Interview with Claire Ohlsson Geheb

What's the story behind your latest book?
This is a true story that brings the reader back in time to experience what life was like in Germany between 1914 and 1947. It is told through the actual letters, journals, and photos written by family members of German-American Immigrant Willy Geheb.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When the letters written in old German script (sutterlin) were translated a wonderful story emerged. We call it our treasure chest since the letters tell of the love, trials, faith, and determination of this strong German family. Although started as a memoir for our family, we realized it would appeal to a much wider audience so we decided to publish.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords had made the whole process very easy. Although I do have the book in print, I think this is a great way for an indie author to get started and a great way for all authors to reach e-readers. Smashwords gives a lot of marketing information and provides support for their authors at no charge.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When all the letters, journals, and photos were compiled I added historical commentary to increase comprehension of the time period. Being able to produce such a beautiful book has been a surprise accomplishment for me and a real joy. Knowing that people are reading my book and connecting with it is an incredibly satisfying experience.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was a child I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House on the Prairie" series. It was written as fiction, but it was the story of the authors life and family. I was only a child but I still love non-fiction memoir and well written historical fiction. This is the first time I realized how those stories set the tone for my reading and writing experiences.
What are you working on next?
I am writing about life after seventy. My husband and I are both in our seventies and we have a different perspective than when were younger. There are more physical concerns plus the realization that this is the last lap. I think our observations are worth sharing with our peers and also with younger people who are curious about what the final chapter is like.
What is your writing process?
The ideas come up at various times and I try to record them as they occur to me. If I wait too long I find that the flow and sometimes the beauty of the unsolicited thought loses its meaning.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When my older brother passed away at fifty-five I wrote his story. He was mentally challenged and often misunderstood, yet he was always loving and generous. Writing the story helped my grieving process. I plan to include it in my new memoir.
Who are your favorite authors?
Wallace Stegnar: fiction but so beautifully written. Leo Tolstoy: "Anna Karenina," what a beautiful way to learn Russian history. Short story writers: James Baldwin, Raymond Carver, James Joyce, Tim O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor, Alice Walker, and many more. They tell me the story of life.
What do you read for pleasure?
Short stories, history, and occasionally books that my grandchildren loved. I like having that connection with them, and they are thrilled that I share the experience of enjoying a good book. I am currently reading, "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo, recommended by two grandchildren.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Ha ha. That is a good question. Every morning I set my intention for the day before I get up. I want each day to count, I want happy days, I want to love and be loved. Marketing my book can be very stressful so I work at reducing the stress and enjoying every step of the journey.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Chicago in the fifties and sixties.
How do you approach cover design?
I tried doing it myself but finally hired someone who gave me a professional cover. I think it was worth the expense.
Published 2018-03-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dear Willy, The True Story of a Life Well Lived
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 92,490. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » History » Family history, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Travel Back in Time Experience the lives of a German American and his family in Germany during the tumultuous years 1914-1947. Dear Willy is about contrasts, love and loyalties. Willy Geheb was an adventurer; he faced the ocean voyage, hard labor and horrible living conditions. Letters to and from Germany became the lifeline for the Geheb family as they shared concerns, triumphs and tragedies.