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Mark J.H. Klassen, Writer
The Beginnings of my Book Publishing History
In 2003, a close friend asked me to help him write a book. We worked on it diligently for two years and then, in 2005, that book was published by a small Christian press in the USA called YWAM Publishing. It was titled A Beautiful Way: An Invitation to a Jesus-Centered Life. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of collaborating with my friend, Dan, and I Iooked forward to more opportunities to write for him and for others.
I didn't stop writing during the six years that I lived and worked in India (2005-2011), but my ventures into book publishing went on hold. However, shortly after returning to Canada in 2011, book projects started trickling in.
In late 2011, I was able to assist my brother and sister-in-law in publishing a book entitled, Your Ears Will Hear: A Journal for Listening to God. I was involved with editing, proofreading and some of the design work. The book was published by their non-profit charity in Canada (markcentre.org), but it was the first book to be formally published in association with Namesake Writing, Inc.
In early 2012, Dan Baumann and I collaborated on his third book, A Fresh Look at Fear, which was published in 2014 again by YWAM Publishing. Dan hired me to do the initial work of gathering his ideas around the subject of fear, clarifying his message, and giving shape to the book. Once again, it was a privilege to work with such a passionate and gifted communicator.
In 2013, I was privileged to help out on my mother's latest work of literary non-fiction, entitled, It Happened in Moscow: A Memoir of Discovery (by Maureen S. Klassen, Kindred Productions, Winnipeg, 2013, in association with the Mennonite Brethren Historical Society). My role was more in the background on this project, providing support to my mother where necessary as she shaped her story and then later as she negotiated the contract with her publisher. I was extremely proud of my mother for this accomplishment and felt privileged to walk beside her and my father during the process of completing this book.
The Launch of Namesake Publishing
The second book project of 2013 was another memoir. It was called, Building Life's Bridges: A Memoir and Tribute by Henry Rempel. Henry came to me in May 2013 with a strong plea to help him finish his book, a combination of his own life story and a piece of his mother's story. Henry had worked on it for years and was eager to complete the task and to see it in print. For several months, Henry and I met regularly in his boardroom in Langley where we poured over previously written material and a massive amount of collected photographs and images. I edited all the written material and added stories, sections and transitions where needed. I helped Henry organize the book in a way that made sense.
After we agreed on the content, I hired a competent graphic designer (Darcy Scholes with iDesign Solutions) to format the book and lay out all the images, and then I negotiated the print contract with a printer in Victoria, BC (Victoria Bindery). By September 2013, Henry had one hundred copies of a one-hundred-page hardcover book in his hands that he could pass on to family, friends, and business partners as a window into his life and a tribute to his late mother, Anna Rempel.
Building Life's Bridges was the first book exclusively published by my company, Namesake Publishing (a division of Namesake Writing, Inc.).
In May 2014, I published a collection of my poems and made it available in e-book format on Amazon. Click HERE for the link. To read a sampling of my poems, please go to my poetry website (markjhklassen.wix.com/poetry).
Shortly after, in June 2014, I published my first novel and also made it available on Amazon, where it is described in the following words:
Chet is a young American who sets out on a one-month backpacking adventure in India. Though India itself offers him endless intrigue, Chet's trip quickly exposes longings and fears that confront him with questions about his own identity and purpose. All of his angst is heightened when Chet receives tragic news from home that mysteriously uncovers closer ties to India than he ever imagined. Suddenly, Chet's purpose is clarified and his trip is transformed into an intensely personal quest.
In this poetic, first-person account, the author invites the reader on an intimate journey of discovery. The End of Chet is a story about courage and fear, about love and lust, about the pain of loss and the triumph of forgiveness.
Join Chet today on his unforgettable adventure into India.
Please click on the cover image to the right for the link to Amazon. If you download and read the novel, please let me know or write a review on Amazon.
Here is Vance George's five-star review of the novel on Amazon:
"An exciting novel, a trip from Chet's native Idaho through exotic India. His family story unfolds with surprising twists and turns. The authors experiences of Varanasi, Mumbai and Delhi are written with the feeling you are there. But it is his trek into the foothills of the Himalayas to the hill town of Landour, Mussoorie, where he discovers some family secrets that will hook you. Returning to Delhi he confronts these secrets head on.
Forgiveness brings him back to Idaho and his mother. The story is gripping, you won't want the book to end. Romance with a beautiful Indian girl threads throughout the story. I lived in the hill town he describes for three years. The author is absolutely authentic in his understanding of the people, the country, the culture, the languages and the vibrant colors of the India we both love!"
In the summer of 2014, Namesake was contracted to help with another book project, this time for a non-profit society called Logos Canada. I was asked to edit the material and publish the book under Namesake Publishing. Once again, I partnered with Darcy Scholes at iDesign Solutions for the layout and design. The non-fiction, historical book was entitled, The Story of Logos Canada: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Ministry in the Former Soviet Union. The book was printed by Fraser Valley Custom Printers in Chilliwack, B.C.
Another book project that I'd been working on for years was my father's book about the commands of Jesus. Finally, in late 2016, Namesake Publishing released Obedient Love: Engaging the Commands of Jesus in the Gospels by my father, Herbert C. Klassen. It's the culmination of seventeen years of my father's diligent study and personal devotion in response to Jesus' statement, "If you love me, you will obey my commands" (John 14:15). For me, this book represents my dad's simple love for Jesus and his sincere desire to encourage others. I am excited to share it with the world and pray it will be an encouragement to many.
If you're interested in receiving a copy of Obedient Love, please feel free to request one directly from me. For those in the Abbotsford area, it is also available at the House of James. For those further afield, Obedient Love is also available on Amazon in paperback (click here) or as an e-book (click here).
In 2017, I was approached by Ben Harder, the father of a close friend of mine. Ben had been working on his memoirs for years and was ready to think about getting them published in book form and passing them on to his family and friends. It was very satisfying for me to help Ben realize his goal and to, within months of talking about the idea, deliver copies of his book into his hands.
Memories: The Life Story of Ben Harder was the sixth book published exclusively by Namesake Publishing. Darcy Scholes (iDesign Solutions) once again helped with layout and design, including incorporating many photos from Ben's life into the final product. In this case, I hired Blurb (blurb.ca) to print the book.
In 2018, Herman Driediger asked if I would help him with a book project. We first discussed the book in April and by the end of August he received a shipment of books from Victory Bindery. Kornelius and Anna Driediger Family Roster (1876-2018) was the seventh book publishing by Namesake Publishing.
In 2019, another book project came to me from a familiar source: my family. This time, it was again my brother Steve who had inspiration for a tool in his work as a teacher, spiritual director and retreat host with his nonprofit, the Mark Centre (markcentre.org). It was a great privilege to collaborate not only with Steve but with three talented local photographers: Jean Bergen, Adam Combs, and Larry Wiebe. The result was an 8" x 10" coffee table book called His Eye is on the Sparrow: Encountering God's Intimate Care. The book combines short stories, inspirational quotes, and Scripture passages with beautiful nature photography. The title of the book, and the unifying theme, is from an old Gospel song that tells of God's intimate care not only for birds but for people like you and me. The "Bird Book," as it was nicknamed by those of us who worked on it, was completed in the summer of 2019. I contributed as an editor to all of the writing and as a creative director for the formatting and design. Although the book was published by the Mark Centre, it was done in cooperation with Namesake. The Bird Book was also my first opportunity to work with a renowned local printer named Hemlock. They were amazing partners in this venture, and everyone involved was really pleased with the final product. Stay tuned to markcentre.org for how you can order the book online, or you can email me directly to acquire a copy.