Friday, January 24, 2014

In which Anita Klumpers writes a novel.

Anita has been my friend here in the Madison area for over ten years.  I knew she was a wonderful mom and devoted wife and I knew she had great organizational skills and was a tireless worker for the soccer team and Flame.  But I didn't know she was a fantastic writer with a vibrant imagination!

She published her first novel this week and it is really a great read!  She writes beautifully and her story grabs you right from the start!!

I am so thrilled for her and inspired by her.  Writing a novel is a dream for so many people ....and Anita did it!!  I was very curious about the whole process so I wrote her and begged to ask her a few questions!  She was delighted to answer for us.

So here is my mini interview with the author of Winter Watch, Anita Klumpers;

Have you always wanted to write a book?
 I used to make up long, involved, open-ended stories when I was young and read them to my parents. They gently encouraged me to simplify. And to finish the stories. Instead I just married everyone off in the middle of whatever disaster they were in and signed off 'The End.' So yes, I always wanted to write a book and actually finish it. My parents would have been so relieved that I finally did!

Where did this story come from?
 The homeschool soccer team gave me a gift certificate to a bed and breakfast so my husband and I went up to Bayfield, Wisconsin, as far north as you can get before you hit Lake Superior. And we went in February. We ate at a great little restaurant and a young lady was sitting by herself eating. I thought she was so pretty and poised, but when she turned to look around the room I noticed something odd about her eye. That gave me the idea for Claudia. AND! My dad told the story about his grandpa who was blind. He would go into town to hand out tracts and feel his way home along a fence, but one night he got caught in a blizzard and froze to death. I always wanted that story to have a different ending and in my book I made it all come out OK.

How long did it take to write?
 Well, your Emma was still on the soccer team :) It took several years. I would work and then set it aside. It started out to be a tragic tale of revenge and has been rewritten so often that it metamorphosed into a suspense with some romance and humor.

Did you keep a certain writing schedule?
 Yes. Once a month, when I was supposed to have a new chapter ready for my writers' group I would write like crazy for an entire day. Self-discipline is foreign to me and I stink at sticking to a schedule. But I hate to let people down and I have enough of an ego that I didn't want to be the only person at the writers' group with nothing to contribute.

Do you have a second book floating around in your brain?  Will Claudia make another appearance?
 I started the second already! It actually picks up a week after 'Winter Watch' (I told you I have trouble finishing a story) and focuses more on Philip, the teenage boy, and some new folks who will make an appearance. There is another mystery and there might be blood. Or at least blood will be alluded to. My murders tend to be off-stage.

What books do you recommend for aspiring writers?
 Hmm. That is a good question. Read books on how to write if you want. More importantly, just read good literature, in any genre. Stretch yourself and read out of your comfort zone but read GOOD writers. Get the feel of how they make words work together, how they set moods, create characters, pull you into a story that sticks with you. Then just start writing. And please, if you aren't super disciplined and self-confident, consider joining or starting a writing group. You share your work of the past month and critique each other's offerings. Make sure everyone in it is honest. And very very kind.

Who are your favorite authors?
 Dickens. C.S. Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie. In the romance/suspense genre—Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels (who also writes as Elizabeth Peters) Josephine Tey. Susan Cooper for children/youth. I better stop there. I almost headed to my bookshelves and would have come back with two dozen more.

Thank you Anita!!! I loved reading your answers!

You can read a sample on Amazon and the book is available as a hard copy and as an ebook.

Congratulations Anita!
I'm proud to know ya!!!

Encourage one another,


  1. Thanks Donna. This was fun. You are a good interviewer. If you were on 'The View' I would watch it.

  2. Amy J in WI9:43 AM

    Great interview, Donna. And who know, Anita? From FLAME PAC all the way to author :). I love finding out about someone's hidden talents. Can't wait to read the book. Off to Amazon.....

  3. I agree, great interview! I have so many books waiting on my Kindle, but now I have to add just ONE more.

    It's always interesting to read about somebody's journey, the process .. and their favorite authors.

    I also love Elizabeth Peters! I read ALL the Amelia Peabody books when I first came to Zurich; they were my constant companions!

    thanks Donna :-)

    1. Anonymous1:50 PM

      Amelia Peabody is the best! I need to go back and reread all of the Peters' books with Amelia in them…so good! Thanks for the reminder Susan! jep

  4. I'm dying. I got the sample, because I have some reading commitments to fulfill. But I read the sample last night and just *had* to hit the little button to buy the book. And then there was some insomnia at 4:00 where I delved further into the book.

    And now I'm on chapter 14 and I have to leave the house and do other things. That's why I'm dying. I love Anita's descriptions: ricocheting sunrays, town clung to several steep hills, sun relaxing behind a threadbare curtain of clouds.

    Congratulations, Anita! You ARE an inspiration!

    1. Carol, your recommendation on top of Donna's and the interview - I believe I will bump Anita's book to the top of my "to read" list!!

  5. I was not at all surprised that Anita is a great author - I read her blog and it is fantastic!

  6. Great interview. Good luck with your novel, Anita. It's on my TBR list for sure.

  7. Oh, I loved reading this interview, Donna. Anita has such talent, and I’m already looking forward to book #2. Besides Claudia, Phillip was my favorite character in Winter Watch. I’m excited to hear we’ll have the opportunity down the road to read more of Phillip and the folks of the small town (Barley, Wisconsin) Anita has created. It’s a great read and I’m proud to know her, too.

  8. Will be reading it soon :)

  9. Yippee!!!! Yahoo!!!! for Anita. Thanks for interviewing her, Donna. I love her story about the girl who inspired Claudia. Cannot wait to read this.

    Happy Friday, all!


  10. This was fantastic, involving 2 women whom I greatly admire. I'm proud to say I know both of you! It's neat to see God leading you to use your gifts as you morph from full time Mommy-hood to the Next Stage. Blessings! ~Nancy W.

  11. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Congratulations to Anita!! I met her a few years ago when seated next to her at a JustEmbrace dinner and had no idea she was a budding novelist. I look forward to reading Winter Watch soon!!

    Mary Z

  12. Why yes!!! You did meet Anita!! I remember when the Klumpers visited JustEmbrace. How great is that!?!?

    1. Anonymous6:43 PM

      Pretty great!! :)

      Mary Z

  13. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Just back from reading the excerpt from Anita's book. I chuckled over Ezra almost being named Tubal and was ready to keep reading. I am going to see if I can get the library here to order the electronic version of her book. I don't own a Kindle myself, but can download from the library onto our phone. Thanks so much Donna for introducing your friend and a new to me author. And, Anita…best of luck in the future with your writing! love and prayers, jep

  14. Sounds intriguing! we have friends that go to Bayfield all the time….summer and winter..they find it so peaceful there. I have yet to get there.

  15. Anita… I will never forget you were hosting a murder once, and I thought…. ANITA???
    I've always wanted to write a book but never knew where to start,, maybe we can have coffee sometime….
    SO Proud of YOU!!!!

  16. I was interested in reading the book before I read your interview, and I after I got done I just HAD to buy it! Now it's waiting for me to read on my Kindle. I actually gasped when I heard the story about Anita's grandpa freezing to death, how heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to curl up with some tea and start to read!

  17. Another amazing review AND interview! Yippppeeeee, Anita! It's on my list :-)

    Tammy ~@~

  18. In draft form, this book had the writers group laughing, listening, gasping, and craving MORE, Anita, MORE. Now I wait for UPS to show up with my copies. Yes, copies, plural--these books will make wonderful gifts for birthdays and get well offerings. Excellent interview, Donna, and heartfelt congratulations, Anita!

  19. This is very, very exciting. A book! An actual book! What an accomplishment. Thanks so much for sharing!


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