Thoughts from Deanna Klingel

» Posted on Dec 3, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Thoughts from Deanna Klingel

This week I’m hosting Marta Perry with Murder in Plain Sight and Deanna Klingel with Just for the Moment. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (December 5th) evening.

Thoughts from Deanna Klingel

When I was a child in the 50’s, my entertainment was paper, crayons, scissors, glue, old magazines, and reams of used paper my grandad brought home from the office at the factory. I wrote letters to relatives and pen pals from Jack & Jill Magazines, stories, and kept journals and diaries. I was writing and composing all the time. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and the school page in the town newspaper. I recently found a yellowed newspaper with a poem I’d submitted to the Michigan State University News. Later when I had children, I wrote stories for them, then skits and plays for their schools, newsletters for organizations and manuals for Girl Scouts.

I never thought about becoming a writer. I’ve always been a writer. I write because I need to write; I feel compelled to write; I express myself in writing. It wasn’t until all my children were grown and we retired to the mountains that I decided to actually write a book to be published. My first book out between covers is Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog. Two books were sold before that one and are electronic books with Those are Rebecca & Heart, and Beth’s Backyard Friends.

I’ve been lucky that most rejections have included nice notes about how much they liked the story and the reasons they weren’t taking it. My first editor told me the story of Harry Potter rejections, and others, and thoroughly prepared me for this, and put in my head that a rejection is not about me.

What would I be doing if I weren’t writing? I can’t imagine it. But, there are a lot of things I like to do. I’d spend more training time with my dogs, more time outside. I’d probably resurrect my gardens. Maybe I’d visit my out-of-town grand kids more often. But no, I can’t imagine not writing.

I’ve got a lot of things going on right now. I have a lot of things scheduled for Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, and that’s involving some travel. I’m having more fun with the marketing end of the business than I expected to. I’m working with an editor from a publishing house on Bread Upon the Water, a middle grade true story about a Vietnamese boy who wanted to become a priest and had to escape from his country and large family as a boat person in order to follow his calling. I’ve started sending out a teen novel called Cracks in the Ice about the niece of a mafia don with Olympic dreams. I’ve just started the research and interviews with an elderly couple from Lithuania who escaped their country in the 40’s. No title yet, just ideas. Avery’s Battlefield, the first of two books about Avery and his hound dog Gunner, will be released this spring and the second one is right behind it at Journey Forth Publishing.

It’s hard to say which book is my favorite because they all become like my children. All of my characters are people I want to know and love and hangout with. I’ve learned something from each of them. Yes, I put myself into my books and my characters, but they put themselves into me as well. I wouldn’t send out anything I wouldn’t want to buy, read and enjoy, nor would I send out anything I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to read. So they are all polished before they leave the house, and that means we’ve spent months, no, years, getting to know each other.

The book that is out right now, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, violates all the “writing rules.” It has no character, no plot, and it doesn’t fit into any genre. But readers are loving it! It answers the three most frequently asked questions about therapy dogs: what is a therapy dog, how did she get to be a therapy dog, and can my dog be a therapy dog. But it isn’t a training manual or a how-to, and it’s not a memoir. It’s a collection of moments when the therapy dog touches the heart and soul of someone and makes a difference, even if it’s just for that moment. The stories show the readers the varied and unique working environments of therapy dogs, and tugs at their heart strings when they share in these small miracles. I’m enjoying the feedback from the enthusiastic readers who tell me they are buying additional copies to give as gifts for dog sitters, groomers, vet techs, care givers, hospital volunteers, and party hostesses, and everyone else they can think of! It’s not a book about dogs, and it’s not limited to dog lovers.

The only advice I’m seasoned enough to give is “hang in there.” Writing a story is the easy part. It’s the editing, the rewriting, the revision, the polishing, the selling, that all have to happen before the story becomes your book. It can take a long time. Make up your mind to enjoy every phase and don’t despair over how long it takes.

My faith probably comes across in all my books. They aren’t “religious” books, but all my characters must draw on their faith at some point, and would be hopeless without it.

I’m not sure I have a favorite theme. My work is all over the place. Rebecca is autistic, Heart is a mutt. Beth loves the backyard birds and speaks from the POV of a little girl. Avery and Gunner grow up during the American Civil War; he’s a Quaker. Gina, my Olympic ice skater, lives a privileged but lonely existence and her readers have to support her through all kinds of difficult things and eventually will cheer as she conquers alcoholism. The therapy dog book is about little moments with the dogs. Tien, my Vietnamese priest, tells his story of fear, adventure, starvation, adversity and faith. So, probably, in truth, I don’t have a favorite theme. My characters pick the theme when they tell me their story.

My writing schedule is write write write. I write something everyday. When I’m really working on something focused, such as a final revision, or if a character is dictating, I can work 12 hours. But, generally I probably average 4 of actual writing.