Why did you decide to write this book? A. For many years, I absorbed and stowed away the stories from my parents and grandparents. Listening to all they sacrificed to provide a better future for us motivated me to give back to them. I wanted a written account of these experiences so my
children, grandchildren, and future generations would know and not forget the price their ancestors paid. By telling their story in print, as long as our country exists, they will never be forgotten.
How long did it take you? A. I started asking questions of my grandma at the young age of five. Even then, I was gathering information and written material. It wasn’t until we were in the United States that I made an effort to put those materials together during my teenage years. But as far as the writing process, it took four long years from start to finish.
What kind of research did you conduct? A. As I said, I started gathering research when I was five. When I got married and moved to Canada, I obtained books in German stores. I also picked up some expired publications on Mennonite history from an MCC thrift store. My mother-in-law had some books that she loaned, and others she gifted to me. When I pushed the pedal down on this
project, I spent time in the Texas Tech Library, studying their solid collection on the history of Mennonites in West Texas. I also interviewed many people, including politicians and local Seminole citizens, who were present when our plight became an international story. Every major U.S. newspaper had reporters in small-town Seminole writing front-page articles. After the research, I hit the road and traveled the previous routes of Mennonites, starting in the Netherlands during the reformation years and moving on to Holland, Switzerland, Poland, Ukraine, Canada, and Mexico. There is nothing like walking the ground of our ancestors and seeing the same sites. At most of these places, I found museums and stores with Mennonite furniture and memorabilia. Examining all this gave me better insight into the life they led. I know it contributed to a richer, more vibrant story.
What surprised you about writing or publishing your book? A. The amount of time and financial commitment it took. Also, organizing all the details of the story onto paper. I did not want a dry, encyclopedic version, but instead a readable account in story form. Finally, the cover design and interior layout took more thought and energy than I had anticipated. Yet the end result is so worth it.
Why did you choose the KDP.com platform to publish your book? A. A big seller with KDP was that my book would be on Amazon. Plus, I loved the easy-to-use dashboard for checking out my sales and royalties. Finally, I keep the rights and full control over the content. Oh, and they make it super simple and cheap to order author copies.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change? A. I would have started a lot earlier when my mother was still alive. That, I deeply regret. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s been an amazing journey, one I’d gladly do again.
What advice would you give to new writers out there? A. There is a book in you! Don’t procrastinate. Do your research first and do it thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to hire professional help. And don’t wait until one of your loved ones passes. Pull out your laptop and get busy.
If you like historical, true stories of hope and perseverance, you'll enjoy Seminole. Order your copy today at Amazon!
Thank you, Mrs. Tina Siemens, for joining our writer's block spotlight!
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