Greetings from Marti Pieper amid the lovely fall weather of Seneca, South Carolina! I haven’t met all of our CAN authors in person, but the one I have the privilege of interviewing today is a special friend.Karen Whiting and I have many things in common, including, the fact that we both have five adult children. Karen is a prolific writer who has much to share, so let’s get started with our interview.
Welcome, Karen! Please tell us about your book,52 Weekly Devotions for Family Prayer.
It was my first book to be published, and I was excited about flying to Colorado Springs to meet my publishers at their headquarters.
Coming from Florida and having been warned of the possibility of a late spring snowstorm in Colorado, I carefully picked out my clothes for the trip to make the best impression, strategic about packing a separate suitcase for cold weather and snow. But the next day when the plane arrived in Colorado, my suitcase with my cold weather gear was missing.
I awoke the next morning to find a blanket of freshly fallen snow outside my hotel window. Wanting to look my best, I donned my new suit, fussed with my hair, then pondered what to do about shoes. My boots were in the cold weather suitcase that had been lost, and all I had otherwise were the open toe shoes I wore in Florida. One with high heels, one with low. I decided to go with the low.
When I arrived at my publishers, I was surprised at the long winding snow-covered walkway leading from the parking lot to the front entrance. I looked at my open-toe shoes and the distance to the front entrance and sighed.
Nevertheless, raising my umbrella to protect my carefully coifed hairdo from the falling snow and blustery weather, I gingerly stepped onto the snowy path. My feet immediately sank into two inches of snow.
Halfway up the walkway, a gust of wind seized my umbrella and pulled it inside out.
Mustering all the confidence that every new author should have, I continued slushing through two inches of snow in open-toe shoes, with my umbrella inside out and my button-less coat flapping back and forth in the wind.
And there they were, watching from the front door and holding it open—all smiles— with a large banner behind, saying, “Welcome Author Linda W. Rooks.”
Yes, my publishers all had a good laugh at this Florida girl wearing open-toe shoes on the worst snow day of the year. My only consolation was that I had enough sense not to wear high heels.
Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her award winning book, Fighting for Your Marriage while Separated, and her first book, Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation walk with those in the midst of marital breakdown to bring hope and practical guidance to those desiring reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family, HomeLife, and Today’s Christian Woman. Linda has participated in numerous radio and television interviews across the North American continent. She and her husband reside in Central Florida and thank God for the many reconciled marriages they witness through their ministry and the classes they lead.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the honor of interviewing accomplished, award-winning novelist Kimberley Woodhouse, whose novels take readers through various time periods and to exciting locations! Kimberley also has several nonfiction titles.
Welcome, Kimberley! Please tell us about your new book, A Deep Divide.
After being kidnapped as a child, Emma Grace has seen firsthand the devastation that greed causes, and she wants nothing to do with it. She sneaks away, planning to stay hidden even if it means always looking over her shoulder. But someone is after her and she questions all she’s known to be true.
Sounds intriguing! What inspired you to write this book?
About thirteen years ago, I was visiting the Grand Canyon and the historic El Tovar hotel, and this story began to take shape and simmer in my mind. Over the years, it grew, and I knew I wanted to write about the Harvey Girls that are so fascinating.
Oh yes! They were so adventurous. So what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That redemption and forgiveness are available to everyone. No matter what we’ve done. And that giving forgiveness is beautiful and life-changing.
A wonderful and important lesson. On a lighter note, do you have any funny moments with a reader?
I was speaking at a women’s event and afterward, I was signing books and speaking to ladies at the book table. One woman waited in line and offered me a chicken for a book. Sure enough, she came back with a live chicken in a box. One of my best memories. And that chicken was the best pet chicken I had.
That is the best! Perhaps she heard someone say writers’ earnings were paltry, and she heard “poultry.” (Sorry. Can’t resist a pun).
With twenty years of writing experience, you must have had some touching moments with readers. Is there one you can share with us?
A lady wrote me an email and told me that she didn’t take her life that day. She’d planned her suicide, all the way down to arranging for someone to come pick up her body. But reading one of my books gave her hope. She knew I didn’t have all the answers and that none of us are perfect, but for the first time, she understood grace and hope. Her testimony will always stick with me. She gave me permission to share her story over the years and it has changed many lives.
I have goosebumps. That is an incredible story. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that fiction doesn’t change lives. Besides the true ministry of fiction, what ministries are you involved in, and why?
I’m a Pastor’s wife and love to lead Bible studies. (I’ve been a Precept leader for many years.) Up until last year, I had also been a year-round volunteer for Operation Christmas Child. I love-love-love that ministry! #IPackedAShoebox
What’s your favorite bookstore—and why?
Baker Book House in Grand Rapids. I could spend DAYS in there and spend way too much money. But on the author side of things, they are so supportive to us and it’s a blessing to see that ministry at work. The wonderful people there also pray for us and encourage us. So amazing.
That is my dream vacation! I love Baker Book House—but only virtually. Sigh.
So what’s coming next for you, Kimberley? Tell us about your next project.
Ever Constant -book three in the Treasures of Nome series releases in January!
How exciting! What a treat that will be for your readers! Thank you for sharing with us, Kimberley!
The bear showed up again last night, and trash lay all over the driveway and front lawn.
Black bears start bulking up from midsummer through fall before they hibernate for the winter here in the Sierra Valley. It’s easier for them to forage through people’s dumpsters than through the forest that surrounds our mountain valley, so they wander from neighborhood to neighborhood looking for fridge castaways.
Groaning, I began the gross and time-consuming task of collecting the litter. One more thing. It was one more thing on my cluttered to-do plate.
After a four-day conference halfway across the country, I came home to a cluttered desk, writing deadlines, numerous Zoom meetings, and shopping and other prep for a four-day writing retreat I would host just a few days later.
I felt as scattered as the trail of trash spread out in front of me. If I could only collect myself, I muttered as I picked up eggshell fragments and cans of Dinty Moore beef stew–my husband’s go-to meal when I’m gone.
How would I get it all done? Why did I say yes to so many responsibilities? What was I possibly forgetting?
Back inside a half hour later, I determined to clear my desk. After I filed away receipts, bills, and sticky note reminders, I saw what I had forgotten. My Bible sat there waiting for me to read that God collects scattered people (Jeremiah 28:25-26). He patiently allows me to blow away in the winds of struggle and hardship and even prideful too-much-to-do, so that I get to the place where I just cannot pull things together on my own. And then he gathers to himself those fragments of me that I have become, sets me securely in the place he has made for me, and gives me the security of his arms.
And somehow he makes beauty out of a collection of litter.
Janet McHenry is an award-winning speaker and author of 24 books—six on prayer, including the best-selling PrayerWalk. A former high school English teacher, she and her husband Craig raised four children in the Sierra Valley, where he is a rancher. She would love to connect with you: https://www.janetmchenry.com.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, speaker Laine Lawson Craft, author of several inspirational nonfiction books for women. She’s here today to share about her latest book—which has a companion journal!
In the process of writing Testing Tessa, I learned that asthma is not a recent affliction but has been around for thousands of years. First mentioned in Chinese records around 2600 B.C., the disease wasn’t given its current name until around 600 B.C. when Hippocrates linked the symptoms to environmental triggers. He recommended a concoction of owl’s blood and wine to alleviate symptoms, not recognizing that asthma was, in fact, a disease.
Through the years, other cultures attempted other treatments, including heating of herbs on a brick and then inhaling the fumes in 1500 B.C. Pliny the Elder, in 50 B.C., realized pollen was a contributing factor, and prescribed an early predecessor for epinephrine to alleviate breathing problems.
In the late 1800’s, Dr. Henry Salter tried various non-traditional remedies, including sleep; avoidance of opiates; hot, strong coffee; and the conservative use of belladonna.
In 1892, Sir William Osler, noted the similarities between asthma and other allergic conditions, such as hay fever. As a result, doctors and pharmacies distributed medications to calm airway spasms.
Once treating the symptoms was recognized as not solving the problem, researchers addressed the cause and long-term management, including strengthening the immune system, avoiding triggers, and enabling the body to repel the auto-immune reactions.
In my book, Tessa’s interest in medicine and her time of medical training in medical school and under the tutelage of a doctor propels her to read and study the latest innovations in medicine.
About Testing Tess
In 1868, Tessa, a Mennonite nurse graduates from nursing school and is assigned to the Amana Colonies in Iowa because of her expertise in treating asthma and other breathing problems. Will she be able to use her skills? Or will her gender keep her from helping those who truly need her?
Seth, a widower in Amana, is still nursing a broken heart from his sweetheart’s passing two years before. Now raising their invalid son Caleb on his own, he wonders why God didn’t listen to his prayers for healing for his family. Can he trust God and trust medicine, or is faith in one mutually exclusive of faith in the other?
About DonnaDonna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, Capital Christian Writers Fellowship, Faith, Hope, and Love Christian Writers, and Christian Authors Network.