Highlighting South Dakota with a book

Eye on KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Writing a book can be quite an achievement. And now a Sioux Falls woman can say she has accomplished that for the first time.

Jan Dirksen has been a nurse for 30 years. But last summer she decided to take on another challenge – writing a book.

“I love summer books, I love books that take place on the beach and the whole summer atmosphere, I am definitely a summer person and last summer I read a couple books and they were ok but as I was reading them I thought I could almost do something better,” author, Jan Dirksen said.

That’s when the book ‘Summer Sisters’ came to fruition.

“I just got this whim and thought maybe I could write a book, so I sat down by the computer that night and plopped out a few chapters,” Dirksen said.

She then sent those first couple chapters she had written to her husband.

“He hates to read and so about an hour later he called me back and said ‘Jan this is really good, I really like this and you’ve got to keep writing,'” Dirksen said.

Dirksen and Carmen Thompson have been friends for several years. Dirksen sent some of her writing to her as well.

“She would email over what she had done and I could so easily get immersed in it and I could visualize everything, I felt like I was there, it was fun to see where it was going to go,” Jan’s friend, Carmen Thompson said.

A few months later, Dirksen’s book was complete. She decided to do direct publishing through Amazon.

“All of a sudden I thought ‘ok I’m sending it off to the publisher and we will see what we get,’ and then at the end of February, all of a sudden in the mail I get this book and it’s my book and I feel like I’ve given birth or something. It was kind of a big deal, so it was really exciting,” Dirksen said.

So what’s her book about? Well it’s a fiction book with a lot of it taking place right here in South Dakota.

“The premise of the book is that my sister and I decide to spend the summer in Yankton, supposedly our parents have a cabin there in Yankton that has not been used for awhile,” Dirksen said. “Two of the characters are based on my husband and myself, if you know us we are pretty recognizable, and my sister and the guy that she ends up getting together with, it’s the personality of my sister and brother in law but their story line is total fiction.”

“It’s fun to read about and go hey I know that place, I’ve been there, I know what she’s talking about there,” Thompson said.

Dirksen has lived with her family in Sioux Falls for about 40 years, but for about the last 30 years, they make trips down to the Yankton community.

“We just always think that Yankton has the most to offer if you want to do a week away by a lake somewhere, Yankton is beautiful, the lake is beautiful, the campgrounds are great, we love jet skiing,” Dirksen said.

Dirksen never expected herself to become an author.

She retired from nursing just last week. And with the time she now has, she says a sequel may even be in store for the future.

“When I started writing something I thought was fun and pertained to us and our family, with a bunch of fiction thrown in, it was really so much more fun than I ever thought it would be,” Dirksen said.

You can find Dirksen’s book on Amazon and also at Pied Piper Flowers and Gifts in Yankton. You can also get it at Zandbroz in Sioux Falls.

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