Frequently Asked Questions
Karen's reader friends have asked for an FAQs page on this website. Here it is! You can find many of the frequently asked questions here and they are all answered by Karen. We always welcome new questions and if you don't see yours here, Ask Karen a Question or keep checking back here as this page is developing fast with your great questions.
Questions About the Baxters
Q. In what order should I read the books about The Baxters?
A. The beloved Baxter Family appear in 5 different series. Each of these series can be read alone, however, by reading them in the following order, you can watch this family grow up and make impacts on so many people around them. Sometimes, they will appear as the major characters in these series and other times, they will be background characters. Enjoy...
Redemption Series - Baxter Family 1
Redemption - Book 1
Remember - Book 2
Return - Book 3
Rejoice - Book 4
Reunion - Book 5
Firstborn Series - Baxter Family 2
Fame - Book 1
Forgiven - Book 2
Found – Book 3
Family – Book 4
Forever – Book 5
Sunrise Series - Baxter Family 3
Sunrise - Book 1
Summer - Book 2
Someday – Book 3
Sunset – Book 4
Above the Line Series - Baxter Family 4
Take One - Book 1
Take Two - Book 2
Take Three - Book 3
Take Four - Book 4
Bailey Flanigan Series - Baxter Family 5
Leaving - Book 1
Learning - Book 2
Longing - Book 3
Loving - Book 4
This series continues with stories about the Baxters, their love for each other and their love for God and their friends. These books can be ordered through this website which links to on-line book stores. They are also available at most bookstores and if they are not in stock the store will order them for you.
Q. Why did you change the first name of Jamie Hart to Katy in the Baxter Family Series?
A. The decision was made by Tyndale House Publishers to change Jamie's name to Katy, because my One Tuesday Morning/Beyond Tuesday Morning books have Jamie as a main character. Sometimes decisions such as this have to be made, though they may not be popular decisions with everyone on board. It took me some time to get used to calling Jamie by the name "Katy," but it is coming naturally to me at this point. So that readers do not confuse the characters, I have to agree that in the long run the choice to change her name was a good one.
On Becoming an Author
Q. How did you become a published author?
A. I was writing for the Los Angeles Daily News when I sold a story to People Magazine. The subject dealt with the sad murder story of a teenage girl. During this time, my husband and I were praying for a way for me to be home with our newborn daughter. The article ran in People Magazine the month she was born, and afterward, I was contacted by an agent in New York City. He asked me to write a proposal for a book on the sad murder story. I did, and he told me he thought I had a good chance of getting a contract. A few days before my maternity leave was up - when we were praying for a miracle so I could stay home with Kelsey - the agent called. He told me that he'd gotten my proposal into a bidding war, and that the winning publisher was willing to pay me three times my annual salary. So . . . I went into work the next day and resigned. I've been home writing books ever since.
Q. Where do you get your story ideas?
A. I get my ideas from life happening around me, mostly. The news, the radio, a conversation, a trend, a contemporary struggle of some sort. Obviously the war is very contemporary, and the issues are those facing all Americans . . . that sort of thing. But most of all, my ideas come from the Lord. He puts the picture in my head, the whole story. It’s very visual. I’m just responsible for getting it onto paper.
Q. When you first were published, what was the biggest roadblock to becoming a successful author?
A. The biggest roadblock – definitely – was getting the books out there. Multnomah published me in the early days – my first six novels. They wouldn’t print more than 15,000 copies of each title at the start, and then they’d run out and the book would fizzle. It was so frustrating. I thought about giving it up, but then I signed the deal with Tyndale for the Redemption Series, and things changed. That was very rewarding, seeing someone believe in my writing. Again, only God could’ve put those pieces together.
Q. What course of study do you recommend for students interested in pursuing a career as a published author?
A. Journalism. Many students believe they need a degree in English, but I've found that an English degree doesn't help a student learn how to write. A degree in journalism prepares a student for life as a reporter - a great back-up job should the student not become immediately successful as a published author. It also helps the student get used to deadlines and tight writing. I once was on a book tour with six other best-selling authors - all of us had degrees in journalism.
Q. What was your first professional writing job?
A. During my senior year in college, I earned an internship at the Los Angeles Times as a sports writer. I continued that position until after I earned my degree. Then I was hired by the Los Angeles Daily News where I worked in their sports department. I enjoyed sports writing, and had the chance to meet and interview many famous athletes and coaches of that period, Magic Johnson, Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, Tony Dorsett, Danny White, Howie Long, etc. Two years later I was promoted to the front page, where I was in charge of writing emotional feature stories for the front page Sunday paper.
Q. What's your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?
A. Favorite part – the writing. Least favorite part – the writing. Isn’t it funny how that can be possible, but it is. I love writing – so much. But sometimes it feels like swimming. I love to swim, but swimming across the ocean is another thing. Right around the 50,000-word mark I feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean, paddling through water toward a shore I can’t even see.
Q. Was there ever a difficult setback that you've went through in your writing career?
A. The most difficult book I’ve ever written was Divine, without a doubt. Tyndale asked me to write it, and they had an idea in mind. I wrote an outline – very specific to that idea – and they approved it. I wrote the novel to the outline, and they actually turned it down. They said they wanted something more “Karen Kingsbury-ish." It was a huge setback, since I write so quickly and have so many deadlines each year. I had to completely redo the book. My brother died suddenly in his sleep about one week after I got word on their rejection. So . . . that was a very difficult time. I’m grateful I chose to rewrite it, though. It’s now the book I would’ve preferred to write in the first place. So God wins in the end.
Q. What are your dreams for your writing? What dreams have you already reached in writing?
A. I want to be a better writer with every book. That’s my goal. I love when my editors push me, and I’m always striving to sharpen my craft. I don’t ever want to reach a place where I say, “Wow, look at that . . . I’ve arrived.” Not ever! I have, though, reached the dream of seeing my books change lives for Christ. There can be nothing more validating and assuring than that – because the gift of words is His, and so it is only right that our words go on to glorify Him.
Q. Have you ever felt the Lord speak to you through your writing?
A. Definitely. I might be writing a scene, and the characters are in a difficult situation, and often I’ll feel the Lord’s compassion and grace, His mercy and strength, His peace . . . and I’ll know that God is wanting me to demonstrate that, to carefully craft that picture for the readers so that they can feel God’s grace, as well.
Q. What is the one story you'd like to pass on to other writers and fans about being a christian author?
A. I always understood the power of story. But never in a million years did I think I would become a Christian fiction author.
I didn't find a personal relationship with the Lord until I was in my mid-twenties. At that time, I thought Christian fiction was a plastic version of secular fiction. I wanted to write about real-life issues, real-life characters, and real stories of redemption. In fact, my first four books were true-crime stories that came out of my time as a Los Angeles Daily News reporter. Those books were an answer to prayer - that I might work at home with our newborn daughter. But after writing four crime books, I'd had enough. I wanted to write fiction, deep, emotional stories that would touch the hearts of my readers. Stories that would change lives. When I wrote my first novel, Where Yesterday Lives, I passed it on to a friend who worked at a Christian bookstore. After she read the manuscript, this friend smiled. "Obviously God is calling you to write Christian fiction," she told me.
I shook my head. "No. That's not what I'm hearing." I proceeded to submit my manuscript to half a dozen publishers in NYC, publishers I'd worked with and knew about from my experience as a true-crime author. Always their answer was the same - we love it, but we're not interested. One editor wrote, "Your novel made me laugh and cry. I loved every page. But it has no sex and no language. I'm not sure what genre we'd place it in, so I have to tell you no."
I was baffled and discouraged. Finally, my friend from the bookstore told me to read Francine Rivers' book, Redeeming Love. I fell into that story, and when I finished I dropped to my knees and cried out to God. In that precious hour I repented for thinking His work would somehow be second-best or plastic. I knew from that moment on that I would seek to become a Christian novelist, to change lives with the power of story and to do so by telling fictional tales of real-life issues, real-life redemption.
Now, I'm receiving more than five hundred emails every week from readers telling me that God used one of my Life-Changing Fiction™ titles to make the difference in their lives.
Once, a reader wrote that she and her husband had contacted a lawyer about getting a divorce. They would take care of the details after her husband returned from a two-week business trip to Europe. After he'd left, this woman read A Time to Dance. God used the story to so move her and change her, that as she set down the book, she picked up the phone and purchased a next-day flight to Europe. She surprised her husband at his hotel room, and with tears in her eyes she told him, "I read this novel. I'm not ready to give up on us." She stayed the night and gave him the copy of my book. "Read it," she told him, "and call me when you reach the states." A week later the woman received a phone call from her husband. With tears in his voice he told her. "I read the book. I'm not ready to give up on us, either." The two are now making plans for counseling and have renewed a lifelong commitment to each other. The picture of God at work through the power of story.
In the course of life as a novelist, I've learned to watch for the quiet whispers, the words from a friend or a publisher or agent that just might set the course for the next leg of the journey. And I thank God for that long ago friend, the one from the Christian bookstore who took the time to pass on that novel to me, and for my readers who today are passing my books on to other people. The power of story must be shared in order to be realized. That's something God has made extremely clear along the way.
That newborn daughter of ours? She's now all grown up, with five younger brothers, and none of them have ever known a single day where I did anything but work from home. They have shared in the ministry of fiction, and they are reading the books themselves, allowing God to speak to them through fiction in a way that's stronger, somehow, than even our precious talks together.
And so I thank God daily for His guidance and direction, His gift of characters and plot. And for the way my life and the lives of the readers continue to be touched by the power of story.
On How to Write a Book
Q. How long does it take you to write a novel?
A. Usually I can write an entire 100,000-word novel in 2-3 weeks. There have been numerous times when I've written a book in 7 days or less - and usually the first draft is very close to how the book winds up. I give God all the credit for this, since He places the story very visually on my heart. The faster I write the book, the more I feel connected to the story.
Q. What are the steps you take when you write a new book?
A. First I take an idea that God has placed on my heart, and I find a title. Next I flesh out the characters. I name them, give them biographies, strengths, weaknesses, etc. I figure out how the story will change them, make them stronger, and how God will be glorified in the process. Finally I write a very detailed chapter outline. From there, I write the book.
Q. How much research do you do before writing on a specific topic like Cystic Fibrosis in A Thousand Tomorrows?
A. I research extensively, depending on the topic. To the degree that I need to explain and be familiar with a topic, I research it. Research cannot take over the storyline. Rather it is subtle, like the gentle backdrop to a picture. Though not the most important element, it certainly is crucial to the story. If I don't have accurate research, the rest of the story will fail utterly. So, I take research very seriously, and I spend days, sometimes weeks, researching prior to writing a book.
Q. How do you find the characters for your stories?
A. I study people relentlessly. Once I had a friend who stopped hanging out with me because she said she was worried I’d make her or her family into characters. She was serious. Sadly. The truth is that I don’t use my friends as characters. Rather, I think up an imaginary person and give them quirks or habits or traits or mannerisms that I might see in strangers and acquaintances around me.
Q. Can you write my story or co-author a book with me?
A. At this time my contract does not allow me to do so. All of my stories are entirely fictitious and completely made up.
Q. When coming up with ideas for your books, do you go off of an experience you've had? Or does something just pop into your head?
A. Usually the books are not based on any experience I’ve had. Rather, they come from something I can imagine, or something other people are going through. So, generally yes, the idea just pops into my head because God gives it to me. He does all the hard work.
Q. How do you stay motivated to write so many books?
A. Writing is almost a spiritual thing for me, a time to connect with God. It’s relaxing, and freeing, and so very rewarding. I guess that’s what keeps me motivated.
Q. Have you ever written something like a scene. or ending or opening, that you wish you hadn't written that way or left it out?
A. Yes, but I’ve always caught it on the edit. The work-in-progress I’m on right now was that way. I knew that I knew that I knew . . . that the first two chapters should’ve been nothing more than a short prologue. But I kept them anyway. First thing the editor said was, “Those first two chapters could be pared down into a prologue.” I’m learning to go with that little voice, since it’s probably the combined voice of almost a decade of editors.
On Books By Karen Kingsbury
Q. Tell us about your book, Longing.
A. Longing is the third book in the Bailey Flanigan Series. In this segment of the story, Bailey develops more depth as a young woman, and as such she develops a clearer understanding as to whether God is leading her to give her heart to her long-time childhood love – Cody Coleman – or to Brandon Paul, the Hollywood heartthrob who adores her. Bailey experiences a season of longing … longing for a forever love, longing for wisdom from God, and longing for answers.
Q. What song is playing in the background of the Take Four trailer?
A. The song playing in the background of the Take Four book trailer is "I Surrender" and it is one of ten songs on an album titled "Come In" and can be found online at Wooded Creek Music.
Q. How old were you when you began writing?
A. I wrote my first hand-colored book when I was five years old. That doesn't really count, I guess. I went on to write many short stories and poems through middle school and high school, and even into college. My first published book happened when I was 27.
Q. How many books have you written?
A. Here is my Complete Book List and please check back with my website from time to time for an updated booklist.
Q. What would you say is your No. 1 source of inspiration for your writings?
A. People and their heartaches. I am drawn by the struggles of people, and the way they either cling to or fight against God. I write about those very real struggles and stories, placing real-life situations into fictional settings and with fictional characters.
Q. How do you manage to put so many books out back to back?
A. I tend to write four to five books each year, and I generally space the writing of those books every few months. Sometimes the publisher releases them closer together, but that doesn't usually affect my schedule except for an increased publicity demand.
Q. What message do you hope your series Above the Line will convey to readers?
A. The message of Above the Line is that as believers we need to be committed to telling the truth, helping the world understand the truth - but at the same time we must be aware that we are in a spiritual battle, and that telling the truth will never be easy. This series will be filled with trials and temptations, and very great triumphs as the two producers seek to do God's will despite the worldly odds around them.
Q. Which of the books that you have written is your favorite and why?
A. Each of my books is special to me so that’s a tough question to answer. Each story was placed on my heart by God, and comes with a theme or storyline that God has used to change the lives of various readers.
Q. How many True Crime books did you write before starting your career writing Life-Changing Fiction™?
A. I wrote four true crime books first. Missy's Murder, Deadly Pretender, Final Vows, and Snake and the Spider. Each had a redeeming character, I felt. But the editors added in some language content that I did not approve of. Those books are now out of print and only available through used book stores or online through places like Ebay.
Q. Is there something special about the 9/11 Series?
A. Yes, definitely. My 9/11 Series holds a special place in my heart because of the impact it had on the fire fighters with the FDNY. I partnered with Zondervan to send 500 copies of the book to the stations in the FDNY, and many guys wrote back saying One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning brought them back to a place of faith, and even back to their families. The response was amazing. Because of the wonderful feedback from my readers, I decided to write a third book in this series, Every Now and Then.
I also love the Redemption Series, Firstborn Series, and the Sunrise Series, because they carry the same characters - the Baxters, throughout all three series. You can read about how these characters were also affected by what happened on 9/11.
Q. In what order should I read your books?
A. Thank you for asking about the reading "order" of my books.
Many of my books are stand-alone titles. For books in a series, please check with my Complete Book List to find out the order in which to read the books.
These books can be ordered through this website with links to on-line book stores. They are also available at most bookstores and if they are not in stock the store will order them for you.
Q. Has there ever been something that you learned about God that you didn't already know while in the process of writing a book?
A. Yes, definitely. Every time I write a book I think I’ve got the theme and the message figured out. But almost always, God brings something deeper or more subtle, more practical to mind for me. Writing a book is a lot like taking that mountaintop retreat, knowing that God will work through the layers to the very center of your heart, and leave you changed in the process.
Q. Talk about the Red Glove Series. Did you originally plan for those books to be a series?
A. I wrote Gideon’s Gift first, and it was going to be a stand-alone title. But I loved the idea of telling a Christmas story in twelve chapters – a chapter for each of the twelve days of Christmas. I also loved that at the end of the story, it took the readers from the story to the street – encouraging them to go into their communities and give something back. I liked Gideon’s Gift so much, I agreed to write three more books. The red gloves from Gideon’s Gift make a cameo appearance in each of the other three books as well. That’s why they’re called the Red Gloves Series.
Q. Are you planning to write more children's books?
A. I love the way my first children’s book, Let Me Hold You Longer, has touched the hearts of my readers. I wrote Let's Go On A Mommy Date for Zonderkidz Publishing, and soon, Let’s Go on a Daddy Date will hit the shelves. Also, I wrote We Believe in Christmas which came out at the end of 2008. I have several more kids' books coming out and encourage you to check back with my web site to see when these titles will be released!
Q. One of your novels, A Thousand Tomorrows, wasn't "Christian fiction" per se, and was in fact published by Center Street, a mainstream publisher. Why did you write this novel, and what kind of doors has its publication opened for you?
A. It hasn’t opened any doors for me, nor did I hope it to do so. Rather, my prayer for A Thousand Tomorrows was that it be a gate, an entry point for people who wouldn’t otherwise pick up a Christian novel. It’s also a book that can easily fit in public school libraries. Kids are wonderful readers, so I know that when a student picks up A Thousand Tomorrows and loves it, they’ll move on to read the rest of my books, and in the process God will work in their lives.
Q. Your books are always so emotional. Do you think sometime in the future you will write something from another genre?
A. Probably not. I always say I’m 95 percent sap. My books will probably always deal with deeper emotions.
Q. You've said, "Christian fiction is more powerful than other fiction." Could you expound on this?
A. Christian or inspirational fiction is more powerful because the characters can be fully developed. In mainstream fiction, readers can only learn about a characters physical, intellectual, and emotional traits. But with inspirational fiction, readers can learn about the character’s spiritual traits, as well. In this way, readers are identifying with these books like none others. I’ve trademarked my fiction – Life-Changing Fiction™ because I hear from hundreds of readers every week who say God is using these novels to change their lives. That’s more powerful than books written for sheer entertainment value.
Q. Tell us about the Sunrise Series and what's been the hardest part about writing these books?
A. The Sunrise series will continue the story with the Baxter family and Katy Hart and Dayne Matthews. It will explore the price of fame, and the need for trust in any relationship, and it will follow these characters into the next and final season of their lives together. The series will have four books: Sunrise, Summer, Someday, and Sunset.
Without a doubt, the hardest part will be saying goodbye. They feel like very close friends at this point.
On Recommending Books
Q. Would you reccomend any family fun books?
A. What's That Funny Look on Your Faith? written by Cuyler Black. Karen and her kids saw this book and loved it. They wanted to recommend it as a fun family book to read.
Q. Which of your books would you recommend for pre-teens to read?
A. Gideon’s Gift and any others in the Red Glove Series. Depending on the level of the reader, I would also recommend Even Now and Ever After.
Q. Which of your books are appropriate for teenagers and young adults?
A. All of my books are appropriate in the sense that they deal with real-life issues from a Christian perspective. But the ones I think they would enjoy most are A Moment of Weakness, and Even Now followed by Ever After, and the Redemption Series. Also A Thousand Tomorrows, and the Firstborn Series. Many teens have also enjoyed my 9/11 Series.
Q. What is the primary age group for your books?
A. I guess my main reader group is probably age 22 to 65. But I can’t say that defines my readers. I have LOTS of teenage readers, and many who are reading into their nineties. I also have lots more male readers than most people think!
On Books Being Made into Movies
Q. Have any of your books been made into major motion picture movies?
A. Like Dandelion Dust, starring Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper, was in theaters October 2010 and is now available on DVD. This movie was adapted from my novel of the same name. For more information on this movie visit IMDb
Q. Which of your true crime books was made into a CBS Movie-of-the-Week?
A. Missy's Murder. The movie is available on DVD through several websites, and is often re-run on cable networks. Also, my book, Deadly Pretender, was the basis for the movie "Every Woman's Dream," you can find out more about this on the IMDb website.
Q. Which of your novels are currently being developed into movies?
A. Several of my books are being considered for theatrical release. Currently, A Thousand Tomorrows and Gideon's Gifts, which could arrive in theaters sometime in 2012.
Q. Tell a little bit about your new songwriting career?
A. I have worked extensively with Grammy-award winning songwriting Gary Baker, and Lonestar lead singer Richie McDonald. The three of us have written several songs including one, "Miracles Happen and Where Yesterday Lives." My song," Walls," is sung by Richie McDonald and is on his 2008 Christmas CD.
Q. Do you have any other songs that will be coming out that you’ve written or co-written and if so with whom?
A. I’ve written numerous songs at this point, always just the lyrics. I’m registered with BMI as a professional songwriter.
Q. Do you sing as well as write the words to the song? Do you have a melody in mind when writing it?
A. I sing only in the car and around the house. I don’t have a melody in mind most of the time. We come together for a writing session and I’ve got my laptop. They have a piano and a guitar between them. My instrument is my keyboard, and the words are my contribution.
Q. What was your inspiration for writing the song "Walls" with Richie McDonald?
A. Karen’s inspiration for the song, "Walls," in her own words…
The idea for the song "Walls" came to me after my brother, Dave, died unexpectedly in his sleep. All his life my brother chose the harder path in life, making choices that weren't helpful to him or his future. But six weeks before he died he had an experience where God finally broke through to him. He called me that day, giddy with excitement. In the background the song, "I Can Only Imagine" was blaring through his small apartment. "Karen," he shouted above the noise, "I found this song and it's like I finally get it about God!" Then he said something that will stay with me forever. "Can I come with you and your family to church this Sunday?"
He did come with us, then and for the next six weeks. Because for Dave, the walls around his heart had finally fallen down. Once the walls were down, God could speak to him, and we could share love with him. He was listening now, and that's because the walls were down. For six weeks my brother was a new man, a new person. He was kind and loving, helpful and excited about his future. God knew the plans and future He had for Dave, and they were good plans. They involved eternity in heaven . . . a new life that was amazing - just not what we had expected. We thought Dave was just starting to live, and he was - but on God's terms.
A year after his death, I wrote the lyric for "Walls" - a song about that time in a person's life when we finally let go of our ways and grab onto God's ways. That time when the shadows run for cover and the light comes shining through. That's the message of Walls - a message everyone can relate to in one way or another. The music is beautifully written, rising and building in the right places and taking each of us back to that special, deeply intimate moment when we felt God take hold of our lives and lead us into His light, that time when the Walls fall down!
On Forever in Fiction and Karen's Trademark
Q. It’s fun that sometimes readers choose a character’s name in your novels. Share with us how Forever in Fiction works.
A. Dozens of requests come to us every week from auction committees around the country. We sort through and try to determine whether the auction can support the minimum bid and whether the cause is a good fit with my passion and ministry. The item goes for a minimum bid of $1,000 and in many cases it has sold for $5,000 and even into the five figures. The winning bidder is allowed to name a character in one of my upcoming novels. The winner then works out paperwork with my office, and once that is finished, the details are handed to me and I have two years to get that name into a book. It’s been a lot of fun, and I think it’s given the readers another thing to look forward to when they pick up one of my books. Also, it’s raised more than $200,000 for charities around the country.
Q. Rarely does an author trademark his or her work. Explain about your trademark.
A. I’ve trademarked my work, Life-Changing Fiction™, with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It was important to me that I keep that descriptor because it’s the way the readers see my work. The trademark came from the readers, and now I pray that I use that trademark to give readers an idea of what my books are about.
Q. Tell me about your children and how they influence your writings?
A. We have six children, growing older all the time. Our oldest is Kelsey - she is the only girl. After that we have five boys - Tyler, Sean, Josh, EJ, and Austin. The kids are involved in sports and theater, which puts me directly into those worlds. In those settings I've found numerous novels, watching again the heartaches and dreams, the hopes and struggles of people involved in sports or theater, for instance. My kids open doors to my imagination, and they keep my heart tender and ready to empathize with others.
Q. Can you provide a tip for moms on motherhood?
A. "I understand how precious these days and months, this fleeting season of raising children. Every day is filled with small miracles and lasting memories, and I cherish each one. Long ago, my little ones would bring me flowers from the field outside our house. I would save them in a special jar, and I still have them now - dusty gray remains of bright yellow yesterdays. Motherhood is one of God's greatest of all blessings."
Q. With six children how do you find time to write?
A. I am blessed to have a great many people surrounding me, people who help me make this writing career possible. First, God allows me to write quickly. Second, my husband, Don, is a wonderful support of my writing and doesn't mind getting dinner for the kids when I am on deadline. Also, I have two full-time assistants - my sister, Trish; and my mother, Anne. And a part-time assistant, my sister, Susan. When I'm on deadline, everyone pulls together.
Q. How do your children feel about your writing career?
A. I'm blessed that they understand there will be times when I'm busy. Even so, I feel like I put them first. Even on deadline I'll take the soccer game or baseball game or dress rehearsal for the latest play over writing. My son, Tyler, once said, "Mom, when I'm older I want to be an actor and a director, maybe a singer. But I think I'll write books in my spare time, just like you!" Best comment I've ever had from one of my kids about my writing.
Q. You've said that Donald is your Prince Charming . . . explain the relationship you have with your husband?
A. My husband is the most godly man I know. He literally wakes up before dawn most days and walks around our house, praying for me and our family. He takes his role as spiritual leader of our family very seriously. While I'm gone on speaking or business trips, he is constantly praying for me, and telling me how proud of me he is. Most men might struggle with the way God has grown my ministry of Life-Changing Fiction™ , but not Donald. He is an amazing husband, my best friend, my Prince Charming. I believe in the next season of our lives, when the kids are older, that he and I will write some marriage books together - or maybe he'll write his own. He has much to offer for men in our day.
Q. How and why did you and your husband come to adopt?
A. You can read our adoption story by visiting that section of my website.
On Karen's Pets
Q. How many pets do you have?
A. I love family pets. Right now, my family only has 1 cat named Gus Gus.
On Karen's Personal Life
Q. When and where were you born?
A. I was born on June 8th in Fairfax, VA. My family soon moved to Michigan. I was the first child of five children, born to Anne and Ted Kingsbury.
Q. What is your testimony of faith?
A. I was raised in a very loving home where we were taught to believe in Jesus Christ. However, we did not read the Bible, and our church practices were based primarily on traditions. When I was in my mid-20s, I met Donald - the man who would eventually become my husband. We talked and felt an attraction between us, and then he asked me out to the movies. He also asked if he could bring his Bible and read it with me before our date. I thought he was very strange, to say the least. But I told him to go ahead. I was very resistant to the Bible at first, and ultimately we reached a place where during a discussion on Scripture, I took his precious Bible, threw it on the ground, and split the binding down the middle. He picked up the pieces and left without an angry word or a comment. That was the beginning of a changing time for me. Throughout that weekend I couldn't eat or sleep, because I was so disturbed that I'd thrown and broken his Bible. Finally after 48 hours I took my first visit to a Christian bookstore. I asked for a Bible I could read, something in English, and I asked for a concordance. Then I went home intent on proving that my traditions were in the Bible. Half an hour later, when I found that they weren't in Scripture, I felt God saying, "You can fall away with these man-made beliefs, or you can grab onto my word and never let go!" I grabbed as hard as I could, I fell in love with God's word and I've felt that way ever since. My husband and I reconnected, obviously, and began attending a non-denominational Christian church. We were baptized at the same church service on December, 13, 1987. I thank God for His unbelievable mercy and grace, and for His patience with me, then and now.
Q. When did you know that God was calling you to be a writer?
A. I was five years old, and I fell in love with writing stories, stapling together pages and making up characters. I loved it, and I’ve loved it ever since.
Q. Were books a big part of your life growing up? If so, what books influenced you most as a child?
A. I learned to read at age 4, and I’ve loved it ever since. As a young child, I loved Dr. Seuss. Not the simple books about eggs and ham and red fish, but the longer stories with great rhyming and morals – Sneetches, Horton Hears a Who, the Grinch and Lorax. I think I fell in love with writing while reading Dr. Seuss.
Q. Who are your favorite authors to read and why?
A. I have many favorite authors, but one of my first favorites was Sydney Sheldon. He wrote contemporary suspense books that mixed relationship with high drama, but what I loved most was his prose. The way he could turn a sentence and keep you wanting more at the end of every chapter. Love that. I also greatly admire Mitch Albom for his sparse, clean writing; John Grisham, for his way of getting me so caught up in the story I forget I'm reading; and Francine Rivers and Randy Alcorn for helping me know that inspirational fiction is absolutely the strongest storytelling of all.
Francine Rivers' novel, Redeeming Love, was one God used to convince me that I should write Christian fiction. In addition, Randy Alcorn's books, Deadline and Dominion, were powerful in convincing me to write in this genre. I also enjoy Max Lucado, Mark Atteberry, Erwin Lutzer, and many more.
Q. What author do you especially admire and why?
A. Randy Alcorn, because he's sold out to Christ, first and foremost, and because he makes me long for heaven.
Q. What is something that you haven’t done in your life that you’d still like to do?
A. Write a screenplay. Definitely.
Q. You were a reporter for the LA Times & LA Daily News long before you were a novelist. What first drew you to journalism?
A. I knew from fifth grade on that I wanted to be an author, but I also understood that not everyone can become a novelist. Journalism was my back-up plan. It was something I loved to do, and it was a job I could take to any place in the world. The camaraderie of the newsroom is something I still miss, but no question my work as a reporter opened doors for me to become an author.