Minnesota models bring book cover to life

The book cover of Julie Klassen’s latest novel “The Dancing Master” seemed to come alive in front of hundreds of fans earlier this month.

During her Dec. 12 book launch at Barnes & Noble in HarMar Mall, the Shoreview author introduced readers to Jen Halvorson and Brandon Kaschmitter, who appear as “Alec” and “Julia,” the main characters in Klassen’s 7th book.

Set in Regency England, the book is centered around Alec, a dance tutor who has left London and a troubled past to start anew in a small England town, and Julia, the daughter of the town’s matriarch. The matriarch, hiding a secret of her own, has prohibited dancing in the town. Together, the couple unravel the secrets of the past.

Klassen, who writes a book per year on average, has become a well-known figure at the Barnes & Noble in HarMar Mall. Her annual book launches, which fall in December, draw standing-room-only crowds. This year, she brought  along Kaschmitter, who hails from St. Cloud, and Halvorson; the models met in the spring during their photo shoot for “The Dancing Master.” 

Kaschmitter told audience members it was challenging to appear in love with a new acquaintance. “The intimacy was hard to show at first,” he said.  But during the four-hour shoot, the two became fast friends and still keep in touch.

Kaschmitter has modeled for print ads; this is his first book cover. Halvorson has seen herself on book covers before; she appeared on Beverly Lewis’ “Rose Trilogy.” Seeing her own face on a bookstore shelf doesn’t faze her. “You don’t look like yourself, because you’re wearing a costume,” she explained.  “It’s like you’re playing a role.”

Still, she likes the idea of the books being more permanent. “It’s not a magazine, it won’t be recycled,” she noted.

Halvorson attends North Heights Lutheran Church in Roseville and, at age 17, is a senior at Woodbury High School but takes classes at Concordia University-St. Paul  as part of the state’s Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program.

Although she did not know Julie Klassen at the time, Halvorson attended North Heights Christian Academy with Klassen’s sons.

Klassen’s books have won much acclaim with critics and fans alike. Three of her titles,  “The Silent Governess,” “The Girl in the Gatehouse” and “The Maid of Fairbourne Hall,” have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. In addition, she has won the Midwest Book Award, Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards, Minnesota Book Awards, and ACFW’s Carol Awards.

“The Dancing Master” is published by Bethany House (www.bethanyhouse.com) and is available now from selected Barnes & Noble stores and online.

For more information, go to julieklassen.com.

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