Middleton author Kathleen Ernst draws on historical experiences in Watertown in a new series | entertainment
Middleton author Kathleen Ernst has written more than 40 books, but a new character was released on November 30th – Hanneke Bauer – a person she has been imagining for nearly 40 years. “Lies of Omission” is about Hanneke, a Pomeranian immigrant to Watertown in the mid-19th century. When she arrives, she faces unimaginable challenges.
Q: You have written 11 books on Wisconsin detective Chloe Ellefson. What made you decide to start a new series?
ONE: I’m not leaving Chloe. This series will also be continued. After writing the very first Chloe Ellefson mystery a few years ago and giving it to my agent, I started the Hanneke Bauer project. The Chloe manuscript was sold and Hanneke was put on hold. I finally had time to dust off the manuscript about a year ago, and I had a lot of fun getting the story done. It’s a lot of juggling, but I plan to keep both shows going.
Q: So Hanneke Bauer will also be a series?
ONE: Yes. The publisher offered a contract for three books. I’m currently working on the second Hanneke Bauer Mystery and the 12th Chloe Ellefson Mystery.
Q: What was your inspiration for Hanneke?
ONE: My inspiration for writing about an early German immigrant goes back almost 40 years. The farmhouse in the story is a fictional version of a structure restored in Old World Wisconsin. When I became an interpreter at the historic site in 1982, I was working in this home. I spent many hours walking the floor, cooking, spinning and weaving in the black kitchen, and thinking about the Pomeranian family who first lived there. I return to stories of immigrants because I am inspired by strong people who have managed to survive and thrive despite difficulties. The protagonist Hanneke – a very practical, intelligent, hardworking woman – gradually developed in my head.