~~ Karen Kingsbury ~~
Interview with Tracey West ~~ May 2005 ~~
Kingsbury has sold over two million copies of her books. One of her
Gideon’s Gift is
even being considered for a made for TV movie. I
had the pleasure of reading her latest
release, A Thousand Tomorrows,
which released in April. Having never
read an Inspirational Romance before, to say I was pleasantly surprised
much I enjoyed the story was an understatement. I felt more, thought
completely looked at many things differently – or had my eyes open to
didn’t give much thought to regularly.
Reading A Thousand Tomorrows led me to
Ms. Kingsbury’s website, as well as looking into more of her great
This is also an author I wanted to get to know better, which leads us
Karen was gracious enough to agree to visit with RTR …
The Road to Romance Karen!
Karen, please tell our readers a bit about yourself, your family?
Karen - I’m
the mom of six kids, married to the man of my dreams. We enjoy playing
and taking walks or bike rides. We laugh a lot and at dinnertime we’re
busy playing silly dinner games between bites. My oldest son once told
. . . I’ll probably be a Broadway singer or producer when I’m older,
think I’ll write novels in my spare time, like you!” That was maybe one
best compliments ever. I’m really a wife and mom first.
With six children, how do you find the time to write? Are some days
more of a struggle
It’s always easy to write once I make the appointment with my keyboard.
that part is always tough. I set aside 6 hours a day to write – when
are in school. But half the time that doesn’t actually happen, and I
scrambling on deadline.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer Karen? Was this something
up having an interest in?
I’ve known since I was five years old. I’ve always loved creating
poems…I was born to create with words, it was something God put in me
Was there ever a time that you wanted to do something different? Do you
outside of writing as well part-time or full-time?
Karen - For
a short period of time I toyed with the idea of being a lawyer. But my
was already hooked to writing. I earned my degree in journalism so I’d
have a way to earn money as a writer, even if my dream of being an
didn’t work out.
What is the first step for you when you sit to write a new book? Do you
everything – characters, world, etc.? Or do you just sit and write?
Conflicts come to me, and characters are usually very quickly behind
sit down and write out the details and ideas on a pad of paper. Then I
on paper, also. There’s something about a pen and pad of paper that
appeals to me. I think it always will. After I have an outline in my
scratch, I take it to the laptop. The rest happens there.
Tracey – As
I mentioned above, A Thousand
Tomorrows was the first
story, I’m ashamed to admit, that I have read
by you. This story blew me away, I cried
just about all the way through the last forty pages of it. In
your own words, what can you tell readers
about A Thousand Tomorrows?
This novel is a story of sacrificial love, a love that never fails
odds, even despite death. In many ways it is a parable of the type of
found in 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible.
Cody Gunner – a true hero. Strong, determined, stubborn (very much so J )
and really does have a heart of gold. When and how did Cody come into
life? Was he a difficult character?
Karen - I
came up with the storyline because of something that happened at our
health club. I was checking in at the front desk, and the woman behind
counter had tears in her eyes. I asked what was wrong and she told me
she’d spent the morning visiting her son’s wife’s gravesite. It was the
one-year anniversary of her death. I asked if she’d died in an
it was clear that she must’ve been young – maybe mid 20s. The woman
told me no,
not an accident. She died of Cystic Fibrosis. I said, “So your son knew
in that she wouldn’t live long.” And the woman said, “More than that .
. . my
son gave her one of his lungs.” I was stunned. I said, “So the surgery
work?” And the woman shook her head and teared up again. “It worked
she said. “We always knew it would only buy her three years.” I hung
for the next few hours and I realized that her son had loved this young
so deeply that he gave her one of his lungs for three years, or about a
thousand tomorrows. I knew then, that I had a love story that would go
anything I’d ever done. Next I needed a guy. Sitting on a plane waiting
flight home from Atlanta,
Professional Bull Rider Ross Coleman entered the plane. He stopped the
on board, and everyone turned to see him. He had a bigger-than-life
about him. I ended up sitting next to him and asking him about bull
talked for the entire flight, and at the end I knew I had my male
Because I couldn’t imagine what it would take for a woman to break
exterior of this sort of guy. And to make the guy fall in love so
he would give up a lung, well, that was exactly what I’d been looking
Ali Daniels – has a lot of the same qualities that Cody had, and a
determination unlike any I have ever witnessed before. With her Cystic
Fibrosis, was she a character that was more challenging to write than
you had written before, or did you find there was much of a difference?
Karen - It
was more difficult because she had limitations, even though she didn’t
I’d be pushing the storyline through and I’d remember, “Oh, yeah…she’d
need a hospital stay about now.” So her real life situation definitely
something I had to be mindful of throughout the entire story.
wasn’t necessarily harder to write. But she was very, very special to
Cody and Ali together – what do you think made these two such a strong,
inspiring couple…for you? What do you feel, or hope, this couple will
They didn’t need each other, for one thing. They weren’t looking for
obviously. Then what made it so strong was that Cody couldn’t love
except for his little brother. Carl Joseph had a vulnerability – Down
When Cody realized that Ali was sick, she became like Carl Joseph to
Vulnerable, someone he wanted to protect. On a bull he could do
wanted, ride a two-thousand pound beast and pull it off week after
with Ali, Cystic Fibrosis was bigger than him. That created an
intensity that I
haven’t seen with my other characters.
How much research did you do about Cystic Fibrosis, as well as Down
which Cody’s brother, Carl Joseph had in A
Karen - I
did extensive research on Cystic Fibrosis. As for Down Syndrome, I was
enough with it to pull off my character Carl Joseph. I’ve heard from
Down Syndrome children since the book has just come out. They say I
so that makes me feel good.
Cody was a Champion Bull Rider, Ali - a Barrel Racer – did you also
need to do
extensive research on these sports to prepare for the story?
Yes, very extensive research on both sports. I went to events,
in-person interviews, read books and watched hours of rodeo. I fell in
with it, to be honest.
Why did Cody and Ali have dangerous occupations in A Thousand Tomorrows?
Both of them could have done anything else, why a bull rider and barrel
racer? Ali, especially with such a dangerous disease, why have her in
Karen - The
dangerous occupations worked for both characters. It showed Ali’s
to seize life, to live to the fullest every moment of the day. For Cody
him a way to battle his anger.
What do you hope readers learn or take from your stories when they are
Karen - I
pray that they feel changed by what they read. Maybe that means
someone they love, maybe it means loving someone with a greater
might mean finding a way to live life to the fullest. Of course I hope
story stays with them, and I hope it makes them want to read it again
again. But most of all, I pray it brings about a life-changing
their lives. That’s why I call my work, Life-Changing Fiction ™.
Tracey – Do
you find that you are emotionally drained after writing any of your
you take some “down time” before beginning the next one? I ask
this, due to the emotions I found
myself feeling – anger, sadness, happiness, faith and understanding
reading A Thousand Tomorrows.
I am just curious, if you find yourself feeling drained after writing
Often times I don’t get a lot of down time between books. But I do find
to let go of the stories once I’m finished. A
Thousand Tomorrows stayed with me, still stays with me, longer
others I’ve written. Something about this book really found a permanent
in my heart.
When you aren’t writing, what are you doing in your spare time?
(Laughing) With a husband and six kids, not
much J I love having
conversations with my kids, being involved in
the drama and dance and singing of my older two children, going to my
boys’ sporting events, playing ping-pong, taking walks through my
listening to praise music. Singing at the top of my lungs in the car
What authors would we find you reading when taking a break?
Karen - It
varies. I like to read NY Times list authors occasionally. I like
Grisham and Sparks
and Randy Alcorn
and Francine Rivers. I read Dave Barry, the humorist for his short
chance to laugh hard is welcomed after writing an emotional book – even
mine always have hopeful overtones and hopeful endings.
You have written many books to date and received many great reviews.
Do you worry with every release, how it will
be received by your readers? Does the nervousness, even for a very
author like yourself, does it every go away?
Karen - I
really don’t think about it very much. I guess I figure you can’t
everyone, but my goal is to make every book a little better than the
it. I’ve had wonderful editors through the years. I carry a little bit
everything they’ve told me, so that makes it easier to keep honing my
developing the craft of writing.
Your next release, in June 2005, is a spin-off from the Redemption
can you share with readers about this new series? How many will
there be and what can readers
Karen - The
Firstborn Series is going to be wonderful. I’ve written two of the five
and I’m hooked J Often when I write it
I’m reading. Usually that’s been a good sign, and it definitely feels
with the Firstborn Series. The first book will be called, “Fame” and
released in June. The second is “Forgiven” and it will be out in
working on the third book next, which will be “Found.” After that will
“Family” and “Forever”. The series will follow rising Hollywood movie
Dayne Matthews and Bloomington
drama instructor Katy Hart. The two are single and early in the series
become friends. But logistics make it clear they can never be together,
lives are simply too different. Their stories happen against the
the Baxter family and their happenings. John Baxter, the father, has a
and he’s keeping it from his adult kids. This series will explore the
development of that storyline, also. I can’t wait to write all the
will then spin off to another series called, “Sunrise Series.”
Tracey – In
closing, is there anything you would care to add Karen that we have not
- I’d love to have people visit my
website and sign up to receive my newsletter. That’s where they’ll hear
about what’s coming out next, how my family’s doing, and where I’ll be
next. I love meeting with my reader friends, so the website gives us a
connect. It’s www.KarenKingsbury.com.
Readers can enter their email address on the home page and be
my list to receive the newsletter. I guess also that I’m praying for
of them as a group. When I sit in my little room and tap out these
it’s very visual. I really believe God gives me the stories . . . what
with them from there is something I love to hear about.
Could we possibly have an excerpt from A
A THOUSAND TOMORROWS
© Karen Kingsbury
Released: April 2005
was doubled over near her horse when she felt his hand on her shoulder.
. . . here.” This time Cody handed her a full water bottle. “Maybe
allergic to dust.”
Ali took a long drink. She had her own water, but it was twenty yards
near the back of the tunnel. Another swig and she could feel her lungs
feel the air making its way into even the stubborn areas that were no
soft and pliable. “I’m fine.” She wiped her brow and met his eyes.
studied her for a minute. “I have to go.”
She smiled. “My advice is still paying off.”
grinned and let his gaze fall to his boots. When he looked up, his eyes
more vulnerable than before. “Can I ask you something?”
just did.” She lowered her chin, her eyes big. It felt fun to tease him.
serious, Ali.” He looked over his shoulder at the arena. The last
was about to go. His ride was coming up.
She took another drink from the bottle. She could breathe now; but she
to get out of the tunnel. The dust there was almost as bad as it was on
barrel course. She squinted at him. “Ask.”
do you ride sick?”
words skipped across the surface of her heart like a series of smooth
She met his gaze, unblinking. “Why do you ride angry?”
mulled over her question and finally he gave her a slow nod. “The
somewhere, aren’t they?”
talk tonight.” The teasing faded from his eyes. “Can we do that, Ali?”
truck was circling the barrel course now; a handful of cowboys tossing
in the back, clearing things for the bull-riders. Ali could hear her
warning. Anyone but Cody Gunner . . . anyone but him. She
looked at the
arena. “You need to go.”
me, Ali. We’ll find someplace and talk for an hour. Nothing more.”
bit her lip. She needed to wear the vest for an hour before she could
anything. “Come by my trailer around eleven. Knock once on the door;
Kingsbury’s books are available online – Amazon, Books-a-Million,
Noble. Visit her site often for new
updates about her books, the new series starting in June and much more.
Karen for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit with us.
The Road to
Romance congratulates you on your newest release and wishes you much
with all of your endeavours.