Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the honor of interviewing CAN Treasurer and the award-winning author of over twenty-five books, Karen Whiting! Karen is well known for her creativity, her hard work for CAN, her generosity to other writers, and her adventurous spirit—I shared a kayak with her once!
Karen, please tell us about your book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve.
A weekly theme with hands-on activities, a contemporary story of a family with someone who serves (first responder, military, volunteer, missionary, etc.), a Bible story, chat prompts, scrapbook prompts, and more make it easy for families to choose what will work for them each week. The book helps develop servant hearts.
What a lovely idea. What inspired you to write this book?
When my family seemed to fall apart in the relational area (children bickering, selfishness, etc.) and store-bought devotions bored the kids, I created my own devotions with a matching hands-on fun activity for the week, and it changed our lives. The children loved it, and it gave us something that connected us to God and one another with no competition. It also helped us focus on godly values and serving others. My children are all still close, all serve, and all remained faithful.
Wonderful! Why did you write this book?
To equip families with tools that work and to honor people who serve. I also wanted to provide help with the special issues families of men and women who serve face. I could do this with the frontline tips at the end of each week’s devotional activities plus incorporating the concepts in the stories (moving, deployment, called up in the midst of family celebrations, living with danger).
What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
How the people who serve do not want to be in the limelight (did not want their real first names used) and how humble those service people remain.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
My hope and prayer is that they will gain more appreciation for people who serve and their families (who all sacrifice to make our world safer) and a deeper commitment to serve with compassion and kindness,
How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
I lived these stories my entire life, from my fire chief grandpa to 22 years as a military wife, and many other members in my family have served, plus the years of doing devotions as a family. I’m sharing what worked.
What’s your favorite section in this book?
Week 7 with the balloon race story. It’s such a great memory of when my husband left on the ship and had his men fill a stack with balloons they released as they pulled away from the dock. The children all chased them and collected them to treasure as a final goodbye.
What a great story! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Family bonds, hope, and love in action.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
It has given me more opportunities to share my faith and has kept me reading and studying the Bible.
So true! Why do you love writing?
I don’t love writing. I am a mathematician and I love numbers! I am compelled to write, and I love creativity and coming up with creative ideas.
That might be the most surprising answer I’ve ever had to that question! Please tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
A woman who came to my signing but not to get a book. She had no one to talk to and felt ashamed and guilty about her past (her parents kept bringing it up) and wanted to know she belonged to Christ and did not need to look back.
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
Cooking (including making dinner for a crowd), needlework, puppetry, TV hosting, and crafts.
You are multi-talented! What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I’m reading 70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
My prior career was a computer systems analyst in math modeling (I am a techie). It makes the tech side of writing easier and helps me organize my writing (I HATE outlines—they make no sense and are not sortable—I love spreadsheets).
As a fellow number-loving writer, I partly relate. Karen, everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I wrote a book on time management based on God’s principles in Genesis 1. I have no problems with time generally.
What’s your favorite bookstore—and why?
The Faith and Home store because it is near, friendly, and they like to work with authors.
Karen, please tell us about your next project.
Not sure what’s next as several are in the works. Possibly another type of devotions for women, a literacy-based storybook, or something on bullying.
You are definitely busy! Thank you for taking the time to share with us.
Writing for Him,