From Paradise to Hell: One Man’s Journey

Yesterday I received a letter from my dear friend Clayton Klein, author of seven books and former owner and publisher of Wilderness Adventure Books. I first met Clayton and his late wife Marjorie after I had submitted some stories for possible publication back in 1992. I’d barely put them in the mail, when three days later the phone rang at our house and Clayton told me how much he’d enjoyed them. He asked me if I could write a book! And, without even thinking too much about it, I said, “Yes!” The thrill of this writing adventure continued over the next several years as I submitted story after story to Clayton and received his excited responses.

My first book, The Wishing Years, published in 1995, came to be because of Clayton and, forever, I will thank him for discovering my writing and me. He and his wife retired from the publishing business in 1994 and the company was sold to Erin Sims-Howarth who did the final editing of The Wishing Years. Today, I am still working with Erin and have another book due out in one week, A Tree Grows in Trout Creek.

Clayton Klein is the kind of person, who no matter what age stays open to new ideas and new adventures! In his earlier days, he was an explorer of unknown territory in Alaska, wrote about it in his first book, A Cold Summer Wind, and at the same time operated a successful grain business in Fowlerville, Michigan. He later became a book publisher and later still a book wholesaler. Now, in his third “retirement,” he walks, contributing much of his earnings to Hospice.

In yesterday’s letter, Clayton says he is looking forward to reading my new book. He himself has a new book out, A Well-Kept Secret about Tiger Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. Now in his eighties, “Clate,” as he refers to himself, is not only still writing, he is also walking. “You’ve probably heard about the Old Guy who walks from Paradise to Hell, Mi and then on from Hell to Ohio each September. Well, that’s me,” he writes. “It takes 22 days to walk those 423 miles. God is Good!”


  1. Wow, he is to be admired. I will be on the lookout for your books!

  2. Yes! Isn’t he an amazing person? Thanks for stopping by, Karen!

  3. I grew up knowing the Kleins – my family’s (still working) dairy farm is nearby. Clate, Marge and my parents routinely socialized, as did my grandparents and Clate’s parents. I found your website when I Googled Clayton’s name to see if there was anything there about his new book, A Well-Kept Secret, which I just finished reading. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the Detroit Tigers or Hank Greenberg. Of course, my special interest was in knowing Marge, Clate and their children. I’m so happy to discover your website, Coralie, and am eager to pursue your suggestions for creating memoirs. Thanks for including this section. I’m also a fellow EMU grad. Happy New Year!

  4. Maureen,
    What a small world! Great to hear from you! Are you still affiliated with EMU, perhaps as an alumni member? I teach women’s studies there now and really enjoy the work. Classes start again Jan 9! Thanks for stopping by! And…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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