Vonnie Kauffman – Anna’s Waltz

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Anna’s Waltz. A glimpse into a world many of us cannot imagine — an 1800s world of such patriarchal domination that young women are forced into unhappy marriages, and wives are forced into pregnancies from which they beg to be spared. Anna’s strength, steeliness and, sometimes, selfishness place her squarely in opposition to the morals and societal codes of her time…and she battles for what she wants with a fearless ferocity. It is easy to see that the women’s suffrage movement was a war worth fighting, and that women like Anna paid a high price for their thirst for independence.

Tell us something about yourself.

Now a senior in life, writing has beckoned me to tell the stories I have thought about since I discovered I loved writing. I was born in Oregon, raised in California and came to Texas in late 1955. Having no formal education beyond high school, the thought of writing and being accepted was inhibiting. While writing for class at a junior college, I discovered that regardless of education, I could express stories and travels through words. Self confidence grew. I wrote “Anna’s Waltz.”

Traveling over the US, Canada, Mexico, Alaska by motorcycle with my husband was adventurous and finally we traveled in Europe as well. Stories from those journeys are many and filled with interesting people and difficult challenges.

We live near Eagle Mountain Lake north of Fort Worth, Texas with our two corgis and three pea fowl. We are extremely involved in the Dido Community remodeling a 50+ year old community building. Art is a great love, yeilding paintings, and crafts and sewing projects that hi-light machine skills. My world is my candy store.

What inspired you to write this book?

Stories from my great-grandmother’s life. Research was an amazing adventure I studied the timeline of my heroine, Anna, to give the story reality. Combing every avenue to ancestry, saving any information about Anna and her family inspired me to write her story, weaving fact and fiction.

How did you choose the title?

“Anna” loved to waltz and stated she wanted to “waltz through life.” It was a natural title.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

First, the hunt for an agent, then letters of inquiry to agents over the US with little or no interest in my book sent me on a hunt to find a way to publish it myself. Secondly, finances to publish was a hurdle. Borrowing from savings, and using saved change, the book was eventually in my hands.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Writing scenes in my mind over and over showed me that I would not be satisfied until I had written my novel. Creating a timeline, a family history beginning with Anna’s parents and gathering information from my family members built more pages in my notebook toward writing the book.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

Changing names of the characters was a challenge. Since the book is a family history with areas unknown in the story, it seemed best to create a fictional family with similiar names. Once the process began, the names came easy. My knowledge of German names was a big help. Lichthorne became Leicht. Fictional people fell right in line, each with a suitable name.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Not giving up was the answer to writing the story. Staying open when there was criticism and doubt from family and friends. Being willing to trash it and begin again. Keeping the final goal in front of everything else at all times.

I learned I “could” write and publish a book.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

Begin writing at least 20 years earlier.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

Well written fiction and non-fiction. M.M. Kay. Diana Galbadon, Anya Seton, John Grisham. These writers know what they are writing about, research and creatively write their stories and adventures.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

“Mattie’s Rose,” the sequel to “Anna’s Waltz” is complete and awaiting the designers at Authorhouse to begin the interior layout. Mattie Rose, Anna’s daughter, tells her story from the time she is about to have major surgery to save her from bone cancer. Sharing her discoveries about her birth, through the trials in adapting to her new physical challenges. Matties’s story is about life and love, and not giving up under duress and the agony of sudden widowhood.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Allow your writing to take off in an unknown direction. The mind holds secrets to unveil within your story while keeping your goal in sight. Your book teaches you as you write.

Find a publisher that stays in touch although you are not ready to submit your manuscript. Keep his or her interest in your enthusiasm in finishing your book and making a contract for publishing.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Although men and a grandson have read “Anna’s Waltz,” Women are the best readers for this book as they can relate to the story through their own family stories.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Authorhouse.com, Amazon, and Filedby. Facebook is another source to find out about Anna’s Waltz. It can also be ordered through Barnes and Noble.

Comments

  1. Georgia Henry says

    I loved Vonnie’s book and have loaned it out to several friends and family members.

    Cannot wait to read Mattie’s Rose. I am so proud for you Vonnie.