.

Tell us a little bit about what you write. What genres do you like to write? Do you only have books published or do you have other writing credits under your belt?
I mostly write for teens, though that isn't really what I started out to do. On my website you can read some award-winning short stories I had fun writing. I've written newsletters and some newspaper pieces. My book Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog was written for an adult audience, but young adults are embracing it. I guess dog lovers come in all ages. Avery's Battlefield and Avery's Crossroad are both historical fiction for middle grade, though adults are also enjoying them. Bread Upon the Water, nonfiction for a teen audience, also spans ages. Cracks in the Ice and Waiting With Elmer, both Christian fiction for teens, will be out soon, and they will also span from teens to adults.

What was the process you went through to get your books published? Do you have an agent or did you just go straight to a publisher? How many rejections did you receive before getting your first acceptance?
Every book has had a unique adventure on the road to publication. The Avery Civil War series started with agents who took them to the Bologna International Children's Book Fair, two years in a row. Two major publishers in New York were interested, one was interested in film rights. But when it came down to the bottom line they asked for changes in my character's ethics to make the book "edgy." It was a deal breaker but I said no. I rejected them! I'd made every change they suggested in two years, but I would not compromise my character. He would not do the things they said were necessary to get kids to read. I attended a Christian Writers conference a short time later. Someone heard the story of Avery and Gunner and asked if she could see the manuscript. She was the acquisitions editor for Journey Forth, BJU Press in Greenville. Within months, Avery and Gunner were published and are enjoying great success. What I've discovered about rejections is this: by taking the time to really research and make sure your manuscript goes to the "right" places, even though it takes longer, the chance of being rejected is much less. Avery was perfect for Journey Forth who publish Christian fiction, especially historical, for the home school market, and a huge Christian fiction, a market I'd not known about.

Do you write in silence or with background music or other distractions?
When I'm working it is in silence. I have to hear what my characters are saying to me. I have to eavesdrop and listen to them talking to each other. I need to get into their heads and hearts to hear what they are thinking. I can't be here, I must be there.

How long have you been writing and what made you decide to become a writer? What was the turning point in your life that you said you wanted to be a writer?
I've loved writing things all my life, writing, rewriting, and rewriting, decorating pages, school newspapers, year book, plays and skits, puppet shows, stories for my kids. It wasn't until all seven kids were launched and we retired to the mountains that I decided to give my writing compulsion free rein.

When not writing, what do you do? Do you have a full-time job or do you just devote yourself to writing?
Oh dear. Now you want to see the craziness that has become my life? If I'm not writing, I'm reading, rewriting or editing. When I'm not doing that it's because I'm on the road marketing, or marketing from my computer. Marketing and writing are both full time jobs. I remember once on a blog I was asked what I did in my spare time. My answer was, "Spare time? You mean like get a hair cut, change the oil, wash the dog, clean the car, clean the toilets, do the laundry, buy the groceries, call my mom, that kind of spare time?" If you are wishing you could get your book published, be careful what you wish for.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could live any where in the world, for real? Probably right here in the mountains of westeen North Carolina. I love it. For pretend? Maybe in my imaginary little town of Waitnsee in my book Waiting With Elmer.

Deanna, thank you for being my guest today and I wish you the best luck with your writing. E :)

Thank you. My pleasure. Good luck with your new blog.

Deanna K. Klingel was raised in a small town in Michigan. She left for college, married, and spent the next twenty years moving every two years with her IBM husband Dave. Their family grew with each move. They eventually settled in Atlanta with their seven children where they put down roots for nineteen years. The children grew up, left home, and Dave retired. They moved to the quiet mountains of western North Carolina. It was here, in the quiet remote setting that Deanna returned to her love of writing, and began the life of a writer.
In addition to writing, Deanna works with her therapy dog making visits in nearby communities, and travels every weekend to market her books. She enjoys golfing with her husband and working in the gardens, too, but there just isn’t time!

Her books include Beth’s Backyard Friends, and Rebecca & Heart, both eBooks on, and published award-winning short stories that can be read on her website. Other published books are Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, (Dog Ear Publishing, Oct 2010); Avery’s Battlefield, (Journey Forth BJU Press, March 2011); Avery’s Crossroad, (Journey Forth BJU Press, Sept 2011; Bread Upon the Water, (Rafka Press, spring 2011.) Cracks in the Ice, and Waiting with Elmer are expected to release within the year.

Deanna writes primarily for young adults in a Christian market.


Carol Baldwin said...

nIce interview; glad to see you spotlight Deanna!

Susanne Drazic said...

Wow, great interview. I enjoyed "meeting" Deanna and learning about her different books.

elysabeth said...

Thanks for stopping by ladies. This post was scheduled for yesterday morning but didn't go up until late because blogger is flipping out but even still, I'm surprised that others haven't stopped by to leave a comment. Deanna is pretty nice to work with, although that was her first book festival and it was all she could do to keep everything together. Hoping she does it again next year. E :)