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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Interview with Rose Kleidon: Summer 2016 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

Rose’s Bio: Rose Kleidon considers herself fortunate to be a citizen of both today and yesterday. She invites others to travel through history with her, seeing amazing connections with earlier generations and with the great diversity of humanity. Professor Emeritus of the University of Akron, Kleidon taught English, Speech, Technical Writing and Advertising Copywriting. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and Historical Writers of America and will be a presenter at the 2017 Unicorn Writers’ Conference. The author of two textbooks, her debut novel is with an agent, and the sequel is in process, books that can be previewed at Kleidon is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois; she did additional academic work at Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University and Northwestern University. She is a businesswoman, the founder of three companies, as well as a mother, grandmother, genealogist, sailor, gardener (the designer of an historically accurate herb garden for the Western Reserve Historical Society), an award-winning baker, and a fiber artist.

If you haven't done so already, check out Rose's award-winning story "Last Man Out" and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations on placing in WOW’s Summer 2016 Flash Fiction Contest! What was the inspiration for your short story, or what prompted you to write it?

Rose: I like to package history lessons inside stories. In this case, I wanted readers to realize how often pre-industrial cities went up in flames, and that when they did, there was little or no help coming. You had better be prepared to save yourself, even if that meant putting yourself on the line.

WOW: Excellent. That puts a lot at stake in a very short space. I understand that you’ve written a novel, too. What can you tell us about your debut novel?

Rose: 1836: Into a Land Too Fabulous traces a family's long, dangerous immigration from Prussia to America at a time when the journey was made by sailing ship and took months. The novel is based on the true story of my great-great-grandparents' immigration, for which I have several remarkable private documents.

WOW: That must have been an amazing experience to uncover those documents and piece together their story! What do you enjoy the most and/or the least about writing?

Rose: Discovery! When I research thoroughly and imagine deeply, I can begin to grasp a different time and place and live another life. Those moments of insight are worth a great deal to me. I am speaking at a writer's conference in a few months where I will try to explain how I do this.

WOW: Excellent. Good luck at the conference! What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?

Rose: I just re-read War and Peace, which I chose because the historical figure on whom my main character is based survived Napoleon's disastrous Moscow campaign, and no one tells the story of that invasion better than Tolstoy. Besides, I need excellent writers to keep inspiring me.

WOW: Re-reading a novel of that scale and scope takes dedication. I’m impressed! If you could give other creative writers one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

Rose: Everything depends on the quality of the sentence. Everything.

WOW: Thank you. Anything else you’d like to add?

Rose: It's nice to be recognized, but, like dancing or playing the piano, writing is its own reward.

WOW: Thank you for your thoughtful responses. Congratulations again, and happy writing!

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, and profiles of writers and competitive female athletes.


  1. Anne--Thanks for doing this interview.

    Rose--I DID learn a few tidbits as I read your story. You might enjoy "Fevre Dream" by George R. R. Martin. It's a novel about the riverboat trade--very interesting.

  2. Thanks for a great interview, Ann. I love reading about writers as much as I love reading about writing!


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