Renville, Minn., woman pens 19 books in five years
You might think that a life change such as moving from the Hawaiian island of Maui to a Renville County farm place would be all it takes to explain what happened.
But no, that is not what mattered at all for June Kramin.
It was the day she stepped into the barn to feed the pony and was startled by an opossum. It was as if flint had struck metal and the sparks landed on dry tinder.
"It just popped,'' said Kramin. She began writing a story with her heart-thumping moment as its starting point.
Nineteen books and five years later, Kramin is still writing and her passion shows no sign of cooling.
Only difference now is her books are getting published.
The first out of the chute was a time travel romance called "Dustin Time.'' It is one of 10 women's romance novels she has penned since the surprise encounter with the 'possum. A small Canadian publisher, Champagne Books released it.
In the next couple of months two more of her romance novels -- ''Double Mocha'' and "Come and Talk to Me'' -- are to be released by another small publisher, Musa Publishing.
And just a couple of weeks ago, the book that started all of this made its way to store shelves.
"Through the Mirror and into Snow'' is the first of nine books she has authored for children under the pen name Ann T. Bugg. All nine tell the imaginary adventures of her daughter Valerie and best friend Samantha.
The real life Valerie, 15, created the book cover to be used by publisher Writers Amuse Me.
The two girls discover a magic mirror in the barn where the opossum started it all, and soon run into Snow White in the enchanted forest. Knowing what lies ahead for the fairy book heroine, the two make it their mission to guide Snow White to safety before they return to the real world.
Kramin was born in Philadelphia but spent her formative years, from ages 4 to 27, on Maui. She met her husband, Tom, while he served in the Coast Guard in the Hawaiian Islands. They lived for a time in the Florida Keys, moved later to Bemidji, Minn., (where she operated a Hawaiian-themed coffee shop). About seven years ago they returned to Tom's home turf in Renville County, where they live on a hobby farm.
Kramin had teachers in third grade and junior high tell her she would someday be a writer, but she never took the encouragement to heart.
With no formal training, Kramin said her writing is something that just flows naturally. "I do what the voices in my head tell me to do,'' she said laughing.
The "voices'' are the characters in her works. "My characters are bullies. Like I said, I just do what they tell me to do.''
She works as a graphic designer with H & L Printing in Redwood Falls, and is able to pull out the laptop and write when time allows at work or at home.
No writer's block for her. She picks up where she leaves off.
"I don't know where I'm going. I don't obsess about it and I don't think about it, and I don't dream about it and wake up and take notes. I read the last paragraph of what I wrote the day before and then I just keep going,'' said Kramin.
All of her works have one thing in common. Something in her real life triggers the start.
She blistered the computer keyboard by writing her first women's fiction book ''Dustin Time'' in only three weeks. "I took a story from my life that I felt I needed closure on and thought maybe if I write this out I can make sense of this,'' she said.
The beginnings of "Double Mocha'' had a somewhat humbler beginning. Her husband came home one day and told her he had stopped to help a stranded traveler by jump-starting his motorcycle. "I didn't know you could do that so of course I made it the girl helping the guy and the whole book came from there, one simple thing,'' she said.
Some of her romances include the paranormal. The nine adventures of Valerie and Samantha -- part of a series she is calling Before Happily Ever After -- are all about the fantastic with fairy tale and folk story encounters.
She chose a pen name Ann T. Bugg for the childhood series. She doesn't want children picking up her romances by following her name to them. She had the nickname ''June bug'' while growing up and as an adult became Auntie Bug, so the pen name came easy.
Writing remains the easy part for her. Sending manuscripts to publishers is like "shooting T-shirts from a cannon'' and getting nearly as many rejections back has had its own lessons, she said. She works hard to market her works on the Internet and said she had purchased the domain name beforehappilyeverafter to promote her children's books series long before finding a publisher.
Kramin will be at Book World at the Kandi Mall in Willmar for a book signing event on Dec. 17 from noon to 2 p.m.