Author Spotlight: Karen Barnett


Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from the last Author Spotlight giveaway is CAROLYN NELSON! Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com with your mailing address to claim your prize.

This week we are featuring Karen Barnett, author of Out of the Ruins (Abingdon Press)! To enter to win a copy, leave a comment on this post. 

Karen Barnett PKWhat is the smartest writing advice you ever got?

Don’t try to write to the trends. Write the story God has placed on your heart.

What was your biggest break?

I was out Christmas shopping in 2012 when I received a call from my agent, Rachel Kent. She excitedly informed me that Abingdon Press was interested in contracting one of my manuscripts. I was so flustered I didn’t think to ask when the book would release. You can imagine my shock when later I learned the release date would be the coming July. Typically publishers purchase 18-24 months in advance, but Abingdon had an immediate opening and needed a finished novel that could be ready to go in a matter of months. We signed the contract in January and Mistaken released seven months later. Crazy fast—and not at all normal—but what a fun rollercoaster ride!

I’m inspired by…

Music. It has a way of reaching past my distractions and speaking directly to my heart. I sing wherever I go, listen to music while I’m writing, play the radio while I do dishes, and bang away on my guitar or hammered dulcimer when I’m feeling stressed.

My great adventure has been…

Almost 20 years of marriage to my husband, Steve. Marriage is not the perfect fairy tale that Hollywood and novels led me to expect, but it’s also much more rewarding than I could have dreamed.

The one thing I hope to discover is…

I’m tempted to respond, “How many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.” For a serious answer, I’d say I’m searching for who I am in God’s eyes.

If I could go anywhere, it would be…

Ireland and Scotland to tour crumbling castles and thatched-roof stone cottages.

Describe yourself in one word:


If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?

Assuming that my family and pets are already safe, I’d probably grab the baby boxes. I have one for each child, where I save treasured mementoes.

What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?

In my writing life, I’d say it was the first time I held an official copy of my novel. I looked at it and said, “It looks like a real book!” My matter-of-fact husband replied, “Because it is a real book.”

What drives you to succeed?

I spent a lot of time in the library as a kid, and I’ve always felt an overwhelming gratitude toward the public library system for the countless hours of adventure and imagination I experienced through story. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to see my books in libraries. In fact, I get an even bigger thrill seeing my novels on library shelves than featured in store displays.

Best Surprise:

I was at my first writers conference and feeling very overwhelmed and frightened. When I sat down and opened my Bible, I found an encouraging note from my sweet husband. It made my day.

Best Saturday Afternoon Read:

One of my favorite decadent reads is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. It’s an odd premise—an English nurse from the 1940s gets swept back in time to 1840s Scotland where she’s forced to marry a highlander for her own safety. They’re huge novels, so I can easily wile away a lot of time soaking in the historical detail and the romance. (It’s not a Christian series, so don’t read if you’re sensitive about content.)

Best Way to Break a Sweat:Out of the Ruins pk

Playing “Just Dance” on the Wii with my daughter.

Best Time-Waster:

Netflix. Just one more episode…

Best Indulgence:


Best Advice:

Don’t try to handle all of life’s worries by yourself. Pray, pray, pray.

Bio: Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of Mistaken and several articles published by Guideposts and other national magazines. Her latest release is Out of the Ruins (May 2014). She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and an attention-loving dachshund named Mystery. For more information, visit her website




Start the Lancaster County series today! Pick up a copy of The Choice ebook for FREE from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors!

Are you new here? You might want to subscribe to my email updates, or follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+, or Instagram.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Lynn Grier says:

    The cover on your book Karen is beautiful. I have not read any of your books and sure would love the chance. I have read so many descriptions of your book and it sounds like my kind of book. Bless you on future writings and best of luck to all entries.

  2. Ruth Smith says:

    Hi Suzanne, thanks so much for introducing a new author to me, Karen Barnett. I have never read any of her work, but the review of “Out of the Ruins” sounds like a great book, one of which I would love to read, and the cover is lovely. I will follow her on FB and Twitter, as well as sign up for any of her blogs, etc. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway and may God continue His Blessings on you.

  3. Donna Bayar Repsher says:

    Thanks, Suzanne, for introducing me to yet another new author. Out of the Ruins sounds like a great read, and I’d love to win a copy. Thanks for offering the giveaway.

  4. Vivian Vereeke says:

    Wow, Out of the Ruins sounds like a really good book! I’m sure I have read some of Karen Barnett’s articles in Guideposts, but I have yet to read her books. I’d really love to win a copy, but if I don’t, I’ll be sure to watch for it. May God continue to bless you all.

  5. Janice Clark says:

    Sounds like a good book.. I am always looking for new authors.. <)

  6. Donna C says:

    I haven’t read anything by you, so I would love to win. I think its great how you got started.

  7. Bonnie Traher says:

    Looks like a must read. Print copy?

  8. Jane Gruber says:

    Karen, I’ve not read your any of your books yet, but am glad to find you as a new author for me! I am always looking for new authors!

  9. Connie Saunders says:

    I love Karen’s advice to use prayer to counteract worry and I also appreciate her love for public libraries. As a retired librarian, it is heartwarming to hear appreciative praise instead of critical remarks.
    Thanks for this great interview and giveaway!

  10. Patty H says:

    Thanks for the intro to a new author!

  11. Lisa Littlefield says:

    Thanks for sharing. A new author to start reading. I love it. God bless.

  12. valerie monschien laux says:

    would love to win

  13. Linda McFarland says:

    Love to meet new authors and Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett looks like a definite must-read. The cover is eye-catching. Thanks for the opportunity to win…Linda

  14. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the

  15. Susan Floyd Fletcher says:

    Interesting post. New author and book for me. I enjoy learning things about authors I’m not familiar with.

  16. Thanks for the fun interview, Suzanne! You asked tough, but fun, questions!

  17. Myrtle Thorn says:

    I absolutely love the cover and the title. Can’t wait to read “Out of the Ruins”.

  18. Natalie J Vandenberghe says:

    It’s fun to meet someone I have so much in common with (inspired by music, chocolate indulgence, and unfinished–called my name)

  19. Karen Barnett says:

    From one Karen Barnett to another! Congrats on your book – it sounds wonderful!

  20. Renee says:

    Great interview! Sounds like a great book. Looking forward to reading it.

  21. Nancy M says:

    I have heard good things about this book! I am hoping to get it. It is definitely on my wish list! Thanks for the chance for a copy here!

  22. Tina says:

    My daughter, Chelsea, could actually lick a tootsie pop to the center when she was a kid! Never did get the count figured out though. 🙂 And I, too, am one of those people on Netflix who needs to watch just one more episode. Kind of like when I read and tell myself, just one more chapter! Enjoyed the book chat with Karen a couple of weeks ago. Excited to get to read this book too! Thanks for the giveaway.



  23. Sharon says:

    I’ve been to Ireland and explored those castles!! Hope to go back soon and include Scotland this time!!

  24. Awesome cover art!

  25. Jaquelyn S says:

    I agree I would love to go to Ireland or Scotland. It would awesome to see all that green and visit all the old castles!

  26. shelia hall says:

    Thanks Suzanne for introducing us to Karen! Love to win her book!

  27. cayce says:

    I make a trip to our local library to see if any new amish books are available almost daily–glad to have a new author to search for!

  28. Lisa Cowell says:

    You’re right about Netflix. I usually put it on while I am working, and for the most part, I can just listen and get enough of the story to satisfy me, but if it is action/adventure, there is very little talk and a whole lot of background “music” during the action, and I have to look up to see what’s happening. Then I loose track of what I am working on.
    I can’t recall reading any of your work before, so I will be interested to read it. I’ll put you on my preferred author list.

  29. Hi Karen! Thanks for taking time for the interview–loved reading the story of your agent calling you while you were shopping. What a WOW moment! Bet you walked through the shopping mall and drove back home…stunned! So happy the door opened wide for you and your writing talent. Keep writing! Warmly, Suzanne

  30. Lisa Garrity says:

    Thanks for the introduction to a new author. I love the advice to write the story that God places on your heart! Thanks for the opportunity!

  31. Sherri says:

    Wow I’m excited to read the book, bring it on!

  32. Kathleen Roush says:

    Excellent interview! I would love to win her book!

  33. I love what you said about the library. I’d be thrilled to see a book I had written in the shelves! Wow!
    You are a new author to me, too so would enjoy winning a copy of your book! Thank you for this opportunity, Karen.