By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
Sarah Kneip of Richmond has been writing for as long as she can remember. She remembers writing and making books as a young child with her sister. She also read prolifically, with lots of books at home. She was home schooled for high school, and her home was filled with bookshelves that were, in turn, filled with books.
She went on to study English in college, and worked 10 years before returning to obtain a master’s degree in English with a writing concentration.
Kneip gleaned a good deal from her study of literature: rich descriptions from Louis L’Amour, character development from Charles Dickens, relationships from Jane Austen, and more from Fulton Sheen, Allison McLain, D.K. Chesterton, and more. All contributed to her love for storytelling. She has come to like writing mysteries, she says. “I need a story arc to know when to stop.”
Her first published novel, Secret of le Saint, started as a seed 15 years ago. A good deal of research went into the project, much of which ended up as character background (and is not directly in the book). When asked how long it took to write it, she usually picks “three years” as a random answer.
She completed it about two years ago and began sending it to publishers, with no response. She just kept writing.
A college friend, and fellow literature major, offered to edit Kneip’s novel. This was a painful process for Kneip, she admitted. She was challenged, and it reignited her love for writing. She opted to self-publish, like another friend had, as there’s no longer the stigma this once had. Her sister designed the cover.
The story is set in the 1950s, in a fictitional town about an hour from St. Cloud. “I feel like I grew up in the 50s,” Kneip told the dozen or so people who came to hear her talk Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Eden Valley Area Library.
Kneip’s day job is running the quilt shop at Crafts Direct. She writes quilt patterns for them, as well as managing the department. Writing is a lot like quilting, she says: you’ve got to have five projects going on at once.
“Write what you love,” is her advice to aspiring writers. “Don’t worry about publishing. And read a lot.”
Kneip’s likes are: Jesus, quilting, and writing. Although not religious in nature, she hopes that everything she writes will lead people a little closer to God, and especially not lead them away.