Monday, January 16, 2012

Deanna K. Klingel's Bread Upon the Water

I was a child in a small town in the 50’s. It was a time when kids amused themselves with paper, scissors, magazines, paste, crayons, and books, while listening to the radio. That’s when I wrote and illustrated my first books, lacing the pages together with shoe strings. Writing wasn’t something I dreamed of doing “when I grow up;” it was something I was already doing. I wrote plays for my classmates, wrote for the school newspapers, yearbook, tons of letters of correspondence with relatives and pen pals. I recently found a yellowed poem I wrote for the Michigan State University newspaper. Don’t remember it, but there it is! After I had kids (7) I wrote puppet plays and stories for them, edited school newsletters, and projects, plays and news for Scouts and church. I wrote all the time. I made scrapbooks, diaries and kept journals. I hadn’t figured out that I was a writer, or an author. That didn’t happen until after the children were grown and I began writing travel books for grandchildren. Then one day it happened. I woke up and said, “I have a story in my head, and I think it wants to be a book. I guess I’ll try to write a book.”

Is there a story behind this book? I met Father Tien when he became pastor of our small church in the mountains, a few years ago. He shared a little of his story with a few of us. His story kept niggling away at me. I did some research, and was convinced his story needed to be told on behalf of all the thousands of Vietnamese who haven’t talked about their perilous journey to freedom. It needs to be told to the younger generations of Vietnamese and Americans who are getting a Hollywood version, or the current version from the Communist government. That belief was affirmed just recently when a local man visited Vietnam and wrote about his vacation in the paper. He said everything was “just fine.” He said in Vietnam, the ‘American War’ is a distant memory. He said, “the people aren’t communists, it’s only the government. So it’s all good, he said.” No it isn’t. The government runs the schools. So is it a surprise that the ‘American War’ is being forgotten? Would they tell what really happened? He said people are free to go to church. What tourists don’t see is the underlying threat. There are spies in those churches and any one can be closed, used for other purposes, or their doctrine can be taught however the communist government chooses. Everything is never “fine” under a communist government. Tourists see what a communist government chooses to show them. My book is not a political treatise, or a history of the war against communism in Vietnam. It’s the story of one man, his family, among thousands like them, who chose to escape the tyranny of their homeland. The thing about Tien was he was following God’s call. That doesn’t mean it was an easy choice or a safe journey. It means God was with him. And I think that’s a story we all need to hear. Over and over. I spent a year interviewing Father Tien and learning about him and his family. I cherish my time with him. He’s an inspiration.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? I like historical fiction, biography, creative nonfiction. I just finished Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh. I liked that. Recently I read the Real All Americans by Sally Jenkins. One of my all-time favorites is The Book Thief.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done Or what is your strangest habit? Well, I don’t think it’s quirky or strange, but I suppose others might. I dance with my dog. We belonged to World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO) with other quirky people. I started a local chapter called Footloose in the Carolinas, but we’re kind of isolated, and eventually it dissolved. I dance with my dog at home, and sometimes at nursing homes, but we don’t compete anymore. She’s eleven and I’m old enough to know better.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? Nope. If anything, I’m more apt to do them first to get them out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of the day.

What’s your favorite meal with family and friends? Our family has left the nest, so nowadays any meal I have with them is a favorite time. But, I love breakfasts or brunches when everything is relaxed. I like to make beignets. It makes a huge mess.

Share a verse or scripture passage with us that is special to you and tell us why is it special.
I use scripture passages in most of my books. But, this Psalm speaks to me. I have it pinned above my computer screen. I live in a rather remote area, and in winter my friends depart for warmer climates and I see and talk to few people. People who write are often alone with their thoughts, living with fictitious characters in make-believe worlds. When I look out my big loft window at the bare trees and the mountain ranges, Psalm 139:1-4, reminds me that I’m not alone up here.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And you are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, you know it all.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? The past fourteen months have been huge for me. Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog came out October 2010. In March, 2011, Avery’s Battlefield took off like cannon, followed by Avery’s Crossroad in September. In November Battlefield won a national book award. This book, Bread Upon the Water was scheduled for release between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the date has slipped and will now be late January, possibly February, one of those publishing house mysteries. So, that’s the next one. I have some others being looked at, but no contract offers for them yet.

Thanks, I’ve enjoyed my time with you.

You can keep in touch with Deanna at

Here's a teaser from Bread Upon the Water.

            Father Tien Duong’s life is an amazing and inspiring story of perseverance in following God’s call in the face of severe trials and testings. Father Duong pursued his vacation to the priesthood, knowing God would always be faithful. The kind priest who taught the young Tiend Doung in sixth grade gave him sound advice for his life’s journey. “Trust God. Always, trust God.” –Bishop Jugis, Charlotte Diocese, NC.

Come back tomorrow to read an excerpt!

Deanna K.Klingel is giving away a copy of Bread Upon the Water. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Teela said...

Deanna, I would love to read your book Bread upon the Water! Hope I win. Blessings,

apple blossom said...

please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Amanda Stephan said...

What an undertaking! I'd love to read this book. I've often wondered about things that you address in your book - the communist government, the children, the churches. I'm going to have to get a copy even if I don't win. Thank you for the opportunity!

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