View from the Shore | Meet the Authors

Barbara Zimmerman is a co-founder of Waconia Writers Group, and has loved words her whole life; crosswords, dictionaries, journals, Scrabble. Her joy is in a pile of new library books and a full bookcase. After a nursing career, she has more time to devote to writing, and her quest to explore that place where words can magically transform into stepping-stones, connecting the worlds of readers and writers. 

Gudrun Spitzig: “Being a native of Germany, born during the Second World War, my journey has given me many opportunities to experience life in different cultures. My hobbies are outdoor activities, photography, and – as a novice to writing – sharing stories of my copious adventures in this diverse path of life.” 

Jen Lynn Anderson is a student of her imagination, an unabashed optimist, and an author diligently pursuing her literary dreams. She writes fiction for young adults, new adults and young-at-heart adults. She gravitates toward the speculative, post-apocalyptic/dystopian, and fantasy genres. In addition to her fiction work, Jen has independently published an anthology of poetry and is working on her second. She is also preparing a travel memoir of her time spent in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. To follow Jen’s writing and publishing adventures, visit

Jillian Van Hefty is an award-winning humor and memoir writer from small town Minnesota, where she lives with her  husband, two sons, and emotional  support Keurig. Her work has appeared in Points in Case; Jumpkick; Love What Matters; Haute Dish Literary Journal; Prometheus Dreaming; Eat, Darling, Eat; and the Minnesota Women’s Press. Jillian is a winner of the 2022 Erma Bombeck Humorist in Residence Program. She is currently working on a memoir about her Alzheimer’s mama and a humor book inspired by her idol, Erma Bombeck. 

Mona Smith escaped from suburbia to a little farm where she writes and holds the position of Head Chicken Wrangler. Her favorite activity is enjoying time with her family. Her hobbies include anything that allows her to avoid housework. Keep up with Mona on her blog, Musings With Mona

Beth Russell: After a 35-year career of writing facts for educational purposes, Beth Russell, with a twinkle in her eye and a dance in her heart, challenges herself to gently weave memories like a tapestry into a collection of observations and wisdom. 

Brenda Reister was raised on a farm in central North Dakota, and now lives near Mayer. Much of her inspiration for writing comes from childhood memories, family history, observing nature and the human behavior around her. She enjoys reading, chatting with friends, providing entertainment for her fur babies, traveling in an RV with her hubby, and spending as much time as possible in the outdoors. 

Claire Dahlman Geistfeld: Among the many places she has lived, Claire Dahlman Geistfeld counts Carver County as a favorite. She has two grown-up children, and lives with her husband, dog and cat – all equally amusing. A lazy writer, she was thrilled to stumble upon the Waconia Writers Group, thankful for their friendly encouragement, discipline, and gentle critique. 

Carol Wuetherich: “I’ve been an accidental writer most of my life. When my three children were babies, I’d write in their respective baby books all the cutesy firsts and wonderful things they would attempt and eventually accomplish. Things they’d want to know later on and tease each other about. Since they were so close in age, three in as many years, I didn’t want their babyhoods to simply happen without being able to recall how I got through it. When I attended college finally, my favorite English Lit professor graded partly on a daily journal. I loved that. After all those years of writing the facts, keeping records, organizing files and setting out schedules, I am still writing. However, now the writing is strictly enjoyable, sometimes reminiscent and even sometimes scary or mysterious. But most always, creating a story is fun.” 

Dorothy Ellerbroek lives in Waconia; she is a parish nurse at her church in Minneapolis. Dorothy began her writing hobby at age nine only to have it shelved by demands of adulthood over a long period of time. Most recently she is writing her personal and professional memoirs, with occasional poetry creation as time permits. 

Lollie Cuchna: “I loved to create stories and characters at a very young age, telling them to my younger brother and sister. To create is wonderful! It takes me away to build another place in time and in my mind. I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!” 

Mary Johnson is a co-founder of the Waconia Writers Group, and writes memoir and travel pieces. Urged to try fiction writing she’s discovered the sheer joy of making things up while experiencing writer’s haze, that deep reflection when the words flow and time is meaningless. She wholeheartedly recommends it. She has self-published two books, one for each grandchild and has participated in the National Novel Writing Month for the past three years.