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“Joining Julie” during her presentation in Harmony


Fri, Apr 12th, 2013
Posted in Harmony Features

Julie Kramer holds her latest book Shunning Sarah and an Amish doll which she purchased while doing research for the book. Photo by Barb Jeffers

It is no mystery why a group of more than forty people attended a book-signing event and presentation by author Julie Kramer at the Harmony Public Library in Harmony, Minn. on Saturday, April 6, 2013.

Kramer started her presentation by stating she was excited to be in Harmony… “the scene of the crime,” which drew a large chuckle from the crowd. Julie Kramer’s latest book, titled Shunning Sarah, has ties to the area which makes it especially interesting for local readers.

In Shunning Sarah a homicide is being investigated by TV reporter Riley Spartz and it is discovered that the murdered woman was a member of the local Amish community. The police have a hard time investigating the woman’s death as the Amish community prefer to handle their problems within their community and prefer to keep things private.

Julie grew up on the Minnesota-Iowa state line where she had some experience with the Amish and their way of life. She did research for her book by visiting many Amish farms in the area and talked with the Amish while purchasing their wares including baskets, potholders, cashew crunch, and also an Amish doll which she uses as a prop while speaking to audiences. Julie stayed at the Amish Bed and Breakfast to get a sense of living the way the Amish live.

Julie mentions the Fillmore County area in Shunning Sarah specifically naming the Village Square and Quarter/quarter of Harmony. In the acknowledgements of the book she also mentions Richard Scrabeck of the Amish Tours of Harmony and the Amish Bed and Breakfast near Canton, Minn. Julie states that she enjoys the research she does for her writing saying “when you are writing books you always want to have a new adventure” which can give the writer a new perspective to draw from when writing. She says she “gets inspiration from all sorts of places” and stated she is “highly influenced by happenings around me” which can be used in her writing as well. Julie had a “new adventure” while staying at the Asahi Loft of Harmony during her visit and thanked owner Cindy Ofstedal for the hospitality.

Julie Kramer said she moved “from journalist to author” having once worked as a freelance news producer to NBC and CBS and also ran the WCCO-TV I-Team in Minneapolis, Minn. where she received many national investigative awards. Since stepping into the role of author Julie has continued to receive accolades for her work including the Minnesota Book Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense and the RT Book Review’s Best First Mystery. Julie is also a finalist for several other award presentations.

Shunning Sarah is Julie Kramer’s fifth book in a series of thrillers which are all set in Minnesota. The titles of her books have all been verb-name titles: Killing Kate, Silencing Sam, Stalking Susan, and Missing Mark; all written before Shunning Sarah, her most recently published book. This had the crowd wondering what the title of her next book will be. According to Julie “the next book is done and the title is being decided on” and while taking several questions from the audience about her new book she did not give up too much information except that one of the main characters is currently named “Jack” but emphasized that the name could very well be changed.

Julie talked about how publishing has changed over the years with technology and social media, saying that “writers need to think of themselves as small business persons, not artists, these days” with promotion and sales happening over the internet with items such as e-books. There are many ways to try to get a book published from acquiring an agent, who will receive a percent of the profit, to the other side of the spectrum of self-publishing books.

Julie Kramer took time to sign books and talk with people before and after her interesting presentation. When attendees purchased Kramer’s set of five books in paperback the set was cleverly tied together with yellow “crime scene” tape which would make a great gift for those who love to read investigative crime stories. She also donated a set of her books to the Harmony Arts Board and the Harmony Public Library who together brought Julie to speak.

The audience had a variety of questions for Julie Kramer who answered them openly and humorously. Ironically, as the program was taking place, an Amish buggy strolled by which seemed very fitting considering the topic at hand.

Julie Kramer and her husband live in White Bear Lake, Minn. For more information about Julie Kramer, her books, and where to purchase them go to juliekramerbooks.com.

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