Jenny Knipfer–Author

Best-selling Christian historical fiction author, Jenny Knipfer, shares her books, inspiration, thoughts on life and writing, and book reviews. Purchase Jenny's books, read her blog, or listen to encouraging podcasts, highlighting the life of a writer.

I grew up on the farm I wrote about in my upcoming novel, In a Grove of Maples. From the 1890’s, during the decades I grew up in, and the current time a lot has changed but yet a few things remain the same. The basic structure of the log cabin stands at the heart of the framed house built around it. The bare logs can still be seen when entering the house. My brother told me that logs were from trees that had toppled and burned in the Peshtigo fire. 

The old outhouse squats in the same place, and the red hand water pump rises from the same spot. The barn my grandfather built to replace the log barn in the early 1900’s still stands, and over the years my dad had kept it in good repair. Now, my nephew, who owns the farm does. The spring north of the barn still trickles forth and sometimes floods the fields around that area.

Other things have changed or grown. Trees grew while others died. Buildings were erected and taken down. Family has come and gone, but the farm will always have that hard-working, midwestern family legacy of my grandparents, tying me and my family together through the decades. 

Some of my best memories include doing the everyday chores on the farm, helping with milking, bedding or feeding, the small dairy herd of forty cows, haying, gardening, cooking, and even the dreaded task of picking rock. Though I was only nine-years-old when my dad retired, I have a lot of memories of the working farm. Even after Dad sold the cows and some of the machinery, he still planted a huge garden and cut wood for our wood stove. There was always some task to help with. 

Most of all I remember the simple things…

The soothing smell of fresh cut hay. The mooing of the cows. The warmth and snug feeling of tucking my head against a cow’s flank to attach the milker’s or wash theirs utters. The large family breakfasts with everything from a platter of sliced tomatoes and green onions to potatoes chopped and fried in a cast iron skillet. The slap of the screen door. The hollyhocks by the side of the house that had been there since my grandma had planted them, nearly a hundred years ago. The cold refreshing taste of water pumped by hand from a spring-fed well. The nutty fragrance of fresh-ground wheat. My mother’s hands kneading bread dough. My father’s hands crafting something out of wood or leaning on the end of a garden hoe, hankie dangling from his jean’s back pocket, And so many other things. 

Question: Have you ever lived on a farm? Visited a farm? Tell me about it.

In a Grove of Maples releases July 1st. Join me for the release party in my Facebook Group, Journeying with Jenny. I’ll also have numerous giveaways going on all my social media outlets.

Thanks for reading! J

As a part of the Coffeepot Book Club, let me introduce you to Clare Flynn and her newest novel, Sisters at War.

Book Title: Sisters at War * Author: Clare Flynn * Publication Date: 1st May 2021 * Publisher: Cranbrook Press * Page Length: 314 Pages * Genre: Historical Fiction

Description:

1940 Liverpool. The pressures of war threaten to tear apart two sisters traumatised by their father’s murder of their mother.

With her new husband, Will, a merchant seaman, deployed on dangerous Atlantic convoy missions, Hannah needs her younger sister Judith more than ever. But when Mussolini declares war on Britain, Judith’s Italian sweetheart, Paolo is imprisoned as an enemy alien, and Judith’s loyalties are divided.

Each sister wants only to be with the man she loves but, as the war progresses, tensions between them boil over, and they face an impossible decision.

A heart-wrenching page-turner about the everyday bravery of ordinary people during wartime. From heavily blitzed Liverpool to the terrors of the North Atlantic and the scorched plains of Australia, Sisters at War will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your heart.

Author Bio:

Clare Flynn is the author of thirteen historical novels and a collection of short stories. A former International Marketing Director and strategic management consultant, she is now a full-time writer.

Having lived and worked in London, Paris, Brussels, Milan and Sydney, home is now on the coast, in Sussex, England, where she can watch the sea from her windows. An avid traveler, her books are often set in exotic locations.

Clare is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of The Society of Authors, ALLi, and the Romantic Novelists Association. When not writing, she loves to read, quilt, paint and play the piano.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amazon.co.uk/dp/B08Z473XG2

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sisters-War-wartime-voyage-across-ebook/dp/B08Z473XG2/

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Sisters-War-wartime-voyage-across-ebook/dp/B08Z473XG2

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Sisters-War-wartime-voyage-across-ebook/dp/B08Z473XG2/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sisters-at-war-1

Connect With Clare:

Website: https://clareflynn.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/clarefly

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorclareflynn

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Clare-Flynn/e/B008O4T2LC/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6486156.Clare_Flynn

Instagram https://instagram.com/clarefly

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clareflynn/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/clarefly/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/clare-flynn

Thanks for reading! J

Amy and I have connected as authors on Facebook, and it has been a pleasure getting to know her. Today, I am happy to feature a guest post by Amy. I am sure you’ll be blessed reading a part of her story and thoughts on God in the midst of our lives, no matter the trials or location.

The Head of My Tent

A small-town girl from northwest Pennsylvania, I was the third of four siblings. I’m the only one in my family who traveled halfway around the world to settle and start my family. When I secretly married an Egyptian Army Captain against the regulations of his country’s military, we didn’t have an auspicious beginning to our marriage. His father locked the family into the house and forbade them to attend our civil wedding in Egypt. I couldn’t live there; if my husband’s commanding officer found out about our marriage, his father and brothers could be sent to prison.  My mother couldn’t drive for a week. She feared her worry that she’d never see me again would cause an accident. She didn’t trust “those foreign countries” and, of course, had had no opportunity to meet my husband in advance.

It sounds like a novel, but it was my life.

That was just the beginning of our tests. I don’t know why my Captain and I defied our religious, cultural and even societal upbringing and our parents’ expectations. If the beginning is supposed to be the honeymoon phase of married life, what would the rest of our lives bring? Looking back, I wonder if our stubbornness was both our strength and our downfall?

Nearly five years after we married, my husband finally confessed to the crime of marrying me. Because he came from a highly-regarded military family (an uncle was a General), he was simply ousted to a remote desert patrol/post and faced a court martial, after which he was demoted and unceremoniously booted out of the military at the verge of becoming a major. Nothing happened to his family.

In May 1998, my husband joined me in the United Arab Emirates where I was living and teaching English. I had settled in Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost emirate of the country. It touched several landscapes—the mountains, the sea and the desert. The words literally meant, “Head of the Tent.” I think it aptly described the raw terrains of our marriage.

A year later, violently and repeatedly throwing up on a four-wheel-drive excursion a few hours from our home brought more challenges. Another abrupt change to our lives.  A good Egyptian wife must bear her husband many children. While we didn’t actively follow these morals, neither of us could believe our good fortune when I learned I was pregnant, and later, that it was with twins.

Chaos seemed to follow us at each stage of our marriage. At five months, I discovered one of the twins had died. Shortly afterward, I was hospitalized for pre-eclampsia, also called “toxemia.” Simply put, it’s  a condition in which the fetus serves as a kind of  poison to the mother.

But it was the six weeks in the Dubai Government Hospital that God taught me deep life lessons and solidified the faith I grew up with. It’s not that I ever left it. It’s that it had not been tested enough to serve as a deep anchor.

The turmoil of life and the passing of my second twin in the hospital is chronicled in my devotional, Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss, along with the eventual end of the marriage to my disbarred military husband.

But what I want to point out now is how grateful I am to that faith, which somehow grew roots in the sands of the Middle East. I learned faith is something that doesn’t leave us. It sets up camp wherever we go. It not only keeps us dry, it’s, in part, like a bedroll smoothing the hard places when we don’t even realize how hard the ground still is.

With that explanation, I’d like to announce a short, slice-of-life memoir that barely covers a day years after that interlude. God doesn’t forget our pain and grief. He still smooths the barren landscape and brings good out of tough situations for his children. My story is living proof—and I’m no exception. 

Twelve years later, I’ve “set up camp” in my mother’s home after the passing of my father. I’m nearing age fifty. Life is kind of blah …  until one Valentine’s Day when God uniquely and unexpectedly ministers to my soul. He has not forgotten those years or my grief. He is now The Head of My Tent.

My upcoming memoir, A Time to Dance: Finding Joy After Child Loss, is packed with the love of family and a reassuring Father who delights in pitching a tent lined with the canvas of optimism. A finely woven silk carpet touches the heels of my feet, just as it did in the Middle East. Only now it has delightful new strands and a slightly altered design.

It’s a love story and a reminder to be courageous. The Lord Thy God will never leave nor forsake us. He’ll always be pitching a tent in whatever terrain we find ourselves. He’ll always make room for us to join him.

I am releasing a print version in mid-June. But for now, you can find my memoir, A Time to Dance: Finding Joy After Child Loss on Amazon in the e-book version. The audio version is also available in my Bookshop on my website: amybovaird.com

You can find out more about me through my social media links: Please friend me on my Author FB page, subscribe to InSIGHTS, my weekly blog, or follow me on Twitter.

About Amy

Amy Bovaird is a freelance writer, a ghostwriter, the author of the Mobility Series and the Finding Joy After … Series. She is the recipient of the “Distinguished Merit of Literature” by Ohio Valley University for her first memoir, Mobility Matters. A former ESL instructor, world traveler, and inspirational speaker, she peppers her talks with faith, humor and culture. She also happens to be legally blind and losing her hearing. But she advocates living your best life, one rich in gratitude. Amy now lives in northwest Pennsylvania in the same house where she grew up. She strives for the upper hand with her three lively cats, and on most days, fails miserably.

Thanks, Amy!

Thank you so much, Amy for being a guest blogger on my blog, today. It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to read this portion of your story. I love the idea that God is perpetually the “head of our tent.” It’s such a welcoming, visual image to hold onto.

Thanks for reading!

Dear Reader, I appreciate you taking a few moments out of your busy day to read my blog. In doing so, may you always find yourself more blessed than when you started. Please, do connect with Amy. She’s an encouraging lady to journey along with.

Blessing on your day, J

Photograph by Craig Jentink

Do you ever wonder where authors come up with book titles or the name of series? Let me tell you how the series title, Sheltering Trees, came to me.

It took a while to come up with the series name. First I thought of something in relation to my home state of Wisconsin, where the books are set, but I couldn’t settle on anything. Then my mind lit on the idea of using prepositional phrases as book titles. I liked that! 

From there, I wrote down possible names. I thought of trees and how I have associated them with shelter, and the name Sheltering Trees sprang from that.

Next, the individual book titles came fairly easy. I named different trees, factored in their location and where I would set the books and went from there. The first three titles rolled out of my noggin without much trouble at all. 

In a Grove of Maples made sense for the book inspired by my grandparents and set on my home farm. I remember a plentiful supply of maples in the area. My brothers still make syrup from the trees in the woods on that property. 

Under the Weeping Willow came about because, firstly,  I love willow trees. Secondly, I’ve driven by a neighborhood’s property hundreds of times, a couple miles away, which had the perfect setting with a pond, several willows, and a picturesque older house and farm. I imagined my novel set there. 

I like to use real places for the setting of my novels—buildings, homes, farms, etc. that I’ve seen. The story seems more real to me then, and I can easily pull from my memory of a place.

I set my third novel in Sheltering Trees, On Bur Oak Ridge, on the farm my husband and I live on. Established in the 1880’s. It once was quite a huge farm for the time period. It had over 180 acres, a barn, chicken coop, summer kitchen, farmhouse, outbuildings, and a working windmill—providing water for the household and animals—atop the ridge, north of the farm. It just so happens that the predominant tree on the ridge are Bur Oak trees. Thus the name. 

The last book, By Broken Birch Bay, came to me on vacation in Grand Maria, Minnesota. My husband and I were driving along Lake Superior, and I saw a stand of birch trees, my favorite trees, all with their tops missing, like a giant chainsaw had been lifted twenty or more feet in the air and had sawed the trees’ heads off. I’m not sure if a storm did the damage but it got me thinking, and a story started to formulate, a mystery of sorts.

And that’s the story of a series! 

To read the synopsis of all the book in my Sheltering Trees series, go to: https://jennyknipfer.com/sheltering-trees-series/

Follow me on Amazon to get notification when a new book releases: http://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author/ref=dbs_a_mng_awm_scns_share%3F_encoding=UTF8&asin=B07QV9HPH4

Thanks for reading! Blessings, J

As a part of the Coffeepot Book Club I am featuring The Cotillion Brigade, by Glen Craney today.

Book Title: The Cotillion Brigade (A Novel of the Civil War and the Most Famous Female Militia in American History) * Author: Glen Craney * Publication Date: 15th March 2021 * Publisher: Brigid’s Fire Press * Page Length: 399 Pages * Genre: Historical Fiction

DESCRIPTION:

Georgia burns.

Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.

Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?

Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart Rifles, The Cotillion Brigade is an epic novel of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood in devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.

“Gone With The Wind meets A League Of Their Own.”

— John Jeter, The Plunder Room

1856. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hill makes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.

Five years later, secession and war against the homefront hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.

Excerpt:

Lagrange, Georgia
May 1856

Nancy gathered the crinoline folds of her hooped white gown and slipped unnoticed through the rear door to the bedroom’s third-story veranda. She kicked off her slippers and climbed the narrow stairs that led to the banistered promenade crowning the Bellevue mansion, a white Greek Revival temple overlooking the plantations of LaGrange. As she hid behind the corner, she watched the guests arriving through the iron-cast gates on Broad Street. Her gasp of delight nearly gave her away.

Under the cloudless night sky, flickering oil lamps lit the way for the caravan of carriages rolling in on the tree-lined lane from town and the neighboring plantations. Every movement from miles around appeared choreographed as if in a dream; the conveyances pulled up to the entrance, and the doorman bowed and placed a footstool to assist the ladies. She squinted to catch her first glimpse of the latest fashions from New Orleans and Atlanta. The necklines were lower this year. She reached for the underwire girding her petticoats and pulled the apparatus down an inch to show more décolletage. On the portico, the young men gathered in their cravats and tails and vied to escort the ladies into the grand hall, now cleared of furniture to serve as the ballroom. 

And they were all coming to see her.

Well, almost all. Her ecstatic smile gave way to a grumpy frown. Why did Sallie Fannie Reid have to be announced to society on the same night? It wasn’t fair. The petite blonde tart didn’t even live in LaGrange. Yet because she was the daughter of the wealthiest plantation owner in West Point—the next town down the rail line—that nouveau pedigree gave her the right to make her debut in the most elegant mansion in Troup County. Heavens, Sallie’s backwater burgh couldn’t even decide in which state it resided; half the town sat on the Alabama side, the other half in Georgia. Worse, Sallie had graduated a year early from the Female College, allowing her to flaunt her degree while Nancy still waited to earn hers.

Wasn’t it enough that every man in the county could talk of nothing else but Sallie’s beauty and grace and selflessness? Sallie Fannie Reid is holding a charity bazaar for the church. Sallie Fannie Reid sat in the pew next to me. Sallie Fannie Reid intends to travel to Europe. Sallie Fannie Reid smiled at me. Sallie Fannie Reid accepted my—

“Nannie!” Mary Heard glared at her from the bottom of the promenade steps. “What are you doing out there?”

“I need air. I can barely breathe in this corset.”

“The announcements will start soon! We haven’t gotten your hair braided. Sallie Fannie Reid—”

“I have heard my fill of Sallie Fannie Reid!”

Mary straightened from the force of that complaint.

Nancy glanced across the roof at the far window. “She’s over there plotting how she will trip me—”

Mary corralled Nancy by the arm and hurried her back into the bedroom assigned for their preparations. While the mulatto house servant, Marie, knelt on the floor adjusting the hem, Mary raised the border of Nancy’s neckline to a proper height and fluffed out the folds in her gown. “This is the night you become a woman. You might wish to act it.”

Nancy refused to stand still. “Just because you’re married doesn’t make you the queen of society.”

Mary applied the finishing touches on Nancy’s hair, teasing the soft loops and ringlets on each side to give her long face as much an illusion of roundness as possible. She glanced at the door, as if expecting a summons at any moment, and told the domestic, “Marie, you are dismissed.”

“Yessum.” Marie gathered her sewing basket and hurried out.

Alone with Nancy, Mary lowered her voice. “There are things I need to say to you.” When Nancy escaped to the mirror and adjusted the brooch to sink lower into the valley of her breasts, Mary pulled a worn booklet from under the frills of her sleeve. She smoothed out the bent corners of its cover and opened it to a marked page. “My mother read this to me on the night of my debut.”

“Didn’t we cover that era in Ancient History class?” Nancy was about to drive her gibe to the hilt when she saw tears well up in Mary’s eyes. She softened and nodded, affecting an eagerness to hear what was so important to her best friend, who was always so serious.

Mary cleared the emotion from her throat. “These are the maxims young ladies must memorize before attending their first ball.”

Nancy saw the name of the booklet’s author, Professor Wirth. “Written by a man?”

“Please, for once, pay attention.”

Nancy cracked the door and stole a glance across the hall at the bedroom where Sallie Fannie Reid was dressing. “Are you going to read it to her, too?”

Mary ignored the taunt and pressed on, reciting: “‘Dancing is the only rational amusement wherein the man of business can forget the manifold cares of an active business life. The social pastime, when joined with delightful music, is a panacea for the innumerable ills resulting from the continuous strain on the heated and overtaxed brain.’”

Nancy rolled her eyes. “There are plenty of overtaxed brains in this town.”

“You’d best harness that sharp tongue. Or you will find yourself ostracized by every gentleman present tonight.”

“Go on, then. Let’s get this done.”

About the author: Glen Craney

A graduate of Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Glen Craney practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to write about national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. He is a three-time Finalist/Honorable Mention winner of Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year and a Chaucer Award winner for Historical Fiction. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the Scotland of Robert Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the trenches of France during World War I, the battlefields of the Civil War, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in Malibu, California.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08XJ4Z3DM

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08XJ4Z3DM

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08XJ4Z3DM

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08XJ4Z3DM

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-cotillion-brigade

IBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1555830477

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cotillion-brigade-glen-craney/1138906614

Connect with Glen:

Website: www.glencraney.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GlenCraneyAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/glencraney

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gcraney5618/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1516207.Glen_Craney

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Glen-Craney/e/B002C1VQZ8

Thanks for reading about The Cotillion Brigade, J!

I’m very happy to post my review for The Love Coward, a down-home Christian historical romance, by fellow Wisconsin author, Naomi Musch, who has become a friend and a favorite author.

My Review:

Just after WWII, jilted bride, Tulla Johanson, stuffs her dreams of being married to Burke Delgard and continues working at the local tractor factory to help make ends meet on her family farm. With her mother ill and her father faltering, Tulla doesn’t know how she’ll keep the farm in operation.

Confident he’ll get Tulla back, Burke throws his hat in the ring again, but by this time, Tulla’s friend Walt steps in the way. And on top of that, Burke’s best friend and war buddy, Steven Vandreel “Van”, faces his own attraction to Tulla. However, Van doesn’t wish to step on toes or take a dive into romantic territory, leaving him open to a possible broken heart. 

With Burke away and Tulla needing help on the farm, Van pitches in, bringing him closer to Tulla, and he can’t help his growing feelings for her. But will he be just as much a coward as Burke was?

Will Tulla allow Burke back into her life? Can she define her feelings for Walt, and what about Van, who’s shown her and her family so much kindness? 

Readers of Christian historical fiction and Christian romance will fall in love with this drama of a sweet Wisconsin farm gal and the three men vying for her attention. By the end of the book, you’ll find yourself asking, “Just who is the love coward?” It’s not a black and white answer. 

Musch does a wonderful job of crafting tangible settings and characters, who come to life and pull you into the story. You’ll be sitting down to dinner with the Johansons, picking produce with Tulla, making repairs with Van, and most of all cheering for the love coward to be brave.

Jenny Knipfer

About Naomi in Her Own Words:

“I was born and raised in central Wisconsin but have made my home for many years in Wisconsin’s pristine north woods, where my husband Jeff and I live as epically as God allows near our five young adults and passel of grand-children. Amidst it, I write about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles, whether the story venue is rich in American history or along more contemporary lines.

In between my novels I’ve worked as an editor for a small press, a staff writer for an EPA award-winning newspaper, a ghost writer, and I’ve published dozens of magazine and internet articles for the encouragement of homeschooling families and young writers. I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Lake Superior Writers. I meet weekly with my local writers’ group the Upper St. Croix Writers. (Come join us sometime!)

Besides writing, my biggest joys are loving on my grandchildren, encouraging homeschoolers and young writers, gardening, camping, taking walks in the woods, and fellowshipping with friends. If you’re a grandparent too, you might enjoy some encouragement from my grandparenting page.”

Thanks for Reading!

As always thank you for reading my reviews and posts!

Do you read books by authors from your home state? I love to! A few other Wisconsin authors I enjoy are Liz Tolma, Michele Olson, and Jaime Jo Wright.

One of the great things about being an author has been getting to know other authors. I connected with Christian author, Maria T. Henriksen, on Facebook awhile back, and we’ve been involved in each other’s groups. Since I like to feature authors from time to time, I offered a spotlight to those authors who had been included in my last author party/takeover on Facebook. Below is an interview I did with Maria, recently.

MY INTERVIEW WITH MARIA:

What prompted you to pursue publication?

I pursued publication to accomplish something meaningful and worthwhile. I wanted to leave a legacy for my family, something my family could be proud of, something that left a mark of my existence here on earth. My novel, Not Again, turned out to be even more than ever imagined. It turned into a ministry to help others deal with traumatic events in their lives, to draw closer to God, and manage everyday stress. Not Again has also been recommended to others who are grieving the loss of loved ones and I truly believe that Not Again will lead someone to Christ someday. Yes, my book is that powerful, but I can’t take the credit as I prayed through it every step of the way. All the glory goes to God.

What inspired you to write Not Again?

I had no idea what I was going write until my fingers hit the keyboard. I didn’t plan anything nor did I keep notes of the various characters or plot. God inspired me to write every keystroke of Not Again. In fact, I never experienced writer’s block. The words flowed right out of me. It was an incredible writing experience. One that that I wish I could experience again.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing your novel? The most rewarding? 

Writing Not Again was easy as I even enjoyed the editing aspects of it, especially the rewrites. Publishing was the hard part. In fact, I’m dreading the publishing part of Not Again’s sequel, Not Again, The Fallout, so much that I think it’s partly why it’s not yet ready for publication. The most rewarding part of writing my novel has been the overwhelming positive response to my novel in how it has inspired so many people, and that I created a unique combination of genres that my readers are hoping will start a trend.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

My hope is that readers will draw closer to the Lord at the very least. The use of scripture is woven into the story line to foster a relationship with Christ. There are also practical ways of dealing with everyday stress that can be implemented in one’s life. My objective is that readers rely on the Lord for strength and utilize the techniques in my book to reduce their daily stress as well as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). My greatest desire is that readers will come to Christ as a result of the seeds planted from reading Not Again. God revealed that someone will be led to Christ from reading Not Again and my hope is that I will live to hear about it.

Which authors or books have inspired you the most, as a writer?

Several authors have inspired my writing but for different reasons. Frank Peretti was the first Christian author I read and his book left an impact on my life as I was able to glean that there is a spiritual world going on around us. Secular writers like John Green and Jodi Piccult have had an even impact on my writing in that their works don’t necessarily have happy endings. Their approach is to show the harsh realities of life. However, I take that a step further to show that through faith in Jesus, we can get through even the most difficult situations. This type of hope and faith in Jesus is seen in Janette Oke’s sweet historical novels. For whatever reason I can’t seem to write with the same sweetness, so Not Again is considered edgy as it describes the good, the bad, and the ugly in a raw and sometimes fierce manner. As a young adult novel, I feel this grittiness appeals to the younger generation who is desensitized to life’s iniquities as they are bombarded with sex and violence and come to expect it and would otherwise not be captivated by sweetness alone.

What piece of advice would you offer aspiring authors?

I suggest that aspiring authors get their writing on the pages and seek professional editing before they do anything else. They also need to promote their book at least a year before it’s published.

 What do you enjoy doing when not writing?

I have a regular job during the school year, so it’s not like I have a ton of spare time. You may find me running trails, in the street or on the track when I’m not injured. These days it’s been a series of injuries and flare ups that have prevented me from doing what I love, running and competing in races. I’m somewhat hopeful that I will be able to compete again and run in a half marathon. My dream used to be to run a marathon but given my extensive injuries and medical condition that dream is too lofty.

What 5-10 adjectives would you use to describe yourself?

Friendly, Creative, Vivacious, Intuitive, Encouraging, Empathetic, Inspiring, Faithful, Motivated, Kind-hearted

What’s your favorite color and why?

Purple! I am passionate about purple. It’s the color of royalty and I identify myself as being part of God’s kingdom. I wear a lot of purple and accessorize with it through jewelry, make up, shoes, nail polish… Strangers have even been known to compliment me for my overall sense of style which usually involves purple.

Thank you

Thank you, Maria for interviewing with me. Blessings on your current and future author endeavors.

Thanks for reading! J

CLICK IMAGE TO PREORDER

I thought I’d share some of the inspiration behind the story of In a Grove of Maples, my upcoming historical fiction novel. When I finished writing my By the Light of the Moon series, I knew I wanted to go a different direction for my next novel and make it a less intricately woven story and one inspired by family. 

I never knew my dad’s parents. They died years before I entered this world. Being the youngest of six children, and my dad being the second youngest of thirteen siblings, time kept us apart. Also, factor in that my Dad hovered around the age of fifty at my birth. 

So, though my grandparents lived to be in their 90’s I missed getting to know them. 

All I have of them amounts to a few stories my dad told me and two photographs. One of them with a car they purchased in the 1930’s and one of them at my mom and dad’s wedding in the 1950’s.

Even my siblings don’t know that much about them. They were young when our grandparents passed. My brothers helped me fill in a few gaps of missing information, but when we pooled together all we knew, a lot of gaps and questions remained. And when you are young, you don’t think about asking your parents about the details of their parents’ lives. I wish I’d asked more questions and listened better. 

I recall my dad telling me how grandma sold eggs to the store and saved her money to purchase special things for himself and his siblings. Out of the few times I saw my father cry, most of those were when he spoke of his mother. He had loved her greatly, and that told me all I needed to know about the kind of person she had been. 

I knew that she stayed home and tended the farm and children in the early years of marriage, so Grandpa could go be a teamster at a logging camp up north in Wisconsin. (This made it into the book.) 🙂

Dad never talked much about his father, but I gathered from what he did tell me that  Grandpa had been a hard-working man but prone to temper, once in a while. I like to think that Grandpa and Grandma had forged a good life together through the years, despite the challenges.

Armed with a handful of historical facts about and when they bought the farm in Wisconsin—the farm I grew up on—I began to wonder and ask myself questions about what the lives of my grandparents may have been like as a newly married couple, and the book began to formulate in my mind. Characters took shape and spoke, showing me a story of trials, tested love, heartache, and tragedy with an underlying current that in spite of or perhaps even because of the unforeseen events of life, dreams can come true. 

THANKS FOR READING!

Thank you for reading a bit about the start of a story dear to my heart. Here’s what a few readers are saying so far:

“Five stars for this sweet and wonderful read! I believe this is Knipfer’s best yet! I think the best thing about this story is that it offers hope to readers that we can really get through the toughest times in our lives.”

Goodreads, Lori Parish

“This is perhaps one of my favorite books that I’ve read, I didn’t want it to end. I loved how relatable the characters were and how the author captured true human feelings. Growing up in the rural farmland of Wisconsin I felt a true connection to the story, picturing what my ancestors must have felt settling in Wisconsin beginning to farm.”

BookBub, Farmgirl

 “Knipfer creates such a beautiful cast of characters and a story that leaves you wondering how strong, and brave these early settlers were and all that the endured.”

BookBub, Whisperocky

I recently read this new release by historical fiction author and friend, Kelsey Gietl. Unsettled Shores is the second book in her Hope or High Waters – War Across Waters series.

MY REVIEW:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Toward the end of 1917, Amara Kisch enlists the help of her husband, Emil, to bring her wounded, German brother, Peter, home from the war. Prompted by a letter from Peter, they embark from America. The couple travels into war-torn areas of France and Belgium to seek out Peter and give him the papers he needs to safely return home. 

In the meantime, Peter, jaded and broken in more ways than one, joins forces with a secret organization working to help divided families in Belgium and France to hear news of their loved ones. But Peter and a woman, Josie, he comes to have feelings for delve into much more—secret missions that may speed up the end the war.

Unbeknownst to Amara, Peter enlists Emil’s help in a covert mission that involves a cruel man from Amara’s past and leaves Emil grasping for his life. Will Amara swallow her fear and fight for the man she loves, or will her past shadows oppress her once more?

Will Peter let go of his past as a soldier and move forward into a future with Josie, or will his mind and body be too attached to his pain to let go?

Readers of wartime historical fiction will be pulled into the family tensions and espionage scenes rife with subterfuge in this dramatic novel, of the lengths one will go to for family and the battles, both inward and out, to overcome oppression in its many forms. 

Kelsey Gietl, a St. Louis, Missouri native, theatre enthusiast, and author of four historical fiction novels set in the 1910’s. 

Gietl has crafted a novel to sink your teeth into and has a way with writing dramatic dialogue that’s both realistic and engaging, opening the scenes of the book for the reader to step into and experience, alongside the characters. 

With characters that advance from less than perfect places, the exciting and thrilling storyline drives the plot along, with a surprise turn toward the end, changing the outcome of several of the characters’ dilemmas. 

I can gladly recommend this engaging and well-crafted wartime novel.

LEARN MORE ABOUT KELSEY

KELSEY’S BOOKS

What was the last wartime book you read?

Happy reading, J

Amidst the beauty of a temperate spring day, with the backdrop of a lake as blue as the sky, and a floral palette of dusty blues and burgundies, I had the privilege of celebrating, with family and friends this last Saturday, at my son’s wedding reception. He and his wife got married last May in the midst of Covid restrictions, so at that time, they had a small ceremony with only immediate family and three of their friends at a local park. It was a quiet, peaceful, joyful, and almost magical day, last May, but Saturday became just as special.

During the vow renewal, they had each read fresh, tender vows that moved everyone in attendance, and in my heart I know that they will make it as a couple. With a good grasp on what it means to love and much experience already, they both pledged to move forward in life together, come what may, exemplifying sacrificial love to each other and sharing the stability of commitment. 

My Blessing and Words to My Son and His Wife:

This is a short speech I had prepared for the reception, but it didn’t work out for me to share it. I’d like to publicly share it here:

To my son: first, I’d like to say how proud I am of the man you’ve become. Much like your father, anyone who knows you can see that you are hardworking, kind, genuine, have a heart of integrity, and have a good head on your shoulders. But I’ve never been prouder of you, than seeing the way you love your son and wife. May God bless you in your roles as husband and Father.

But however grown-up you may be, I want you to know that your father and I will be here whenever you need us. We love you, dearly.

To my daughter-in-law: you’ve been a part of our family since you first walked into our lives, but I am glad that this last year and again today we can claim you as an official member.

You are a joy to everyone who knows you, gracious, caring, tender-hearted, and beautiful inside and out, you’ve brought so much richness into our lives, and we look forward to the years to come as family, together. We could not have chosen a better wife for our son.

To them both: although you’ve been together for over eight years and have gone through and shared a lot already, life still has much more to come. More joys. More tough times. And more opportunities to love and care for each other.

This is a poem I wrote thirteen years ago, when my son was just 11. And I would have never imagined I would share this at his wedding, but I think it sums up the heart of what it means to truly love someone. 

The Heart of the Matter

The heart of the matter, keeping us together
,

humble love


that is more about you than me
—

a mutual stretching of arms
,

protecting in life’s storms
,

lighthouse love
,

that watches out for each other
.

The breath of an artist
, bending hot glass
s, 

shaping love
, 

using the flame to form beauty

.

An eye in the darkness
, 

seeing through life’s stresses
,

hopeful love
, 

giving faith in the midst of uncertainty

.

The steady spin of the day
, moving us on our way
,

lasting love
,

that is as sure as the dawn.

Jenny Knipfer

© 2009

I pray for your lives together and in your marriage that you will exemplify to each other the acts of: humbly sacrificing your own wants for the sake of your spouse, sheltering each other in the storms, speaking wisdom to each other when needed, shaping and sharpening each other, pointing to hope and faith when one of you needs encouragement, and having the security of knowing that you’ll always be there for each other, as long as you live. Many Blessings on your life ahead.

Further Reflections:

Love can mean so many things to different people, but I believe at the core it should always contain selflessness. As the well-known Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 goes… “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Dear Reader, I hope and pray that you’ve been shown this kind of love and that you’ve shown others this kind of love. We all fall short of the mark sometimes, but I do know Someone who doesn’t. Jesus laid down his life in the ultimate sacrifice for our sake that we might be called the sons and the daughters of God. 

Though as humans we are all made in his likeness, we have a choice to accept Jesus’s sacrifice, the debt of death we all must pay, to live past this life and be included in God’s eternal family. I’m praying for you as you read this, and I hope you have or will experience the joy of belonging to the family of God. 

Blessings, J

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