Author Interview: Dan Klefstad

Author Name: Dan Klefstad

Title of Book: Shepherd & the Professor

A short description of book: This is part fictional memoir and part query letter to a publisher. Our protagonist is cancer patient Susan Shepherd -- Gulf War vet, cop and single mom. Susan is worried that hardly anyone will remember her sacrifices to her country, her community and family. So she wrote a memoir and queried dozens of publishers, hoping one of them will enshrine her memory with a book that lives long after she’s gone.

What inspired you to write? And what was the inspiration for this book? One of my favorite books is Dear Editor, by poet Amy Newman. Each poem is a query letter to an unnamed editor at a publishing house. The poems are mostly alike at first, changing subtly. Then they become more and more different as the author becomes desperate, hoping for a reply that never comes. I borrow Newman’s theme of book-as- query for Shepherd & the Professor. My other inspiration is novelist Robert Hellenga, whose protagonists are usually first-person females. He gave me the courage to write from a woman’s point of view.

What is the last book you read? I’ve been reading a bunch of books for WNIJ’s “Read With Me” book series, which I edit and present. I’m totally knocked out by a collection of flash fiction by Aaron Sitze called The Andrew Jackson Stories. Another recent favorite is The Education of a Poker Player by James McManus.

Who is/are your favorite author(s)? Robert Hellenga shares a top spot on my list with Gillian Flynn.

What is/are your favorite book(s)? Snakewoman of Little Egypt. The Sixteen Pleasures. Gone Girl.

After all of your hard work, what does it feel like to be a published author? More work now! Instead of just writing, I have to write another book, tell people about my existing book, think about starting a blog– and keep my day job. It’s all good though; I don’t know what else I’d do.

Rachel Beyer

I am a full time engineer and a part time blogger/writer. I am passionate about reading, writing, biking, volleyball, and my pets.