William Wresch


I have three sets of books here. The first is an alternative history of the US, envisioning how things might have gone had the French prevailed in the French and Indian War. That series comes from some personal experiences. I have canoed sections of the Fox, and driven along its banks. I have followed the voyageur route from the Sault to Quebec and traveled from Green Bay to New Orleans by car and by boat. My wife and I have spent many happy days on Mackinac Island and in Door County.

The Jessica Thorpe series is very different. It takes place in the tiny town of Amberg, Wisconsin, a place where I used to live. I wanted to describe that town and its troubles. Initially the novel involved a militia take over of the town, and it was called "Two Angry Men." But both men were predictable and boring. I had decided to have the story narrated by the town bartender - Jessica - and I soon realized she was the most interesting character in the book. She became the lead in the Jessica Thorpe series.

I restarted the series with a fight over a proposed water plant with Jessica balancing environmental rights and business rights. I put Jessica right in the middle of a real problem we are experiencing here in Wisconsin (and most other places). How badly does a tiny town need jobs? How much environmental damage should we accept?

The third series changes the lead character. Catherine Johnson solves mysteries. She also travels. It took her to many places I have been. The last several books take place in Russia. I admit I have no idea what is motivating the current madness there. Catherine looks, she tries to help, she struggles. What else can any of us do?

Smashwords Interview

What's most difficult about writing about the Ukraine War?
The war in Ukraine is a shock. I grew up thinking such wars could no longer occur. No country had invaded any other country in so long. And to be so brutal. It didn't seem possible that Russians could be such monsters. In 1991 I was invited to a meeting of the Soviet Academy of Pedagogical Sciences in Moscow. I visited a high school. I spoke with teachers and professors. I walked the streets of Moscow. I was impressed. And now? I am completely shocked.

So, a novel? What do I have to say that can be of any use? Not sure. But I put my main character in Russia and looked at the place through her eyes. There is nothing attractive in what she sees. But maybe she can explore some of the reality of Russia. The Russia I didn't know was there in 1991. It's not a pretty novel. Some affection, some bravery, lots of fear and ugliness. A statement, I guess. Maybe my usual 75 readers will find some value in it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
What amazes me about Smashwords is the ease with which you can present your work to readers. The website does all the formatting and all the presentation. It even counts the downloads so you get a sense for whether people are reading your books. I really appreciate what the developers have done for authors.
Read more of this interview.


Kat Johnson Mysteries
After twenty years in the Army, Kat retires to northern Wisconsin. She purchases an old fishing lodge and starts a new business - Northwoods Experiences. It is to be a weekend retreat for women to enjoy outdoor experiences from fishing to canoeing to wildlife photography and hunting. It is a successful and interesting business, but it is interrupted by crimes, some of which are local, and some of which take her back to her days in the army. A former major in the military police, she brings particular skills to the mysteries that come her way. She needs those skills as she travels the back roads of Wisconsin and the hot spots of the world.
Jessica Thorpe novels
A high school dropout with two kids before age eighteen, Jessica tends bar in a Wisconsin town so small it is often left off the state map. But she has courage, and brains, and a sense of right and wrong. It also doesn't hurt that she is attractive. That combination brings people to her - sometimes with good results, sometimes not.
The Canadian Civil War
Here's a question - what if France had won the French and Indian War? Twice Washington marched militia over the mountains to take the Ohio Valley from France, and twice he lost. He was not the only losing general on the English side. A minor adjustment at Quebec and the French might still control all the lands west of the Appalachians. We might still have a United States, but it would be cramped along the Eastern Seaboard. This series accepts that version of history and explores life in a very different Canada - a powerful Canada with a capital in Green Bay and struggles between the Catholic North and Protestant Louisiana.


Seizing Siberia
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 82,030. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2023. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Russia’s failing war in Ukraine tempts China to take all of Siberia. Its plan has two parts. First, build a pipeline to the Arctic, heavily fortified, ready to be a western wall when Chinese armies march north. Catherine has no interest in Russia. Then her daughter is kidnapped and carried to Moscow. Catherine races after her only to be captured and taken to Siberia - to stop China.
The King of Siberia
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 81,340. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine destroys Russia’s social fabric. Crime and corruption are far worse than before the war. A base commander in Siberia has two responses. First, he kills any criminals in his command. Second, he uses his captive - Catherine Johnson - to help him build a new Russian culture based on family. She and a group of Ukrainian women make a run for Lithuania.
A Warsaw Pact
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 81,070. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
On the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Catherine Johnson is working undercover in Russia’s Warsaw embassy. A US Army major, she completes her twenty, moves to Russia, adopts a Russian girl, and marries a Russian general. Obviously she is an American spy. The Russians know she is a spy. Everyone knows she is a spy. No one cares. Their concern is the planned invasion.
Gorky Park Illusions
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 81,930. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Romance » LGBT » Lesbian
12 FBI agents meet at a fishing lodge in northern Wisconsin. When they leave, one agent stays behind behind - Sara. Within a day the Russians come after her. Kat tries to protect Sara and a database that predicts the fall of nations. She and Sara are taken to Russia. While Sara's files are stolen, Kat is held in a cottage deep in the forests outside Moscow with a special four year old girl.
The Don Quixote Sisterhood
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 84,630. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Executives at the IRS are under attack – by social media. Some group called the Don Quixote Sisterhood is making claims – supposedly backed up by an insider at the NSA. Calling herself Dulcinea, she releases information destroying careers and destroying any credibility of the IRS. The FBI is called. They quickly identify Dulcinea – Kat Johnson.
Kayli Unknown
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 80,420. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
A tiny bar in a tiny Wisconsin town. Suddenly the front of the bar explodes as a young girl smashes a car through the wall. Kat rushes to help her as the roof of the bar collapses. The girl is dead. Who was she? Why did she crash her car into the bar? Why has no one in town ever seen her before? Why is no one at her memorial service? Her bracelet says her name is Kayli. Kayli Who?
Orwell's Librarians
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 85,900. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
(1.00 from 1 review)
The cabins on the other end of Kat’s lake are always empty, always for sale. Finally one is bought by a librarian and her mother. They immediately begin building a huge book repository on their land. Purpose? To protect books from being changed as George Orwell predicted in his book 1984. A series of break ins and fires leaves Kat wondering who would want to attack a collection of old books?
The Battle for Amberg
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels. Price: Free! Words: 86,470. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Romance » General
Jessica tends bar in a tiny town. It is January. The usual misfits arrive from Wisconsin’s cities.. One man arrives with a plan. A failed politician, he is in town to rebuild his career. All he needs is the local militia and Jessica’s help. His cause? Struggling local loggers. Jessica wants to help the loggers too - and that puts her right in the middle when the militia arrives.
The Girl Who Slept with a Nuke
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 82,840. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
It’s a tiny county park in the farthest corner of Wisconsin. Two men are dead and a deputy sheriff is badly wounded. The dead men? One is a mystery. The other is Kat’s former commanding officer in Germany. The FBI wants to talk to Kat about her connection to the Colonel and about her time monitoring the nuclear mines in the Fulda Gap. She needs answers too - in Germany.
Death Out of Season
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 77,450. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
(4.00 from 1 review)
A woman lies dead on an old logging road in Wisconsin, rifle in her hand. Deer season has just ended. It’s possible she was hit by a stray bullet fired at a deer. But Kat thinks otherwise. As Kat searches for the woman’s killer, she discovers the victim is much more complicated than initially thought. She also discovers some think the killer is Kat herself.
Dancing with the Dragon
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels. Price: Free! Words: 89,740. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
Book 8: Jessica’s new love brings her to Europe. He will help her place water wells where they can best aid a world getting hotter, and drier. But it is a ploy to get her help. Her late husband’s company is being attacked by a woman who is beautiful, brilliant, and relentless. To save the family company, Jessica will need to face her. Held captive on a yacht, Jessica finds a new love.
Waters of the Kalahari
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels. Price: Free! Words: 80,330. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic
(1.00 from 1 review)
Book 7: Southern Africa has been enduring drought for three years. The World Bank asks Jessica to help with an exploration project. Can water be found under the Kalahari Desert? Jessica agrees to help. It is her chance to explore Africa and do some good. She helps put in 90 wells. The project is a huge success. Then she loses everything, and must restart her life.
The Last Glacier
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 7. Price: Free! Words: 91,080. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
When the local water bottling plant is threatened with closure, Jessica flies to Switzerland to meet with the owners. She discovers the local plant is just a pawn in a fight for control over a huge Swiss corporation. After a hike through the Alps to see a melting glacier, Jessica joins the fight, and in the process gains a new husband, a castle, and a role in a social media battle.
River of Stars
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 6. Price: Free! Words: 81,040. Language: English. Published: March 18, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
It begins with a chance meeting. Jessica is inspecting one of her hotels. There sits Jim Thomas - a Hollywood cinematographer scouting film locations on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Dinner leads to a field trip, then several days together, then a plan for a new movie. Six women - all Iraq war veterans - will follow the route of Jolliet and Marquette to the Mississippi River.
The Greatest Love Story Never Told
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 5. Price: Free! Words: 85,770. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
After her husband is killed, Jessica retreats to her resort in Galena, Illinois. While she is deep in mourning, a Hollywood film company comes to the resort and invites her to join them making a film about Narcissa Whitman, the woman who helped create the Oregon Trail. Jessica travels the Oregon Trail with them. Along the way she finds new love and new direction in her life.
The Girls in the Club
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 93,870. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Jessica returns to Wisconsin and takes a job at a large resort only to discover young women in the Gentleman’s Club are being held against their will. As she fights for their freedom, she loses her own and becomes the mistress of a Mafia Don. As he expands his business, she becomes his business analyst – and his lover. She needs the help of the police, but faces arrest herself.
Disappearance in the Desert
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 92,720. Language: English. Published: August 16, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
A former lover, the president of a Swiss bottling company, comes for Jessica. He proposes, and she travels with him to Dubai to be his wife and to help set up a new branch of the company. But she is not the only woman who wants him. Tricked into visiting a desert village, she is held while the other woman plots to take her fiancée. Jessica finds a new man who may help her - or marry her.
One Angry Town: A Tiny Town Fights Over Water
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 88,120. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
Jessica Thorpe, bartender in a tiny Wisconsin town, wants to help her town land a new Swiss factory. It will bring jobs. But it also threatens the local water supply. As the town forms sides and begins battling, Jessica flies to Switzerland looking to save the project – and the peace. Two men are crucial to the project. She must convince one of them to complete the project
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 5 - Carbines and Calumets
Series: The Canadian Civil War. Price: Free! Words: 78,710. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
In this final book of the series, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Colorado secede from Canada and fighting begins. Shawn travels to New Orleans to learn more about the rebellion and is nearly killed as he investigates involvement by an American company seeking to profit from the war. Final efforts at peace are made as people choose between carbines and calumets.
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 4 - Mississippi Beast
Series: The Canadian Civil War. Price: Free! Words: 83,670. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
In this fourth volume, unknown attackers begin launching assaults in Green Bay and nearly kill Claude Jolliet. But the biggest problems arise from a flood on the Mississippi that inundates the primary shipping and supply center of Canada. Elise and Shawn have 14 days to get systems there running again before the economy of the country collapses.
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 3 - West to the Wall
Series: The Canadian Civil War, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 83,750. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada, Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
(5.00 from 1 review)
This third book in the series mixes accounts of early explorations in west and attempts to reach the Pacific through the “Wall” of Rocky Mountains, with an ongoing description of the breakdown of Canada into northern and southern sections.
The Canadian Civil War Volume 2- The Huguenots Arrive
Series: The Canadian Civil War, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 104,130. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
In this second volume of the series, the French history of the continent is expanded to tell the story of the Huguenots. As in volume 1, some of the early history is an accurate portrayal of the Huguenot exodus from France. But this is also a work of fiction -- in this case a description of the growing conflict between their values and the values of the Catholic North.
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 1 - Birth of a Nation
Series: The Canadian Civil War, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 100,920. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA
(4.00 from 1 review)
In 1755 France controlled most of the North American continent. What if they still did? This novel explores the French period from two perspectives – an historically accurate description of Jolliet’s discovery of the Mississippi, coupled with a hypothetical contemporary view of “Canada.” Based in Green Bay, this Canada struggles between the Catholic north and Huguenot Louisiana.

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