Author Kelly Klepfer joins us today. Kelly had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests.
Let’s give Kelly a big welcome!
Kelly, tell us a little bit more about yourself.
I am Iowa born and bred. I live about 10 minutes from Omaha Nebraska in a town, Council Bluffs, that people refer to as Omaha’s armpit or Counciltucky. I call it home, proudly. We have 4 definite seasons. Some last a little too long (late January ugh and late August ugh) and some last a wee bit too short. We have rolling hills and bluffs which are kind of mini cliffs. I live on an acre with a gardenish area in a house that is too big for my husband and I.
I’ve been married almost 35 years to my high school sweetheart. We had the adventure of growing up together and had some pretty rocky paths. We were fire insurance Christians until about 15 years ago. During the fire insurance years we did some damage. We have three grown children who make our hearts sing. We are so blessed. There is nothing more satisfying in my life than seeing our children live for Jesus and follow Him.
We also have 5 grandkids and a baby who is with her biological mother after spending 6 months in our daughter’s home through foster care. As much as we don’t want her mother to fail, we want her to join her siblings who were just adopted in May by our daughter. We miss our baby and pray for her mother’s healing or her speedy return. We went from zero to 6 little ones in two years. My husband and I have 2 beagle sisters we adopted 2 years ago and 2 hedgehog sisters we adopted in April. For the record their names are Gertrude and Gladys and Daisy and Daffodil.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
High school was my awakening period. I discovered journalism and adored writing for the school newspaper. One of my favorites was a feature article I wrote about a classmate who had a wet non-alcoholic bar set up in his locker. As I entered the work world I was kind of shocked to find that people STRUGGLED with writing. I work in medicine and the doctors and Physicians Assistant would ask me to write letters and documents for them. My PA told me about a time she was paralyzed in college when she was required to write 300 words on the theme of red. It took her days and tears to pull that off. I didn’t even know that anxiety, that inability to string words together was a thing.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
No sense in writing something you wouldn’t read, right? That’s what “they” say anyhoo. I love mysteries and I adore funny. We had an amusing story to tell with characters who cracked us up. It was so much fun to write because we bounced crazier and crazier ideas off of each other. Michelle and I would write a scene from one of the two characters points of view leaving a grip and foothold for the other to grab hold of and climb the mountain face of the plot. Because of that we ended up with some very unexpected twists. Interestingly, (to me any way) the romance grew to become a character of its own. We kept increasing characterization with two secondary characters until they carried as much plot as the murder. I really don’t like to read romance. I am very amused that’s what popped out of the word wrangling we did. I can now say I love a romance with lots of humor and maybe a murder and some gunfire.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
Doubt in my abilities. I struggled putting into practice the rules I had learned and others’ wisdom I’d taken note of. But eventually the nuances of my voice merging together with what I studied meshed into a readable story. Writing is hard work and it was hard on my soul a time or two. Practicing and reading were the only way to get the knowledge from my head into my soul and into the document.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
I met a sister of another mother as well as some other pretty amazing people. Michelle Griep, my co-author, and I connected so much that our families regularly spend time together and our children call us Auntie _____(fill in the blank).
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
I tend to focus around rather than up. Which lets me get into a world of disappointment and hurt. I spent some time thinking God was going to be not all I hoped for after all. The idea of Him having no dark hidden spots was life changing for me. I can see that He is good without question and trust that even through huge life difficulties His plans for me are for my benefit. See the comment about our little foster grandbaby above. He can be trusted with her and her siblings.
What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
I don’t have a one thing moment because I’m pretty quirky. However, I get really, really punchy after hours of shopping. I am good for a bit then all of a sudden I get overloaded and I just have to get goofy. I’ve worn planters on my head as a hat, rushed around the corner with a feather boa hanging out of my sleeve like long armpit hair. I’ve scream laughed and gotten a scolding from a dignified older employee at Home Depot. I’ve pushed my crazy co-author around the parking lot on one of those flatbed carts. My co-author, Michelle Griep, and I have spent many hours shopping together and we have laughed until we’ve cried more often than not.
If you could travel in a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Could I pick a balloon and travel round the world in 80 weeks instead? There are so many places I want to travel in the here and now. My daughter-in-law and son spent two weeks in Europe visiting Italy and cruising Greece, Italy, Turkey and Croatia. Shockingly, their favorite food was in Croatia. I’d have bet the farm on Italy. However, they did enjoy gelato every day while in Italy. I would be content seeing history mixed into modern.
If balloon travel is not an option I would go back. I do love those shows where modern people have to exist as those did decades or centuries ago. Not one time frame fascinates me more than others but I would avoid intense war time.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Melissa McCarthy. She’s well rounded like me, literally and figuratively. I would want to spend time with her laughing. She seems she can pull off seeing the world through the lens of humor and looking for the positive and I kind of roll that way.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
If you are a fun-hater who doesn’t like dogs, quirk, food and love you should avoid Out of the Frying Pan anyone else should click and order it right now.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Read the type of books you want to write. Critically take apart the book and ask yourself what you would have done differently if you didn’t like something. If it’s fabulous ask yourself what you could do to add a similar winning element to your writing. How does the author create such deep characters? Try to add a layer or two of nuance to yours to see if you can’t make them more lifelike. Page turning plot? Look at the sub plots and connecting fibers and compare your plot to theirs. Do you only have 6 elements to their 30? Then add a few more plot quirks and see if that helps.
Please tell us about the featured book.
When the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal’s?
But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts–especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.
Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters share a mysterious secret that takes life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.
However, the blurb does not mention Fifi the wonder dog. Flower envy is missing as is Phillipe the suave newcomer. Nor does it do justice to the danger. The danger is real, People.
Where can readers find you on the Internet?
Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons.