Tuesday, June 17, 2014

OUT OF THE RUINS - Karen Barnett - One Free Book, Plus More

Bio: Inspired by God's devotion to His people and her own passion for research and learning, author Karen Barnett creates historical romances that explore her characters' faith and how their experiences impact the way they view God. 

A graduate of Valparaiso University and Oregon State University, Barnett's debut novel, Mistaken, was released in 2013 and earned her the Oregon Christian Writers "Writer of Promise" award. A former park ranger, she loves getting out into God's creation. She spends her free time taking photographs, dragging her kids through dusty history museums, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and watching movies. 

Karen, her husband and their two children live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest

Welcome, Karen. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I always include aspects of myself in my heroines. I think that’s the easiest way to breathe life into the characters. Abby in Out of the Ruins is shy and socially awkward. I based the character on a younger version of myself, and it’s actually taken decades for me to gain any sort of self-confidence. Writing her scenes took me back to my youth, and it was fun to view my former insecurities from a more mature perspective.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m afraid if I tell you, no one will ever want to come to my house! I worked as a park ranger for a number of years, teaching kids about wildlife and nature. One day I found a deceased brown bat that would have made a perfect specimen for one of my nature programs. I dropped it in a Ziploc bag and tucked it into my freezer until I was able to talk to some taxidermists. Not surprisingly, none of them wanted to touch it. My husband refused to open the freezer until I disposed of the critter. Don’t worry—my freezer has been bat-free for many years now.

How’s that for quirky?

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’m not sure I truly believed it until I held the first published novel in my hands, but I enjoyed writing stories even when I was a little kid.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My first love is historical fiction, but I like romance, women’s fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, suspense, mystery . . . pretty much anything but horror. I’m a bit of a wimp that way.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Music. I am constantly humming or singing. I keep the radio on in the car, play CDs while I’m doing chores, and listen to Pandora while I write. I also love making my own music—I play guitar, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, and Irish tin whistle.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’m careful to stay true to my historical era, often checking names against social security data from the period. I’ve also been known to steal names from family history. My current hero, Robert King, gets his name from my husband’s uncle. It always surprises me to see my character’s name show up on the caller ID.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Being a mom. It’s been the toughest and most rewarding job, ever.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d probably be a bird of some type, because I love the idea of flying high and looking down over the world. That’s probably why I always request window seats on airplanes.

What is your favorite food?
Oven-fried chicken. It’s best cold, the next day. Yum!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock is fear. I struggle with it on a daily basis. “What will people think when they read this story? Did I get all my facts right? What if the book doesn’t sell?” I still struggle with it, but I’m quick to ask for prayer. I have a group of friends and fellow writers who will pray for me at a moment’s notice. I also remind myself of some words from Beth Moore: Satan cannot take our salvation from us, so he does everything he can to steal our effectiveness. (Paraphrased from Praying God’s Word). I don’t want fear to win and render me ineffective.

Tell us about the featured book.
Out of the Ruins: Abby Fischer doesn’t know if God will answer her prayer for her dying sister. She doesn’t know if miracles can really happen. And she certainly doesn’t know if the handsome Dr. Robert King, with his risky experimental treatment, is the one to remedy her doubts. When tragedy strikes and the mighty San Francisco earthquake shatters what is left of her heart, Abby wonders if God will hear her as she flees alone through burning streets. What will it take to show her that the One she doesn’t want to love is the One whose love will save her?

Please give us the first page of the book.
San Jose, California, August 16, 1905
“The doctor could be wrong.” Abby’s words cut through the suffocating silence in the bedroom. She placed her fingers on the sun-warmed windowsill, but it did little to thaw the chill gripping her heart.

Cecelia’s voice barely stirred the air. “He’s not.”

Abby glanced down at the novel she’d been reading, her thumb holding a place between the pages. If only she could stick her thumb on this day and prevent life from moving forward. When had time become the enemy?

She rose from the window seat and paced back to the wooden chair pulled close to her sister’s bedside. The faded rosebud quilt covered Cecelia’s body like a shroud. Abby kept her voice crisp and no-nonsense. “Papa telephoned Cousin Gerald last night. Gerald thinks there might be doctors in San Francisco who could actually do something, despite what Dr. Greene says.”

Cecelia opened her eyes, the flash of blue seeming out of place in her otherwise colorless face. Her unbound hair—once like so many strands of golden silk—now covered the white pillowcase, tangled and matted.

Abby fingered her own brown braid. She hadn’t even bothered to pin it up this morning. “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”

Cecelia’s eyes closed again, dark circles framing their sunken depths. “I’m too tired. If God’s calling, I’m ready to go home.”

Abby thumped the novel down on the bedside table. “Stop saying that. I’m not going to let you die and leave me here alone.”

Her sister shifted under the covers, as if the very weight of the quilt caused her pain. “You’re—” she stopped for a breath, “not alone.”

The deluge of fear returned, sweeping over Abby like waves across the shore. Who would she be without Cecelia?

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love connecting with readers! You can find me at www.KarenBarnettBooks.com or at any of these social media outlets:
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/karenbarnett/

Thank you, Karen, for sharing this new book with us. I love historical romance novels. That's why I write them.

Don't miss the debut book, Out of the Ruins, in Karen Barnett's new series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Set against the backdrop of early 20th century San Francisco, Out of the Ruins will remind readers that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, God is still as close to us as our next breath.

Karen is celebrating with a fun giveaway and Facebook author chat party.


  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 19th. Winner will be announced at the Out of the Ruins Facebook author chat party on June 19th. Connect with Karen for an evening of fun book chat, games, and prizes. Karen will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles series!
So grab your copy of Out of the Ruins and join Karen on the evening of June 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Out of the Ruins - Christianbook.com
Out of the Ruins: The Golden Gate Chronicles | Book 1 (Golden Gate Chronicles Series) - Amazon
Out of the Ruins: Golden Gate Chronicles | Book 1 (Golden Gate Chronicles Series) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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:


Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Patty said...

I feel for Abby already after just reading that first page!

Patty in SC

Melanie Backus said...

Would love to read this one!

Melanie Backus, TX

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good Christian book! Shelia Hall sheliarha64@yahoo.com

Britney Adams said...

I enjoyed Karen's interview and am eager to read OUT OF THE RUINS!

Britney Adams, TX

Mary Preston said...

A lovely interview thank you.

Mary P


Amy C said...

I love the interview with Karen. Can't wait to read this book.
Amy C

Cindi A said...

I would love to be entered in the drawing to win a copy of this book. It's definitely on my wish list.

Cindi Altman from PA

Vera Godley said...

I've visited San Francisco several times and it is fun to read books set there. Love to win this one.

I'm in NC

Vera Godley said...

I've visited San Francisco several times and it is fun to read books set there. Love to win this one.

I'm in NC

A Cooking Bookworm said...

Ooh, I've had Out of the Ruins on my WL!

Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

I love reading historicals and would love to read Abbys story.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Susan P said...

LOL, love the bat story. :)
I can't wait to read this one! I LOVED Mistaken, so this is next on my list to get.
Susan, MI

Rebecca said...

Hi! Sounds like a great story. I live in Oregon.

Lourdes said...

This story sounds great, would love to win.

Lourdes, Long Island NY

Mama Cat said...

This book sounds awesome! The start to a great new series, also...and showing about how the Lord does hear and answer prayers. All the best to you, Karen, also to you, Lena, and thank you for all you do!
Mama Cat in Phoenix, AZ

sm said...

Your book will be a great read for me about the San Francisco fire. Love to win! sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

kam110476 said...

I've been looking forward to Out of the Ruins for months now. My fave historical fiction book when I was growing up was The Trembling Hills by Phyllis Whitney - it's about the big San Francisco earthquake turned huge citywide fires. Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Karen Barnett said...

Thanks for the fun interview, Lena! I hope I didn't scare anyone off with my bat story. :) I've been enjoying everyone's comments.

Lane Hill House said...

I would like a print copy of Out of the Ruins ~ hope I win!! Thank you for this opportunity. Kathleen ~ MO

Courtney Clark said...

I'd love to win!
Courtney C. from AR

Anonymous said...

sounds like a great book!
Thanks for the giveaway!
Sydney Harries GA

susanlulu said...

What an interesting storyline! Hope I get a chance to read it.

Tonja Saylor said...

I loved the first page!!!
Tonja VA

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Karen G. said...

I would love to win and read this book! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Karen G., NY

KayLee from NY said...

New author to me. Looking forward to reading her book. Going to add to my wish list. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

KayLee from NY