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.
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.
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.
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.)
Playing “Just Dance” on the Wii with my daughter.
Netflix. Just one more episode…
Don’t try to handle all of life’s worries by yourself. Pray, pray, pray.
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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 KarenBarnettBooks.com.