ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A.K. ARENZ is the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three, plus she has a two year degree in Office Information Systems from Northwest Missouri State University, where she also worked for several years. While with the College of Education, A.K. assisted with the college accreditation both at the national (NCATE) and state (DESE) levels. She's found this experience and that of being Administrative Assistant to the Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems to be invaluable tools for her writing.
Since reading Walter Farley's Black Stallion series as a child, A.K. has been creating her own stories. Her earliest publication was in the small, family-owned newspaper where her articles, essays, and poems were frequently included. From this early beginning, she honed her skills through university courses, studying Writer's Digest, how-to books on the craft, and through frequent submissions. In the mid-nineties, her writing earned her a stint with a well-known New York literary agency, and, although it failed to produce the hoped-for results, her determination to press forward eventually led her to Sheaf House.
A.K. has had poetry accepted for inclusion in various anthologies, as well as in the Maryville Daily Forum newspaper. She won an honorable mention and publication in the chapbook Look Who's Writing in Northwest Missouri, had a small article published in Family Safety & Health, and was the creator, editor, and head writer for a nationally registered fanzine.
As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, A.K. has found the fellowship of both published and non-published members an inspiration. She has been a judge in the ACFW Book of the Year contest since 2005 and participated in judging ACFW's 2007 Genesis contest for unpublished authors.
She lives in Missouri with her husband and two Himalayan cats.
THE CASE OF THE BOUNCING GRANDMA
by A.K. Arenz
Published by Sheaf House Publishers
ABOUT THE BOOK
Reduced to watching new neighbors move in as a form of amusement, Glory Harper is stuck in a wheelchair with a broken leg, bored and itching for excitement. She just doesn't expect it to come in the form of a foot dangling out the back of a carpet as it's carried into her new neighbor's house.
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1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
The inspiration for the story came from the desire to try something different. I've always written mystery/suspense, but when Heartsong Mysteries was announced a couple years ago, the idea really intrigued me. I was fortunate to read an author's manuscript that had just been accepted for the line, and it was so much fun, that I wanted to try it. The problem was that I wasn't feeling very well at the time, and was having difficulty typing.
I remember sitting in front of the computer one day, my fingers poised over the keyboard, and praying, "If You want me to do this..." My eyes were closed and when I finally opened them, I had most of the first two chapters. THAT was inspiration!
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?
Glory is employed at a local college – after I got my Office Information Systems 2-year degree, I worked at Northwest Missouri State University for several years.
Glory has an insatiable curiosity – I do, too, though I'm better at holding mine in check. Glory and I are both extremely introverted.
The rest of Glory's character is all Glory – like her penchant for doing things like skateboarding, jumping on trampolines, and such. Her sister Jane is the perfect match for Glory, calm, cool, outgoing – and totally her own person. She kept surprising me!
3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?
I don't know a lot about ice cream flavors, so I'll compare her to, um, cereal. Glory is like a lot of the cereal out there – a little flaky, a little nutty, but with just the right about a sweet.
4. What themes exist in The Case of the Bouncing Grandma that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
That God's love never fails – from the passage of Isaiah 1:14 through Glory's revelation of the awesome meaning of 1 Corinthians 13:12, one can see the steadfastness of our Father's love – no matter what.
5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
This would be having to go back and add to the manuscript the second time. That wasn't easy.
My first favorite is in the first chapter when Glory and her sister Jane are "discussing" the folly of Glory's skateboarding attempt. They're talking at the same time with Seth, Glory's grandson, adding his two cents, while Andi, Glory's daughter, is trying to get them to stop. It sounds like a real family!
My other favorite would be the "cookies" chapter – and, of course, I loved the ending.
6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
The second in the Bouncing Grandma Mystery Series, The Case of the Mystified M.D., is scheduled for October 2009. This time Glory and Jane discover the hand of a missing professor near a walking trail.
Thanks for having me here today, Tiff!
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Thank you, Alice, for being in the spotlight with us.
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