Sunday, August 30, 2009

KATHRYN'S FOUNTAIN - David J Claassen - Free Book

This is a new author to me. Welcome, David. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Most of the characters carry something of my DNA, some much more than others. In my novel Kathryn’s Fountain one of the characters, Ed, is an elderly pastor. I’m a pastor and seem to keep moving toward the elderly age range, so I think Ed’s much the kind of elderly pastor I’d like to grow into. Kathryn, my main character, deals with some of the same questions and self-doubts that I have.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I do it on a regular basis! I dabble in ventriloquism and have a little buddy named Ricky. Ricky and I regularly entertain (and seek to teach) the children of the church. In the process Ricky often pokes fun at me. Why I put up with him is beyond me!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I never remember a time when I did not want to write. As a teenager I took our old Underwood typewriter (yes, it was already an antique back in the 60s) and sat at our picnic table under the shade tree on our Iowa farm and typed away. I received my first reject letter from a magazine publisher when I was still a teenager.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I read mainly non-fiction in an effort to keep myself fed, mostly in the field of Christianity. I enjoy real “word crafters” such as Eugene Peterson, Calvin Miller, Philip Yancey, and Kathleen Norris. I also enjoy the devotional classics. I’m currently reading The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. Nowadays I tend to listen to fiction (while driving) more than read it. I just finished a Stuart Woods novel. I also enjoy Clive Cussler, Louis L’Amour, and Sue Grafton with her alphabet series. I like variety.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Object Lessons for a Year is a book of children’s sermons using common objects to illustrate the main point. It was published in 1986 and is still in print, having sold, to date, just over 60,000 copies. I was delighted when I found out it had been translated into Japanese a few years ago. Silent Words Loudly Spoken is a collection of over 700 outdoor church sign sayings and came out in 2005. I’ve also self-published, using a print-on-demand publisher, several other books including Journey to the Emperor’s Throne, a children’s story, and a couple of non-fiction books: Exploring the Christian Faith which is an overview of the Christian faith and The Comparison Game, which addresses the struggle we all have with comparing ourselves to others. I’m also re-writing a science fiction novel I started at least fifteen years ago titled Moon’s Mercy. There are several other manuscripts piled high in the closet including His Yoke - My Yoke, The Adventures of the Treeples, Hello from Bedford, and others that slip my mind at the moment.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I take a walk every morning. It’s my prayer time. No matter what the weather (and it can get quite cold here in Michigan!) I’m out there walking. God’s creation not only helps me stay connected to God but it’s very comforting and restorative. I also have several hobbies including photography, raising white homing pigeons, and maintaining a planted aquarium and a small fish pond.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
It’s strange, but many times they just pop into my head. The character has to have that particular name. It feels as if I’ve not created the characters but only discovered them, having met them when they entered my story and so, of course, they already came with a name!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’ve pastored the Mayfair-Plymouth Congregational Church since graduating from seminary in 1975. I’ve been amongst these people for over 33 years as their pastor.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An albatross! No bird can fly more effortlessly, and I would love to be able to fly.

What is your favorite food?

Apple pie ala mode – warm!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Finding time to write. I’m a full-time pastor, so I solved the problem years ago by determining to get up early Tuesday through Saturday and spend just forty-five minutes to an hour writing each day. I have to re-navigate this roadblock every morning when the alarm goes off at five and face the decision to get up or hit the snooze button. It’s amazing how many pages of material you can turn out over time when you write just an hour a day.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
You MUST rewrite and you MUST have someone, or a couple of people, read your material after you’ve rewritten it! My wife Diann and our church’s secretary, Susan, edit my writing. They make me look good!

Tell us about the featured book?

Kathryn, the main character, is a resident of an assisted living facility called Victorian Manor. Kathryn was resigned to living out her last days uneventfully. The fountain in the manor’s garden changes all of that.

The story unfolds with what appears to be a series of miraculous events that begin at the fountain. Kathryn finds herself involved in a plan to rescue a street child named Jasmine who is often left alone by a neglectful mother. A murder and a developing romance force Kathryn to make the most difficult choice of her long life. Love and sacrifice take on new meaning as she struggles to understand what she is called to do.

Kathryn’s Fountain takes the reader on a journey which explores the distance and alienation often separating people of different generations. I wrote it for all ages but believe the story will resonate in a particularly powerful way for those who find themselves marginalized from the normal activities of life because of their senior citizen status. The story celebrates the gifts the generations can bring to each other.

Another message of the novel is the unique contribution we each can make to the grand scheme of things. A character in the novel puts jigsaw puzzles together, and the imagery of a puzzle piece symbolizes this theme.

The novel also tackles the issue of miracles. I believe in the reality of the miraculous in our lives, but I also believe it often goes undetected. You could say God does miracles by stealth. They often fly under the radar of our daily observations.

I, too, believe in miracles. Please give us the first page of the book.

“Do you believe in miracles?”

Kathryn’s intense blue eyes were locked on mine. Without taking her gaze from me, she reached for the handkerchief that was always stashed beside her in the wheelchair and wiped her wet, arthritic hands. She replaced the handkerchief and waited for my reply.

When I had arrived moments earlier for one of my regular visits to Victorian Manor, I found her as usual in the garden by the fountain. She had just returned the day before from an extended hospitalization; she’d been treated for pneumonia and other pulmonary complications. It didn’t surprise me that she looked weak and frail as she leaned over the side of the fountain, a little lady almost lost in her large wheelchair. Her white hair seemed to glow; her face, etched with wrinkles, was lightly dusted with makeup.

I paused to consider. She wasn’t looking for a theological answer. She had been building up the courage to ask the question; I’d seen that as she swished her hand around and around in the fountain. Her question wasn’t really a question. She was probing, getting a sense of whether it was safe to say what she wanted to say. Could she trust me?
I leaned forward in the wrought iron chair, put my elbows on my knees, and folded my hands. “Yes, I believe in miracles.”
She shook her head. “Not just the miracles of the Bible; I know a preacher should believe in those. I mean…” She paused, nervously stuffing the handkerchief more deeply into the space between her hip and the chair. “Do you believe that miracles happen today?”
“Yes,” I said.
She gripped both armrests and leaned forward; her blue eyes sparkled with intensity. In a voice not much louder than a whisper, she said, “Then I have a story to tell you.”

And so began the unfolding of a tale that took several visits to be told. It is one of the most amazing accounts I have ever heard, in years of ministry, before or since.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web site is located at and I also have a blog at
Thank you, David, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here's a link where you can order the book:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Linda said...

I would love this book, as being isolated by physical limitations, it may bring me some hope. Being a mystery helps also. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

wow, I love Louis L'Amore books too! My grandfather has a whole big box full, and I've read most of them. They're really good.
I can't say that I am restricted by physical limitations, but I would like to win this book for my church's library. Please enter me. Thank you, and a really neat interview. Esther


Anonymous said...

Great interview! Kathryn's Fountain sounds excellent as well. Please enter me in the drawing. ~Abby


Abi said...

I'd love to be included in this book giveaway. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Dave Claassen said...

I wish you could all win a copy of my novel, Kathryn's Fountain! I was just talking this past week with our youth pastor, Ben, about the need for us as a church to bring the different generations together more in our church. It's a major theme of Kathryn's Fountain. I have the good fortune of pastoring a church with equal numbers of all generations, so I see the real value in bringing the generations together. Note to Linda, who is "isolated by physical limitations" -- I have to believe that God is not limited by your limitations in carrying out His intentions for your life! God bless all of you. Dave Claassen

Lady Araujo said...

I'd like to win this book.
I enjoyed the interview.
Please, enter me.

God's great blessings

host said...

I really enjoyed this interview and the book sounds very interesting.
Please enter me in the contest.
God bless!

Ruth Dell said...

Hi David

Bringing the generations together is a much needed theme in these days- thank you for tackling the issue.

It's so difficult when grandchildren clash with their grandparents!

Please enter me in the book competition.

Thank you

Best wishes

Ruth Dell

Ausjenny said...

Please dont enter me. I loved this book. I could relate to some of the book as my mum is now in a nursing home and she really doesn't get many visitors. I have noticed as she got older and was very much a shut in she got less and less church visitors and other visitors. Its sad when this happens but its seems common for nursing homes and shut ins. thanks David for a great book

Wendy said...

This sounds like a fun book.

Sheila Deeth said...

I like this! And I'd never thought of anyone answering Albatross!

Anonymous said...

I live with physical limitations as does my husband. I have always believed in miracles and tried to keep up the faith. I'd love to read this book.


Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview! Would enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

sharon54220 said...

I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds very interesting. I would love to be entered.

Dave Claassen said...

It's great reading some of the new comments! I thought I might add that another source of inspiration for writing Kathryn's Fountain is my own mother, Clara Claassen. She's 83 and has faced some major challenges in the last ten years of her life -- my father's debilitating stroke, my father's death, the loss of her home when a tornado hit our home town of Parkersburg, Iowa, her breast cancer, the following surgery and radiation treatments that she recently completed. In observing my mother, as well as many others in the church I serve, it's clear to me that the "golden years" are not always golden and that they may present the greatest challenges a person faces in life! But they can also present the best opportunity to be an inspiration to others. Perhaps our greatest legacy is to age gracefully (with God providing the grace). Dave Claassen

squiresj said...

I have been through so much since two accidents and my heart is saddened right now as I hear of my 80 year old Mother with Dementia and the things she does. I am about to turn 60 in March and don't want to admit to getting old. I am still working with children though. Congratulations on being a Pastor 33 years because a Pastor is the shepherd of the church and should know his flock.
God Bless your work. Please enter me to win the book.

Kim Krueger said...

Hello, My husband and I recently starting going to Pastor Dave's church and I have become a discple of Jesus Christ! We have been together for 9 years and in that time my husband has never read even one book, I read daily. Once I got my copy of Kathryn's Fountain, my husband started reading it and couldn't put it down (see, miracles do exist). I have read the book and pasted it on to two other family members, we all loved it. I am proud to call this author my pastor and my new friend. Can't wait to see what else he publishes.

Kim Krueger said...

Hello, My husband and I recently starting going to Pastor Dave's church and I have become a disciple of Jesus Christ! We have been together for 9 years and in that time my husband has never read even one book, I read daily. Once I got my copy of Kathryn's Fountain, my husband started reading it and couldn't put it down (see, miracles do exist). I have read the book and pasted it on to two other family members, we all loved it. I am proud to call this author my pastor and my new friend. Can't wait to see what else he publishes.

Megan said...

Another male author! Thanks Lena for the great interview. It's great to see authors who balance other things as well! thanks for the giveaway!

megan.nadalet at gmail dot com

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

peachykath said...

This book sounds really interesting, and different from the usual books I read. Please enter me in the drawing.


Marla said...

Thank you for the interview. Sounds like a good book. Would love to have a chance to read. Thanks!

Brenda said...

The book sounds great!

dancealert at aol dot com

Cíntia Mara said...

Yes! I believe in miracles and I want so much know this book better. It seems very good.

April said...

great post.

adge said...

This looks very interesting. Please include me in the contest drawing.