I’m Jenny Knipfer, an inspirational historical fiction author. At Amy’s invitation, I’d like to share a bit about my author journey.
Before I was an author, I dreamt of being an author, back when I was still a girl and Anne of Green Gables, Narnia, and Madeleine L’Engle’s books opened a whole new world for me. I read every chance I got. Then I started writing short stories, essays, poems, journal entries, and more. But as I grew up, a lot of life happened. The dream of being an author retreated to the background and eventually became as unattainable a possibility as winning a million dollars.
However, books remained a big part of my life with my job as a children’s librarian. And working at the library often felt like being a kid in a candy shop! Having access to so many new, beautiful books made life richer. Every other day, I came home with a tote bag full of books for myself and my sons. Once in a while my husband would join the reading bandwagon too. When mold became an issue in the library I worked in, I switched careers and went back to an old love—floral design.
Though still an avid reader, journaler, poet, song writer, and blogger, I put my creative skills to good use at a local flower shop as a designer. I worked there for almost ten years, but when my disability from multiple sclerosis became too advanced, I had to retire.
And so the Journey Began
The first day I sat at home unable to go to work, I asked myself the question, “Now what?” I immediately thought of the novel that I’d started twenty years ago. I resurrected the story from the digital depths of an old computer and found a program to convert the old file to Word, and I picked up where I had left off, in chapter five.
The Story Poured Out of Me
Unable to use a keyboard proficiently, I used my iPad and finished the story in two months. It poured out of me, an almost miraculous feat. A year prior to this I’d suffered so badly with daily migraines that I couldn’t work, read, use my iPad, watch TV, or listen to music. I was phono and photosensitive. And though a very lonely and debilitating valley, that time taught me so much about relying on the Lord and experiencing Him in new ways as my friend, provider, comforter, and healer.
Looking back, I know I could have never finished writing my novel twenty years ago. I had not lived enough. Suffered enough. Grieved enough. Rejoiced enough. I wrote the deep places I’d been to recently into my main character in my first book, Ruby Moon, which essentially is a story of a young woman who must learn to live with the traumatic effects of causing the death of someone she cares for.
I pursued traditional publication for a few months but felt because of the unpredictability of my poor health that waiting months or years to become a published author wouldn’t be feasible, so I self-published Ruby Moon in 2019. Now, I have five novels published and four more awaiting the process.
A Dream Becomes a Reality
Long story short, God took my long ago dream and made it a reality at a time when almost everything else I’d set my hand to in life had been stripped away. At one time, I had thought music to be my gift and one that I could use to tell others about God or help them draw closer to Him. I was very active in my church, leading worship, playing piano and singing. At the time I also wrote music and cut a CD of original songs. I dreamt of doing more with my music but I started to have significant health trouble, so I had to set it aside.
After having thyroid surgery in 2015 to remove a large tumor, my voice never recovered enough to sing in public. And nerve damage and lack of sensation and dexterity in my finger forced me to stop playing the piano—something I loved to do. I’d played at least one hour a day for many years. It became a part of who I was. When I couldn’t be that person anymore and use my musical abilities, it felt like I’d been flayed alive. But God… I found the old saying “When God closes a door, He opens a window” to be so true!
Many years ago, Psalm 40 became special to me. As a worship leader and a singer/songwriter, the first part of these words made sense to me, but not the last…
“He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3 NKJV
But now I understand the “see it” part. It’s the written word God had in store for me to use all along. The knowledge of this gives me joy.
I’ve made it my mission to write novels to point readers to God and His desire for us. My message is subtle but true, inviting readers to come to the banquet.
Now, with targeted promotions, I’ve sold thousands of books to readers around the world, all “seeing” that song of praise in me through my books. It’s my prayer that some of those readers would come to a knowledge of the saving grace found in Christ and/or gain encouragement for their particular path in life.
Thanks to Amy for inviting me to be a guest blogger today. It has been my pleasure to be here with you. Thank you for reading my reflections on my author journey.
Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.
Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.
Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.
She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.
Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons.