BIO: Karen Barnett is the author of Beyond the Ashes, Out of the Ruins, and Mistaken. Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in
with her husband, two teenagers, and three adorable dachshunds. When she’s not
writing, she enjoys playing guitar, cake decorating, and binge-watching all
sorts of television series on Netflix. Albany, Oregon
Dear Readers, no wonder she was named a Writer of Promise in 2013. I love her books. I know you will, too. This book is one of my favorite books of 2015.
Welcome back, Karen. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Writing historical fiction is my own special way of time traveling. The thing that fascinates me most about history is not so much the big events, but day-to-day life. How did they dress, speak, and interact? I am especially enjoying writing about the early 20th century because people were facing an influx of new technologies like telephones and automobiles. In Beyond the Ashes, I look at how certain medical advancements changed the way doctors treated disease, but also had unforeseen consequences.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I became a mom. I never imagined I could love someone so completely. It’s crazy to think that both of my babies are now teenagers.
How has being published changed your life?
It’s definitely become crazier! Doing creative work under the pressure of a deadline is a lot tougher than I anticipated, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What are you reading right now?
Lori Benton’s newest, The Wood’s Edge. She is such an eloquent, gifted writer.
What is your current work in progress?
I just recently finished the macro edits for the third book in the Golden Gate Chronicles, Through the Shadows, which releases in 2016. I’ve always wanted to write a story that digs in to the depths of what grace means in our lives. In an attempt to make up for her own failings, Elizabeth King throws herself into a life of service, walking the dark alleys of
to rescue slave girls. Will a young attorney with political aspirations be able
to show her that everything about San
Francisco isn’t as dark as she believes?
Sounds good. I want to feature it on this blog when it releases. What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve always wanted to tour crumbling European castles, so
Scotland, and Germany
are high on my list.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
For this series, I chose the
San Francisco earthquake as a focal point of
the first book. I was inspired to write about the disaster after watching a PBS
documentary that interviewed some of the last surviving witnesses to the event.
the Ashes, the city is beginning to rebuild. It fascinates me how
quickly San Francisco
was able to put itself back together after the destruction. Did you know they
hosted a world’s fair (the Panama–Pacific International Exposition) in 1915,
just nine years later?
Interesting. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My shy, introverted self wants to answer “my own family,” but that seems like cheating. I guess one person I’ve always wanted to meet is Julie Andrews. Her portrayal of Maria in The Sound of Music was very powerful to me as I was growing up. But I also know that if I met her, I’d have absolutely no clue what to say!
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to play my guitar, decorate crazy birthday cakes for my kids, and I’m a hopeless television addict. Streaming Netflix has been very bad for my productivity. I love to binge-watch television series—it’s so easy to say, “Oh, just one more episode!”
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Fear has always been my biggest obstacle, and it seems to travel hand-in-hand with procrastination. I’m always sure my writing won’t be as good as I wish it to be, so that makes me want to do anything but sit down and get to work. The best thing I’ve found to dispel the negative voices is to use a playlist of songs that remind me of God’s faithfulness. Here are a few of the titles I keep handy: “Voice of Truth” (Casting Crowns), “Lord I Need You” (Matt Maher), “Only You” (David Crowder), “Word of God Speak” (MercyMe), and “Oceans” (Hillsongs).
“Voice of Truth” is one of my favorite songs. too. What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Join a critique group! Years ago, when I was first starting out, I attended one hosted by our public library. We were from various walks of life and were writing all sorts of bizarre stuff. Submitting and critiquing within that setting helped me hone my craft and focus in on what type of writing I wished to do. Later I was able to join a much more professional group where we were all writing Christian fiction. Critique groups not only help you develop your writing skills, but it gives you the opportunity to learn to take criticism gracefully.
Tell us about the featured book.
Beyond the Ashes is set in
San Francisco just after the devastating 1906
earthquake. Where better to rebuild and face one’s fears than in a city rising
from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she’ll discover new
purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn’t
anticipate finding new love. Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty
home with family, but he’d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the
aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended
family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert’s widowed sister
arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed. Ruby and Gerald’s fledgling
romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease he’s
striving to cure. Together they must ask—is it worth a second chance at love
when time might be short?
Please give us the first page of the book for my blog readers.
“I refuse to attend another wedding. I’m through.” Ruby King Marshall juggled two glasses of punch in her gloved hand as she shepherded her blind cousin through the overcrowded ballroom. Each doting couple waltzing around the polished floor reminded Ruby of her loss, like a needle thrust into her heart. Widows and weddings—shouldn’t it be bad luck?
Miriam gripped Ruby’s elbow, leaning forward to be heard over the dozens of nearby conversations. “Then I’m relieved mine was last December. I’d have been sad if you’d missed it. And don’t forget Anne Marie’s next month.” A tiny smile flirted at the corner of her lips.
Ruby glanced out the ornate windows, the quiet evening beckoning. Only her cousin—and best friend—would have the audacity to make light of the situation. Newspaper stories of
San Francisco’s earthquake refugees weighed
on Ruby’s heart. “With everything that’s happened this year, it seems
inappropriate to turn a simple wedding into a grand social occasion.”
Miriam adjusted her smoky-hued spectacles. “We’re not suffering here in
Ruby. Besides, love is always worth celebrating. Our hurts remind us to delight
in life’s joys.”
Ruby focused on the sparkling ring on Miriam’s finger to prevent her gaze from wandering to her cousin’s thickening waistline. She must be at least four months along. Ruby drew up her shoulders, pulling her elbows close to her body. What have I become?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I enjoy connecting with other book-lovers! You can find my website at http://www.KarenBarnettBooks.com. I also hang out on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KarenBarnettAuthor), Twitter (@KarenMBarnett), Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/karenbarnett/), and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/KarenBarnett).
Thanks so much for having me on your blog,
It’s always fun to chat about books.
It’s my pleasure to host you, Karen. When I read a book I love, I immediately want to share about it with my blog readers.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Beyond the Ashes - Christianbook.com
Beyond the Ashes: The Golden Gate Chronicles - Book 2 - Amazon
Beyond the Ashes: The Golden Gate Chronicles - Book 2 - Kindle
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