Being a beautiful, rich young widow has its drawbacks. Avoiding a murderer shouldn’t be one of them.
Elise Amberson’s husbands always die before she can get the marriage momentum going. At least this last one left her with lots of money. Now she can hang out with her dogs, avoid men, and try to keep off God’s radar.
But her dogs are behaving oddly, a pesky pastor can’t keep his hands off her soul, and God is backing her into a corner. It’s all more than a rich, beautiful young woman should have to bear. But when someone begins targeting Elise, she’ll have to figure out why before she becomes the late Widow Amberson.
Wow!! Welcome to the first book in the new series from Prism Book Group! It's "Hounded," by our guest author, Anita Klumpers! Be sure to leave a comment for Anita at the end of the interview for a chance to win a copy of this exciting story. Now let's get to know Anita a little better. Here we go!
Hi Anita! Welcome to The Diamond Mine!
When did you know you were going to be a writer?
I started creating stories when I was very young—always rambling plots that never had a conclusion. (I still have not mastered the art of the wrap-up. Or brevity.) In my wildest dreams, though, I never thought I would be published. But wait! I remember I won a contest in 5th grade for a fine arts festival, and the story was published in their mimeographed, stapled newsletter. I called the story ‘Mandy,’ which at the time I was convinced was the loveliest name in the world. And I had an essay published in 6th grade for a contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was a patriotic essay which I no doubt sobbed over because I was quite emotional, and I won a 1924 silver dollar. Whad’ya know? I’ve been published more than I thought!
And you started pretty early, too! What’s the first story you remember writing?
An action-adventure story when I was about eight. I think the heroine was a girl who liked to climb trees and read and was bullied by a mean boy named Eli. I got about two pages written and asked my parents if I could read it to them. They got suspicious when the tale went on for a good twenty minutes. Yep. I was making it up as I went along.
That's a cute memory! So, who are your writing influences?
Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. Josephine Tey.
Interesting picks. I think I read all the Mary Stewart books in the local library and loved them! Do lots of people still go to the library? I hope so! One of my favorite places. (My Mom's a retired librarian.)
Anyway, how do you get your story ideas?
I’m supposed to have STORY ideas? Maybe that is my problem. I start with a first line—literally—and see where it takes me. I haven’t a clue as to what the story is about. But I sure have that first line clearly defined in my head!
That is so cool! Do you work from an outline, or craft the story as you go?
(Well this was typical. I answered the question before you even asked it.) If I had to outline a book I would never write, and take up something relaxing. Knitting custom-made sweaters for cobras, maybe. And ‘craft’ is too generous a word. The story line and I slap each other around and argue and backtrack and we both accuse each other of never looking at a map. My husband has come in on me shouting at the computer numerous times, something along the lines of “How on earth am I supposed to make THAT plot twist work out?”
You're cracking me up! I thought I was the only one who argued story lines with my computer.
Now give us a few sentences about “Hounded.”
‘Hounded’ opens with the funeral of a wealthy, respected man, survived by his emotionally distant family and his very young second wife. Elise married him for his money—she’s pretty blunt about that—because after the death of her first husband she decided marrying for love was no longer an option. She inherits his two mixed-breed dogs, a lot of his money, his family’s mistrust, the suspicions of the police and the threat that she might be the next in line to die. Into her very messy life comes an old friend, now a pastor, who wants to help her, emotionally and physically and spiritually. Elise not only faces pressure from Russ, who has God on his side, but from an unknown someone who for an unknown reason is trying to get her out of the way.
It sounds so intriguing!
Are the main characters anything like you or anyone you know?
No. Elise is feisty and speaks her mind, very unlike me. Not everyone who reads ‘Hounded’ warms to her right away. Russ, her pastor friend, is inspired in a small way by a co-worker from way back named Russ, a decent, honorable man with a sense of humor.
What do you like best about your main characters?
Oh, I like that Elise is a chatterbox. Silence drives her crazy. She is so human, and what others see as strength and sass is really a coping mechanism for a life spinning out of control. She loves her dogs. Always a good character trait.
And Russ is just a peach. His confidence comes from knowing he isn’t perfect, but the God he serves is. I like that he doesn’t take anything too seriously except what concerns his faith.
It will be fun to see them interact!
Since this is a “Love Is…” novella, and your theme is Love is patient, how hard was it to create a story around that theme?
Pretty easy, actually. I wrote it in a month! So by expending great amounts of impatience with everything (and everyone) around me, driven by panic and realizing that without God’s patience we’d all be lost, I bulldozed my way through and my characters (probably watching me anxiously over their shoulders) cooperated.
Sounds like you were inspired! What are you working on now?
My first book, ‘Winter Watch’ was set in a fictional town called Barley. I’m finishing up ‘A Barley Christmas’ with many of the same characters, and then will resume ‘A Late Winter Poison’ that picks up in Barley a week after ‘Winter Watch’ left off.
Well, this was a fun interview. Thanks, Anita!
Thanks for having me! Great questions!
Okay readers, here's a short excerpt from "Hounded":
The remote was nowhere. Not by the television, in a nearby drawer or on top of the refrigerator. Seized by an almost febrile need for televised entertainment, Elise tore through every drawer and cupboard in search of the elusive remote, then tried to turn the TV on without it. She couldn’t find a power button, much less a knob to change channels. The glassy black screen reflected her own irritated image. And a face leering over her shoulder.
Ooh, I love this! Really grabbed my attention! Here's a short bio on Anita:
Anita Klumpers, wife, mom and grandma, homeschooled her three sons for seventeen years and emerged relatively unscathed. Her life then and now is remarkable by its very ordinariness. She’s been blessed with a husband who is good and hardworking, a church that is small but gospel-driven, children who for every step back took two forward.
With her youngest son launched into college, she wondered what an unorganized procrastinator could do to make the world a better place. Convinced that a bit of humor and a dose of prudishness were a good place to begin she started to blog, first as ‘The Prude Disapproves’ (http://theprudedisapproves.blogspot.com) and now at ‘The Tuesday Prude.’ (http://thetuesdayprude.com) She goes for coffee with friends frequently, writes skits and teaches drama classes seasonally, cleans the top of her fridge occasionally and marvels at God’s grace daily.
Anita’s first book, a romantic suspense titled ‘Winter Watch’ was released in January 2014 and her second, (let’s call it a suspense-romance for the sake of variety) ‘Hounded’ was released in e-book on February 5, 2016. Both are published through Prism Book Group.
Currently at work on a third novel, this one a romantically-tinged novel of suspense, she would accomplish more if she spent less time admiring her small but oh-so-brilliant grandsons.
Here are some links for her books: