Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing
Cracks in the Ice by Deanna Klingel
Deanna lives and writes in the mountains of western North Carolina where she lives with her husband Dave, and golden retriever Buddy. Deanna and Dave raised seven children and now enjoy eleven grands and a new great-grand. She's a member of SCBWI, ACFW, NCWN, and CWG. Her other works include Avery's Battlefield and Avery's Crossroad, both middle grade award-winning historical fiction, Bread Upon the Water, a YA nonfiction, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, a non-fiction.
JO: Let’s visit with Deanna with some questions. Please tell us a little about yourself.
DEANNA: I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, now. I’ve lived in New York, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, and Raleigh. I started in Michigan, and moved every two years for twenty years, adding children in each new place. We finally settled in Atlanta for nineteen years. We’ve retired now.
JO: What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
DEANNA: Did you know I have seven children all married, and eleven grands and one great-grand? I’ll bet you don’t know about canine freestyle. It means dancing with your dog. I competed in this sport for several years with two golden retrievers, who recently passed on. Now I have a new retriever, who’s definitely an athlete, but not into dancing. I quilt, sew, knit, read, and play golf; but since taking my writing seriously, I don’t really have time to do any of those things.
JO: Please describe yourself with three words.
DEANNA: I’m happy, grateful, healthy.
JO: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
DEANNA: Well, as I said earlier, I like to quilt, sew, knit, read, and play golf. But now when I’m not actually writing, I’m traveling about selling my books.
JO: How did you become involved in writing?
DEANNA: I’ve always been a writer. I never took it seriously until our children were raised and the house got quiet. I won a contest. I haven’t looked back.
JO: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
DEANNA: I have a wonderful room. We live in a log house and the loft upstairs is mostly window. I have a built in desk that looks out at a slope of rhododendron. My husband added French doors so I can close out the noise from the TV downstairs.
JO: Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?
DEANNA: Sometimes. But the title usually works itself out of the manuscript.
JO: Please tell us about Cracks in the Ice.
DEANNA: Cracks in the Ice is a YA (Young Adult) novel, especially for teens, but crosses over into women’s Christian fiction, published by Write Integrity Press in October. This is the story of Gina, the niece of a mafia don. She has a dream of Olympic stardom as a figure skater. Tragedy interrupts her quest. Without a support system in place, a faith on the back burner, she spirals into lonely despair and alcoholism. Through a long dark time, Gina is bitter and angry. It is the love of two people who never give up on her that shows her she is still worthwhile, even off the ice; she is still a child of God, still lovable. Returning to the faith of her childhood, Gina is resurrected from despair and restores her family.
JO: What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
DEANNA: I hope young readers will see the importance of having family support, of being able to talk about their hurts, frustrations, disappointments. How important it can be to have a plan: where will I go, who will I talk to? I hope they can relate to Gina’s discovery that there are other kinds of victories in life, that aren’t gold.
JO: Where did you get the idea for your book?
DEANNA: I haven’t any idea. Book ideas for me sort of grow inside my head. I don’t set out looking for them. They just simmer and bubble, and soon the characters have names and I know them. Then they tell me their story.
JO: Did you have to do any research for this book?
DEANNA: Yes, I did do some research for this book. The story covers a period of about twenty years, 50s, 60s, 70s, during which important things were happening in the ice skating world. I needed to get the historical parts right. I also needed to learn about the ice skating and alcoholism.
JO: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
DEANNA: I started writing as a child, but I never really thought about publishing anything until Avery’s Battlefield, which was published in 2011. While I worked on that, I began another book, nonfiction, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, which was published in October 2010.
JO: What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?
DEANNA: Be open to change. There are dozens of ways to say the same thing. If someone suggests a change, try it, even if it doesn’t at first appeal to you. In the end, it may surprise you. It doesn’t change the story, it only changes the way you’ve said something. Perhaps the change is for the better. Never quit trying.
JO: What are you working on now?
DEANNA: I’m always working on something! I’m marketing the two Avery books, Bread Upon the Water, and I’m just starting to move Cracks in the Ice. I’ve got two other works I’m still trying to get published, and one other being read and considered. I’ve recently done some research at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA, and am ready to begin working on my next middle grade historical fiction.
JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
DEANNA: Learn all you can. Take some classes. Then write. Just write. Rewrite it. Take your time. Let the work rest, forget about it. Then go read it as a reader. Then rewrite it again.
JO: Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
DEANNA: Cracks in the Ice is available through your indie booksellers, on my website, and at Amazon. It is also available as a Kindle eBook.
JO: Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
DEANNA: You can find me on facebook, and my website is www.BooksByDeanna.com. I’d love to have you visit.
JO: Deanna, thanks for spending time with us today. One of my readers will win a copy of Cracks in the Ice that you so graciously offered.
Till next time … keep on smiling.