At age 49, Gudrun Mouw spent a summer in Europe doing the initial research for From Ashes into Light (forthcoming for February 2016). Originally from Germany (she emigrated at age 7, and became a US citizen in 2001) her knowledge of German came in handy traveling in the former Czechoslovakia, the former East Germany, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Especially provoking was her visit to Dachau, the former Jewish concentration camp now turned into a museum.
During the 12 years of writing and revising From Ashes into Light, Gudrun Mouw worked as a health-educator and a yoga/meditation teacher. She wrote the novel in the vacuum created by her only daughter attending college and moving away. She also weathered a divorce while working on the novel.
After failing to find a publisher for the manuscript, Mouw put the novel on the back burner. She continued writing poetry and worked on several non-fiction manuscripts. In January 2014, Mouw began working with the publisher Raincloud Press and published Wife of the House, a collection of poetry, in April 2014. Around the same time, Mouw sent her novel to her publisher, who found an editor for this unique and rich work. After yet another round of revisions, it was only after seeing the advance copies in late 2014, did the reality of publication finally start to sink in for the author, at the tender age of 70.
Gudrun Mouw was born Gudrun Dorothea Wacker in East Prussia in 1944. After her maternal grandfather received deportation papers to Auschwitz, she became a refugee. At the age of 7, she arrived in the United States with her parents as a displaced person.
Ms. Mouw came to California in the 60s during high school, and went on to study at San Jose State University in San Jose, California. She received her Master’s Degree in English Literature in 1969. In 1978, Ms. Mouw received her yoga instructor certificate from the Integral Yoga Institute founded by the late guru Swami Satchidananda.
She has worked as a community college English teacher, a university librarian, a columnist and a California poet-in-the-schools. Ms. Mouw has lived in the Santa Barbara area for 38 years, writing, as well as teaching yoga and meditation.
Her poems have appeared in literary journals such as PRAIRIE SCHOONER, PRACTICAL MYSTIC, THE CHARITON REVIEW, CALYX and others. Ms. Mouw is the recipient of a Sri Chinmoy Poetry Award, a Joycean Arts Guild Award and a Gladys Brown Award for poetry.
Gudrun Mouw’s first book, Wife of the House, was published in April 2014. From Ashes Into Light: A Novel is scheduled for publication in February of 2016. Frozen Souls, a second collection of poetry, is scheduled to be published in 2017. Gudrun Mouw is currently working on a third collection of poetry and a non-fiction book titled “Yoga With Mom.”