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Rita Klundt Headshot

I began my second career as an author, speaker and story collector after nearly thirty years of nursing. I’ve worked as a surgical scrub nurse, on a cardiac unit, in a prison, as a dialysis nurse, a homecare nurse for kids on ventilators, and then as a clinical research coordinator for a variety of cardiovascular trials. I still love nursing, although of late, it’s been mostly band aids and advising friends and family to see their doctor or head straight to the ER.

 My first book, Goliath’s Mountain, is the true and tragic love story that gives readers a personal view into my soul and the heart of my family. It covers topics like mental illness and suicide with passion, insight and the sensitivity. It’s the story of how I learned to look for God’s goodness in any circumstance.

Friends and strangers approached me with questions or to tell me their stories after Goliath’s Mountain was published. I’ve always loved true and transparent stories, both the written and oral testimonies. But these people needed someone to hear their story and respect their situation. There I was. It wasn’t a suicide for many of them, but they had connected with my pain. And more so, with God’s mercy and grace in my mistakes.

Their stories compelled me to keep writing. My next book would become a compilation of short stories I’d heard around dinner tables, during Bible studies and at “church lady” gatherings. The plan was to have them write their own stories. Only a few of the twenty-six ladies claimed to be capable writers. A novice myself, I used everything I could remember from conferences and books on the craft of writing and mentored these women through the process of writing their personal story for the purpose of publishing.

I knew I had started something good after reading the first story.

What joy and relief when the professional editor loved our stories. What a thrill to see these stories being read by all sorts of women and getting good responses. The book release party and the book signing was so much fun.

And I was ecstatic when the title, “Real Life Real Ladies: Short Stories from the Pew,” was called from the stage at the 2022 Selah Awards.

2nd place for only my 2nd publication! My passion flamed for story writing without all the moral and instructive stuff tacked onto the ending as if the story wasn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong. I read devotionals and have had a few of my own published, but they are too often 10% story and 90% lecture with a scripture slapped in under the title or at the end. And I’ve always been someone who appreciates when the moral to a story isn’t recited by the author, but the story and the telling are so powerful that the moral is something absorbed as the reader approaches the final phrase and period. the reader just knows.

“It’s the story God gave to you,” I must have told a hundred women by now. “And if all you have left at the end of the day is a story of how God rescued you, then you’ve got enough to share with the whole-wide-world.”

Christian women have the best stories, yet so many are never told. I will ghost write a story for a lady if it’s compelling enough, but I haven’t had to do much of that so far. It’s always a better read when the words come from the heart of the original storyteller. So here we go. Real Life Real Ladies will be a series of books and short stories written by church-going women. Book # 2 should release in 2024.

I’m also working on the final chapters of my first novel—a fictionalized story inspired by one of those real life, real ladies. The working title is The Doll House Secrets and the manuscript should be ready for a publisher within a few months.

A lot has happened since the last chapter of Goliath’s Mountain. My three children are grown. I raised them as a single mom and did my best to prepare them to meet their world— love God, be responsible, do good and have fun. My parenting style wasn’t perfect, but for the most part, I lived up to the advice I gave, and they listened. I was fine when they left the nest and took their upbringing and education with them. Problem is … my nine grandchildren were all born in more interesting places than small town Illinois. I don’t exactly know what I’m missing by not being a part of their daily lives, but I know it’s significant.

My husband, Roger, and I enjoy serving in various capacities at church. I love teaching the Bible and preparing for my Sunday morning group. One of my favorite things to do is start a DIY project that requires Roger’s help or power tools to complete. I blog, but not often enough. I cook, but only the simplest of stuff. And I’m smart, but still fall for the dumbest of bluffs.

My audiences are mostly women, but I’m not afraid of a mixed crowd, teens or children. My speaking style is personable and relatable, but I’m not afraid to speak truth when it comes to hard topics. I do my best to include a relevant story—one that might make you laugh, cry or both. Roger and I don’t get to travel, explore and meet new people as often as we would like. So, let me know when you’re ready to schedule an event, big or small, your theme or one of mine. I’d be happy to check my calendar. 

Rita K.