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Author Next Door: George Kleiber

Author Next Door: George Kleiber

The artist, the cardiologist, and the litterateur.

By Grace Meyer

As a painter and a retired cardiologist, Kleiber can now add author to his list of accomplishments. His book, The Art of Wisdom, combines all of his interests into one.

“I’ve been painting since I was a child. I always liked painting. I almost went to art school when I graduated high school. I actually had a scholarship to go to art school,” Kleiber explains.

At the same time, Kleiber also had a scholarship to attend a different college to study medicine. He could still study art, but it would be sidelined to his science studies.

“I thought I’d be a medical illustrator.”

The more Kleiber got into science, however, he realized he wanted to become a physician.

“I got really into the physiology of how the heart works,” he says.

It was at that time Kleiber realized that cardiology was his true medical calling.

Author Next Door: Sally Cole-Misch

Author Next Door: Sally Cole-Misch

We are a part of nature, and it is a part of us.

by Grace Meyer

Sally Cole-Misch would like her readers to “reconnect with nature and with their own special places in nature.”

Her book, The Best Part of Us, is a coming-of-age story that follows Beth and her family each summer as they return to their grandparent’s island. The 284-page novel explores a bond between humans and a place in nature that they hold dear to them. One day, when tragedy strikes, the Lyndee family is forced to leave their island indefinitely, and the bond between Beth and her island is tarnished for the next fourteen years. A now-grown Beth has made a life for herself in Chicago when her grandfather, Taid, writes her a letter, making her decide the fate of the island herself.

Cole-Misch’s process of writing her book dates back to 2012, after 35 years as an environmental journalist and public affairs professional.

“I started writing the book when I was in Stanford graduate program for fiction writing. I started that in 2013 and I had a first draft by the time I ended the program in 2016. Then I sold it to a publisher at the end of 2018,” Cole-Misch explains.

Within this time, however, Cole-Misch did not escape the countless drafts every author goes through.

“All told, I probably had about fifteen drafts between 2013 and 2019.” She says.

However, writing The Best Part of Us wasn’t always a top priority—in fact, Cole-Misch says writing the novel was never on her “bucket list.” It wasn’t until she was out in her “special place in nature” reading that inspiration struck. She was thinking about how great she felt being in her outdoor escape when she started wondering about how being in nature can affect someone psychologically.

“I already knew about the benefits of being in nature. It lowers our stress levels, it makes us feel a part of something larger than ourselves. There are different chemicals that nature releases that helps us relax, and it makes us look at the bigger picture,” Cole-Misch explains.

Author Next Door: Scott Craig

Author Next Door: Scott Craig

The man bringing laughter straight from Leelanau

By Grace Meyer

Scott Craig, author of Laughing in Leelanau or I Swear It’s True, recalls the process of writing his book to be “great fun.”

“All I had to do was go out and find funny things. That was a hoot, going to various coffee clubs or wherever I could go,” he says about uncovering the humor of Leelanau County.

In the book, Craig writes that he wrote Laughing in Leelanau because one member of his breakfast club came in with a book titled, Maine Humor and he thought, “Well, I can do that.”

In this 148-page work, Craig shows just how much fun a small town can have when you have a few ordinary people with a good sense of humor. After dozens of very funny real-life stories, Craig concludes that the humor of Leelanau County is far funnier than its New England rival. He firmly states, “The reign of Maine is plainly on the wane.”

When he embarked on this new writing journey, Craig had already published a book of local tales titled, The Story Next Door. Before it was a book, The Story Next Door was Craig’s radio show that aired on Interlochen Public Radio and then on WTCM in Traverse City.

“I had all that material from the radio, The Story Next Door. These were stories about just ordinary people here in Northern Michigan and their lives and interesting things about them,” he says.

Author Next Door Spotlight: Tricia Frey

Author Next Door Spotlight: Tricia Frey

Tricia Frey encourages new writers to “sit down and write.” By Grace Meyer While there are a lot of dog books out ...

Tricia Frey encourages new writers to “sit down and write.”
By Grace Meyer

“While there are a lot of dog books out there, this is one of the best.”  ~ The BookLife Prize 2021.

Tricia Frey’s memoir River Love: The True Story of a Wayward Sheltie, a Woman, and a Magical Place Called Rivershire, explores redemption, love, and being enough—just as you are. The 249-page memoir also carries a powerful message about the life-altering possibilities that occur when one welcomes a rescue pet into their home and heart.

On the Boardman River, just south of Traverse City, lies a place dubbed Rivershire by its residents. Frey came to Rivershire after buying a home that she envisioned as a vacation spot and an investment opportunity for both her and her sister, Sandra. One day in 2006, Frey noticed movement outside her window and discovered a dog standing in her backyard. As soon as they made eye contact through the window, the dog “took off like a shot to the neighboring property.”

The dog, whom Frey named Sheldon, kept coming back to her property where Frey and her sister transformed a shed into a warm shelter for him and fed him daily. The building supplies for the shed took a bit of haggling from Frey and her sister with a store clerk, who was won over by their story of Sheldon. Even with the shed and daily meals, Sheldon remained timid, skittish, and frightened; it took two years before he even let Frey touch him and six more months before he came into her home.

After being Frey’s dog for quite some time, she discovered during a visit to the veterinarian that Sheldon had both an enlarged heart and a microchip.