My grandmother, Martha Muth Junger, was a huge inspiration for my writing. When I was little, she'd tell me stories of her childhood, growing up on a big estate in Germany. Martha was the fifth (living) daughter of a large family, and her parents were divorced, which was unusual for those days. She had a strict governess who later became her stepmother. Martha ran wild and often found herself in trouble, being chased by a bull, climbing the barn roof to explore the stork nest, getting sick from stealing her father's pipe and smoking it, running away to the Gypsies to have her fortune told.
I often stayed with my Omi (as I called her.) In the morning, I'd crawl into bed with her, and she'd tell me stories, not just her own, but those of her father and her grandmother. Even at that young age, I knew I wanted to write her stories when I grew up.
But first I went to school, and school, and school. Not until after I recovered from obtaining my Masters Degree and Ph.D, did I start to work on that old dream of writing down Omi's stories. But by that time, she was older and had forgotten many of the details I needed to write a biography. So I took my favorites and wrote several short stories. After a computer crash (my very first computer,) I learned why it was important to back up your files, and I lost a lot of my research. But I continued writing short stories about my grandmother and started taking writing classes. And I joined a critique group led by a writing teacher.
In the last year of Omi's life, I started writing my first novel, Wild Montana Sky, and she died before I finished the book. Although I wish I could place a copy in her hands, I have no doubt that she's still present in my life. Parts of her stories have made their way into my Montana Sky Series books--not what I'd imagined writing when I was a child, but perhaps even better.
For the last few years, I've wanted my books translated into German, both as a tribute to my beloved Omi, but also for the German members of my family to be able to read my books. So today, with great joy and a few tears for Omi, I announce the release of Der wilde Himmel über Montana, my first German book.