Book Tour & Interview: In a Grove of Maples by Jenny Knipfer #HistoricalFiction #ChristianHistoricalFiction @JennyKnipfer @maryanneyarde

Book Title: In a Grove of Maples

Series: Sheltering Trees: Book 1

Author: Jenny Knipfer

Publication Date: 1st July 2021

Publisher: Jenny Knipfer–Author

Page Length: 264 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction

… a heartfelt tale of the struggles of married life on a nineteenth-century farm. Edward and Beryl are both relatable and sympathetic. Knipfer expertly captures the emotion and stress of their lives and relationship. It’s a touching and realistic portrayal of love, loss, and friendship.” Heather Stockard for Readers’ Favorite five-star review


In 1897 newly married Beryl and Edward Massart travel more than one thousand miles from Quebec to farm a plot of land in Wisconsin that they bought sight-unseen. An almost magical grove of maples on their property inspires them to dream of a real home built within the grove, not the tiny log cabin they’ve come to live in. 

Misunderstandings and tempers get the better of them when difficulties and troubles arise. Just months after they wed, Edward leaves pregnant Beryl in the midst of the coming winter to tend the farm and animals while he goes to be a teamster at a northern Wisconsin logging camp. 

Will Beryl and Edward walk into the future together to build their house of dreams in the grove of maples, or will their plans topple like a house of sticks when the winds of misunderstanding and disaster strike?

Readers of Christian historical fiction, Historical fiction, Women’s fiction, and Christian historical romance will be endeared to this slice of late 19th century farm life.

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BOOKS+COFFEE: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

After I read the Anne of Green Gables series, I remember sensing a desire in me to become a writer. And that was that.

BOOKS+COFFEE: How long have you been writing, and how long did it take before your first book was published?

I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, mostly journaling back then, but I did pen a few stories.

I started a novel in my twenties, but life interrupted with a job and kids, and I set it aside. For the next twenty years, I wrote poetry, songs, blog posts, and journal entries.

In 2018 when I retired from my work as a floral designer due to disability, I resurrected the novel I’d started years ago and finished it in a couple of months.

For some months I queried for an agent but ended up pursuing the indie author route and publishing my first book, Ruby Moon, in 2019.

BOOKS+COFFEE: Do you have a routine you follow when you’re working on a book? A certain time of day when you write, or a snack you keep nearby?

My writing schedule fluxuates with my health. I have MS and struggle daily with many physical issues, fatigue and weakness being some of the heavy hitters. I plan to write anytime from late morning on, but some days writing doesn’t happen. There are a lot of other author duties that need my energy too.

My process follows more set boundaries. I sketch a rough outline of the plot and characters, as they appear, and establish a premise and what the main characters seek or need for resolution. Then I write and let the act of writing take me where it will.

Due to the nerve damage in my hands, I write chapter by chapter on my iPad and sandwich chapters together in Word on my computer, when I polish them enough. Typing traditionally is difficult for me. Then, one or two final edits at the end, and the book is ready for beta readers.

BOOKS+COFFEE: Did anyone give you writing advice when you were first getting started? Do you think it helped?

I am grateful for the early beta readers that pointed out some things in my work, as far as writing a novel goes, that helped me greatly. I started out a solid writer but needed to learn a few things about writing a novel, like POV’s and establishing a well-crafted plot. I’m definitely a better novelist today than I was in 2018.

BOOKS+COFFEE: What is the scariest thing you face as a writer? How do you handle it?

Rejection is always difficult to take, but I’ve come to realize not every reader will like my books. And that’s okay.  For me the scariest beast in the forest reveals itself as marketing. It’s one thing to write a great novel; it’s quite another to sell it.

BOOKS+COFFEE: Is there a book, movie, or song that inspires you when you’re working?

I prefer it quiet and don’t usually write with music or movies playing. When I’m not writing I read or watch some romantic entertainment, to help inspire some romance in my own writing.

BOOKS+COFFEE: As a writer, I’m sure you also love reading. Do you have a favorite book and what do you love about it?

Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite book. It contains everything: romance, mystery, moral dilemmas, tragedy, comedy, poetic prose… I recall the first time I read it, and how those first few paragraphs made me feel. It was an experience, and that’s what every good book should bring to its reader.

BOOKS+COFFEE: What do you think is the most important thing to remember when following your dreams?

Don’t give up. Often dreams don’t work out quite like you imagine, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t. More than anything—dreams are a lot of hard work.

Now, let’s talk a little about your current book…

What’s the title of your current release and is it part of a series?

In a Grove of Maples is the first book in my Sheltering Trees series. To learn more about the series visit:

Who published In a Grove of Maples?

I am self-published.

Your cover looks amazing. Do you know who the artist is?

The background is a stock photo, and the female image I purchased off a book cover site. Nothing too spectacular there, I’m afraid. However, for my next book, Under the Weeping Willow, I hired a photographer and a model for a photo shoot.

Was there something in particular that inspired you to write this story?

In a Grove of Maples was inspired by my grandparents and their lives as Wisconsin farmers in the late 1890’s. I did not know them or know much about them and always wondered about their lives. I suppose it’s my attempt at reaching into the past to piece them together the best I can.

If there’s one thing a reader will take away from this story, what do you hope it is?

In a Grove of Maples tells the story of Beryl and Edward Massart as newlyweds, embarking on a new life. Through their story they learn to set aside assumptions and their own agendas to create a more solid foundation for their marriage. I hope this inspires readers to do the same. They also learn that pulling together as a team accomplishes more than pulling separately.

Any funny stories you can share about writing this book, or something that sparked the idea for it?

I can’t think of anything funny. The idea came from two directions: wanting to explore what my grandparents’ lives were like and highlighting newlywed life and the crossed wires that can often come with it.


March 15th, 1898

Dear Diary,

I saw a robin today. Robins remind me of hope. They are the first birds to arrive after the snows of winter come to an end. I hung some clothes on the line, and he flitted down onto the chopping block. He twitched his tail and gazed at me with a slanted head and beady eye. I wonder if he had an inkling his perch helped dispatch one of his bird relatives lately.

The oldest hen, whom I had named Goldie (for her tuft of golden feathers on her head and feet), had given up laying eggs. Much as I hated to do it, she ended up in the stockpot today. Paul and Nola came to check on me, and I asked them to stay for supper.

The chicken bouja didn’t turn out half bad. Nola said she had not tasted anything like it. It’s a basic, Belgian, country chicken stew recipe, which Mama taught me to make, but I add dried green peppers, chili powder, and dollops of bread stuffing on the top.

Paul asked about Edward. I read Edward’s last letter to them both, but I didn’t tell them what I guessed was in between the penned lines: sorrow, regret, and longing.

What is Edward mourning besides our son? What does he want?

I should be bold and ask him, but I’m not. I fear what might be sent to me, scrolled out in elegant script by his hand. His penmanship is worthy of the founding fathers who signed The Declaration of Independence. His alphabet letters form swoops and tails, and the overall effect is elegance.

He tells me of his daily life, but he doesn’t tell me how he feels. Does he miss me? Will this absence make our hearts grow fonder, or will our physical distance be a picture of the way we have grown apart?

If only we could go back, apologize to each other, be kinder, love deeper, and set our foolish fears and pride aside. I do love him, despite it all.


Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.

Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.

She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.

Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set. A new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, will be released in 2021 and 2022. Jenny is currently writing a novella series entitled, Botanical Seasons.

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