Friday, May 20, 2016

THROUGH THE SHADOWS - Karen Barnett - One Free Book on This Blog, Plus More

Dear Readers, I loved the first two books in Karen Barnett’s Golden Gate Chronicles series. And with book three, I was eager for my book to arrive. It’s every bit as good as the others, maybe even better. With strong characters, who pulled me into the heart of the story, they carried me past the end of the book. Characters who stayed in my mind for quite a while after I finished reading the story. The setting is the rebuilding of San Francisco after one of the major earthquakes in the early 20th century. Since I did a lot of research on San Francisco for one of my novels, I appreciated her skill with weaving the setting into the story making it almost one of the characters. You’ll want to read this book. If you missed the first two, try to get a hold of those and read them, too.

Bio: Karen Barnett lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two teens, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. She was honored with the 2016 Writer of the Year award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and a Writer of Promise Award from Oregon Christian Writers in 2013.

Welcome back, Karen. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I’m excited to see the entire Golden Gate Chronicles series complete and in the hands of readers. It’s difficult for me to say goodbye to these beloved characters, but I’m thrilled to have more books in the works.

I recently signed a contract with Waterbrook Multnomah for three novels set in the National Parks during the 1920s and 30s, the first of which releases next year. I grew up in the shadow of Mount Rainier and spent two summers working there as a park ranger, so setting novels in the parks is a bit like going home.

I can hardly wait to see this new series. I’d love to feature them on my blog as well. Tell us a little about your family.
My husband Steve and I have been married for more than twenty years, and we have two teenagers—a sixteen-year-old son and a fourteen-year-old daughter. I’d heard a lot of horror stories about raising teens, but so far it’s been my favorite stage. They’re both witty and sarcastic, and it’s been a joy to see their individual personalities and interests develop.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I find I pay more attention to new releases and award-winning novels now that I’m a writer. In the past, I chose reading material based on covers and back cover copy. I didn’t pay much attention to the publisher, release date, or even the author (though I had my favorites). Now, in an attempt to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, I focus on specific publishers, authors, and genres.

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently finishing the first of my National Parks book, a romantic suspense set at Mount Rainier in 1927. We don’t have an official title yet, but I’m in love with the plot and characters. I think it’s a story that readers will truly enjoy.

I’m sure we will. What outside interests do you have?
I have to confess, I’m a bit of a Netflix junkie. Outside of that, I like spending time in nature—whether in the mountains or at the ocean. I also take pride in decorating bizarre birthday cakes for my kids. I’m no Cake Boss, but it’s fun to try.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The Golden Gate Chronicles series was inspired when I saw an American Experience documentary on the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. I was captivated with the stories people told of those harrowing days, and the series grew from that point.

My next book is set at Mount Rainier National Park. The mountain has been a big part of my life ever since I was a child, and it’s been a joy to revisit it in story form.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Recently I’ve been reading the writings of the great American naturalist, John Muir. He strikes me as a fascinating character, and I think it would have been a treat to speak to him in person.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
The further I get in my writing career, the one thing that surprises me is that I never feel like I have it “figured out.” For some reason, I use to think each novel would get easier as I learned more about the writing process. Instead—at least at this point—it feels like every book has been more difficult. Maybe my personal expectations increase with each published book.

I know that’s true of many authors, myself included. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
God has been prodding me recently with the knowledge that I’m not writing alone. I felt very close to Him when I first started the writing process, beginning each session in prayer and carefully considering what He might want me to be sharing through my stories. As the pressure of deadlines and other demands got tighter, I found myself looking at writing as a job. That put me in a dark and anxiety-ridden place as an author, for a time. In recent months I’ve been joyfully rediscovering what it means to be writing “with God” as opposed to just “about God.”

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
The first thing I do when people ask me how to move forward in their writing is encourage them to attend a professional writing conference. You’ll have the opportunity to take classes, rub elbows with professional authors, have conversations with editors and agents, and be inspired by the tight-knit community of Christian publishing. There are wonderful Christian conferences around the country, from intimate retreats all the way up to large national conferences.

Second, I’d encourage writers to set a schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t always have to be long stretches of time. Sometimes I accomplish more when I know I only have thirty minutes, as opposed to an all-day marathon.  

Third, try not to base your self-worth on whether or not you publish. There are very few overnight successes in this business. Most authors spend many years, sometimes writing several full manuscripts, before they land a contract. If you’re “all about the contract,” you’re going to be miserable during the long wait. And you may even discover that getting that book on the shelf doesn’t magically make you feel like a successful author.

That is so true. Tell us about the featured book.
In Though the Shadows, the devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King's hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable, but opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley—a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco’s crooked politics—Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Sacramento, California
June 1908
Elizabeth King held her fingers against the ivory keys, refusing to stir as the final chord faded and silence descended on the parlor. Were God ever to speak to her, she imagined it would be in the precious instant after a last note died away and before an audience responded. The moment preserved a holy space, as if the breath of divinity hung in the air.

No voice arrived today, but there was no audience either.

She ran her fingertips along the cool surface, the black and white pattern softening as her eyes blurred with tears. God wouldn’t converse with the likes of her, anyway.

After three years of intense instruction, every note conjured Tobias’s memory— his touch. Elizabeth sprang from the stool and stalked to the window, staring out at the darkening clouds. She couldn’t let her mind travel to those memories. Before she knew it, she’d be at his door.

“Turn your back on me, and you’re finished. You’ll never perform again.”

She’d done the right thing. So why did the shame still cling, like a vine curling around her soul?

Her mother swept into the room, a cream-colored apron tied over her flowered dress. “Elizabeth— you aren’t dressed yet?”

Elizabeth pulled her gaze from the window. “Dressed?”

“Have you forgotten? Mr. McKinley is joining us for supper. I’ve been trying to get the attorney to come here from San Francisco for months.”

The man’s name sent a shiver along Elizabeth’s skin, like a discordant note in the middle of a Bach concerto. Of course, she’d forgotten— if she’d remembered, she’d have left earlier.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love connecting with readers online!

In addition to the book giveaway on this blog, Karen has another 5-Book Giveaway.

Here's the link to this giveaway:

Thank you, Karen, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers are as eager to read it as I was when it arrived.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Through the Shadows -
Through the Shadows: The Golden Gate Chronicles - Book 3 - Amazon
Through the Shadows: The Golden Gate Chronicles - Book 3 - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Library Lady said...

I would love to win Karen's book, "Through the Shadows". We have the other books in this series in the church library. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to win this book.
Janet E.

J.C. said...

This sounds really good!
J.C. -Indiana

Karen Barnett said...

Thanks, Lena! I'm so glad you enjoyed the series. I'm having trouble letting go of these characters, too. Maybe I'll have to come up with some new storylines for them. :)

Mary E. Brown said...

I would also love to win the last book in the series since I have read the first two and thoroughly enjoyed them. Loved the blog interview.

Deanne Patterson said...

I have been looking forward to reading a book by this author and would love to have this one be the first I read. This sounds fabulous!

Deanne P. in PA

Anonymous said...

angela in ky would love to win.

Mary Preston said...

A marvellous storyline.

Mary P


kam110476 said...

Hi Karen & Lena! I have truly enjoyed the Golden Gate Chronicles so and I'm so excited to get my hands on Through the Shadows!
Kristen in OK

Lucy Reynolds said...

Hello from WV. Thank you for the chance to win. Have a blessed day.

R Merr said...

Thoroughly looking forward to this one! Rachael Merritt from ME.

Winnie Thomas said...

Thanks for the interview, Lena and Karen. It's fun to get to know more about different authors and what they are writing. I've heard so many great things about this book, and I'm anxious to read it. I'd love to win a copy! Thanks to you both for sharing your thoughts and talents!
Winnie T from Utah

Melanie Backus said...

Karen's book sounds great! Thank you, Lena and Karen, for a wonderful interview.

Melanie Backus, TX

Loraine Nunley said...

I really like the time frame that this book is set in so I am looking forward to reading it. Although, Karen's upcoming series also sounds interesting. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

Loraine in TX

Pam K. said...

I picked up the second book in this series at my library and really enjoyed it.
I don't think I've read a novel set in one of the national parks during the 20s or 30s. It will be very interesting to read Karen's next series.
Thanks for the chance to win Through the Shadows. I always enjoy these interviews and getting to know the authors.


Connie said...

I am very anxious to read this! Thanks for this interview and giveaway!
Connie from KY

Karen G. said...

Looking forward to read book 3. I really enjoyed the first book and I am trying to locate the second book somewhere in my house! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of Through the Shadows.

Karen G, NY.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!!
Conway SC.

Terrill R. said...

I'll definitely be getting this one to complete the series. I've read some wonderful reviews. I can't wait.

Terrill - WA

Trixi said...

Hi Karen! First of all, I didn't realize you are from the Pacific Northwest area. I live on the Oregon coast & I certainly think the PNW is God's handiwork! There are so many beautiful places to visit and so many things to do here. I love it! Growing up in IL, it sure was a wonderful change of scenery :-) I don't think we'll ever leave, unless of course God knocks us in the head with a 2x4 and tells us to go elsewhere...haha!

Secondly, congrats on your awards; the 2016 Writer of the Year & Writer of Promise Award in 2013. God has truly blessed you!

Thirdly, Even though I have "Beyond the Ashes" I haven't yet read this series. It's a case of too many books, too little time. But all three of these are on my toppling tower of Pisa TBR pile. And I'm excited to tell you, that in October my husband & I will be taking a 4 day vacation to San Fransisco at the beginning of October. I can't wait to walk around there and learn the history first hand, so to speak!! I'm especially looking forward to Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf area. I'm also excited to learn that you just signed a contract for 3 historical novels set in the National Parks. And your being a park ranger sure will help you! How exciting for you, congrats! I'll certainly be on the lookout for those :-)
Thank you for the fun author interview and book giveaway, blessings!

Trixi in OR

Brenda Arrington said...

A good romantic suspense is definitely in my near future. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this great sounding book.
Brenda in VA

Abigail Richmond said...

Enter me .
Blanch NC

Sylvia said...

I am from North Carolina and love Karen's books. I always learn so much history and feel like I'm right there with the characters.


KayLee from NY said...

This book sounds wonderful. I will have to check out the library for the other books. I thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of Through the Shadows.

KayLee in NY