Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why Deanna Klingel Writes About the Civil War

Welcome back for our second day with middle grade and YA author Deanna Klingel! If you’d like to learn more about Deanna and her books, you can find her in lots of places online:

What draws you to writing about the Civil War, and specifically about young people during that time?  
I’m not sure, really. I love the era, in spite of the horrific circumstances. But I’m a real mush for heroism, and I’m very hopeful and optimistic in my own life. I don’t just write about the Civil War, but all my books are about heroes in everyday living, and hope abides in the young, I think.

Every author is expected to handle a lot of her own marketing in today’s publishing world. You’ve gone out of your way to spread the word about your books during recent years. Tell our readers what keeps you so busy and why you decided to try that channel.  
Oh boy, do I stay busy! But I love what I do. I go to a lot of Civil War reenactments and talk to a lot of kids. Actually, I talk to a lot of adults, too. I give presentations in museums and schools, and peddle my literature. I’ve gotten to see a lot of interesting things, I’ve learned a lot and met fascinating people who do amazing things. I write about them in my miniblog on Mondays and Thursdays. Kind of a quick travelogue called Selling Books. It includes things I learn about selling books as well. Why I decided to try that channel? Probably because I do enjoy driving, seeing things, and I don’t enjoy twittering and posting and sitting in front of the computer. My books are all available on Kindle but I don’t read Kindle. I’m a bookstore junkie. This is another excuse to find bookstores.

Historical fiction requires a lot of research – which you’re certainly no stranger to. What are a couple of interesting (or unusual, or funny) things you’ve done in the name of research for a book?
Practically everything I do turns into research. I read all the brown highways signs for museums and historical sites. Then I Google them and see what they have, or what it’s about. I discover all kinds of things that I just have to know about. I study it and if it’s interesting it’ll show up in a story sometime. My dog groomer is a triathloner. I asked her so many questions she loaned me some books and showed me her training charts; I visited her bike shop and talked to the bikers, and got so involved that the character in my YA novel in progress was suddenly training for triathlon, something I’d never known anything about before.

Can you share a favorite story or two of fans that you’ve met?
Oh, I’ve met the salt of the earth in these small towns I’ve visited, and met some wonderful humble folk. I’ve written some of their stories in my blog. I especially like the bucket truck man who told me about their family’s work ethic. And I still have a yellow flower on my desk shelf that was given to me by an old veteran who lives in the Veterans Home on the Hill in Barboursville, WV. He makes them. He had a bunch of them stuck in the lining of his coat. He gave it to me. Then there was the little red-haired girl who was so excited jumping up and down telling me she would wear her mom’s nursing cap for Halloween and be Claire, the heroine in my Avery and Gunner series.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your books?
What I hope will happen when young readers read my books is they will enjoy it so much they will want to read more books. That has happened a few times with “reluctant readers,” boys, who read Avery and Gunner and wanted to read more books. That’s when I do the little fist pump, “Yes!” I hope the historical fiction books will make history interesting and fun for them and they’ll decide they like history.

And, for those would-be authors who are reading, what’s your top advice for someone hoping to become published?  
Write. You can’t be published until you write something. Then read good literature. Read. Read. Read. Write, write and rewrite. Writing is a skill. The only way to develop is skill is to practice.

Thanks again to Deanna for spending time with us this week! And, visitors, be sure to enter our drawing to win your own copy of The Mysterious Life of Jim Limber!

You have two ways to enter – here in our blog comments section or through Rafflecopter. Leave your answer to this question from Deanna in the comments:

Do you think historical fiction has relevance for history lovers? Why or why not?

Or, click here to enter with Rafflecopter: 
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The winner will be announced on Friday. Thanks for visiting us!