Sunday, April 17, 2011

with Deanna K. Klingel

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Deanna!
I’m not sure when my writing journey started; probably when I first learned to use the pencil sharpener. (Yes, I was one of those kids who used the pencil sharpener hourly and had to have a new one every week. I’m still bent that way.) I’ve been writing all my life. I write on napkins and in margins. I just love words. My mother used to buy us Little Golden Books at the grocery store. After she read them to us I copied the words out and made my own. I loved writing and practicing the writing exercises, taking great pride in properly forming the letters. I’m still that way.

What distracts me from writing the most is life’s responsibilities. I think Hemingway had it right. I need a hammock on a remote island with no vacuum, no pets, no dinner, no phone, no appointments, no mail. I could put out a chapter an hour! Of course, I’d still have to take a break to read a book.

I like to read different kinds of books. I like historical fiction, biography, dogs, fiction. I loved A Dog’s Purpose, thoroughly enjoyed Rachel’s Contrition, Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Born on a Blue Day. Even though I read it two years ago, I think about The Book Thief almost every day. The Art of Racing in the Rain and Merle’s Door are also favorites. I belong to a book club, and in summer I belong to two, so that does insure I take time out to read at least one book a month. I usually read more than that.

In this new release, Avery of course is the most interesting. It’s 1861, Avery is fourteen years old. He’s been homeschooled by two very well-educated Bostonian Quakers in the far western edge of Virginia. He’s a farmer, a boy with responsibilities to his family, his tradition, and is caught in the conundrum of the North-South question. He and Gunner embark on a journey to find his uncle and bring him home. Along the way he outgrows in clothes, and faces hardship, dilemma, and learns about the world beyond, forming lasting opinions and ideals. We see Avery grow into his role at the army hospitals as a respected surgeon, with Gunner at his side every step of the way. Book one, Avery’s Battlefield, covers 1861-1862, so I can’t tell you much more than that, you’ll have to wait to see him grow to manhood in the final years of the war in Avery’s Crossroad. I will tell you that there are several other characters in book one that are also memorable.

If I were a style of music, what style would I be? That’s a tough question for me, because I don’t know a lot about musical styles. But, I guess it would be orchestra. It has lots of different sounds, all interesting, exciting on their own, but are all mixed up to create the final product. That would probably be me. Lots of different sounds inside.

The quirkiest thing I’ve ever done? I turned my 2 acres of mountainous woodland into gardens. I had a 90 foot waterfall that I built myself. I hauled the rocks from road construction sites all around Atlanta. I’d load my mini van until the wheels were nearly misshapen, drive them up to the mountains, and install the next layer of my waterfall. All the garden “rooms” had water features that I plumbed, each “room” had something quirky, something artsy. It was beautiful! Now the wild has taken over and the only ones who know where the water features are, are my water divining golden retrievers.

My strangest habit also involves the dogs. I dance with them. For a while I competed with canine freestyle, dancing with dogs. We had a lot of fun, but my dogs have gotten older. So have I. We still have the strange habit of dancing to the food dishes, dancing for nursing home patients, dancing for joy. We just spin and weave together; a rather strange habit, probably.

I don’t put off things I dread. I do them first. Get them out of the way. Get it over with. That reminds me, I must call for my mammogram this morning.

Any meal with my friends and family is my favorite meal. Thanksgiving and Christmas are probably the obvious because we are all there. Last year Dave & I started a tradition that we’re looking forward to continuing. When we visited our son & wife on the Eastern Shore of Virginia we brought home a huge cooler of crabs, a bushel of corn just-picked, and other fresh produce straight out of the field, from the shore. We called and emailed friends & family and told them we were coming home, if they wanted to pick crabs be there at six. We covered the picnic tables with newspapers, steamed the crabs and all the veggies, and hammered and picked the evening away. Everyone had the best time! Sometimes spontaneous works best, and there were no tablecloths and dishes involved.

Spiritual themes I like to write about are all of the positive nature. I don’t do apocalypse stuff, doomsday, or eternal hell or anything like that. The spiritual themes you will find in my work are the power of God’s love, forgiveness, grace and constancy. Loving God and loving the works of his hands usually show up somewhere in my work. They say “write what you know.” I don’t know a lot, but I write what I believe. The sacrament of marriage is important to me, as are the other sacraments. I see them show up in my work even if it wasn’t what I intended. It just creeps in there.

“Whatever you do, do it as if you were doing it for God Himself.” Colossians 3:23. This reminds me why I do the things I do: why I do therapy dog programs, why I offer my home to strangers, why I revise and rewrite willingly, to make my work the best it can be.

The second Avery book is scheduled for release by Journey Forth in September. This is the continuing adventures and growth of darling Avery, and sweet, strong Claire, whom you will have met in book one when Avery thinks she’s bossy and forward. At sixteen he realizes she is self- confident and intelligent. At eighteen he admires her leadership, even though she’s still bossy. At nineteen, when the war is over…you have to read the book if you want to know that part.

This summer as you travel around the southeast visiting the sesquicentennial celebrations of the American Civil War, you can look for book one at all the National Park Service gift shops and museum stores, as well as bookstores and libraries. I hope you’ll enjoy a taste of history through the eyes of Avery and Gunner.

You can purchase Avery's Battlefield at Deanna's website.

Deanna is giving away a copy of Avery's Battlefield. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Anonymous said...

I'd really like to win this book!

Maureen said...

I LOVE your new tradition of giving a wonderful meal to friends! Great idea.
Would love to read this book!

windycindy said...

I like that her books focus on the
positive facts of religion...
Many thanks, Cindi

apple blossom said...

please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Charity said...

This sounds like a good book. Please enter me.


lgm52 said...

Interesting interview...and the book sounds great!

Shari said...

just discovered this blog...anxious to keep reading! Happy Easter!!!!!

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