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About Me


“It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.” —Khalil Gibran

Here's the Twitter version of me: Wife, mom, professor, travel planner extraordinaire and wanna-be writer. While that sums up the roles I play and much of what I value , it leaves a few holes in the story. And I love a good story. I like to watch them, read them, tell them, hear them, and of course, write them.

“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” —Willa Cather

I grew up in a small down where I spent carefree summer days riding my bike and reading biographies. My parents owned a café, and we lived in an apartment above it. If you ask me now why I write middle grade, I think one of the biggest reasons is because apart from now, the time I read the most was right around 5th or 6th grade, so maybe the themes and characters that come to me stem from my own love of reading as a kid. My favorite high school activity was Forensics. Yup, I even loved telling stories then.

"A writer’s brain is like a magician’s hat. If you’re going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in it first." —Louis L’Amour

If you got digging through old notebooks from when I was in 6th grade, you’ll find lists of things I wanted to accomplish, careers I wanted to have, accomplishments for which I expected to be known and probably about umpteen million topics. If you read very far into my website or blog, you’ll discover I like lists a lot. A running theme through the lists of my childhood was that I wanted to be an author. But it took me almost thirty years to write any creative fiction. I think I just needed more experience. My love of sharing stories and ideas with people probably lead to my major in college, communication. I went on to get masters and a Ph.D. before becoming a college professor. My husband and I have two girls, who are the source of so stories.

“Traveling–it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” —Ibn Battuta

One of my great passions is travel. It started when I was young. We went to come amazing places, and it helped me see the world in an interconnected way. I also spent a semester in Mexico in college which probably prompted my interest in Intercultural Communication. Now, my family and I enjoy our annual vacations, and I am happiest when I have a trip to plan.

    Random facts:
  • I’m only 5’ tall.
  • I’m a dance mom, but I swear not like on T.V.
  • Brownies are my favorite food even if my kids say it doesn't count.

The Haunted House Project

With no food in the house and a dad who’s rarely around, twelve-year-old Andie fears what will happen if people find out just how bad things are since her mom died.

Inspired by a science project on paranormal behavior, she’s sure pretending to be her mother’s ghost is her only hope to remind her dad and sister how to live again.

Clasen offers a heartrending portrait of a family coping with sudden and enormous loss...[She] steers clear of melodrama, anchoring the story with authentic characters and emotions.

Publishers Weekly

Sky Pony Press For October 2016 publication to Adrienne Szpyrka at Sky Pony Press by Jen Linnan at Linnan Literary Management

. Follow publishing journeys and explore The Sweet Sixteens, Young Adult and Middle Grade authors debuting in 2016.

. Add to your reading list and discover your next favorite book at goodReads.

ISBN-10: 1510707123 | ISBN-13: 978.1510707122, 228 pages

The Haunted House Project Cover - Clasen

Order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and CBOMC.

New Perspectives on Gender in Children's and Young Adult Literature: Teen Dreams and Lost Girls

This volume brings together diverse, cross-disciplinary scholarly voices to examine gender construction in children's and young adult literature. It complements and updates scholarship on this topic by creating a rich, cohesive examination of core questions around gender and sexuality in classic and contemporary texts. By providing an expansive treatment of gender and sexuality across genres, eras, and national literatures, the collection explores how readers encounter unorthodox as well as traditional notions of gender. Organized into four sections, it begins with historicist analyses of gender construction in classics of children's literature from Cinderella to Paradise Lost, read against new classics such as the American Girls books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. A second section looks more carefully at the evolution and increasing popularity of female protagonists from Anne Shirley to Katniss Everdeen. The next section tackles questions of the intersections between gender and genre, whether paratextual features of diary-style fiction or the conventions of speculative fiction aimed at young readers. Lastly, section four applies a range of critical lenses to examine texts aimed at targeted readerships including Mexican-American, trans*, and Amish texts. The key achievement of this volume is in providing an updated range of multidisciplinary and methodologically diverse analyses of critically and commercially successful children's and young adult texts, contributing to the scholarship on children's and YA literature, gender and sexuality, women's studies, and other disciplines.

— Holly Hassel, Co-author

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

ISBN-10: 1138913030 | ISBN-13: 978.1138913035


Check it out on Amazon.

Heroines of Comic Books and Literature: Portrayals in Popular Culture

The editors have collected essays that situate heroines within culture, revealing them as tough and self-sufficient females who often break the bounds of gender expectations in places readers may not expect. Analyzing how women are and have been represented in print, this companion volume to Heroines of Film and Television will appeal to scholars of literature, rhetoric, and media as well as to broader audiences that are interested in portrayals of women in popular culture.

— Maja Bajac-Carter, Norma Jones and Bob Batchelor, Editors

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-10: 1442231475 | ISBN-13: 978.1442231474


Check it out on Amazon.

From Duckling to Swan: What Makes a Twilight Heroine Strong

in: Bajac-Carter, Maja; Jones, Norma; Batchelor, Bob, eds. Heroines of Comic Books and Literature. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014. p. 17-28.

Speaking Engagements

I would be delighted to work with you to put together any length presentation from a keynote speech to a day-long workshop. As an award-winning professor of communication, I always strive for a high-energy, interactive presentation in which the sharing of stories helps to guide the content.

With experience teaching audiences of all ages—from pre-k to adult—I know how to adapt both my presentation style and the content to the specifics of your school or organization. Areas of expertise: Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking, Intercultural Communication, Popular Culture, Gender, Themes in Middle-Grade and Young Adult Literature.

Workshops and Presentations:

  • Making Public Speaking Your Happiest Place on Earth
  • Intercultural Communication and Conflict
  • Family Communication and Conflict
  • Women in Sports: The Paradox of the Female Athlete
  • Heroines in Contemporary Young Adult Literature
  • Oral Storytelling
  • Gender in Popular Culture
  • Gender and Communication Style
  • Gender in Children's and YA Fiction
  • Culture in Fiction
  • Heroism in Fiction
  • Relational Communication
  • Conflict Management
  • Public Speaking Coaching
  • Gender and Communication
  • Gender in Popular Culture

What People are Saying:

Awesome, engaging and interactive.This will be the highlight of our year.

Amanda Werner

Teacher at Madison Elementary School in Janesville, WI

Upcoming Engagements

July 16, 2017 — Madison, WI — 11 am
Barnes and Noble, Madison West author event

September 15, 2017 — Wisconsin Dells
Chula Vista Presentation on Gender and Children's Literature

October 11, 2017 — Neenah, WI — 1:30 pm
Fox Cities Book Festival Presentation at Neenah Public Library

November 3-4, 2017 — Waukesha, WI
Southeast Wisconsin Book Festival

November 18, 2017 — St. Louis, MO
National Council of Teacher’s of English Gender and Children’s Literature Panel

School Visit Brochure

Click the image below to download a print quality PDF of my 2017-18 School Visit Trifold Brochure — 1 MB.

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